Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab Hydration Pack Review

Non-Gear GirlI realize I usually preach the benefits of multi-functional gear, but every so often, I come across a piece so perfectly designed for its intended use, I have to step down from my soapbox. The Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab Hydration Pack (S-Lab), which widely sold out at $140, is a perfect example. The Salomon design team worked with record breaking trail runner and Salomon athlete, Kilian Jornet, to create barely-there packs loaded with awesome features to cover all of your trail running needs.

Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab Hydration PackAt 10.5 ounces/300 grams (without bladder), this pack truly fits more like a vest than a pack, and is best suited for those with a slim to medium build. Its secure fit comes from the unique twin link fastening system that secures anywhere on the system, for multiple fastening options, with just enough give to allow easy breathing. This feature is especially nice for women as you can close one hook above your chesticles and one below. A load lifter system, to distribute pack weight, is the other key factor in the S-Lab’s comfortable fit.

The S-Lab is made of lightweight, stretchy, antimicrobial, breathable, quick-drying fabric, with edges completely trimmed in satin soft tape, which meant no chaffing, even right off the rack. Trust me on this – I got the S-Lab pack the day before the GORE-TEX TransRockies Run and wore it for a week with no hot spots.

Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab Hydration Pack backAn isothermic water pouch helps to keep liquid cool and bacteria free, the slide top closure is easy to access and fill, while the secure closure makes sure you don’t make like Little Red Riding Hood on the trail. The pack is set up for underarm hose routing—no need to play scuba diver and reach around for your hose bit, it’s conveniently where you need it. The Source Widepac 1.5L back also features a quick connect hose with a wide opening and push-button ease to form a tight seal, even when the reservoir is filled to capacity.

The pack has LOTS of pockets for gels, food, water bottles, an extra layer, and map—if you can think of something you want to bring, there’s a specific pocket for it. Waist pockets, chest pockets, back pockets, zip pockets, cinch pockets, one pocket even has a space blanket—required gear for many trail runs in Europe. Speaking of required gear, it comes equipped with a safety whistle and a few loops for extra items. Plus, it has a holding system for your poles when you have them but don’t need them.

Don’t tell anyone I said so, but the S-Lab would also be great for road running and light hiking…..! I’m guessing you could even pedal a bike while wearing it. Just saying.

The Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab Hydration Pack will be replaced by the forthcoming Salomon XT Advanced Skin 5 S-Lab Hydration Pack will weigh in at 21 ounces/593 grams (without emergency blanket) and be generally available in February 2011 for $180.

Update: The Salomon XT Advanced Skin 5 S-Lab Hydration Pack is now available on iRunFar! Please be aware that the current model as of Fall 2011 no longer has an insulated drinking tube.

Call for Comments
If you’ve tried the Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab Hydration Pack, what did you think? Got questions, ask away.

More Info from Salomon
Here’s Salomon’s Adam Chase giving a brief description of the pack:

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