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Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12: Review

Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12: Review

The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 is for the serious ultra trail runner.  I bought the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 this year when I was in Chamonix after running the UTMB.  After the pack I used during the UTMB did not meet my expectation, and after seeing how many of the European runners were using the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12; I decided to pay the price and make the purchase.  And am glad that I did.

Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 – Specifications

From my article Best Hydration System For Ultra Trail Running you can see that I have tried many different types of hydration systems; the least favorite of mine is a trail running pack (I prefer fanny packs).  However, for running the UTMB each runner must carry a minimum amount of gear and I could not find any fanny or waist packs that would work.  I did end up training and racing with the Osprey Stratos 24, and wished I had a Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12.

Comfort

The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 is built for comfort.  After seeing European runners with the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 I knew I wanted one.  The SensiFit construction uses stretchy fabrics that allows the pack to conform to your torso for a comfortable fit and great stability while you are trail racing.

Size

The formfitting Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 is large enough to carry the gear you need before embarking on a long ultra trail run or race.  Here is a list of all the items that I carried in my Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 while racing the Run Rabbit Run 100 mile ultra trail race:

The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 1

  • Arm Warmers
  • Hat
  • Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Short Sleeve Shirt
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain Pants
  • Leggings
  • Gloves
  • Head Lamp
  • Hand Held Flashlight
  • Extra Batteries
  • 3 Honey Stinger Gel Packs
  • 3 Packs of Hydration Powder
  • 1/2 a Turkey Sandwich
  • Burrito
  • Ginger Bread Cookies
  • Two 22 ounce Water Bottles.
  • Cell Phone
  • Chap Stick
  • 180 Degree Ear Muffs
  • Space Blanket
  • Salt Tablets

I wanted to be self supported because I did not know the course.  The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 sure worked for my purpose.  As you can see from my long list, the main compartment is large enough to hold extra clothing, food, and safety gear.  It can also be sectioned off into two separate compartments to help keep you organized.

Features

Field Tested: Using the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 at the 2012 Run Rabbit Run 100 mile ultra trail race.

The hydration bladder: The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 comes with a 50 ounces (1.5 liter) bladder that is phthalate free, PVC free, and BPA free.  The drinking hose runs from inside and goes under your right arm and the bite valve is held in place for easy access while you’re running.  The bite valve is constructed to be leak free.  The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 comes with a large opening on top of the hydration reservoir which makes it easy to fill.  For cleaning, you can actually flip the reservoir inside out.  The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 also comes with a removable insulated sleeve for the bladder that helps keep your liquids cool.

Shoulder Harness: Each have a pocket large enough to fit a water bottle.  There is also a small pocket that will fit a gel, and the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 comes with two Velcro zippered pockets that can be attached to the left strap.  I use them to store my salt tablets, chap stick, and acetaminophen.

Shoulder Straps: The shoulder harnesses each have a shoulder strap so that you can adjust the fit on the run. This comes in handy when your hydration bladder is getting low and you need to put more pressure on the bladder to get a better flow.

Twin Link Sternum Straps: The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 has two stretchy sternum straps secure the shoulder harnesses in place.  These are very adjustable and confortable without putting a lot of pressure on your chest.

Side Pockets: There are two zippered pockets, and two stretchy pockets on each side of the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12.  The stretchy pockets are great for the stuff you need while on the run and can be reach without taking the pack off.

Hiking Pole Holder: When I first saw the design of the shock cord loops on the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 I had my doubts.  But after field testing them they work great.  You can carry your hiking poles without collapsing them which makes it easy to put them away when you don’t need them, or get them quickly when you do need them.  It is not necessary to take the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 off to accomplish this.

Emergency/Safety Gear: The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 comes with an emergency space blanket and emergency whistle.  There are also reflective strips on the pack.

3D Mesh: The back panel of the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 is constructed with 3D Mesh that helps move moisture away to keep you comfortable on the while on the run.  Salomon calls this their Sensifit Construction.  It is designed from soft breathable, stretch mesh that wraps snuggly around your torso while you run.  Even the seems and binding materials stretch.

Sizes:  The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 comes in two sizes: Extra Small/Small and Medium/Large.

Final Words on the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12

I have done some very long runs with the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 and it has been by far my favorite trail running pack.  I have not experienced any chaffing or bothersome rubbing.  And after my Twin Mountain Trudge experience, I find myself carrying extra gear and safety supplies; where I prefer a pack that can carry the extra gear comfortably.  The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 certainly has the storage capacity. Recently, I have been running long training runs on the weekend and the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 lets me be self supporting.  I carry 2 water bottles and the hydration bladder.

The Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 with its Sensifit construction feels very comfortable and does not bounce around.  What also help the comfortable feeling is The Twin Link Sternum Straps.  These work great and keep me comfortable on my long trail runs.  This is also the first trail running pack that I have worn that does not have a waist belt, it fits like a vest.  I was not sure how well the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12 would perform, but once on the trail all doubts were washed away.  It is nice not to have a belt wrapped around my stomach and digestive area while running ultras.

Only downfall for me was the price.  However, I am not disappointed one bit and it was money well spent.  Salomon has built a first class trail running pack with their the Salomon Trail Running Pack S-Lab 12.

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