A few weeks ago, GoLite sent me their newly updated
Jam Pack for 2010 and
Badlands Trinity Softshell Jacket
to review. Since both are waterproof, the gear was perfect to test out during the cold, rainy season here in Northern California. My new motto has become: "I hike and run miles everyday in the mud and rain with my dog Lola, therefore I GoLite!"
The Jam Pack is supposed to carry up to 25 lbs comfortably so I threw in one of my 20 lb bird seed training bags to see how it held up. I had no discomfort carrying the load and I really appreciated the side and top compression strap systems that pull the load evenly in towards your body as bird seed tends to sag and become bottom heavy.
GoLite has ditched the lid on the Jam Pack in order to cut weight. Instead, the pack uses a cinch cord and roll top closure with an adjustable strap to compress your load or to keep a rope or snowboard in place. I am just fine with losing the lid as I have always seen it as an unnecessary item that just makes your pack top heavy and awkward. GoLite has given extra space to the front zipper pocket to make room for those small items you might have otherwise place up in the pack lid.
Mesh covered shoulder straps, hip belt and back panel are supposed to help wick away moisture but you will get pretty sweaty wearing this pack on a hot day. The Jam Pack does not allow for as much airflow across your back as say the Osprey Exos but you are saving almost a pound in weight.
I showed the Jam Pack to my friend who thru hiked the PCT last summer. He said 70-80% of the people he saw on the trail were using GoLite gear with some people modifying these lightweight packs even more by trimming straps, etc.
Additional features such as the ice axe loops, hip belt zipper pockets, hydration sleeve with right and left access holes, and side stretch pockets for water bottles or hiking poles make this a great pack in a lightweight, no fuss package. And of course the updated Jam Pack is made from GoLite's Tier 1 recycled materials so you are doing good for the planet at the same time.