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:

There are 69 comments

  1. PLANK

    This vest fits like a glove and i was not using it for Running!I did long distance Mountain bike event and bought it a day before the race!!filled it up 1.5L and no movent or straps flutering or any problem only a pleasure to use or cycle with!

    All you want to carry is your tools and mabe some space for wind shell jacket wich is easily accomodated for with multiple pocket.

    I truly forgot i had something on my back in the blistering sun!

    Best Designed piece of Gear i have used for MTB events!!!!

    Get One!!You wont be Dissed!


  2. Anonymous

    hi to everyone, last weekend i finished my first 100km race in Greece (into the Virgin Forest) using the XT 10+3 VEST and for shoes the SAUCONY XODUS 2. I am totally satisfied from both of them! The vest fits perfectly and you do not fell it at all, even after 19 hours & 55 min that took me to finish the race.the only negative point, that does not have to do with the vest itself – is that i used a PLATYPUS pack for hydration and it was not easy to refill since the edges take quite an effort to fit into the vest.Besides that clothing, food, etc are very easily accessible.Regarding the shoes,it is the first time that i enjoyed a shoe that much. I used to wear MIZUNO & SALOMON which i was not much satisfied (especially from SALOMON. The terrain in the Virgin Forrest had wet trails and rocky – technical trails and the shoe performed very well. One question regarding the VEST. In the caring instructions it advises not to wash it! Do we follow that or i should i was it anyway?


  3. Morgan Williams

    I'm very pleased to say that the 12 litre version has now hit the shelves here in the UK and I have secured one of these today.

    The price made my eyes water, but it is the most exceptionally well thought out and constructed piece of gear I have ever seen and owned.

    So that takes care of my Xmas present!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Glad you managed to pick up a 12-liter Skin pack, Morgan. For those looking for one stateside, we'll have them in stock as soon as their available in the US, which should be the beginning of February. Contact us if you'd like us to let you know when they arrive.

      1. Morgan Williams

        Bryon, I'm due a 30 mile training run in the next 10 days, so will go the 12 a testing.

        I'll post further if I have anything to say!


  4. Trammy

    I bought this pack from irunfar about 2 months ago. So far I've probably gone 100-150 miles or so with it and I can say that it is as advertised…sensational. My only complaint would be the "Load Lifter" system. It is supposed to allow you to adjust the pack to fit you more securely and sit better on your shoulders but it simply doesn't work. What I mean is that the "Load Lifter" plastic snap thingys (I can't think of a better word at the moment) don't lock the lifter ropes into place so the ropes just slide back to their original position. Simply put, the "Load Lifter" system does not work. I still love it though. Anyone else have this issue?

  5. Gladys

    I bought this pack a couple of months ago and just LOVE it! after a couple of minutes I forget I have it on. My only concern is that is starting to smell! :( Have anyone washed it? I was not able to find any information on how to take care of it. I am afraid to wash it.. some times when I have done that on other packs, the odor gets worse and almost need to wash after every other use. Maybe apply some sorte of odor remover or antibacterial?

    1. Anonymous

      It does stink. I washed mine in the washing machine all of the time. I'd put it in a pillowcase and tie a knot in the pillow case to keep it closed. I'd then hang dry it. I used both warm and cold water…either way worked well.

  6. Daniel Calderon

    Same issue, and for some reason I put some GU gels in the front bottle pockets and I ended with a hole in those pockets (I guess from the corner of the gel packs??)

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