Jansport Salish backpack

GearFlogger reviews the Jansport Salish backpack Ever since Jansport hooked up with Ed Viesturs a few years back they've produced some really nice packs like the Ascent 52 and the Tahoma. On the quirkier side comes the Salish, a 3.5lb crossover pack that makes some odd design choices.

We call it a crossover pack because although it's light and relatively small – about 2,400ci or 35L – it has a floating lid with two zippered pockets and external attachment points including side compression straps and a funky three-point bottom webbing arrangement that let you get all crazy with your load. The foam framesheet is nonremovable and doesn't provide any support, although it does protect your back from the pack contents. The molded hip belt is actually fairly beefy, and includes a small elastic mesh pocket (the manufacturer product web site says they're zippered but they're not) on each side. Together these features seem a bit confused about what kind of pack they're supposed to add up to. A beefier frame would have made more sense.

The giant mesh pockets on each side are… different. You can leave the whole enchilada open, in which case your enchilada will likely end up on the trail because the pocket is not very deep. Or you can hook it along the opening, which is supposed to make it into two smaller pockets but really just makes it even more difficult to use. There's a shock cord that's supposed to cinch the opening closed but it too doesn't work very well.

The two front pockets are much more useful, with big glove-friendly stay-open zipper pulls and enough space for normal clothing items like shell jackets and pants. There's a hydration pocket that inexplicably zips open along one side (it's open at the top already), ice axe loops (WTF?) and adjustable sternum strap. Overall the pack actually carries well with twenty pounds or so, but the strange combination of features means this platypus of a pack doesn't compete well with any other packs in its class and at its price point.

$89.39 (on sale from $119.95) at Altrec




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