Today I’m finally doing a gear review for one of my all-time favorite pieces of go-anywhere gear. The Teton Sports Oasis 1200. Versatile, light, and cheap, this review will cover the highs (and some lows) of this useful daypack.
Anyone who has seen my photos has likely seen one version or another of this daypack present. Every one of my family and friends has at least one of these great packs. It’s pretty clear that generally speaking I’m a fan. However, I’ve never gotten around to do a proper critical review of it… until now.
Weighing in at 1 kg (2.25 lbs) and going for about $60 on Amazon, this is a 19.65L 1,200 CI small daypack. It comes with a built-in rainfly, 3L hydration bladder, and in Blue/Gray or Black/Orange.
Basic specs from the manufacturer:
- 600D Dobby / 210D Polyester
- Pack Weight: 2.25 lbs (1kg)
- Hydration Capacity: 101-Ounce (3 Liter) Bladder Included
- Capacity: 1200 Cubic Inches / 20 Liters
- Waist Belt: 26″ – 60″
- Torso Length:
- Dimensions: 19.5″ x 12″ x 9.5″
This pack fills the spot of a normal daypack – it transitions from school to shopping, from camping to car trips, and from mountain biking to morning coffee runs. Everyone uses a daypack a bit differently.
The first heavy usage of my Oasis 1200 (in Black/Orange) was a bikepacking trip from Arizona to the Valley of Fire in central Nevada. This trip was several hundred miles, and I used my Oasis 1200 mainly for water and emergency gear. I kept the bulk of the weight in a pair of Ortleib bike panniers. It was comfortable to wear for long periods of time on the bike, never chafing or rubbing to any real degree even in the heat. The water routing is excellent, the pack was able to handle all of my usual emergency gear, and it kept the weight of my camera off my neck.
My usual load out for mountain biking is fairly modest. Just the basics.
The Oasis 1200 handles this easily, better than my old Camelbak MULE NV did, and for quite a bit less money. Nearly $40 less. The biggest challenge by far for me is moving around a weighty full-size DSLR. Obviously, that’s vital to my work, but no fun to carry around all day on a bike. What I do is thread the camera bag strap through the hanging loop on my backpack, then let the pack distribute the load instead of my neck. The success of this method depends on pack design – and one of the really big “wins” for the Oasis 1200 is how well this works. The Osprey pack I used briefly didn’t work with this at all.
It’s easy to manage a full overnight load in Oasis 1200, unlike with most other daypacks I’ve used. The only thing that doesn’t fit inside is a sleeping bag, which I put on my bike directly or strap to the pack.
The biggest win for this pack in my book came when I had a really ugly spill while doing a 100 mile trek on the AZ Trail from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon.
That particular trail has a lot of climbing. The terrain ranges from alpine meadows to dense forest, to sandy/rocky stretches. My front wheel failed during this stretch, and I took a severe impact in my chest (sufficient to break a camera lens) and was tossed onto some ugly sharp rocks. The Teton Sports Oasis 1200 packed with all my gear took the worst of that impact, saving my back. The pack survived this with hardly more than some scuffing. I was able to strap my bike to my pack and carry it the remaining 10 miles to an extraction point. The durability of that pack is beyond question.
Probably the best feature is the waterproofing. Arizona is a dry state by and large – and even though I’ve taken this pack over most of the Southwest, it’s still not a terribly wet area. The waterproofing and included rainfly allows to me to take the bag without worry, even when I have been surprised by the occasional downpour or thunderstorm. It’s an excellent feature, and one that’s missing from far too many daypacks.
Second Opinion: “I use my Teton Sports Oasis 1200 for everything–around town and on camping trips. I use the nylon compression straps to hook on grocery bags, and it carries the weight. I also have packed it full of books (around a dozen) on library runs, and have carried 50+ pounds about 5 miles in it with little problem. It can carry a weekend of clothing for cool-weather camping (including long underwear and a hoodie), plus two liters of water for the weekend in its side mesh pouches. This bag has replaced my need for a purse and for shopping bags on small grocery trips. It’s held together for two years with no visible wear. All It has is a little bit of staining on the front mesh pocket. This is a tough little bag I would recommend to parents looking for a student backpack, because I believe it will last a year (or more!) of real wear-and-tear. I just wish it came in pink.”
- Fit – The Teton Sports Oasis 1200 isn’t very adjustable, but it fits a nice middle ground.
- Build – Build quality is excellent for a bag under $100. The little touches like the rain fly, excellent water reservoir routing, small gear organizer pouch, expansion/compression straps, built in whistle, and side pockets really put it into a class by itself. No issues with zips or pulls so far, and even after 2 years there’s nothing broken.
- Comfort – The padding is excellent, there’s plenty of ventilation, the load lifter straps (a bit unusual on a day pack), and the well-shaped straps mean that I have been able to comfortably carry this pack loaded with everything from snowshoes to an actual mountain bike.
- Performance – The pack fits close to your back and rides nice and high up. It is out of the way of your arms when climbing or biking, and stands up well to the abuse from volcanic rocks and scrapes. It handles being overloaded quite well for such a small pack and is great when compressed down for around town jaunts.
- Hiking – This pack is really in its element when hiking. Totally at home on everything from quick trails to overnight jaunts. It has plenty of room for water and some self-rescue gear.
- Value – Hands down, this pack is a great value for the money. I have thrown over twice as much at a pack before that barely lasted one season, while this one has lasted me 2 so far. It includes an adequate water bladder and rain fly.