Having seen so many people using Salomon packs at recent races and while training for the Ochil Ultra 50k, I decided to swap my usual inov-8 vest pack for the Salomon ADV Skin3 5 Set 2018 backpack. I am pleased I did.
The aim of the Salomon ADV Skin3 5 Set 2018 backpack is to “keep it simple”. Salomon states: The “Advancd Skin 5 Set wraps your essentials around you, front and back, so it’s accessible while you’re moving”.
- 5 litre capacity
- Vest style
- Elastic Power mesh and Elastic Jersey
- Fast wicking fabrics
- 2 x 500ml soft flasks included
- Safety blanket included
- 1 internal pocket
- Bladder hanging system in separate internal pocket
- Removable insulated bladder sleeve
- Compatible with 1.5l bladder (not included)
- Range of external pockets both open and zipped
- Reflective details
- 3D Air Mesh
- 4D Pole holder
- Unisex; four sizes from 2XS to XL.
- Weight: (XS/S) 225g
- Price: £130
- Also buy from Amazon.
- And Ellis Brigham.
On test: Salomon ADV Skin3 5 Set 2018 backpack
I have the XS/S size and I am really impressed with the fit and feel of the pack. It fits neatly and hugs the body. The stretch fabric and pockets allow you to pack an amazing amount of items. The pack looks small, but you can fit in the kit that most mandatory ultra races require.
I like that the pack comes already supplied with an emergency blanket. There is an essential whistle, too. Since I have been testing the pack in cooler weather, I have not had the need to use the insulated hydration bladder sleeve. It’s a simple but useful item.
There are lots of pockets with the main compartment being most useful for larger items such as waterproofs and spare layers.
There are other smaller pockets, many of which can be reached while the pack is on your back. These are ideal for items that you need quick access to, such as gloves, a buff, snacks etc.
The best feature of the pack, in my opinion, is the location of the water bottles. The two soft flasks hold 500ml of liquids each. They are placed in two chest compartments, right at the front of the pack. It’s possible to bend the head down to drink from the bottles without removing them from the pack. This is brilliant.
The inov-8 pack that I already own has these water bottle holders lower down and under the arms. I find them really annoying because they rub against the inside of my arms and I find them difficult to drink from. In fact, I have removed the bottles from the pack and use a bladder instead.
The Salomon pack has the bottles in a much better position. However, it should be noted that I am not big chested so the bottles fit neatly. If you have a bigger chest the bottles might well be very irritating. It’s all about comfort and fit and the Salomon pack fits me very well.
The extra feature for carrying lightweight poles is great, but only if you have poles that fold up to be quite short. That’s worth noting if you own poles that only reduce to around half their actual length.
I think I need to become more familiar with using the pack because I couldn’t remember where I’d placed things. This was a bit annoying when I wanted quick access to bits and pieces. But that will come with time, I expect.
And one very annoying aspect: The front fastening system. While the fasteners offer a good hold, getting them fastened is difficult and fiddly if you do not have the best eyesight.
My sunglasses need to be fitted with varifocal lenses but currently they do not have this and when I went to fasten the front of the pack I really struggled to see what I was doing. I’d much prefer normal click-in clasps. While they are bigger and therefore add a bit of weight, they are much easier to use without looking.
I also think the larger style clips would be longer lasting compared to the Salomon system. It looks like it will fray with use. It is not really the most robust of systems.
I’d also like a larger zipped compartment. There was nowhere to securely place my iPhone 6 plus. When I carried it in the unzipped compartments I was worried it would bounce out and be lost.
Apart from these niggles, I really like the pack and it is now my favourite choice for training and races.