Salomon XT Advanced Skin 5 S-Lab Pack

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Manufacturer Description

All new form-fitting hydration pack for intense trail running. Sensifit construction reduces abrasion, ultra breathable stretch material to comfortably and securely hold bladder and essential items in the most demanding conditions.

Features

  • 2 chest pockets (one is zippered and removable)
    • Phone pocket – 11 cm tall x 6 cm wide (4.3 in x 2.4 in)
    • Zippered pocket – 13 cm tall x 6 cm wide (5.1 in x 2.4 in)
  • 2 lower front chest pouches
    • 13 cm tall x 8 cm wide x 5.5 cm deep (5.1 in x 3.1 in x 2.2 in)
  • 2 zipped belt pockets
    • 8.5 cm tall x 11 cm wide (3.3 in x 4.3 in)
  • 1 main zippered compartment on back
    • 23.5 cm wide at top, 11 cm wide at bottom, 29 cm tall (9.3 in x 4.3 in x 11.4 in)
  • Exclusive Salomon bladder by Source is included – 1.5 L (50.7 oz)
    • Taste-Free System
    • Bacteria-Free System
    • Crush & Leak Proof Durabag Technology
    • High Flow Z-Valve
    • Dirt-Shield Cover
    • Easy Fill, Clean and Drain Widepack Closure
    • 5mm closed cell PE insulation keeps water cool
    • Cool tube Cover

    Inside Mesh
  • Sensifit construction reduces abrasion and gives a precise and secure fit
  • Ultra breathable stretch material to comfortably and securely hold bladder and essential items
  • Adjustable load lifter distributes the load in the pack
  • The twin link system secures anywhere on the system for a personalized fit
  • 4D pole holder is instinctive to use. Quick and easy access to your hiking poles while running
  • Safety whistle attached

    Back of Pack
  • Comes with safety blanket
  • Measured Size MD/LG
    • Weight – 590 g (20.8 oz)
    • Dimensions – 37 cm tall x 20 cm wide x 6 cm deep (14.6 in x 7.9 in x 2.4 in)
  • Pack Volume – 5 L (305 cu in)
  • 2 Sizes – XS/SM and MD/LG
  • Fast wicking fabrics – Elastic Power mesh, 3D mesh
  • Retail – $180

YMMV Review

The Salomon XT Advanced Skin 5 S-Lab Pack is a running specific pack with more features than I can count. Built for the long haul and pockets to carry everything you need along the way.

Reservoir in Pouch

Design ★★★★★

The Salomon XT Advanced Skin 5 S-Lab Pack has a lot to it. The pack uses two main materials. An open mesh for the straps and back section. The other material is a stretchier mesh material that is used for some of the pockets as well as a section on the belt along the lower back. Both materials are very breathable and lightweight. There are plenty of pockets for your gear carrying needs. There is a cell phone pocket on the upper right shoulder strap, a removable zip pocket on the upper left shoulder strap, two larger cinch pockets on the lower shoulder straps, two stretch zip pockets on the lower back area, and one main pocket on the back. Overall the pack volume is said to be 5 liters (305 cu in).

The pack comes with a 1.5 liter (50.7 oz) Source reservoir. The reservoir is taste free, bacteria free, and has a widepack closure for easy filling and cleaning. The reservoir tube has a high flow valve with a dirt shield cover. The tube is also insulated as is the reservoir bag to keep liquids cool, especially against the runners back. One feature of the reservoir system is that it is routed up under the arms. This allows Salomon to use a shorter tube to save weight. The tube can also be disconnected from the reservoir without leaking to allow for easier filling, this makes it so the tube does not have to be rerouted.

Left Shoulder Strap

Other innovative features on this pack are the load lifters to adjust the fit on the shoulders, a 4D pole holder to secure trekking poles, a safety whistle, an extra pocket, and a safety blanket.  For a great fit the Salomon pack has the twin link system. An adjustable link system that consists of two stretchy chest straps that can be moved up and down the shoulder straps to form a one of a kind fit. This system avoids pressure points along the sternum and can be adjusted for optimum breathing. Salomon has really thought about every feature of this pack, even down to the load lifters and safety blanket aiding in compressing the reservoir for better performance. All the fabrics are lightweight, wicking, and all the edges have been trimmed out with soft fabrics to avoid irritation. Overall a well thought out pack.

Fit ★★★★½

The Salomon XT Advanced Skin 5 S-Lab Pack fit me really well. The sensifit stretch mesh around the sides helps the pack hold snug to your body and not bounce at all. The pack sits high up on the back like a vest. The stretch twin link system in the front does a great job at being adjustable to the wearer. They stretch well and you can tighten them or loosen them depending on how tight you like it. Even when worn looser I had no issues with the pack moving around. I have worn the pack for runs up to 7 hours and had no comfort issues. The only thing I have noticed fit-wise with the pack is that the lower pockets can fit a smaller water bottle in them but when you have a bottle in there it can get in the way of your arm swing. I tend to run with my arms higher up so I noticed it more, if you have your arms lower you may not have this issue. I have only used the load lifters a little bit as once I got it adjusted where I wanted it I kept them there. They did work as expected.

Fit of Pack

Performance ★★★★☆

The pack has been great for my long runs. I used it during some of my training and on the Peterson Ridge Rumble and it was perfect. The reservoir is a little on the smaller side for long training runs but is a great size for races as there are aid stations set up. The reservoir also does a good job keeping liquids cold. The insulated bag and insulated hose work as advertised. I really liked how the hydration tube comes up from below rather than above. When I am not taking a drink I just let the tube sit on my shoulder and it stays put. Two other features of the hydration system also stand out.

