Kit Review: The Orbiton pack

Looking for a versatile pack that’s perfect for a variety of activities? Look no further than the Montane Orbiton backpack - the perfect companion for everyday missions. 

A pack is an essential item for anyone eager to explore the great outdoors this summer (and beyond!). Allowing you to carry all your essentials comfortably and with ease is key to ensuring you have a pack that will aid your chosen activity. But different activities require a certain fit. That’s what makes the new unisex Orbiton backpack - available in 20L or a larger 25 to 28L - especially exciting. 

The Orbiton’s 3-point adjustable hip fins enable you to adapt the pack to suit a range of activities, including walking, running and biking. This makes the Orbiton pack a highly versatile option, ideal for active people who enjoy multi-activities in their weekly schedule. But don’t take our word for it! To put these claims to the test, we asked our friends and fellow outdoor enthusiasts Arthur and Bex, based over in the adventure-playground of New Zealand, to put the Orbiton through its paces…

Arthur: Photographer and adventurer based in Queenstown, New Zealand. We are originally from Northern England but took the leap to move to New Zealand just before Covid. This was the best decision we have ever made to chase our dreams of being in the mountains every weekend! As well as hiking I am also an ultra trail runner, skier and avid mountain biker. I would say I am an everyday athlete that likes to try new activities and make the most of the outdoors. 

Bex: Nurse, ultra runner and all-round adventurer based in New Zealand. When I am not caring for families in my palliative care role I can be found running, hiking and exploring the mountains of the South Island in New Zealand. I am always starting new outdoor hobbies with mountain biking being the latest one. Up next is probably pack rafting, but that can be for another story! I love being outdoors as it is my escape and release from the everyday stresses and strains. 

Orbiton pack in New Zealand | Montane

How was the pack tested?

Over the course of a long weekend we took the Orbiton on a range of adventures, basically slamming our time full of activities to really test the pack out. This started with a shorter day walk around the hills of a local village with our cocker spaniel Marley, followed by a couple of lengthier hikes (including a near 2000m climb up to Mt Creighton, near our home) as well as a mountain bike in nearby Wanake, for good measure.

Behind Arrowtown, we took on two loop tracks that took us up through the valleys and tussock filled hills. This track took us around 3 hours and was perfect to test out the daypacks and also give our dog Marley a good run around. We had a couple of stops to give Marley a drink and also a snack. I also started the walk off in the shade early in the morning so, by the time we climbed, I was shedding the layers I was wearing. The Orbiton was a perfect size to fit everything that I needed. The next day we headed out to a local 11km bike track for a quick spin. 

After tightening the Orbiton up and making Arthur carry the pack for this trip, we shot around. Arthur said he hardly felt anything on his back while cycling around even when he got a bit of air. Our final part of the day was a hike up Mt Maude in Hawea. This peak takes on 930m of climbing over 3km. So it’s pretty steep to say the least. It was hot and the wind was starting to pick up so extra layers were a must, along with plenty of water. The Orbiton ate the gear up and still felt comfortable throughout the hike. The views were seriously epic up there and we even had time for a spot of late lunch! 

The following day we decided to climb Mount Creighton, which sits at 1870m high above Lake Wakatipu in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Starting out in the forest you begin the extremely steep climb to the ridge line which you follow all the way to the peak (via a few scree scrambles). The views, once up here, are incredible, with Lake Isobel on one side (a mountain lake) and the vast Lake Wakatipu on the other. This terrain was perfect for testing out the Orbiton. This was a long day that involved a lot of sweat and awkward scrambles, which meant that the pack had to be comfortable throughout the hike. It also had to have enough space to pack for all occasions including any scenarios that could involve us getting stranded up there. 

Orbiton pack in New Zealand | Montane

Overall verdict

Fit-wise, the Orbiton was perfect for both of our heights (5 ft 11 and 5ft 8). If you are looking for a pack that won’t be out of place in every situation then this is the one. The Orbiton fits in everywhere and does it all. After trying out the Montane 44L Trailblazer backpack for a few of our fastpacking missions, we were missing a solid daypack for our shorter adventures that was also versatile enough for all of our non hiking activities! For us, the Trailblazer was just a tiny bit too big for our day missions and the Orbiton is as, if not more, comfortable than this pack.

On our final day of testing we were hiking for a solid 8 hours in the midday heat out on the mountain. The pack had enough space for multiple layers (it was very windy and cold at the peak), a 3L water bladder, all of our camera gear and most importantly a big lunch! 

Favourite Features

Arthur: This has to be the extremely comfortable and well fitting hip fins. I find normally with hip support that they dig in and you can’t find the right place for them. These were secure, comfortable and took the weight from my shoulders. The expandable option on the 25-28L version meant I could fit my camera gear in with no problem. 

Bex: The different compartments means it really is a bag for everything. Whether that is on a dog walk, a hike or heading in to work. The compartments meant I could separate water, clothes, laptops, pretty much anything. I also found a good spot for my phone and keys so I could find them quickly at the end of the day. The elastic pouch on the back of the 25-28L meant I could shove layers in there for the climb of the hike and easily access them when the temperature dropped at the top.

Orbiton pack in New Zealand | Montane

Additional Benefits

The pack fits comfortably over the Dart Long Sleeve, Protium Hoodie and also the Minimus Waterproof Jacket. It was good to test the pack with a number of layers to see that the comfort stayed no matter how many layers you were wearing. 

We pretty much used it for all activities over the weekend and it was pretty darn good at handling all of them. We can’t wait to see how this backpack handles the ski season in a couple of months.

Feeling inspired?

The Orbiton pack is available in 2 sizes - a 20L pack or larger 25-28L pack, as well as 2 colours. Not quite what you were looking for? Take a look at our full range of packs for more options, with specialist packs for walking, running and climbing.