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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > JanSport Klamath > Test Report by Jeremy R. Laporte

JAN SPORT KLAMATH
TEST SERIES BY JEREMY R. LAPORTE
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - November 25, 2009
FIELD REPORT - March 16, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - May 12, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Jeremy R. Laporte
EMAIL: jeremyrlaporteATjeremyrlaporteDOTcom
AGE: 28
LOCATION: Idaho Falls, Idaho, U.S.A.
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 163 lb (73.90 kg)

I grew up in France by the sea, camping and backpacking for as long as I can remember. Three years ago I moved to Idaho U.S.A. discovering new environments: wilderness, arid lands, forest, mountain, and snow. I also started to learn rock climbing, ice climbing and mountaineering. Because of many contacts I had with the military I thought they had the best gear available but I recently befriended some hikers and became aware of lightweight backpacking. I'm slowly migrating to that style, mostly using hammock during summer and lightweight tents during winter.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: JanSport
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.jansport.com
MSRP: US$140
Listed Weight: 2 lbs 3oz (0.9 kg)
Measured Weight: 3.02 lbs (1.37 kg)
Volume: 3302.6 cu in (54.12L)
Torso length: 16" (40.64 cm)
Color: navy and grey, also available in red
Warranty: Lifetime, when the product is used for the purpose intended, under normal conditions. Warranty does not apply to damages caused by typical wear and tear over time, unreasonable use, accidents, or neglect.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Upon inspection, I was impressed by the overall quality of the pack. Jansport really paid attention to the details, and I couldn't find any faults. There were no loose threads, uneven seams or fraying at any places on the pack. The zippers seem well made as well, slide without any difficulties and remain straight. Also, each zipper pull has an attached cord so that it's easier to grasp when I'm wearing gloves. I tested the buckles and straps, playing with them multiple times. None of the buckles have broken, and the straps locked well. The backpack's construction seems very thorough, and I'm very excited to take it out this winter because the pack seems solidly built.

Klamath



Going from top to bottom on the Klamath 55, I found a lid pocket attached to the main pack by four buckles and webbing straps. Next there is the front pocket which covers a big part of the front of the pack. On this front pocket is sewn a five-loops daisy chain for clipping additional gear to the pack. At the bottom of the daisy chain there is a tool loop to hold an ice axe or similar tool. Inside the main compartment, I found a yellow pocket for my water bladder. Finally, on each side of the pack at the bottom there is an elastic mesh pocket for a bottle or hiking poles. There are two compression straps on each side of the Klamath 55. These are intended to help compress the pack when it is not stuffed full. In addition to the sternum strap and hip belt there are straps to adjust how close to my body I want to the pack to be: one of them on each shoulder strap and one on each side of the hip belt.

The Klamath 55 came with a three cards hang tag. The first card described some of the pack features. The second card briefly described the suspension system with Foamex framesheet and dual aluminum stays. Finally, the third card explained Jansport's lifetime warranty.


FEATURES

Here are the pack features from the Jansport website. In addition, I added features that are not mentioned on the site.

Unbound-edge AirCore™ shoulder straps:
I'm not very sure what this feature is but the inside of the shoulder straps are made of a different material which feels like it's gripping more on my clothes so the straps won't move too much.

Large top loading main compartment :
It includes a pocket for a water bladder and the hose to come out on the back of the pack between the top of the shoulder straps. The compartment closes with two draw strings. The water bladder pocket is big enough to fit my 3 l (3.17 US quarts) reservoir. The compartment itself is roomy and easily accepts my sleeping bag, hammock, stove and kitchen, essential gear, spare clothes and food. The compartment is only accessible from the top so gear needs to be organized to avoid dumping everything to find something hidden at the bottom of the pack.

Ventech™ back panel:
The back of the backpack is covered with 2 foam pads shaped like egg cartons and covered with a fabric mesh. I'm excited to test it to see how comfortable it will be and its wicking properties.

Foam back



Dual zippered side gear pockets:
Non existent. Although Jansport lists these as a feature of the Klamath 55 on their website, the pack that I received doesn't have dual gear pockets. In fact, the pack in Jansport's product photo doesn't have the dual gear pockets either, so this appears to be a mistake in their product description.

