Golite Jam

Just in for test is this Jam pack from Golite. You’ll see the name Jam2 on labels and online, but they say that they’re dropping that “2” and keeping it simple.
I’ve used bits and pieces of Golite over the past few years and got on well with it, but this is the first chance I’ve had to use their benchmark backpacking sack longterm.

As the company name suggests, it is light at 712g for this regular back model at a useful 51 litre capacity. Those figures are good but the weight has to be lost from somewhere, and there’s two obvious candidates for that. The back system is a simple removable foam insert which gives shape and some cushioning for the wearer from a load, but will limit how comfortable a heavy load will be over the miles. But as these packs are probably always full of lightweight as opposed to “trad” gear, I don’t see it as an issue as it’s not much different to using a DuoMat as a back system in an OMM pack. The other weight saver is the lack of a lid, instead we have a very simple roll-top arrangement, indeed it’s just a fabric extention to the main body of the pack for you to roll or fold up and secure with a webbing strap and buckle. I’ve heard folk say this can leak, but unless the pack’s very overloaded I can’t see it being an issue.

There’s a handy pocket on the front, big enough for quite a bit of kit (including Bingo), waterproofs, a snow shovel, or even a Lasercomp. This kind of additional storage is vital for roll-tops, I don’t miss the lid, but I would miss the easy stashing options.
Elsewhere it’s more regular looking and very functional, twin compression straps, ice axe and pole loops, hydration compatability via a bladder sleeve and hose exits. The shoulder harness is comfy and has a chest strap with a whistle buckle, just as I’d hope. The hip belt side fins have large zipped pockets and the two pockets on the side of the pack are wearer accessible and also big and secure enough to take the huge Nalgene Oasis Canteen (as seen above).

There’s a clip system that pulls the base in and reduces the capacity by quite a bit and also tapers the pack in making it better for use on rock with great clearance. The fabric is dyneema so it’s already tough enough for a few scrapes if you’re heading that way with it.

I like the cut of its jib, and after a brief shot around the local trails confirmed that it fits, it’s going into service and I’ll be taking it out on some overnighters imminently.

More later.

27 thoughts on “Golite Jam”

  1. Now this is a review I am looking forward to. I have been eyeing these packs for a while, but not sure about the “soft frame”. Though with the new hip belt pockets and the mesh on the back it is an improvement, albeit with a weight gain from the original Jam.

    I assume that Bingo goes on every trip with you.

  2. Bingo stays at home, I ain’t carrying dog food…

    It looks like a good pack Roger, I’ve got a few overnighters in the next month or so and I’ll be splitting duties with an OMM prototype, so hopefully I’ll be back with some thought son it next month.

  3. Aye, interested in a comparison with the OMM packs, been thinking about swapping my Jam1 for a CM32 or Jirishanca recently. Any leaks on the prototype OMM spec allowed?

  4. Awaiting this review with interest. Been hovering over the Jam 2 for some time and, just as I decide to take the plunge, golite go an add close to 200g. Not one to winge over a few grams but the new numbers change the equation. Already got a great UL 50L pack that comes in a just over a kilo (gravity gear, vapour trail). The 2008 model would have saved me close to 500g and thats worth trading in some functionality for in my book. Now I’ve got to be confident that it functions better than what I have before shelling out.

  5. Golite certainly do do some interesting packs. They were right up there in contention before I bought my GG Mariposa. That was until I tried one on! Along with OMM I find the padding on the hipbelts is just not long enough to cover my hips. The Mariposa with its large removable/replaceable padding is a clear winner in the comfort stakes. Any chance the new OMM sack will be improved (for me anyway) in this department?

  6. No doubt some stuff about the OMM pack will make it out in the coming weeks…

    I’m coming to the Jam fresh, so I can’t really compare it to the older models. I’ve used more multisport Golite packs than anything.
    I’ll take it on the trail and see how it does, I like the layout, and I think the weight is good, I just need to see how I feel after a couple of days wandering about the hills with a load in it.

  7. Ditto about looking forward to this review. I’ve got a GoLite Continuum, which if very comfortable but constrained bylack of volume and the worst lid arrangement ever.

    I’m talso hinking about the Jam’s Big Brother – the Pinnacle – which can take a bit more weight.

