Backpack Review: Trail 20 by Salomon
Since I've been run commuting a lot lately, I decided to get a bigger backpack for my runs. Running home usually requires a bag just big enough to store my outfit for the day, but running there requires space for work clothes, toiletries, towel, snacks, phone, work iPad, even snacks.
I bought the Salomon Trail 20 - I was mainly attracted by the large amount of space. Last week, I ran to work with way too many things - clothes, down jacket, jewelry, a thermos of oatmeal, a carton of yogurt, a muffin, a clementine, basically, the world. My back was so tired. When I got to work, I weighed myself. I was 13 or 14 more pounds than I normally was - that is how heavy my bag was.
But it held it all.
The waist clasps in two sections. I wish it would let it get a little tighter. One side has an open pocket. I've stored things like pens, sunglasses, iPods/headphones, gloves, hats, tissues, Kind bars, etc. Nothing has ever fallen out, but at the same time, you probably don't want to put something precious there. The other side has a zippered pocket. I usually keep my work ID, my metro card, my phone, and a zippered pouch of jewelry (paranoid I'll lose my grandma's jewelry if it is stored elsewhere.
The bag itself just really has one big compartment. There is a sleeve where I stick my Kindle and any papers, with a little pocket on the outside of that (where I have been putting my wallet). Then, it goes rather deep. You can really fit a lot more than you'd think. Sometimes, I'm doing the backpack version of sucking in your breath to zipper a dress. Only once did it pop open.
There is also a clasp along the chest. To counteract shifting and bouncing, I pulled this strap lower in the middle/below my chest, which is not super comfortable, but better than the bag bouncing.
There are two large mesh pockets on the outside. I typically stuff plastic bags (for sweaty running clothes) and a thin tote bag in here. Sometimes I also shove the majority of my towel (and it stays that way until I get to work and pull it out). Once, I even ran with a thermos of chai. They are surprisingly sturdy, but I expect that through time, they'll become stretched out. But for the past three months, they've been pretty sturdy.
They don't have bungee cords like a lot of bags. I actually miss this quite often. (On my other packs, I tend to keep a safety pin on the straps, and then I can shove clothing, pin it in, and not worry about losing it.) This is one of the main negatives.
The other negative is that this doesn't exactly fit my frame. I am on the smaller side (in dress sizes in the US, I usually wear a 2 or a 4) - I have a narrow frame and short torso. This bag bounces and shifts. Because I got the bag in the winter, I didn't notice it quite so much as I had more layers on. Now, as summer is approaching, it's more noticeable and not so comfortable.
I generally wash it fairly often - it doesn't hold the stink too much, but last week, when I ran four days in a row, I was fine wearing it home from work in a dress, but definitely washed it as soon as I got home.
Would I recommend this? If you have a slightly wider frame (I'm not talking fat even - more if you have broader shoulders than I do), you would find it more comfortable. While I miss the bungees, the infinite-seeming space in the bag is appreciated. And the mesh pockets are great.
For trail running or longer runs, this could definite accommodate a bladder.