Article by Markus Zinkl
SKYLINE 30 FASTPACK ($197.97)
Tayson’s lifelong passion for the outdoors, combined with a quest for quality gear, led to the creation of Outdoor Vitals. Frustrated by inadequate gear, he started by selling budget sleeping bags to friends, which evolved into a business. Outdoor Vitals connected with its growing audience through a YouTube channel.
The company’s mission was to make premium gear affordable. With time, the team expanded and focused on “Live Ultralight,” emphasizing top-quality, lightweight gear at accessible prices.
Today, we are looking at one of their newest additions, the Skyline 30 fastpack.
Weight: 15.3 oz / 435 g
Sample Weight: 20.6 oz / 584 g
23 oz / 652 g (with included softflasks)
Main Body: 23L
Outside Pockets: 3L
16″ x 9.5″ x 7.5″ (roll top is additional 11″)
Main Pack: 100D Robic nylon diamond ripstop
Front/Bottom/Side Pockets: UltraStretch
Hardware: Duraflex plastic hardware
Let’s delve first into all the features of the pack and speaking of features, the Skyline 30 has loads of them.
Let’s start with its roll-top closure. This intuitive design allows for easy access to your gear while providing a secure and weather-resistant seal. When you read my other fastpack reviews, this is my favorite closure system. The simple design and ease of use just works.
For added security and versatility, the Skyline is equipped with an over-top “V” compression webbing system. This webbing not only further secures the roll-top closure but also provides the means to strap on additional gear. It’s all about adaptability and convenience.
Crafted from Challenge UltraStretch™, the most cut, tear, and abrasion-resistant stretch mesh on the market, the rear stretch pocket offers ample storage space for quick-access items or wet gear. This pocket is designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor adventures while keeping your essentials easily accessible.
The pack incorporates a double layered bottom pocket for added convenience on the go.
One layered is zippered and the other one is a passthrough pocket made out of UltraStretch™ as well.
This versatile feature allows you to separate and access your gear effortlessly. I personally used it to store my trash in one and snacks, gloves or my beanie in the other pocket.
The Skyline features two volumized side pockets, each capable of accommodating 1-liter bottles. These pockets are also constructed with Challenge UltraStretch™ mesh, ensuring they can withstand the toughest conditions while securely holding your hydration.
You can also stay hydrated on the trail with the internal hydration bladder sleeve and hose port. This feature makes it easy to keep your hydration system organized and accessible during your adventures. That being said, I personally don’t use a hydration system on my packs. I prefer to have separate bottles, in order to keep track of how much water I have left.
Inside, you’ll find a small internal zippered pocket with a lanyard clip for securing small valuables and keeping them easily within reach.
The shoulder harness suspension system is designed for comfort and adjustability. Dual adjustable sternum straps allow you to fine-tune the fit, and the perforated harness foam ensures breathability and weight savings. The sternum straps even offer elastic stretch segments, to still allow your chest to move while breathing.
With three volumized stretch woven pockets on each side of the shoulder harness, you have loads of storage solutions for soft flasks, snacks, or any small essentials you need close at hand.
Stay visible and keep your load secure with dual side compression cords featuring reflective detailing. If you do not need all the pack volume, you can use the cords to compress the pack down. This reduces bouncing of the items inside when the pack is not fully loaded.
The pack offers three trekking pole/ice ax tension loops.
These loops allow for both vertical and horizontal pole carry, making it easy to carry essential tools for your outdoor pursuits.
Designed for support, stability, and comfort, the EVA foam back panel on the pack features large cut-outs for optimal airflow and ventilation. It strikes a good balance between support and breathability, ensuring you stay comfortable throughout your journey.
It also comes with a detachable nylon webbing hip belt. I personally did not use the hipbelt during my testing and also did not find the need for one. But at least you have the option to use it if you like.
Sizing and Fit
The pack comes in two sizes:
With my 19’’ inch torso I got the S/M version and the fit was spot on for me. The chest straps and shoulder harness suspension system allowed for enough adjustability to dial in the fit.
When fully loaded, due to the rear depth of 7.5’’, the fit could be improved a bit. I would have liked, if it carried the load a bit closer to the back. After the first day on trail and decreasing food, it improved quite a bit.
I’m curious though, how it would perform with a bit less depth. It should improve the weight distribution closer to the back.
After all the features, sizing and fit, let’s see how the pack performed on the trail.
Right from the start, I was impressed with the pack’s choice of materials. The 100D Robic nylon diamond ripstop fabric added structure and durability to the backpack. I’m usually not the biggest fan of Robic nylon, since it usually does not have a lot of structure. The diamond ripstop version here seems to improve on that front quite a bit. It gave me confidence that this pack could handle whatever you throw at it. I did the majority of my testing in the Alps, with the occasional scramble you can’t avoid to brush it on rather sharp rocks and the pack does not show any sign of wear yet.
The customizable fit of the pack impressed me. The chest straps are both vertically and horizontally adjustable, which allowed me to fine-tune the fit. The stretchy chest straps also gave me the flexibility to move and breathe comfortably during my trips.
One of the aspects I appreciated most during my trips was the abundance of storage on the harness. Multiple pockets kept my essentials within arm’s reach, enhancing my on-the-go efficiency. On the lower pockets I was able to store my Inreach Mini, headphones and headlamp, safely secured with an elastic drawcord closure. On the left side I usually stored my phone and on the right side a soft flask. Both are also secured with the same elastic drawcord closure. The only negative point are the zippered pockets. They are not big enough to store a phone and the zipper in the middle of it tended to snag a bit when operated only with one hand. I would love to see a bigger pocket to fit a phone and move the zipper to the medial side. This should give the zipper a bit more structure. E.g. Gossamer Gear’s Fast Kumo 36 (RTR Review) did a better job with the zippered chest pocket.
