I have been looking for something very lightweight and comfortable for doing shorter faster hikes. Also a system of carrying hiking poles which are easy to take out or pack away whilst on the move and not needing to stop. I have looked at the Camelbacks and other various small packs but what sold me on the Salomon S-lab 12 pack was its weight, and the way it hugs around your body. It didn’t come with the hydration bladder but I did purchase separately a 1.5 litre pack. Along with the 2 x 500ml soft flasks at the front, I could easily have 2.5 litres of fluid plus room for my phone and a dry pair of clothes although these would need to be bagged, as the Salomon isn’t waterproof.
I have used this on for over 8 months now and so far I have been very impressed especially as there is no bounce when I run. It just feels like there is next to no weight on your back or shoulders and gives the feel of moving around pack-less. I have used this pack with poles in a couple of races now and although there is a few youtube videos on how to put away your poles whilst on the move, they were pretty confusing so I just put one pole on each side behind me and have found it to be very secure and easy to release when needed. The two included bottles are handy and easy to access and great the way you can just squeeze fluid quickly, also great for adding hydration tabs in such as Nuun but remember to release the pressure from the fizz the tablets make. The lower back pocket is a bit awkward as it is connected. I would prefer if there were two separate compartments so you could also hold water there, but that pocket is quite elastically and better used for clothes or something else. I tried putting some water bottles back there and they just kept bouncing around which was kind of annoying, so for the big runs use the included bottles and an additional bladder. Also there are 2 zipped side pockets at the sides above the hip. Great for securing your phone but if you are like me, you use starva or some other kind of tracking app, this will give you a very inaccurate reading. I would like to see a pocket for a smartphone around the chest area to give a more accurate GPS reading. I did a 42km trail but strava read it as 67km.
Conclusion: Altogether, a fantastic bit of kit but for the price of this they should at least include the bladder.
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