I like Salomon Wings kit, you only have to see the reviews in the right hand side bar to see the reviews on the XT Wings shoes to see that, so when I saw a Wings vest I jumped at it…unfortunately I should have looked before I leaped! But I am getting ahead of myself…anyway I am sure you know the form, so here’s the info from their website:
“Double compartment, light weight pack with Airvent agility system for comfort and stability. New 4D system. Ideal for carrying essentials on trail runs. Weight: 1lb 5oz,/590g Dimensions: 53 x 19 x 8, Volume 490(ci)/8l”. There’s a bit more about the features on the site but this is about it.
So here’s my take from the top; literally. The pack is more rucksack based than vest based, there are the standard padded shoulder straps, these have two things not normally found; a whistle and a hooked bungee, the whistle for those of you more prone to geographical embarrassment or I suppose if the battery dies on your iPod. I’ll get to the bungee later. At the top of the shoulder straps there is a sternum strap which has four inches of vertical slide allowing he wearer to maximize the fit. There are also two open buckles, onto which you can attach a custom front pocket or bottle holder. At the bottom of the straps you can adjust the height of the pack on your back, these in turn attach to the waistbelt, yes this pack has a waistbelt. The waistbelt has a two point attachment and secures with a buckle at the front, there’s lots of adjustability. One downside is that there is nothing on the front, no pockets no pouches…nada. On the back side the pack has a handing carrying handle/loop at the top. There are two pockets, the larger has a vertical zipper and is divided internally it’s large enough to contain a 64oz bladder and you can feed the hose through the inside of the should strap to the front. In the other section there is a smallish (4”x4”) mesh pockets for keys, cash etc.
The lower pocket has a horizontal zip and is funnel shaped, it’s large enough for a waterproof jacket. It’s nestled between two smaller external open pockets which are large enough for gel bottles, armwarmers etc, these in turn are flanked by the “bottle launchers”, my terminology not Salomons! These are angled slots that house the two 24oz bottles that come with the pack, despite being compatible with a bladder there is not one included. The slots are structured to easily reached from the front but even with my long arms this was a challenge at times. The bottles, triangular in shape, are secured from bouncing out by looped bungees. There is some reflective stripping on the pack.
Now back to the bungee, this is designed to unravel and bungee something to the back of the pack like a cycling helmet or something of that size. There is also a system designed for hiking poles that allow you to secure you poles to the pack without taking the pack off, there are photos of both of these below.
In terms of fit, once you have all the straps adjusted the pack rides well but you have to have it pretty tight to minimize the bounce. One thing I would say is that this is a long pack, at 53cm it is 16cm longer than the UD Wasp and it does ride a lot lower on your back, that itself could lead to problems. Now for me the other issue is the waistbelt, which of course does not sit at your waist it sits around belly, it’s all a bit of a bad fit really, to long at the back with the waistbelt too high?!? And essentially there is its downfall. It’s very difficult to get a fit that would last all day.
Overall I think this pack falls between two stools, it’s not quite right for trail running, and it’s not quite right for hiking. Given the flexibility with poles and helmets etc, this could be the perfect pack for someone fastpacking or maybe even adventure racing, given the customizable nature of this pack the latter makes this a good choice.
Available all over the internet, a quick Google shopping search uncovered it for anything between $75-90.00. My good friend at WRC currently have a blow out on all their Salomon goodies with 20% of everything, that makes this pack $72.00.
This product was purchased. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.