The Ultramesh exterior pockets held up impressively well. These pockets not only added to the backpack’s longevity but also provided secure storage for my gear. From the front to the sides and even the bottom, I could trust that my items were safe and protected. When you first get the pack expect the pockets to be quite snug. However over time the stretch improves a bit. That being said I would like to see a bit bigger side pockets. I used one of them to store a 1 liter bottle and it is quite hard to access it and put it back without taking the pack off. Also the lower compression strap, which sits inside of the side pockets, does not help the accessibility. I found it snagging sometimes while putting stuff in.
The bottom pocket not only has an Ultramesh stretch pocket but also an additional zippered pocket. This extra storage space came in handy for organizing gear or keeping items separate from the main compartment, adding to the pack’s versatility. I used the zippered pocket for trash and wrappers and the bottom pocket for gloves or my beanie. Both pockets are easily accessible on the go.
The horizontal and vertical storage options for ice axes and trekking poles were great. The horizontal storage was particularly convenient for quick access on the go, eliminating the need to remove the backpack. It’s a small detail that made a big difference.
Even without using the hip belt, the pack carried comfortably. Its ergonomic design and customizable fit ensured that I could comfortably bear the load. However, I did notice that when fully loaded, the backpack could benefit from carrying the weight a bit closer to the body.
Also I would like to mention its great value. It’s rare to find a backpack with this level of features and durability at such an affordable price point.
One minor drawback I encountered was the lack of an option to attach a sit pad as a back panel. This would have been a convenient feature for taking breaks on the trail. At the moment the back panel, the pack comes with, can only be accessed from the inside. So when the pack is fully loaded, you can’t really remove and put it back in easily.
Additionally, I learned that it’s crucial not to tighten the chest straps too much. When I tighten them too much the thin shoulder straps would ride up a bit too high and would dig into my collarbone. Finding the right balance is key to lasting comfort.
Finally, I experienced some discomfort where the right chest strap where the webbing band was sewn onto it. This caused the corner to bunch up a bit and dig into my ribs. It was a minor issue, but one worth noting and adjusting for a more comfortable fit.
In conclusion, the Skyline 30 Fastpack impresses with its rich set of features while managing to maintain a lightweight profile. In my experience testing multiple such pacsk that’s very hard to do. Usually more feature packed packs come with a weight penalty. So kudos for finding the balance.
The pack offers an array of features, including a customizable fit, durable materials, and ample storage options. This design demonstrates careful consideration to the needs of adventurers. Remarkably, it achieves all this while keeping its weight in check, making it suitable for those who value agility and mobility.
While the backpack excels in several aspects, there are a few areas that may warrant further refinement. The potential addition of a sit pad attachment as a back panel and optimizing the comfort of chest strap adjustments could enhance the user experience.
Ultimate Direction – Fastpack 20 (RTR Review)
The Fastpack 20 is a good example when features come with a weight penalty. In my review I mention it to be a bit overbuilt. If you look for a similar pack in terms of features, but still want to keep the weight in check, I would rather go with the Skyline 30.
Gossamer Gear – Fast Kumo 36 (RTR Review)
The GG Fast Kumo carried more comfortably with its thicker shoulder straps. While the storage options on the shoulder straps are similar, the zippered pocket on the Fast Kumo is the better design in my opinion. The diamond ripstop Robic nylon is better than the normal on the Fast Kumo though. The inclusion of the bottom pocket is a plus for the Skyline 30.
Dandee Packs – The Standard (RTR Review)
If you read my review of the Dandee Packs-The Standard, you already know that it’s my favorite pack to date. The Dandee carries closer to the body making it more comfortable when fully loaded. I also like the DFC pack material more, making it almost waterproof. However if you value more storage options on the pack, the Skyline 30 would be a better choice for you.
Volpi Outdoor Gear – Fastpack 30 (RTR Review)
The Volpi Fastpack 30 rides similarly when fully loaded. It could also improve with a closer fit to the body, as the Skyline 30 could. I also like the Ultra 100 material better than the Skyline’s Robic nylon. However the rest of the features and especially the chest strap storage options seems more refined on the Skyline 30.
Available at Outdoor Vitals here: Skyline 30
Markus Zinkl: I’m 33 years old and live in a small village in Bavaria, Germany. I started hiking and backpacking 5-6 years ago. Coming from trail running and with light and fast in mind, I started hiking and fast packing with ultralight gear. Over the years I tried and tested a lot of gear, always in search of weight savings. Although still trying to stay out of the ultralight rabbit hole. I spend most of my days off from work on the trail, with at least one 2-3 week thru-hike. Among the more well known trails I have hiked over the last few years are the GR221, WHR (Walker’s Haute Route), TMB (Tour du Mont Blanc), TC (Tour du Cervin-Matterhorn) and Via Alpina Switzerland. As you probably notice by now, I’m at home in the mountains. So if I’m not running or thru-hiking a longer trail, I’m probably somewhere in the Alps checking out some shorter trails.
I welcome comments and questions in the comments section.
The products that are the basis of this test were provided to us free of charge by Outdoor Vitals. The opinions presented are our own.
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