Going into the great outdoors can sometime demand that your gear be as flexible and adaptable as possible. Multitools and Swiss army knives are popular for this very reason, because when you’re away from home, having a piece of gear like the screwdriver on a multitool is far more preferable than going without. Enter the Rōm (pronounced “roam”) pack from Rōm Outdoors.
The Rōm Outdoors Pack is unique in that it’s not only a roomy, adaptable, soft backpack, it also easily unfolds to become a tarp/ground cover or poncho when needed. Made from heavy-duty tear-resistant nylon with a fleece liner, the Rōm pack weighs 4.6 pounds when empty. It has two shoulder straps, along with straps that snap along the chest and waist to help balance the load as you walk around. The pack has a large internal pocket that easily held all the items for a day hike for my family of four, and it also has two removable external pouches covered with MOLLE straps for things like toiletries, accessories or a first-aid kit. On the outside of the pack are two mesh pockets for a water bottles or similar containers and straps to keep other gear like umbrellas and like close by if you need them.
The Rōm Outoors Pack’s unique ability to make itself into more than a backpack came in quite handy on a recent trip to the Florida coast. I carried all the gear for a beach trip inside the pack and two water bottles on the outside to keep us going throughout the day. When we arrived at the beach, the Rōm quickly unfolded to become a beach blanket, and then folded back up and carried off all our stuff when our day was over. The pack was comfortable to wear all day long as we hiked up and down the sand, and having a built-in tarp meant there was one less thing to stuff into it and carry around. One thing to keep in mind is that you are most likely going to need some form of internal gear organizer like a drawstring bag or similar if you choose to use the Rōm pack as a tarp or as poncho, because once you spread the pack out on the ground or drape it over your shoulders, all that gear inside of it is going to have to go somewhere.
With a built-in drawstring hood, the pack can also transform itself into a poncho for when the skies turn cloudy and dark. The pack’s fleece lining and nylon outer shell make the poncho warm, snuggly and waterproof. However, I live in Florida, so “warm and snuggly” are not high on my list of priorities for outdoor gear, meaning that this feature is something that’s more suited to people who live in colder climes.
The Rōm Outdoors Pack offers different features than other packs of a similar size, and those features can come in handy when you’re outside the home. The pack is available in black, tan or camo colors and retails at a suggested price of $99.95.