Review: OV Innovations CacheSometimes I come across a small thing, that solves big problems. And that exactly the case with the OV Innovations Cache gear flap.
It’s hard to categorize this kind of equipment but it’s usually called a beavertail flap. It all started one day as a flat piece of Cordura to keep some gear on the outside of a pack. Then Mystery Ranch took it a step further and made a Stick-It flap for their Tri-Zip series of packs. But there was still a fairly big gap on the market of a stand-alone product, which would work with many different packs… and that’s where OV Innovations stepped in.
They got together all the important features, measured most of the packs on the market, and presented a standard beavertail flap, which should work with most of the packs on the market. The Cache flap was born!
It is essentially a generic flap with 4 attachment points at the bottom (PALS compliant) and two side straps that can be attached to the sides of a pack. It’s also 3D expandable with two internal PVC panels. These give it a spherical shape when fully extended and keep the carried gear snug and close to the pack.
Seems to be quite simple, right? So… let’s try it! First pack to try it on is a fully PALS compliant pack, Mystery Ranch Spartan. And as you can see it fits perfectly! All 4 bottom straps are nicely attached and the side straps are also angled perfectly, so it holds the load really nicely. When not in use it lies flat and unconstructive – it actually looks like it’s tailor-made for the pack.
The next one is also Mystery Ranch but this time it’s a non-PALS pack, the Hitchhiker 20. I really like this pack a lot as it’s lightweight, versatile and can be easily rolled or stowed for transport. And I’m glad to tell you that the Cache also fits perfectly on this one. The bottom straps all attached, side straps nicely hooked to webbing loops, and it’s a perfect fit again. It’s actually my favorite combination as it seriously expands the possibilities of the Hitchhiker and only adds a tiny bit of weight.
And last but not least, something completely different – the Arc’teryx LEAF Assault 30. First of all, it can be nicely stored in the side pocket – it’d be a shame to ruin the perfect look of the Assault pack when the Cache is not needed. But it weighs next to nothing, so it can stay there in a pocket as an EDC accessory and be easily deployed when it’s needed.
As you can see the fit is surprisingly good as well (though the middle straps on the bottom are not attached). It should also fit the Khard series just fine as the side straps layout is exactly the same.
So let’s try something more bulky this time… what about a biking helmet, a classic item to fit under a beavertail flap? I was easily able to fit it under the Cache thanks to the 3D shaped structure and internal stiffeners. These really adapt to the shape of what you carry so it’s nicely secured.
Any downside? Well… not really. Maybe they could add a small bottom pocket, so that it could also be used in an extended mode to carry a bow or rifle. This can be done with Mystery Ranch propriety Stick-it flap which is unfortunately discontinued and not available anymore.
But it’s not a big deal for most users, and thanks to the non-layered construction it’s also featherlight. So what is a downside for some (no bottom pocket) is an advantage for others (low weight). You have to judge for yourself… or maybe it’s a good idea for OV Innovations to introduce a ‘Cache Plus’ variant?
So, what could the verdict be? As long as there are at least 4 lashing points on your pack I’d highly recommend one of those. I enjoy mine a lot. I’m actually considering a second one in grey to keep on my Assault 30 for all time… I know color matching is not mandatory but on a ‘stealth’ pack like the Assault it’d be really welcome.
The Cache is really very well made, out of original Cordura and with premium hardware so I have no doubt that it’ll last a long, long time. Yeah, as I said – a small thing that solves many problems. And last but not least – as long as you don’t mind mixing colors (or if all your gear comes in one color) you need ONLY ONE for the whole herd of your packs. Or at least for most of them. It’s good stuff.