Dual water bottle pockets:
Those pockets are big enough to hold securely a Nalgene bottle each and are accessible while carrying the pack.

Side compression straps:
I already mentioned them earlier but they are long enough to still have some remaining length with a full pack so I can secure my hiking poles or similar.

Foamex framesheet with dual aluminum stays:
The aluminum stays are hidden inside the pack and don't seem accessible. They provide a good rigidity to the pack, and the egg carton foam keeps it comfortable and appears to be designed to encourage air flow.

Front storage pocket(s) :
There is only one but it is pretty large one and accessible with a zipper on the front side of the pack. The pocket is big enough to fit a light jacket and some additional gear.

Daisy chain quick clip points

Four point compression straps:
Those allow me to adjust how close I want the pack to be from my back. Also the shoulder webbing straps have at the end a loop that make adjusting the straps a bit easier.

Zippered sleeping bag compartment with drop-down divider:
Non existent

Ice axe loop:
The loop is located in the middle at the bottom of the pack. Though I don't think the loop is well thought out because to maintain the handle of an ice axe I will need to add something on the daisy chain.

Haul loop:
Nothing special about it but always handy.

Lid compartment:
The top pocket is quite big. It is only accessible from the outside with a zipper opening. The pocket can be fully removed to save weight and includes a little plastic clip to hold keys or similar items. I like the way the compartment is secured to the pack because it allows me to carry my sleeping pad under the lead pocket very easily.

TRYING IT OUT

The pack has many adjustment points that allow me to cinch the pack for a perfect fit.

I loaded the pack with all the equipment I would take on a weekend and I had plenty of room for my gears.
I put the pack on and adjusted the belt and shoulder straps. Adjusting them was very easy. The hip belt was comfortable and I could feel the weigh on my hips instead of shoulders. Next, I adjusted the sternum strap . Once again, this was very easy to do. When properly adjusted, the Klamath does feel like a comfortable fit.

SUMMARY

My first impression of the Klamath 55 is a well made pack which look promising for multiday backpacking or winter hiking. The construction is solid and the fit great. I'm excited to test it. I'm just a bit disappointed by the weight being 50% more than the one listed. Some features that I was expecting are non existent and the ice axe loop is not well thought out.

I would like to thank Jansport and Backpackgeartest for the opportunity to test the Klamath 55 backpack.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During field testing, I brought with me the Jansport Klamath 55 three different times, but I stayed in the same area:

Kelly Mountain, Idaho. The area offers mountain, forest, dry land and river area but is currently covered with some deep snow. Temperature ranged from -2 F (-19C) to 20 F (-7C) and the weather was either sunny or cloudy with snow falls. Altitude stayed between 5000 ft (1530m) to 6000ft (1800m). Most hikes were over 6 miles (10 km) long and I always brought enough gears to be able to spend the night in the snow if something happened. So I would carry in addition to the essential items, water, food, small gas canister stove, extra clothing, warm layers, tarp and lightweight sleeping bag. That would give me a pack weigh of about 25-30 lbs (10-14kg).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

My overall experience with the Klamath 55 is positive. I was very pleased with the fit and performance of the pack.

Fit and comfort: After each day of hiking I didn't feel like my shoulders were crushed down nor that my pack was heavy while having it on. The straps and cushions are well designed and sufficiently padded because I didn't experienced annoying friction or pressure.

The pack



The aluminum stay suspension system does move the pack weight to my hips very well. During each hike I never felt I was having a heavy load on my back. Also my shoulders never got sore after any hikes. Lifting the pack from the ground would remind me of how heavy it was because I would not feel it the moment I fastened the hip belt and adjust the pack. The hip belt is wide and well padded making it very comfortable to wear.

The pack is narrow enough that it didn't block my movement even with my hiking pole to keep my balance while snowshoeing, passing through forests where tree branches would slap in my face but not snag on the pack and even climbing over fallen tree trunks. Every time my movement was free and not impaired by the pack on my back.

