By Sara Baird
When shopping for hiking and camping equipment I am always torn between more expensive brands with all the bells and whistles and lower-priced packs with less. The Teton Sports Oasis Hydration Pack is a pack with a lower price tag that still comes with plenty of features to serve your needs. The pack arrived just in time to fill it up and bring it along on a winter hike with my husband and son. This pack is an 18-litter pack made to carry a 2-liter water bladder; the water bladder comes with it.
Trying it Out
Each fall and early winter I need to find new hiking partners since my husband and son are off hunting, I just can’t bring myself to hunt. This year with Covid restrictions around gathering with people outside our household I didn’t have any hiking partners. I mean even the dog was hunting. I decided I would just tag along with them on upland bird hunts and discovered an activity I absolutely love. The public land they hunt on is beautiful and mainly empty. It is a joy to enjoy the quiet and to watch my pup hard at work doing what she loves best. This was a beautiful sunny 30F-degree early December day. We spent about 6 hours out walking and I was grateful to have the hydration pack along.
The Fit and Comfort
The shoulder, waist, and chest straps are fully adjustable meaning this backpack fit both my son, who is over 6tf tall and very thin as well as me, a much shorter and larger person. The waist strap is not padded like some more expensive packs are but since this is a smaller pack it does not seem to make a big difference. The straps were initially very stiff but softened up quickly. I was comfortable both wearing the pack over my light winter jacket and over a t-shirt. The pack also has mesh-covered foam pads on the back for comfort and ventilation. The pack rested very comfortably on my back, though it did still cause the customary sweat patch on my back.
The pack has four zippered pockets. The biggest one holds the water bladder and has a hole for the drinking tube to come out of at the shoulder. The other pockets are smaller and just right for your lunch, a first aid pack, and other supplies for a day hike. The smallest pocket has additional pockets inside for smaller items and a hook for your keys. There is also a handy bungee cord on the outside of the backpack and two mesh pockets on the sides. On the bottom of the pack is a pocket that holds an attached rainfly to pull over the pack and keep your items dry in case of rain. Thankfully I didn’t need to test this one out this trip but I’m sure it will come in handy on hikes next spring.
Water Capacity and Drinking Experience
The two-liter bladder is a nice size for the pack, it is not too heavy and a decent amount of water to have along for a day hike. You could also fit water bottles in the side pockets to bring along more water. I’ve been turned off by hydro packs in the past because I did not like the feel of drinking out of the hose but this one was fairly comfortable. The bite valve was easy to use and did not leak at all through our hike. The bladder has a nice wide opening for filling and cleaning.
The pack appears to be well made. I only used it for a day and then played with it in the house but the straps, hooks, clasps, and all seem to be sturdy. The zippers have nice pulls on them and easily open and close with no catch. The outer pockets do not have flaps over them making them easy to access but possibly not watertight. With the rainfly though you really don’t need to worry about this.
The Oasis Hydration Pack: My Recommendation
This backpack was surprisingly comfortable and enjoyable to drink out of. The pack sells for about $40 US, which makes it a great option for a hiker or a young person just getting into hiking or for a more budget-conscious person not worried about having all the bells and whistles. The backpack fits well and offers plenty of flexibility in fit and comfort. It is not quite as comfortable as the high-end pack my son lives in for biking and hiking in the summer but it is certainly comfortable enough. It also appears durable enough to last for years. I am looking forward to taking it along on many hikes in the future. I would recommend this pack to anyone looking for a hydration pack for day hikes.