Right Shoulder Strap

The dust cap is great to have, I am not a fan of having grit on my drinking valve. The other great feature is being able to disconnect the hose while filling up the reservoir. That way the hose can stay routed while you pull out the reservoir.

There are plenty of pockets for everything you need. The phone pocket is stretchy to accommodate different sized phones. The small zip pocket is small but a good size for gels or other small items like Chap Stick or an iPod. This pocket is removable as it is attached by Velcro. I did notice that this pocket can get loose so it is good to keep an eye on it during runs. The lower front pockets are a good size for nutrition, gloves, or even small water bottles. I did not use them for water bottles as it got in the way of my arm swing but I do carry my arms high. The other aspect that I have not tested yet is the trekking pole attachments. I do not run with poles so I have not needed this feature. Maybe someone else who has used this pack and this feature can add a comment below. The belt stretch pockets are not big but a good place to store smaller things you do not need readily available. Due to the pockets placement they are a bit tougher to get things in and out of. The main pocket is also made out of this stretch material. It is not overly large but can hold a spare jacket and still have a little room for other items. The other running pack I tested, the Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack, holds more gear and water than the Salomon but does not fit quite as well.

Twin Link Straps

The pack still has a tendency to be warm when wearing it but I think that will always be the case. It breathes really well with all the mesh but over long distances it will cause you to sweat more than if it was not there. Warmth wise I felt like it was the equivalent of wearing an extra shirt. I have not used the safety whistle or blanket yet either. I do not plan on using those if I do not have to. I did notice that the reservoir pouch and the size of the reservoir sleeve did not match up exactly. The pouch was a little too big at the bottom but when the reservoir is filled I did not notice any adverse affects. The pack also features a couple reflective elements for increased visibility.

Overall ★★★★½

Overall I was impressed by the Salomon XT Advanced Skin 5 S-Lab Pack. The pack is loaded with features and they were all thought out well. The fit is good and very adjustable to the wearer.

Load Lifters

The pack is slightly smaller than others on the market which will limit how far you can go before you need to fill up again. All these features and technology come at a hefty price though. At $180 retail you will have to decide for yourself if it is worth it. So far durability has been good but I will have to check in on it later. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros

  • Adjustable fit
  • Lots of pockets to store gear
  • Reservoir system works well

Cons

  • Smaller than others on the market
  • Price is High

Adventures

About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

12 Responses to “Salomon XT Advanced Skin 5 S-Lab Pack”

    • Alex,

      I have not had this problem but the mesh is really thin as you know so I could see it happening. If you have a picture of what yours looks like and want to send it to me I will put a comment about it in the review. How much have you used it? Do you like it otherwise? Salomon should definitely warranty that for you, especially for how much these cost.

      JJ

  1. Stephanie

    I just received this pack and have been annoyed with it from the get-go. There were no instructions on how to use the pack, took me a while to find out a bunch of things by checking youtube videos. While on my run today, the tube did not dispense the water properly even though I had turned the on button and checked the bag also. I think the idea for this hydration pack is a great one, but still needs tons of improvements. As for me, this item will be returned and I will stick with the Nathan ones, which really are awesome.

    • Bummer you have had a tough time with your pack. I have not had the issues you have had and if I did I would have definitely had a different opinion of it. As for the Nathan packs I hope to have the opportunity to test one. I have heard nothing but good things about them. Thanks for your comment.

      JJ

    • I tested out the M/L one and even then it was fairly snug. I am 5’11” and 160 lbs for reference. I generally wear a men’s medium. I must say that this pack does run snug but it is supposed to. The materials are built to stretch as you breathe and move. By remaining snug the pack does not move around as much and therefore should be more comfortable. Being snug though does take some time to get used to. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

      JJ

  2. I have been using the pack for several months now, but I still haven’t been able to figure out how to use the 4D pole holder. Would you be able to give me some information, or is there some youtube video? (I really searched carefully for instructions, but haven’t found any.) Thanks!

    • Hello Jennifer,

      Thanks for checking out the site. I have been checking up on this question and I think it is okay to put it in the washing machine on gentle cycle. Other Sensifit products from Salomon are able to but I would suggest air drying it as the heat from the dryer is not good for it. If you are worried about the washer, you can always hand wash it with some detergent. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      JJ

  3. Hi JJ,

    I own a new version of the bag with advanced skin-lab 5-2013 and there are many improvements, but after yesterday’s 126K ultratrail race I have one negative experience. I used salomon exo-shirt with zip-lab. My skin-lab was completely full and heavy. After 7 hours of running, back on my shirt was a little bit scuffed and I was unhappy. I think that if you are too encumbered your lab-pack, it still brings a bit of friction at high speeds. There could be a delicate protective layer in the back. I do not recommend overcrowd your backpack for maximum.

  4. Hi
    I love my pack but for certain events I can’t seem to fit the compulsory gear in so I end up using my old pack. I can get it all in but my jacket is there an add on bunji or something that you can suggest?
    Cheers

    • Mandy,

      This is definitely not a pack to hold lots of gear. A bungee would be a nice addition. I have not tried anything as I have some larger packs if needed. If I think of something, I will jump back on here and add it below. Thanks for writing in.

      JJ

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