(at least this year)

GoLite Jam Pack

This summer I purchased a GoLite Jam pack made especially for women, an ultra light product superior for its intent and audience.  I was inspired over a six-day backpack this summer to lighten my load while still bringing all my backpacking and extracurricular essentials (tent, wine, kindle, etc.).    The Jam, an assault pack by definition, is perfect for mild to moderate weathered multi-day trips or overnight winter trips, where the maximum weight would be up to thirty-five (ish) pounds.  I found that the interior foam back pad (versus a frame) lost its support integrity at about that weight, hanging lower than it should by ergonomic standards. Ever see those high school kids that where their pack weight on their butt?  That’s what I felt like!

It is 2867 cubic inches or 47 liters in capacity while only weighing 27 ounces (less if you can shorten long straps).  It loads from the top and has a roll down compression feature that makes it possible to go without a pack hood during mild to moderate weather.  Another great thing about the roll down compressing feature is that this pack can go from a small to large pack depending on your needs.    Additionally, it has side compression straps to further decrease a voluminous load if necessary.

It has five pockets besides the main compartment and hood: side water bottle mesh pockets, two waist belt pockets, and one large back pocket.  The water bottle pockets are large enough to cinch in two liter platypuses (my water bottle of choice), though it does have a feature for an internal water reservoir if you choose to use it.  The waist belt pockets are an absolute must for me; I will not buy a backpack without them.  This is where I keep my Chapstick, bandana, camera, and protein bars (Stingers are my favorite by far!!) or Shot Blocks, and there is room to boot even with that load.    The large back pocket is where I keep my second most immediate items (gloves, hat, secondary food, medicine, and beacon).

It is made out of 50% recycled nylon.  Who doesn’t love a green product!?!  Specifically, it is made of 210-Dyneema double rip stop fabric (no, I don’t know exactly what that means either) that is water resistant (not the same as waterproof, believe me, though the zipper seams are waterproof); however, the material is strong (as I have stuffed many an awkward item in it), durable, and impressively light.

It has two gear loops which I have used to hold my ice axe on one side and trekking poles on the other (though they fit nicely in the side mesh pockets WITH my platypuses).  It has mesh on the waist straps, shoulder straps, and back panel to ensure breathability and maximum ability to dry quickly.  AND, the chest strap doubles as a whistle (you would never know it by looking at it though, very 007).  If color is an important thing for you, it comes in blue, green, and gray.

The pack comes in three sizes (S, M, or L), depending on your torso length.  Many people don’t know that backpacks come in different sizes, but it is important to buy one that fits your torso or you will be facing a pain in the neck (pun intended!) and your back.  What is labeled small for one manufacturer may not be equal to the next manufacturer’s definition, so definitely do some research.

This is a simple lightweight pack for women.  It has narrower shoulder straps as we tend be narrower in the shoulders.  It has a higher chest strap as a lower chest strap is just not comfortable for female curves.  And, it has a higher riding waist belt to ensure that the load is carried mostly in our backs versus shoulders (men don’t have the curves in the hips that women have which is why this feature is so important).  I’ve had female friends buy backpacks made for men and have seen them return them (if the return policy allows) time after time.  It is so important to buy a pack that is made for your body features.  That would be like drinking a Hot Toddy on a warm summer’s day, just ain’t gonna happen!!

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