I recently had the opportunity to test out the Salomon Skin Pro 3 Set. This is a hydration pack with the versatility of a 3L storage compartment to carry anything else you need along with your fluids. The set came with a 1.5 L hydration bladder.
- Overall I was very impressed with how this pack performed.
- Awesome fit – even loaded with water and other ‘stuff’ the packed stayed tight to my body and didn’t move at all, yet was still comfortable and not constricting.
- Super easy to setup and use.
- Best use: I would (and will!) use this for longer trail runs (or any long runs) where you need to bring your own water but don’t need to carry a lot of extra gear.
Considering that I had 1.25L of water, some nutrition (bars and gels,) and my iPhone jammed in it, the Salomon Skin Pro 3 Set was still a pleasure to run with. I had it done up comfortably (not too tight) and the straps hugged my body so that there was no movement at all while I was running. Even while descending a steep gravel road where my pace was quite high, the pack stayed tight to me. I could hear the water sloshing in the hydration bladder but it was always moving with me instead of away from me. (Update – I was given a tip on how to reduce the water sloshing. Once the bladder is full, turn it upside down so the hose attachment is at the top. Blow into the tube, and then suck all the air out until you hit water. This should reduce the air bubbles in the bladder which cause the noise.)
The pack comes in one size, and is adjustable to fine tune the fit. The adjustments are very easy. The top of the pack can be moved up and down along the main shoulder straps using velcro fasteners. Once I got this dialled in, based on where I wanted the pack to sit on my back, the only other adjustment was the elastic chest straps on the front. These were also easy to set up could be changed on the fly if necessary.
The bladder that is supplied with this pack is awesome. I found its size to be a perfect balance – it was large enough to hold an ample supply of water for a long run, but small enough to still be manageable on my back. The closure is a super simple, effective design. The top of the bladder opens with a plastic stiffener that is folded over and clipped closed. This allows for a large opening that is easy to fill and to clean. The hose disconnect is another smart feature on this bladder. The hose attaches with a quick release clip that allows the bladder to be taken out of the pack without removing the hose from the strap loops. This could allow multiple bladders to be filled and switched out quickly during a long race. The wide opening would also make it easy to dump in more liquid without removing the bladder from the pack. It also comes with an insulated sleeve for the bladder which keeps it a bit cooler and prevents condensation from soaking through the pack.
The drinking tube comes out of the bottom of the pack and up one of the shoulder straps, held in place with elastic loops. It is easy to remove and replace when it needs to be cleaned. I found it helpful to tighten up the narrow webbing at the top of the shoulder strap (designed to secure a pole,) and tuck the bite valve under it to keep it away from my face while running. I was still able to drink from it easily, but it was out of the way the rest of the time. The bite valve on this system works really well. It can be locked out so that there is no chance of leakage, but when I was running I left it unlocked. Not a drip came out when I didn’t have it in my mouth which I was very happy to see.
The pack had enough storage space to easily hold everything I needed for a long trail run in good weather. I had a few bars and gels, and a cell phone in the main pocket. There would have still been enough room to stuff an ultralight jacket or shirt if necessary. The shoulder straps each have a small pocket (one zippered, one with an elastic opening) that were perfect for car keys and an accessible gel packet. There are two elastic opening pockets on waist portion of the pack – again a good spot to stick bars, gels, flasks, or anything else you need to access without removing the pack. Salomon’s pack accessories can be used with this pack if you wanted more storage options. You can add bottle sleeves, pockets or a full front pouch – see the options at Salomon’s website by clicking here. The pack also has a strap to attach a pole if you wanted.
After using the Salomon XT Wings 10+3 pack and this one, I am becoming a convert to running packs. They are awesome for longer trail runs when I want to carry hydration, nutrition, and other stuff like a jacket, hat, or warmer clothes. I would definitely recommend the Salomon Skin Pro 3 Set if you need something to carry a lot of fluids and you don’t have a ton of extra stuff to carry.