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Jam2 - Good Fit for my Wife?
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Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Jam2 - Good Fit for my Wife? on 05/25/2009 23:30:59 MDT Print View

My wife has a fairly heavy 40 liter (2500in3) pack that weighs 3lbs, 12oz. I'd like to replace it before we go on a 7 day trip this summer.

I'm currently leaning towards the womens GoLite Jam2 which is over 2lbs lighter (1 lbs, 9 oz).

I currently do not use a frameless backpack (I have a GoLite Lite-Speed), so I'm not sure how comfortable my wife would find this pack since it's frameless. We both use NeoAir pads so rolling one up in a cylinder for a frame isn't an option.

With this pack, my wife would have a base weight around 9-10lbs and I'd carry most of the food so she'd be starting out around 15-18lbs most likely.

She is 130lbs....roughly how heavily could she comfortably load this pack without any frame? Should I opt for an internal frame pack since we don't have pads we can use to add a frame? My wife doesn't really get excited about gear decisions like I do, so this pack purchase is mostly in my hands and then I'll be the one getting raked over the coals if she doesn't like it :)


Edited by dandydan on 05/25/2009 23:32:52 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Jam2 - Good Fit for my Wife? on 05/25/2009 23:55:52 MDT Print View

I sure don't envy you. I'd limit the weight on it to 20#, maybe 25# if you lost a lot of food weight fast. She really needs to go try them on.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Trying stuff on on 05/25/2009 23:59:12 MDT Print View

Trying it on would be nice, but I live in Whistler, BC and there no place within a couple hours that has any lightweight gear :(

James Dubendorf

Locale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Re: Trying stuff on on 05/26/2009 00:09:52 MDT Print View


First, from personal experience, I would recommend that you carry a pack that, if necessary, can carry extra weight and volume if you find yourself in a situation where chivalry is required. If whatever pack you end up choosing for your wife does not work to expectations, you will both be happier if you can assume more of the load.

Second, packing a frameless pack to ride comfortably takes trial and error, and requires some time and attention to find one's comfort limits. If your wife is not terribly interested in gear, she may prefer a pack with a frame because it requires a bit less fiddling and delicacy when packing.

Good luck!


Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Jam2 - Good Fit for my Wife? on 05/26/2009 07:34:48 MDT Print View

I second James D's comments. I use a Jam2 and fit is much less an issue for comfort than how it is packed. I have fussed with mine to a point where I can comfortably carry loads up to maybe 25 pounds but it is comfortable only if you know the load will get lighter as the days go by. I also suggest that you try one out. Order one by mail and return it if it doesn't work out; you might be out some postage but it is better than having a pack that doesn't work.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Jam2 - Good Fit for my Wife? on 05/26/2009 08:34:46 MDT Print View

Like others have suggested, she'd most likely be comfortable up to maybe 20 pounds total. You might check out the GoLite Pursuit at 2.5 pounds, with a frame. If you can swing the extra bucks until you could return a couple packs, you might want to order a few packs and try them on at home. Might be worth checking out an Osprey Exos 46 in a small, beefy frame and under 2 pounds. If you're facing getting raked over the coals if she doesn't like it... you're probably safer getting a pack with a frame. Most likely she'll want a pack she can just load up and have it work well...

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Women and frameless packs on 05/26/2009 11:48:42 MDT Print View

Hi Dan, I have to agree with pretty much everything that's been posted so far. I don't want to speak for the women forum members, but it seems a higher percentage use framed packs than the men. I know I've read a few comments from female forum members who state they prefer packs with good weight transfer to the hips/less weight carried on the shoulders. A framed pack is typically better at transferring weight to the hipbelt.

I hate weight on my shoulders too, and I've been eyeing an ULA Ohm. It's lighter than a Jam2, has a frame, and is priced similarly (Jam2 $125, Ohm $130). We really need some of the ladies to chime in; they're the experts on this subject.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Women and frameless packs on 05/26/2009 12:23:02 MDT Print View

My wife is not a "gear head", she is a "gear user", and if it takes any fiddling to "make it right" she is not interested.

