The OneTigris Black Orca LITE Roamer UL 55L+5L Backpack is a pretty good value for $80, provided it fits you and you’re willing to make a few small mods to it. Weighing 38.8 oz (2 lbs 6.8 oz), it’s an internal frame roll-top backpack that can be used for thru-hiking and multi-day backpacking trips. This isn’t a knock-off copy of some other company’s intellectual property but an original design. The one thing you have to understand about this pack is that it’s sized for people with a 19″ torso length up to 22″. The pack is only available in this size range, at present.
Specs at a Glance
- Material: 420D Ripstop Nylon
- Dimensions: 35.4”(L)*11.8”(W)*7.8”(D)/90cm*30cm*20cm
- Volume: 55L+5L (to top of the extension collar)
- Weight: 38.8 oz/1100 g (confirmed)
- Frame: Internal aluminum
- Gender: Unisex w/S-shaped shoulder straps
- Torso Length: 19-22″ (my recommendation)
- Sizing: OneTigris claims the pack is suitable for people approximately 5’7″ and 6’3″ in height, but I suggest you stick with my torso length recommendation instead.
- Pockets: 7, plus main
- Hydration compatible: (yes, but no hydration pocket or hooks)
- Bear canister compatible: Vertical inside, or horizontal on top
- Max recommended load: 25-30 lbs
Backpack Storage and Organization
The Black Orca Roamer UL 55L+5L Backpack is organized like a typical ultralight style roll-top backpack pack with two side water bottle pockets, a front mesh pocket, two large hip belt pockets, and large main compartment.
The Roamer UL also has one additional open pocket, accessed above the front mesh pocket which I’ve never seen on a pack before. It’s quite useful and makes a good place to store a rain cover, hats, gloves, or snacks separate from wet items in the mesh pocket below it. It’s 10.75 inches deep and 8 inches wide. Unfortunately, it also necessitates the use of a rain cover in wet climates to prevent water from collecting inside it and leaking into the main compartment.
While the side water bottle pockets are reachable while wearing the pack, they’re best used for storing 1L Nalgene bottles instead of a taller soda or Smartwater bottles. The tops of the pockets have an elastic cord that could tighten to hold a taller bottle, but the cord locks are too large for the elastic cord size used and don’t hold any tension. You could make them effective simply by replacing the cord locks with one sized for smaller diameter cord.
The main compartment does not have a hydration pocket or a hook to hang a bladder, but it does have a left and right hydration ports. The top of the extension collar has a fabric stiffener to make it easier to folder over. The ends of the roll-top can connect with each other on top of the pack or to buckles at the end of webbing straps along the pack’s sides.
Two cords loop over the top of the pack and can be used to lash additional gear to its top, including a foam pad or even a bear canister. The most secure way to carry a canister is to crisscross the cords. I’d still be tempted to add a webbing strap to loop over the middle of a canister, to add a bit more security, which is a mod one could make with some minor sewing.
The front mesh pocket is quite large and made with heavy-duty mesh to resist tearing. This is a convenient place to store damp items like a water filter and reservoir, a wet tent body, layers you want quick access to, or snacks.
The hip belt has two large, solid-faced pockets that are mammoth. With pockets this big, there’s no excuse for not carrying a map within easy reach. The pockets are sewn onto the hip belt and have zippers. There’s also a pocket sewn onto the left shoulder strap, sized for snack bars or a Smartphone. The top has an elastic cord and cord lock which can be successfully tensioned, unlike the cordlocks on the side water bottle pockets.
Backpack Frame and Suspension
The Black Orca Roamer Lite UL Backpack has an internal, wishbone-shaped aluminum internal frame with top and bottom cross-members for added stiffness. The frame is sewn into the pack bag and not removable. When empty, the frame squeaks if you torsion it, but the sound goes away when it’s packed.
The shoulder pads and hip belt are sewn to the pack bag, but not directly anchored to the frame. The same holds for the load lifter straps which are sewn into the pack bag about one inch above the frame. None of this ideal from my perspective, but it’s not that usual, even with packs from mainstream manufacturers.
