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Reader Reviews

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Golite Jam

in Backpacks - Frameless

Average Rating
3.90 / 5 (20 reviews)

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Marion Watts Jr
( mdwattsjr )

Golite Jam on 08/02/2005 20:12:23 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

This is a very high 3. If there was a touch more padding in the shoulder straps, a 4 for sure. If you have sensitive shoulders, or your total trip weight is above 25 pounds, this is probably not your pack.

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Mark Larson
( mlarson )

Southeast USA
Versatile! on 08/02/2005 20:26:12 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

As I've mentioned elsewhere, this pack can do a lot for me, from long trail runs to week-long trips. I love the sizing & dimensions. I would like a version with a lighter fabric and some compression on the bottom--but those complaints are more reflective of my way of using the pack [lighter weights, higher speeds, on-trail].

Edit: I took out the scissors and did some trimming. I measured the medium size at 20.1oz off the shelf. After trimming 12" of shoulder straps, 12" of waist straps, 2-3" of top strap, the ice axe loops, and the hydration & pad pockets I don't use... it's down to a very agreeable 16.7oz.

Edited by mlarson on 11/04/2005 02:02:29 MST.

Ryan Jordan
( ryan - BPL STAFF - M )

Greater Yellowstone
Jam has nice fins on 08/02/2005 20:29:55 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I'm a Gust/Jam fan. The Gust, with its huge side fins, can really allow you to crank the load into your lumbar, which greatly increases its load carrying capacity. Same with the Jam, and the latter is in a better volume for ultralight backpacking. The rear pocket could be more usable, like that on the GoLite Vision, and some more compression would be nice. The shoulder straps are my beef with the Jam: wish they were more robust.

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Dane Burke
( Dane )

Western Washington
durable and versatile on 08/02/2005 21:31:12 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

This pack can do everything I need it to, from overnighters to weeklong trips, on trail, off trail, up and down mountains. I even used it as my only storage on a 3 week cycling trip down the pacific coast. It is very durable so I can do all this without babying it or worrying whatsoever.

I have not had any problems with the shoulder straps (even after cutting off the sternum strap and more...there is a lot that can be trimmed). My total load is usually between 15 and 20 pounds (I have had it up to thirty), and half the time I hike without using the hipbelt.

I cannot give it a 5 because it could be made lighter (possibly down to a pound) without sacrificing much durability, and the storage outside the main pack bag is pretty limited and inconvenient to access.

nathan matthews
( nathanm )

Bay Area
external pockets work for me on 08/02/2005 22:59:21 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

still testing the limits of my jam, but have found it to be just the right size, durable to set on rocks w/o too much caution, and comfy enough. i was going to wait on my review until i'd done a longer trip, with more food weight, but i wanted to praise the external pockets. wearing my jam i can reach water bottles and energy bars in the mesh pockets in stride without moving or adjusting the pack. the front pocket is a little too tight to search with gloves on, but has worked well for "ditties".

other than the shoulder straps, my only beef is that i haven't figured out how to put a hydration bladder in the sleeve without creating a huge bulge right along my spine, but i'm more of a bottle person anyway.

Sasha Rice
( Rice )
Ultralight pack for those that go ultralight on 08/18/2005 11:04:43 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have hiked many miles of the AT with this pack and my average max weight for a weekend trip is 16.5 lbs and for a four day trip it goes up to 20 pounds. I find that this pack is extremely comfortable and it distributes the weight fairly well. I have two packs from Golite so far and I am extremely happy with both. This pack is not meant to replace a standard 7lb backpack
but is meant for those that go ultralight and know how to use every cubic inch there is. It has plenty of storage space for everything I pack and I wouldnt trade it for any other pack out there.

( sdurgo1 )
Jam goes the distance on 08/29/2005 11:55:13 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Just got back from the Wind Rivers. Paul and I did 2 loops totalling 90 miles with several passes around 12,000 ft. The Jam was so comfortable I had no reason to take off at rest breaks and had no sore shoulders. Pack weight was approx 15 lbs. I only fastened the waist belt about 50% of the time. Great pack :)

John Davis
( JNDavis )

Isle of Man
Golite Jam on 09/01/2005 12:06:45 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

And a strong 3 from me too. The Jam has been my main pack for approx 18 months. It is close to needing replacement. The foam pad has developed folds as a result of careful use. It is hard to replace the foam in its pocket without damage and it probably shouldn't be removed at all. One of the zip sliders on the rear pocket has lost its puller. Worst fault is total failure of the waterproofing. On a recent wet walk the elderly Jam proved as waterproof as a brown paper bag. I'll punch a hole in the bottom to let water out before using it again. I am amongst those who have experienced occasional discomfort in the shoulder area, although this usually doesn't happen until 20 miles have been covered.

Despite all of the above, I will probably replace the Jam with a Jam. It is such a useful sack. Mine has been used for weekends, longer backpacking trips, mountain bike days, mountain bike overnights and folded into a pannier for a four week cycle tour of southern France.

carlos fernandez rivas
( pitagorin )

Galicia -Spain
only some changes please on 01/11/2006 02:32:53 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

The jam would be a very good pack with different shoulder straps (Stiffer and more padded) and longer side fins to use it as a lumbar belt and transfer the load......

