I first heard of OutThere Packs when I saw numerous teams wearing them on the 2020 Eco-Challenge Fiji series. I had been looking for something more functional for longer adventure racing events than my old GoLite pack could handle, and while I'm not a pro, using what the pros use only makes sense sometimes.
I checked out the OutThere web page and was stunned at how inexpensive this pack with such amazing reviews was. ($135 when I purchased, marked down from $185).
Even though I knew it would be over a year before I was able to put this thru a multi-day adventure race, I snapped it up within minutes of seeing it to put to use in shorter distance events.
So far, I've used the OutThere AS-3 30L pack for two separate 12 hour adventure races, and at least a dozen training sessions over the last 6 months. So I'll present you with my OutThere AS-3 30L Adventure Pack Review thus far.
About OutThere Packs:
OutThere was founded by former professional downhill and cross-country mountain biker, and accomplished adventure, racer Mike Kloser. After spending over a decade helping other companies design and create racing packs, and still not being able to find a pack he loved, he eventually decided to make his own.
If anyone is going to know what an adventure racer needs in a pack, it's this guy. Mike Kloser's racing resume is wildly impressive.
As of publishing this post, OutThere currently has 7 different packs available in different sizes, and with different features.
OutThere AS-3 30L Adventure Pack Info:
Ideal for multi-day backpacking trips or carrying equipment for sports and activities with easy access to all of your gear.
- Rip Stop Nylon
- Foam Padded Venting
- Ergonomic Shoulder Straps
- Adjustable Chest Strap
- Adjustable Hip Belt with Two Zipper Pockets and Two Water Bottle Pockets
- Hydration port external tube (I use a 2 liter bladder in this pack with no issues)
- Bar Tack Reinforced – Stress point stitching
- YKK® Zippers – Easy grab lightweight zipper pulls
- YKK® Water Proof Zipper – Main and top compartments
- Reflective Bungee Cord – 3M™
- ...and a ton of other features, too many to list. Check out the OutThere website for more.
Pack technical specs:
- Weight – Red: 46oz., 1.3kg., Green: 50oz, 1.4kg.
- Volume – 30/10 liter internal and external storage capacity 1,830 to 2,440cu. In.
- Internal Pack Storage – 30 liters storage in main pack compartment
- External Mesh/Nylon Storage – 10 liters storage on outside of pack
- Pack dimensions – 20″H x 12″W x 6″D / 50.8cm x 30.5cm x 15.2cm
According to the OutThere website, the AS-3 is a multi-day pack that easily carries gear in multiple external pockets, balancing comfort with performance and strength for multi-day explorations in the back-country.
MSRP: $189.00 (USD), but at the time of publishing this post, is marked down on the OutThere website for $135.00 (red color only, the Eco-Challenge Fiji special edition is $199).
Review: OutThere AS-3 30L Adventure Pack
The very first thing you notice about this pack is that there are an incredible amount of pockets.
The second thing you may notice might be all the buckles, webbing, tension cord and adjustment sliders.
This pack means business. Get ready for lots of pictures.
Pack Fit & Adjustments
How a pack fits, as well as its ease of adjustment, are both big issues for me. My body weight can fluctuate by 20lbs season to season. Plus, I’m also the team Mule, and end up carrying varying amounts of stuff during a race.
Making sure a pack fits comfortably is key.
I am able to get a secure, comfortable fit with the OutThere AS-3, resulting in a comfortable fit while riding, and minimal bounce when running. (I shove it in the bulkheads of my kayak when paddling. Bonus: it fits).
For reference: in these pictures below, I am 6'1" and 210 lbs.
Let's cover all of the adjustments and straps. If we start with the shoulder straps, we can see this adjustment is pretty cut and dry.
But more than that, we also have adjustments at the top of the shoulders hidden underneath. These adjustments will also help in the position of any shoulder strap attachements (more on this later).
Both of these adjustments are used in conjunction to set where you want the hip belt.
We also have the standard hip belt adjustment. And top of that, we can adjust how far the belt actually wraps around our waist. No lies, I just found this adjustment while writing this. This pack is insanely customizable. Makes me wonder what I’ll find next.
THEN! Once you have your pack loaded, there’s another shoulder strap adjustment just behind your ears to get that pack nice and settled. And, another hip belt adjustment.
Having multiple points of adjustment rather than simply the ability to shorten or lengthen the shoulder straps really helps dial in a custom fit.
The number of pockets on the OutThere AS-3 is insane. We’ll start with the symmetrical pockets up and down the pack:
Each side of the hip belt comes with zippered pocket, one water resistant, one mesh.
Just behind the hip belt we have a pocket that is a perfect size for a water bottle with a mesh bottom. I personally have a helluva time reaching these pockets so I would use them to carry extra fluids or some other gear depending on the situation.
Behind these pockets, on the main bag itself we have another set of mesh pockets. For reference, each pocket is big enough to hold a single sneaker. I'm not sure if that's what they are designed for, but if the shoe fits...
Above the mesh maybe-shoe-pockets, we have another set of pockets. These pockets are also big enough to hold a sneaker, but are full ripstop fabric, no mesh in these.
If we start at the bottom the pack, we have an zippered pocket that can be used as is, or expanded into a mesh helmet net, that securely clips to attachment points on the back of the pack. Pretty nifty.
Above this we have another good sized mesh pocket. This pocket is really easy for teammates to reach if needed. A small zippered pocket sits just above.
Zippers run up each side of the back of this pack. One zipper will open the main pack so you can dig around from the side, and the other zipper…you guessed it, another big pocket!
And because we can always use more space, there are mesh pockets under and on top of the flap to the main pocket.
The inside of the main pack itself is divided into three. Sitting along the back brace, we have a sleeve for a hydration bladder, then another sleeve just below that. THEN we have the main pocket itself.
Ya know, I haven't actually tried measuring exactly how many liters this main pocket will hold, but its gotta be at least the 30L the pack is named for, its huge! This main pocket is secured with a combination of tension cord and buckled straps.
Speaking of straps! There are almost as many straps and attachment points as there are pockets. Wanna strap on a bed roll? No problem. Carrying trekking poles or ice axes? Yep. And, there are more adjustments straps back here to help secure any loads.
My OutThere AS-3 came with the standard shoulder strap pockets. However, I purchased the shoulder strap add-ons that will hold water bottles.
I really like this feature as I can reach this bottle easily.
So many pictures…..
Lets just get to my overall Pros and Cons of this pack.
Cons of the OutThere AS-3 30L:
- The shoulder strap pockets are too small to really hold SIS gels (Team HSEC's favorite. We're not sponsored and don't have to say that. They're just really good). But, this is just me being whiny. They’ll hold other gels with no problem.
- I might need a diagram to remember where I stashed things in all these pockets. Again though, me being whiny. All these pockets are awesome.
- I don’t have a third complaint
Pros of the OutThere AS-3 30L:
- This pack is light, but pretty damn sturdy. The ripstop fabric is high quality.
- The adjustability and versatility of the pack. Hot diggity, just now I think I found a potential place for a hydration bladder between the pack and backboard, instead of having to jam it in the main pocket.
- The price! Good gravy, have you looked at competitors prices for similar packs?
- Again: pockets.
If you're looking for a pack that holds a ton of stuff, is incredibly durable, fits well, and has pockets upon pocket within pockets, the OutThere AS-3 is for you. So far, I am absolutely blown away by this pack, and absolutely thrilled with my purchase.
Questions about the OutThere AS-3 Pack? Leave them in the comments section below, and I'd be happy to answer them if I can!