    It’s currently a winner takes all catch weight, no lids barred fight-off between a the Pinnacle and the LIM 45.

  8. I looked at the Pinnacle as well, but as we’re getting out of winter now I thought the Jam’s capacity would suit better. We’ll see if I got that right!

    Throwing the LIM45 in there does present a dilemma, it’s a pack I know well and have used over hundreds of miles. But it’s not the lightest, is a little fussy maybe, but it’s supreme carrying comfort wipes out all of the negatives.
    Does the 300g saving of the Jam offset the simpler back system?

  9. Isn’t choice a great thing!

    I’m still a fan of frames. All in all a dyneema Mariposa with its new aluminium stays to carry the weight and the pockets off an OMM or Macpac Race Amp for storage and I’d be happy.

    Keep us posted on the OMM.

  10. Another reason for thinking about the Pinnacle, is that Jam looks quite narrow (as is my Continnum), so its not so easy for a gentleman to pack an Akto without some unsightly ‘bulging’ occuring.

  11. I just had my Jam (2 2009) delivered yesterday (a large in night/grease), but being as it’s a birthday present and my birthday isn’t for a month, all I could do was pack it away for later : ( Still, I managed to load it, purely for testing purposes of course, and wander around the house with a determined look on my face.

    The sizing is crazy though – I’m only 5’8″ but the large is actually almost on the small size. My traps must be too big from the gym ; )

    With that simple test, it feels great – especially since I’ve got my base pack weight down to a modest 6 kilos. Dartmoor here I come!

  12. Nightmare! New gear, just out of reach that you can’t use. Ach, you’ll enjoy it all the more when get your hands on it.

    Back size is a funny one, it’s body shape more than height. I must have quite long legs because I usually get away with a regular back on most packs.

    Enjoy your trip to Dartmoor, good to get out, and with a nice light pack you’ll be laughing.

  13. No luck with it on a backpack yet, I’ve been cramming wintery gear in it and it’s not been hap so I’ve bee switching to the Villain, but I’ll get it out on overnighters from now on.
    On the local trails with lighter loads it’s fine, the ergonomics are good.

    A couple of weeks and I’ll have some more thoughts on it.

  14. Any initial thought on wow might it compare with the ‘hidden from prying lenses’ OMM backpacking pack available in different back lengths prototype thingy? (and how the latter might compare to the LIM45?)

    Not that I’m itching to buy a new pack or anything

  15. As it stands the LIM is the most comfotable, the Jam has the best fabric and the OMM has the most interesting original features.
    They’re actually quite different packs! The LIM would still be first choice for a long distance path, the other two for mountain backpacks.

    Once I see a production OMM pack it’ll all make sense…maybe…

  16. Can’t say that I venture much onto OutdoorsMagic these days, but this caught my eye during a boredom induced flit.


    Have Lowe Alpine finally managed to produce a contender?

    Maybe a little biggish at 50L, and I would personally like to see the adjustable back length on the no frills model. Otherwise I’m liking the look of that.

    A proper alternative to the Villain and the LIM45?

  17. Not very by the looks of them. I don’t know if I’ll see them before they hit the shops, I’ve got a couple of trade meets coming up, and LA might be at one?!
    I’ll check it out if they are.

  18. You better get around to reviewing this sack soon. GoLite are tweaking it again for 2010. New wishbone hip belt and changes to the lower harness attachment or something…or other. It’ll make all the difference, I’m sure.

    I would be a tad ‘surprised’ if I’d invested in the new improved better-than-before 2009 model, only to learn that GoLite have ‘improved’ on it already.

    Also, Chris Townsend reviews it in tgo and reckons that its good for up to 15kg loads . Optimistic?

  19. I dunno man. I was packing on Saturday and lifted the Jam out of the way to get my Villain.
    The carry is fine, the harness is fine, the fabric and quality are fine, the bottle pockets too. The external zipped pocket and lack of any other proper external storage annoy me now.
    You could carry 15kg in it aye, but the load will be on your shoulders unless the pack is so full that it’s rigid.

  20. Thought so…

    Anyhoo – I think I’ll hang off until Gregory bring out their new Z45 next year. Should be perfect size right and they have sorted out the previously flawed side bottle pocket/ lower compression strap arrangement. So unless they have contrive to add weight, it looks like a winner.

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