I modified mine with a light plastic sheet inside the pad pocket, to create a semi rigid frame and transfer the load to my hips, with only 60 grams more i felt that now i carry heavier loads in a more confortable and effective way and

i supose that a climbing pack like this must be designed with climbing loads in mind (¿or not?) and there is a minimun weight that is difficult to avoid
(I use it mainly for winter mountaineering and i must to carry rope, rack, crampons etc...)

paul johnson
( pj )

LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Worth another look on 01/11/2006 04:07:03 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Based upon reading the previous reviews, I'm going to have to give this pack another look.

It was, for a very short time, quite a while ago, one step in my voyage "towards the light" (to quote GVP).

At that time, its volume was too small for my kit for anything but an extended day hike. I generally, even on day hikes, carry pretty much a full kit (sans extra food - just day hike/energy no-cook foodstuffs), both for conditioning and to make sure that i can weather a night out waiting for rescue if i sprain an ankle and can't ambulatory out under my own motor.

Given its intent, i had no gripes about the hip-belt. The shoulder straps, as others have already noted, are surprisingly flimsy. If i hadn't purchased it on the web, and had seen it first hand, i probably would not have purchased it. However, having said that, i was surprised that those shoulder straps could handle the 18-22lb load i was putting into the pack at the time. The hip-belt must have worked better than I thought it would.

It's worth another look, since there are some trails/places i won't take a G5 or G6 due to overgrowth or sqeezing between rocks which can damage the Spinnaker fabric those packs are made out of. But the Jam's fabric is much more robust (dyneema rip, IIRC). My curent UL kit and 3day food should fit fine.

To the best of my recollection, i'd give this pack a 3.0 based upon how i used it. Now, i would imagine, the score would be higher, maybe 3.5-4.0 - hence, my current score. Giving the Jam a 3.0, at this time, would probably not be accurate since it can now, for me, function as more than a day pack, or could more easily handle a typical 2-3day trek load/volume-of-gear, or could more easily, if used on a conditioning day hike with a faster pace, handle a slightly lighter 10-15lb load.

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Andrew Skurka
( askurka )
My favorite pack on 01/19/2006 00:05:07 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

The Jam is my favorite pack in the GoLite line. I used the same Jam for about 6,000 of the 7,800 miles of the Sea-to-Sea Route (I used the Gust during the winter). Before the C2C, I had used it on the Colorado Trail and some short weekend hikes; and after the C2C, I used it for another 300 miles in Glacier and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It has more miles left in it but I recently picked up a new Jam -- my old pack owes me nothing.

This new Jam I managed to trim down to 15.6 oz (size M).

My two complaints with the Jam are: (1) it's too heavy because there's too much "stuff" on it -- the result of trying to be a multi-use and versatile pack that appeals to a consumer group with a wide range of preferences and activites; and (2) the rear pocket could definitely be more functional. For the amount of fabric used to make it, there could be a bigger pocket by just changing the shape of the pocket to be more volume-efficient.



GoLite has redone their entire pack line for Spring 2007, and they have made some nice improvements to the Jam in the process (the "new" Jam, called the Jam2, is close enough in appearance and feature-set to retain the original name, sort of). I would highly recommending waiting to purchase a Jam until the new model arrives.

The changes/improvenets include: MUCH better shoulder straps (padded and contoured), better compression system, more efficiently-sized front pocket, better side pockets. Smarter ice axe loop system, larger delta fins, slightly cleaner look and design, equally functional but thinner/lighter webbing (5/8" instead of 7/8's). Volume increases to 3,0000 (for size M). Weight remains about the same; I was able to chop my down to 17 oz.

Edited by askurka on 10/04/2006 08:37:50 MDT.

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Darrell Bibby
( dbibby )
Backpack Zen Utopia on 06/08/2006 07:30:30 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

First, I must mention what I am looking for in a pack. The pack must be light weight, and durable. It must be big enough to carry the things I need to carry. I like a pack that is comfortable, meaning it has enough padding in the shoulder straps, rides well on my hips and doesn’t hurt my back. Also, it has to have external pockets for easy access to certain items.

The Golite Jam Pack fits the bill. A medium size pack, weighing in at 1 lb 5 oz, 2300 cubic inches and 38 liters does the job. With this pack I have reached Zen utopia. I’ve used the pack on several trips. The most recent, being a three day hike on Vermont’s Long Trail. I was able to carry 25 lbs of gear with comfort and ease. Some people have mentioned that the shoulder straps padding isn’t sufficient. It was for me. One does have to be conscious of the way you pack, making sure no protruding objects are against your back. In short, it is the best hip ridding pack I’ve used. The shoulder straps were not a problem. I was able to access needed items from the external pocket. I didn’t use the internal hydration bag holder, instead opting to put my platter on top. The side compression straps were great. I was able to easily latch my trekking poles onto the pack before and after the hike. I believe the pack is worth its weight in gold. I’m looking forward to using it on an upcoming 20 day backpacking trip.

