IR - Jansport Klamath 55 - Mark McLauchlin
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Jansport Klamath 55 Pack
Initial Report 22nd December 2009
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 13 kg (29
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
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.jansport.com
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 packed 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
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 and 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 lock.
A single zippered top pocket rests a top 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 item 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
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
Jansports 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 does run the length of
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 and the
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.
My initial 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 size medium.
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
The 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 offer 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. It's 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 manufacturers
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.
Thank you to Jansport and BackpackGearTest.org for the privilege of testing
the Klamath 55
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