By Mark McLauchlin
Name: Mark McLauchlin
Height: 1.76 m (5’ 9”)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia
I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking
consisting of day walks averaging 16 - 22 km (10 - 14 mi) and short
overnight trips where possible. Most of my hiking is along the Bibbulmun
Track and Coastal Plains Trail. I consider myself to be a light hiker
with an average pack weight of 6 kg (13 lb),
which I am working to reduce. I generally sleep in my tarp tent or huts
that are often scattered along the various hiking trails.
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Listed Weight: 0.99 kg (2 lbs 2 oz)
Measured Weight: 1 kg (2 lbs 3 oz)
Size Tested: Medium
Volume: 55 L
Colour Tested: Red Curtain
Colour Variants: Navy
Materials: 210 Boxcar Dobby / 420 denier Velocity Nylon
Frame Type: Foamex framesheet with dual aluminium stays
MSRP: not listed
The Jansport Klamath 55 is a top loading aluminium framed pack that
boasts great features which do not dramatically add to its weight and
still provides for a 'clean cut' looking pack. Described by the
manufacturer as "Rugged durability and easy-to-adjust flexibility for
multi-purpose backpacking treks."
The pack arrived in great condition as one would expect. The
construction of the pack appears to be top quality. I have found no
loose threads or inconsistencies in the build of the pack. The pack
looks really stylish and I am very keen to put it to work. Below is a
pictorial summary of some of the main features of the pack.
||Large top loading main compartment
The Klamath is a single top
loading compartment with single opening to provide entry
into the main body of the pack. As can be seen from the
image to the left there is nothing inside the main
compartment with the exception of the water bladder sleeve,
which makes for easy packing and access to items. The
compartment is closed by a single drawcord with a line lock
attached. The main compartment also features an extension
collar that measures 27 cm (10.6 in) high and would appear
to add a substantial amount of storage capacity. Again this
extension collar is closed with a single drawcord and line
A single zippered top pocket rests atop the main
compartment of the Klamath. This pocket is large enough to
fit small frequently accessed items such as medical, snacks
and other small items. The pocket is secured to the main
body by way of two compression straps on the back of the
pack and two smaller straps on the front. It seems
functional and effective.
||Ventech back panel
The Ventech back panel is one of
the items the manufacturer, Jansport, chooses to place a
great emphasis on as a determining factor when selecting
packs. As can be seen the colour is a bright yellow and the
texture is very much like an egg carton, with peaks and
troughs. As quoted from Jansports website: "Our
lightweight, highly breathable cushioned back panel not only
protects the body from objects within the pack, it's
engineered with circulation grooves to increase ventilation
and create airflow, cooling the user's back."
I tend to sweat quite a lot while hiking, more so with
the current high temperatures, so will be interested to see
how much difference this makes.
||Dual Zipped side gear pockets
Jansport's website highlights dual
zippered side gear pockets, however the pack I have only has
a single zipper on the side pocket, very curious. However so
does the images located on the manufactures website. The
image to the left shows the zipper on the pocket. The zip
image aside the pocket does seem to be a good size and
probably something that I would store maps and a trail
journal in. It is a rather flat pocket however it does run the
length of the pack.
||Dual Water bottle pockets
Each side of the Klamath contains
a water bottle pocket as displayed in the image. They are
constructed from a light weight mesh with an elastic hem at
the top to assist with keeping the bottle in the pocket. My
tests so far have only been with a 1 L water bottle however
I do have other capacities and shapes which I will also try
out and report on.
||Side compression straps
There are four side compression
straps on the Klamath, two on each side, located at the top
and bottom of the pack. Trying them out they appear to hold
fast and do not slip under load. They are easy to tighten by
simply pulling on the excess webbing or strap. To release
the clip is pulled towards the back of the pack. Again these
are functional and easy to use. I would make one comment and
that is with the pack completely full there is still
quite a large amount of strap remaining when uncompressed,
this causes no issues it is merely a comment.