She tried a ~2002 vintage Golite frameless 16 ounce pack and basically hated it. She now has a Granite Gear Vapor Ki and is in heaven. Excellent fit around the hips, good weight transfer, deluxe padding all around. The extra pound? She could care less, given how comfortable she is.

Edited by greg23 on 05/26/2009 12:30:48 MDT.

Dave Weston

Locale: NW
Not my wife on 05/26/2009 14:16:07 MDT Print View

I got my wife one this season and she does not like it. Now I will need to sell it. We ended up getting her the new REI pack, which she does like a lot. She just did not like the frameless aspect like I do.

Courtney Waal
(d0rqums) - F
Re: Women and frameless packs on 05/26/2009 15:59:18 MDT Print View

I'm an XX and find the Jam terrifically uncomfortable. I rejected it in the store after I used a sleeping pad coiled up to make a 'frame' and then stuffed some beanbags inside for weight. I think the root of the trouble is that a relatively large cylinder like the Jam just doesn't work when you've got a big butt like me. It pretty much only contacted me solidly on the shoulder blades and on the butt.

If your wife is *ahem* stacked in the back, you probably want to look at packs with some more shaping or the simple cylinder-shaped ones that are short enough (though this limits you to the really small ones) that don't take a ride on the rump. There are definitely frameless packs out there that will do the job but they've got the foamy, sculpted backs.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

thanks on 05/27/2009 23:27:37 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the responses everyone....they are very helpful. I'll check out some of those other packs.

Does anyone know the deal with alpine packs? My wife's current back is tecnically an alpine pack but 3 years ago when we bought it we didn't realize that. Besides the poor ventilation on the back, I don't really see a difference. Do alpine packs just accommodate stuff like ice axes etc?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Re: Re: Women and frameless packs on 08/07/2009 21:35:40 MDT Print View

Greg: "She now has a Granite Gear Vapor Ki and is in heaven."

Nice pack, but 59L is kinda large. It seems they don't make a smaller version of this pack. Something around 40-45L would be perfect.

Why does Granite Gear not make smaller packs? They make one 52L mens pack, but the rest of the ultralight packs are +59L. That's hardly what an ultralighter needs for a 2-3 days trip. Perhaps Granite Gear measures their packs differently?

Edited by dandydan on 08/07/2009 22:08:17 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Jam2 - Good Fit for my Wife? on 08/07/2009 23:07:30 MDT Print View

My wife has a Jam 2 and LOVES it! She went from trad to a Golite Breeze that she didn't like so much to a Granite Gear Vapor Trail that she loved. Then I bought her the Jam and she no longer used the GG so we sold it.

I follow the advice above- my wife carries about 15 pounds and if the weight goes up, I usually carry more- not her. She loves the light pack and the Jam is a great fit for her (she's 5'2")

I don't think it's hard to use a frameless pack. Keep the weight low, pack soft items against your back, pack it tight, and then pound out the contour you want (literally punch the pack). My wife was instantly happy.

I say go for it! With my experience, if you keep her weight as low as possible, she will be very happy.

Have a good one!


Edited by djohnson on 08/07/2009 23:08:03 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Packs on 08/07/2009 23:29:43 MDT Print View

Thanks for chiming in....I really do value everyone's opinions.

My wife doesn't hike that much....maybe 2 weekend trips and one 5-7 day trip per year. Accordingly, I'm inclined to go with a frameless pack for her and just keep the load light enough that it's comfortable for her and I'll absorb the rest of the weight. I'm thinking 15lbs max....hopefully more like 12-13lbs. She is 5'6" and 130lbs.

I think this will work well normally, but on the longer 5-7 day trips the food load is going to be pretty heavy for me. At 1.5-2lbs/person/day that's 21-28lbs of food, which I'd probably be carrying all of.

That means I'd be starting at the trailhead with 35-40lbs in my Jam2, but it would drop pretty fast with 3-4lbs of food being consumed daily. I guess at the pace my wife hikes at, I can probably handle carrying that. She likes to do no more than 10 miles/day.