The back panel is covered with perforated foam and mesh with a slight lumbar pad at the base. The hip belt is sewn to the pack bag, quite close to the bottom of the wishbone, but buckles slightly when the pack is heavily loaded. The hip belt has pull-forward adjustment straps and is quite easy to adjust.
The shoulder pads have a slight S-curve, making them more suitable for women. But the pads are 21″ long, which seems longer than necessary and more suitable for men with well-developed chests. The right-hand shoulder pad has two hydration keeper straps that you can hang an accessory pocket from, while the sternum strap can be raised or lowered by moving it up and down a webbing strap.
The hip belt is basically rectangular and best suited for male use. It’s 5 inches wide, which is large for a pack of this volume and weight. Unfortunately, it’s also relatively soft and malleable, and buckles at the rear when the pack is heavily loaded. That’s the main reason, I rate the comfortable load limit of this pack between 25-30 pounds despite its large capacity.
Backpack Compression and External Attachments
The Black Orca Roamer Lite UL Backpack is relatively light when it comes to compression straps and primarily relies on its roll-top for top-down load stabilization. However, you can create a single tier of compression straps using the webbing straps and buckles used to hold down the ends of the roll top. These can be looped around the front of the pack and connected over the mesh front pocket because they have male and female buckles. This is important if you want to carry long items in the side water bottle pockets like tent poles or a fishing rod.
The two cords which loop over the roll-top can be used to carry bulky gear like a sleeping pad or a rope coil on the exterior of the pack. But they sewn-in and not removable. The cords are tensioned with linelocs but don’t move through the buckles that easily. It’s a fit and finish issue that should have been solved by the manufacturer, but one that you could solve as well by substituting in some cord locks.
There’s an elastic cord that loops over the mesh pocket, but it’s removable if you don’t need it. It runs through 7 webbing loops, however, which can make nice anchors for your own cords. This is a good way to lash snowshoes on top of the mesh pocket, for instance.
Finally, there are two ice ax loops at the base of the pack that can also be used to carry trekking poles. There are no shaft holders to secure them, but you can add your own or just loop them under the elastic cord on top of the front mesh pocket.
Comparable lightweight roll-top backpacks
|Make / Model||Weight||Price (USD)|
|Granite Gear Crown2 60L||36.7 oz||$200|
|Gossamer Gear Silverback 55L||43.4 oz||$325|
|Hyperlite Junction 3400 (55L)||32 oz||$345|
|Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus 57||18 oz||$235|
|Superior Wildnerness Designs Long Haul 50L||26.5 oz||$265|
|OneTigris Black Orca LITE Roamer UL 55L+5L||38.8 oz||$80|
|ULA Ohm 2.0 (63L)||34.5 oz||$225|
|Zpacks Arc Blast 55L||20.1 oz||$325|
|Zpacks Arc Haul 62L||22.5 oz||$299|
The OneTigris Black Orca LITE Roamer UL 55L+5L Backpack is a good value for $8o if you’re looking for a multi-day backpack with an internal frame. Weighing 38.8 oz, it has all of the features that you’d expect on a lightweight roll-top backpack, including a large front mesh pocket, side water bottle pockets, hip belts pockets. That’s still surprisingly lightweight given the heavyweight 420D Ripstop Nylon and heavy-duty mesh that the pack is made with. While it lacks the fit and finish of packs that cost 300% to 400% more, you can easily swap in a few cordlocks to make it easier to use.
OneTigris isn’t known as a backpack manufacturer and I doubt they designed Black Orca LITE Roamer UL 55L+5L backpack. (A nearly identical variant is still listed on AliExpress.) That doesn’t make it a bad backpack or a bad value. There are lots of backpack manufacturers that outsource their design and production work to third parties. What I find interesting about this backpack is how close it comes to being really competitive with backpacks made by better-known ultralight and lightweight pack makers. If you can’t afford a Dyneema DCF backpack or one made by a boutique cottage manufacturer, I’d check out the OneTigris Black Orca LITE Roamer UL 55L+5L backpack. Just make sure that you fit into its 19″-22″ torso range, so you don’t try to carry a backpack that’s too long for your torso length.
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