Zippered sleeping bag compartment with drop-down divider
The Jansport website also
indicates the pack comes with a zipped sleeping bag
compartment with a drop-down divider, alas this is no where
to be found. The pack I have has a single main compartment
with no extra compartments as suggested. I will make contact
with the manufacturer and report on my finding to determine
if there has perhaps been a misprint on their website.
trial of the Klamath was in the backyard the day it arrived. I
packed it with all the gear I would normally take out for a hiking
trip, which including water was approximately 6 kg or 13 lbs and the
fit was perfect, exactly what I had hoped for after using an online
sizing chart from one of Jansport's resellers. My measured
torso length is 46 cm (18 in) and the guide recommended a
The pack fits well around the shoulder straps and hip belt and
the feels very comfortable, much different to the frameless packs I
am used to. I carried the weight around the backyard for about 20
minutes and still felt the pack fit was right and it remained
comfortable. All the harness adjustments including hip belt
and shoulder straps are very easy to adjust when the pack is on.
Reading the Instructions
instructions were attached to the pack and address three primary
areas: The pack itself, the suspension system and it's warranty.
The first two areas have already been addressed in the
report however the warranty needs further explanation. Jansport
offers a guarantee for life against normal wear and tear. Their exact
words are "Quality. Durability. Reliability. That's what JanSport
stands for. So if your pack ever breaks down, simply return it to
our warranty center. We'll fix it or if we can't we'll replace it.
We stand by our packs for a lifetime and since we've been making
packs since 1967, that's a guarantee you can stand by."
The only other instructions with the pack are affixed to a label
inside the main compartment and indicate that the pack should be
cleaned with a damp cloth as necessary. Hand wash only. Do not use
detergent or bleach. Line dry. Remove wet items immediately and
washing leather not recommended.
The Jansport Klamath 55 is a great looking, functional pack
without all the extra bells and whistles some packs have. Its
basic, yet classy style mean it is not overly heavy for it's size.
Things I liked
Clean, uncluttered look
of the pack.
Great sized main compartment.
Ventech back panel.
Big water bottle pockets.
Things I disliked
Nothing at this stage besides some inconsistencies on the
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.
11th March 2010
During the Field Reporting period the Jansport Klamath 55 has
accompanied me on four day walks, three overnight hikes and six
aircraft flights. Temperatures this time of the year are the
hottest, however this year it has been warmer than most. Several
records have been broken from the most consecutive days without rain
and higher than normal temperatures which have added some challenges
while out hiking.
The day walks were all along the Bibbulmun Track and averaged a 15
km (9.3 miles) round trip. Temperatures again were quite high with
an average of 22 C (72 F). The terrain was relatively flat and my
pack weight average was 4.5 kg (9.9 lbs).
The Heritage Trail in the John Forrest National Park was the first
overnight hike the Klamath accompanied me on. Trip length was 17 Km
(10.5 miles), and their was no significant elevation gain or loss.
The temperature was, at the time of recording, 22 C (72 F).
Myself and a fellow BGT tester went out on a multi-day hike in the
Monadnocks National park where we stayed at a campsite overnight and
returned the following afternoon. The total trip length was 14 km's
(8.7 miles) and took us over some spectacular mountain tops
including Mt Vincent and Mt Cuthbert. I recorded a whopping 37 C (99
F) during the return length back to the trailhead.
The last trip for the report phase was out to the Helena National
park for an overnight hike, 22 km (13.6 miles) round trip. I
recorded the maximum temperature to be 32 C (90 F) at 3 pm. My pack weight
was light at around 5.8 kg (13 lbs) on this hike as there was no
need to pack any warm layering.