Ventilation: I'm somebody who sweats a lot under certain conditions. Snowshoeing can get my heart up pretty good. Even if I'm getting good at regulating my body temperature in winter by playing with layers, my back still got very humid and the Ventech foam back panel was not enough to prevent it to get wet from perspiration. It's working better than a padding in full contact over my back but still does not provide enough ventilation for me to stay dry.

Weather proof: the fabric felt wet when I left the pack in the snow. I always fully protect my stuff inside the pack but the fabric doesn't seem to repel water extremely well. It doesn't rain much in Idaho but the snow did got it wet.

Storage space: the pack is narrow but I had no problem fitting all of my gear for my day hikes. Though I'm not sure if the Klamath 55 will be able to carry gear plus food for three day hikes. So I will have to see when the weather warm up to try it on a longer trip.
Though I struggled to fit my water bladder. I have a military version with a lid on the drinking tube and I spent over 30 min trying to put the tube through the hole because the hole is right behind the frame of the pack.

This picture shows a littler bit how twisted is the drinking tube:

The tube



Durability: the pack has held up pretty well during the field test period. The padding areas didn't move and are performing correctly. All the seams are in perfect condition and the fabric is not cut despite the fact that I had to break my way through some bushes.

SUMMARY

I enjoyed wearing this pack over the past few months. The Klamath 55 carries loads very comfortably. It is rugged and has decent storage capacity even if I'm not sure it would be enough for three days backpacking trips in cold environment. My only complaint is the position of the water bladder tube hole which is not at a convenient place and the fabric which tends to soak water instead of repelling it.

I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Jansport for giving me the opportunity to test this pack.

This concludes my Field Report. My Long Term Report will be posted in about 2 months. Please check back then for my final review


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

My work schedule prevented me to get out as much as I wanted. A lot of my days off got canceled and so were a lot of the hiking trips I scheduled.

For this reason I was able to take the Jansport Klamath out only once during the last two months. I went for a solo weekend hike at some of the lava fields west of Idaho-Falls Idaho.

The altitude of the field is around 5000 ft (1530 m). The temperatures were in the 40's F (5 C) and the weather was mostly cloudy with a bit of moisture in the air and a lot of wind. The ground is made of dry lava with cracks and crevasses and sparse dry vegetation.

This was a weekend overnighter, where I carried in the pack: food for a whole day (4 meals), 1 1/4gallons (5 liters) of water, sleeping bag, tarp, kitchen and clothes.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Jansport Klamath has continued to perform exceptionally well during long-term testing. The frame helped shift the load to my hips and it was comfortable to carry.

Because the weather is a bit warmer I was able to better regulate my body temperature and the foam padding and ventilation system worked a little bit more effectively. I still sweat but my shirt and clothes were not as wet.

I haven't had enough rain to be able to test thoroughly how the pack would protect my gears from the rain but the weather was a bit humid and it did not affect my clothes or sleeping bag.

The pack endured my testing very well, it doesn't show any signs of wear, all the zippers and clips are working great, the fabrics are not scratched anywhere and I can't find any signs of stitching fraying. The padding has not moved either.

I still had to fight to put in my water bladder and it does take a lot of room in the pack. I also struggled with my sleeping pad. I couldn't find a way to secure it on the pack or under the top flap so I had to switch to one of my smallest pad and cram it inside. I'm thinking of building a bag for my sleeping pad that I can clip on the daisy chain.

SUMMARY

Once again the Klamath is a great pack.

I enjoyed:
solid construction
durable materials
good load shifting
weight for the strength of the pack

Area of improvement:
water bladder hole needs to be bigger and more accessible
capacity is too big for for a day pack or even overnighter, too small for a multi-days trip but ok for a 2 to 3 days trip.
No place to securely put the sleeping pad

CONTINUED USE

I will continue to use the Klamath as my multi-day pack because it is the biggest pack I currently have. Though whenever I do a day hike or overnighter I will use a smaller pack. My equipment is not small or light enough to fit everything I need in the Klamath for a trip longer than 3 days. But because most of the backpacking I do is usually 1 to 3 nights long the Klamath will be great as a relatively light weight pack but rugged enough to carry all my gear without me worrying if I'm treating my pack nicely or not.

I would like to thank Jansport and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test the Klamath.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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