Edited by dandydan on 08/07/2009 23:30:13 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Jam 2 on 08/07/2009 23:40:57 MDT Print View

"That means I'd be starting at the trailhead with 35-40lbs in my Jam2"

Dan - have you carried this much in a Jam before? I have (unfortunately) and it was extremely uncomfortable until I got back under about 24 pounds (If I recollect correctly). At that weight there is zero load transfer.

If you are trying to get her to enjoy her first outings into the wild, I would look at what Doug's wife had previously - the Vapor Trail KI. Uber comfortable, even at low weights.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Re: Jam 2 on 08/07/2009 23:58:18 MDT Print View

David: "have you carried this much in a Jam before?"

Nope....I agree that 35-40lbs in the Jam2 won't be fun, but this would be a rare occurrence. If we did a 5 day hike (instead of 7) with 1.5lbs/person/day then that would be 15lbs of food, which has me starting out with a much more reasonable 27lbs pack weight. Considering how fast that will drop, that seems acceptable. We're doing a 5 day hike in a couple months and only if that goes well will we be doing longer hikes in the future.

The Vapor Ki looks like a really nice pack. My main concerns with it are the size (too big, her current pack is 40L), the price (I can't find one under $120) and that the Jam is almost a pound lighter. I can get the Jam online for as little as $53 (last years model) and it weighs a lot less, so if there's some way I can make it work (and I think I can) then it's the logical choice. Now if there was a Vapor Ki available at the same price then it would be a harder decision.....and if Granite Gear came out with a smaller Vapor Ki around 40L and 2lbs with a $ tag of $99 then I would be quite smitten.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Packs on 08/08/2009 01:17:46 MDT Print View

I agree with this thinking. Yeah, your pack will be uncomfortable initially, but it will quickly improve. Your wife's happiness will remain high, though.

One of the best trips my wife and I took, I carried darn near everything. All she had was a light Camelback (Golite, actually) with snacks, rain gear, and ditty bag. Her pack was like 4 or 5 pounds. I was only carrying 20 or 25 myself and like you, the food weight went down fast.

I've found that Amy's pace quickens and her spirits are higher when I carry more and that's worth more than the extra weight I'm hauling.

If your wife is only carrying 13 pounds, even the Jam will be overkill! I fill my wife's pack with high bulk, low weight items like insulation and bags.

Have a good one!

Donna Chester
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Packs on 08/08/2009 06:03:46 MDT Print View

I have the Pinnacle only because the Jam2 doesn't come in small, so the Pinnacle small is about the same as a Jam2 Med. Anyway, I wasn't sure about frameless packs, but I love this thing. I had planned to use it for winter hiking, but turns out I like it for summer trips as well. Yes, I sweat, but I sweat in those with frames, beefy or not. My next go-to pack is the old Gregory G pack, which is my favorite as well. The sweating part doesn't bother me, it's going to happen no matter what pack you wear. My shirts dry fast, so not a problem.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Jam 2 on 08/08/2009 08:25:16 MDT Print View

I guess my question is simple: why carry an uncomfortable pack for a few days that isn't transferring weight well, when you could get a pack with a frame for about the same weight. For example, the Jam weighs 26 ounces: an Exos weighs 30 ounces, a Mariposa Plus weighs 22 ounces, an Ohm weighs 21 ounces.

Gotta say, an Ohm is a whole lot more comfortable than a Jam. And the Ohm weighs less. And it won't be uncomfortable for the first several days of your trip. And it's the same price as a Jam.

Edited by 4quietwoods on 08/08/2009 08:26:19 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Jam 2 on 08/08/2009 08:38:10 MDT Print View

Dan- there is the Vapor Day Ki, which is smaller.

On the other hand, you could wait a bit for the Golite Peak of between 30 and 40L for a smaller Jam version. I believe the belt can be angle adjusted, likely to help with Ladies parts...;)

Edited by FamilyGuy on 08/08/2009 09:33:38 MDT.