You know those times when you want to look more of a plum than you already do, standing there clad in merino wool, Pertex Quantum and breathable 3-layer waterproof membranes, but you just don’t know how? Well despair no more – the OMM Trio Map Pouch 4 has arrived.
This little beauty is a 4 litre chest pack with built-in waterproof map case and will strap onto most rucksacks and/or overweight hikers with injury-prone feet.
The Trio is made from 210T ripstop nylon with a mesh panel that sits against your body to reduce sweat build-up. Construction is very convincing (although it only weighs 150g) and I’m pretty sure it’ll stand up to a reasonable amount of wear. It attaches to your pack with four straps; two webbing straps with wire-gate snaps at the top and two shock cords that terminate in plastic hooks at the bottom. This gives you plenty of flexibility of fit. In truth, it is designed to integrate with OMM’s range of packs, using removable snap buckles to clip on the OMM pack straps. I attach it to my Berghaus sternum strap with a couple of mini carabiners.
Taking it on and off, should you need to get something out of your pack, can be a bit fiddly. I try and keep all small items that I’m likely to need quick access to in the Trio, just to minimise fuss. I suspect it’s a smoother process when using it with an OMM pack as you can open the snap buckle more easily than a small carabiner. We’ll see if I decide to go for the Villain 45+10.
The main compartment has a zip closure covered by a storm flap, but since the material is not waterproofed this feature is a bit redundant and actually makes it trickier to get into when wearing gloves. Inside are two small slash pockets that I keep a Rite in the Rain notebook and Sharpie marker in; the rest is a simply a 4 litre dump pocket. As the fabric lets in water I use a couple of Exped XXS fold dry bags to keep my various bits and pieces in – one for my camera and spare battery, and another for phone, wallet and keys. Things like lunch, hats and gloves either go in loose or inside another dry bag if I’m expecting rain.
The map pouch, strangely, is a feature I don’t use. It closes using two brass press studs and has a roll top velcro closure to keep the moisture out. Generally I carry an OS Explorer map in an Ortleib map case as the map pouch on the Trio is the wrong dimensions to accommodate one when folded into a ‘double page spread’ (Example 1, Example 2). I can only presume that it’s designed to take an OMM race map – something I don’t foresee myself ever using, but it will take a folded a4 map such as those printed out from the OS getamap service. The graphics are a bit gaudy too in my opinion. I could do without this whole section.
I’d say that I’m happy with the Trio so far. It is great for keeping my camera and other personal tidbits in so they’re close at hand, and its snack-handling capabilities are second to none. Lose the wavy, reflective graphics and the oddly-sized map case and it’d be perfect for me. The Trio costs around £20 and has few competitors, making it a very attractive and useful proposition for any hiker who doesn’t mind looking like a fashion victim.