GoLite Ultra20 Quilt
MLD Superlite Bivy
Light my fire Knife/Spoon Set
Socks DeFeet (second day)
Shirt (second day)
1.5 Lt water bladder
Water Container (full 1 lt)
Mini First Aid Kit
Sea to Summit Silnilon Pack Cover
Essential Gear e2Q headlamp
Batteries x 2 CR2032
3G mobile phone
Breakfast x 1 - cerial
Lunch x 1
Dinner x 1 - home made dehydrated
Coffee or tea bags
The top loading compartment of the Klamath performed
well, I really like the fact there is nothing to get in the way of
storing and removing gear. It is a very simple, clean design that
allows for fast easy access. The draw cord closure is effective and
simple to use, performs its function well and as yet I have had no
problems with cord fray, which often occurs. The 55 L volume is more
than enough to fit my gear in for both single and multi-day hikes,
as I consider myself to be a lightweight hiker so do not carry a lot
of superfluous gear. The gear was packed with the heaviest items
towards the mid/lower section of the compartment and the lighter
items at the top or in the top removable enclosure. Due to the size
of the pack I was conscious of ensuring that the pack was tested
with varying amounts so its load support and stability could be
compared. The pack weight ranged from 6 kg (13.2 lbs) to 10 kg (22
in both situations I felt the load carried well, the hip-belt
supported the majority of the weight and my shoulders retained none
of the weight.
The Ventech back panel is an interesting topic of discussion, as the
manufacturer puts a lot of emphasis on advertising this feature.
When I initially tried the pack on I was excited by the fact the
panel felt comfortable and would provide for some structure to the
pack (not that it is always needed). I was also very interested to
see how it would perform out in the field during our hot summer
months. On one field trip I recorded the temperature as reaching 32
C (90 F) during the hottest part of the day, with a very mild warm
breeze. My impressions of the Ventech back panel were that it did
not meet my expectations of providing ventilation and cooling to my
back. As quoted from the manufacturers website " it's engineered
with circulation grooves to increase ventilation and create airflow,
cooling the user's back. " My shirt was dripping in sweat when
stopping for a rest break and for most of the time spent walking.
The photo above is taken from one of the high points on Mt Vincent,
along the Bibbulmun Track, and as an experiment I stood side on to
the breeze with my arms raised horizontal to the ground in an
attempt to allow airflow, and still I was not able to feel benefit.
My experience would suggest that perhaps the Ventech panel rests too
close to the body or that the circulation grooves are not deep
enough to provide a gap for ventilation to occur. Now, ventilation
aside, the Ventech panel did provide me with some great comfort and
support, that part I did enjoy.
removable top compartment on the Klamath is a single zippered
compartment, approximately 8 to 10 L in size (I do not have a true
accurate way to measure this), that as the name suggests is totally
removable. Inside the compartment is a small clip for attaching
items such as keys or other small loose items. The compartment is
held on with four clips with compression straps to pull it down
tight onto the main body of the pack. I found this to be very
functional and performed as expected, perhaps it was a little on the
large side for my normal use however it is still a nice feature. I
was not able to use the compartment removed while out hiking however
I did take the pack away with me on work (discussed later in the
report). I was able to use it for my daily bag to and from the
accommodation site to the work office.
I used the zippered side pockets, or
zippered side pocket (singular) as in the case of the pack which was
delivered, to store maps and a trail journal in. There
isn't a huge amount to say about it apart from the fact it met my
expectations, shows no signs of wear and tear and has not caused me
any concerns while in use.
||The water bottle holders on the
Klamath seemed to be a little on the small side, and would suit a
wider range of uses and bottle sizes had they been made larger. As
can be seen from the image below, with a 700 ml bottle, the pocket
could be deeper to fit the bottle a little better. The side
compression strap also fits around the neck of the bottle for extra
support to ensure it doesn't fall out, which was one of my fears out
on the trail and I was continually checking to ensure it was still
there. I did however find that the pockets were in a great position
which meant that I was easily able to reach the contents while the
pack remained on my back which is a great bonus.
sleeve and H2O port of the Klamath served their purpose well
and provided for the ability to carry up to an additional 3
L of water. The sleeve is positioned up against the
front of the pack close to the wearers back which assists
with the stability of the pack and its load and also ensures
the bladder is protected from punctures etc. The only issue
I had with this feature was that I found it a tough going to
feed the bladder hose through from the inside of the pack.
The hole was very tight and also part of the pack support
frame partially blocked the area. Once that was overcome it
On one of past test series on a pack
I received an email from a reader interested to know if I had been
on any aircraft travel with the pack and if I had how did it
perform. Up until that stage I had never really thought about taking
a pack designed for hiking on an aircraft. Although not directly
related to hiking I wanted to touch lightly on how the Klamath did
take to air travel and during this phase of the report the
opportunity arose. The pack came with me on six flights over a 3 day
period while travelling to some remote areas of Western Australia
for work purposes. The pack weight was a little over 12 kg (26.4
lbs) and contained general clothing my heavy work boots. Whilst in
the cargo hold of the aircraft and during baggage handling the pack
was contained within a duffle style bag specifically designed for
this purpose. The duffle bag simply acted as a cover for the pack to
ensure that the straps did not become tangled in any of the conveyor
moving parts and provided minimal protection. The duffle bag did not
have any form of padding inside. The pack did not suffer from any
damage during any of the flights or while it was being handled on
and off the aircraft. I was impressed with using a pack for air
travel and I felt I had more freedom than the traditional pull type
of bag I generally use. I am now converted and will continue to use
a pack for travel.
Customer service is quite an
important aspect of any company as far as I am concerned. In the
case of Jansport I would have to give them a less than satisfactory
rating in this area. During my Initial Report I suggested there were
two inconsistencies relating to information on the manufacture's
website and what the pack actually has. Namely the listing of a
zippered sleeping bag compartment and dual zippered side
compartments, neither of which the supplied pack has. I have since
emailed customer service twice about this and to date have not
received a reply. Quite disappointing.
The Klamath 55 by Jansport has been a great pack to use and has
met all of my expectations in terms of functionality, durability and
weight. The pack shows no signs of wear and tear and looks like it
will see many years of use and stand up well against some the harsh
conditions here in Australia.
Things I liked
Things I disliked
Ventech back panel (poor ventilation, good comfort)
Thank you to Jansport and BackpackGearTest.org for the
privilege of testing the Klamath 55.
This concludes my Field Report for the Jansport Klamath 55 Pack.
11th May 2010
The pack has been out with me on a further two day
hikes, covering an average of 15 km (9.32 miles) on each trip. The
terrain was relatively flat and temperatures were very mild, with no
precipitation on either trip. The contents of my pack on a day hike
reduce significantly compared to an overnight hike. The average pack
weight was around 1.5 kg (3.31 lbs). The pack has also been on
another flight with me, and as per previous reports it does travel
The Jansport Klamath 55 has been a great pack for me
to test, particularly over the past few months where I have been
recovering from some recent surgery to my neck. How has this been
great to test you may ask? Well quite simply the Klamath has
provided for some great relief due to its excellent hip-belt system,
and what I consider to be a very well designed combination of
compression straps which pull the pack contents together, keeping
the weight distribution close to my back which in turn reduces some
of the 'sway'.
There is not a great deal of information I can add to
my previous reports on the Jansport as I still feel it provides
great comfort, the durability is excellent as there are no signs of
wear and tear, and it carries a load very well, all of which were
identified as "Things I liked" in the Field Report. The things I
disliked about the pack still remain also. I do feel that the
Ventech Back Panel has not lived up to my expectations during this
test. The temperatures are becoming lower now and I haven't noticed
this being as much of an issue. I still have not heard back from the
customer service team and suspect that I never will. I guess had
there been a fault with the pack I would be more concerned about
this, but none-the-less it is good to receive a response when a
question is asked.
This is a great pack and something I will
continue to use when I need some extra room. My comments, thoughts
and suggestions throughout this report all still hold. Would I
recommend this pack to someone else? Most definitely.
This concludes my Long-Term Report and the test series for the
Jansport Klamath 55 Pack.
Thank you to Jansport and BackpackGearTest.org for the privilege of
testing this great pack.