Ryan Hutchins
( ryan_hutchins )

Somewhere out there
GoLite Jam on 04/11/2007 22:29:01 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I've only had a few lightweight packs, and the Jam is my favorite in it's size range. I find the size about perfect for week long trips and, although the extras add some weight, they do make the pack more versatile. I agreee that the shoulder straps on the Jam2 are a huge improvement though!

Thomas Knighton
( Tomcat1066 )

Southwest GA
Solid Pack, but not perfect on 10/25/2007 07:19:56 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I bought my GoLite Jam on closeout, since I was gearing up completely and needed to save money where I could. However, after trying the pack out, I have to say it was money well spent. I currently rate it a four, and there's no quibble about that score for me. It's fairly lightweight, at about 20 ounces, and still pretty durable. The pack holds just under 3000 cubic inches in the size large I have, but honestly I don't carry that much in it (usually about 2600 ci).

The pack's compression system worked very well with my sleeping pad to create a solid virtual frame and distributed weight to the hip belt. When everything was properly adjusted, there was virtually no weight supported on my shoulders.

Now, there is a downside. As others have noted, the shoulder straps are not well padded at all. This can make the pack uncomfortable without the hip belt. Also, padding on the hipbelt would be nice as well, though it would bump up weight a fair amount. The external pocket could be designed differently (perhaps it has chance to see the Jam2 yet) and allow easier access to when the internal part is full.

For me though, the biggest beef, and the primary reason for it being rated at four instead of a very high four, is the side pockets. I was completely unable to access my Gatorade bottles with the pack on, meaning I had to take the pack off to hydrate. While the Jam does have a hydration bladder sleeve, it is inside the pack, and therefor virtually impossible to access with the pack loaded. This drops the Jam's score considerably in my mind since it does not help me stay hydrated well while on the trail.

All in all though, it's a darn good pack. Should one become available used, I highly recommend it if you're looking for a solid, frameless pack.

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Dan Whalley
( thedanwhalley )

peakdistrict natonial park, UK
Golite jam on 12/03/2007 07:59:45 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Iv used this pack for over a year now and its become one of my favorate packs.
The Jam!
Its light at minimum 600grams and still very strong thanks to the bombproof dyneema gridstop, im a tad over 6 feet tall and a large fits fine, it has a volume around 40ltr's and has been fine for trips upto sevrel plus days ultralight including several days food.
the pack can hold upto 30lb's but i pefer a more suppotive waist belt at this wieght.
I also found the pack more comftable with my platypus in the side pocket rather than the sleave on the inside as it gives the bag an odd shape when wearing due to the very thin pad.
I have removed the pad for backpacking as i use my sleep pad against my back for carrying comfort.

All in all im a fan of golite gear and its a great lightweight bag that will last that can be used from u.l backpacking to winter mountaineering!

Edited by thedanwhalley on 12/03/2007 08:36:54 MST.

Zack Karas
( )

Lake Tahoe
To bad Golite changed this pack on 09/08/2009 09:36:27 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I think this pack is hard to beat when it comes to those trips where you don't want to worry about babying anything, yourself included. This is my go-to pack for anything solo up to 10 days and up to 7 days with my wife (I carry a bit more with her).

Pack weighs 17 oz after trimming straps, removing back pad and hydration sleeve. Compression straps are wonderful--make heavy loads sit on the hips well.

For the money, and with a time machine, it's hard to beat this pack.

James Patsalides
( )

New England
The perfect starting SUL pack on 09/10/2009 11:34:42 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

If, like me, you're starting the journey into SUL backpacking, this is the perfect starter pack. Good size for a multi-day, but not so huge that you are tempted to put extra stuff into the pack. At first I thought it was too small, but that was because I was trying to load my Berghaus C70+ gear into it - forced me to examine every item and make some tough choices! Great way to start my transition...

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Jonathan DeYoung
( jdeyoung81 )

New England
Light and Simple on 09/16/2009 12:11:14 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I am a fan of the Jam. I could easily pack for a few days out with this pack and have room left over. I would like it if there where a few additions.

The additions would be:
a mesh front pocket for all the little trinkets
pockets on the hip belts would be nice to put a camera/snacks in for when on the go.

The good:
Simple Design
Compactable for day trips

The bad:
Shoulder Straps leave something to be desired.
I feel like i have to really try to adjsut the compression straps to get them the way i want them. on my other packs they adjust much easier.

Edited by jdeyoung81 on 09/16/2009 12:15:35 MDT.

Frank Steele
( knarfster )

new Jam? on 04/08/2010 12:10:40 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

It looks like this thread is for the old Jam, but I don't want to confuse people looking to buy the new Jam and finding this thread.

First generation pack named the Jam, weighed 22 oz, and was a good pack.

Second generation was called the Jam2 and weighed 26 oz, still a decent pack with a bit more durability and features but the weight is creeping up there.

Third generation (current) again called the Jam (?!?, why not the Jam 3, Jam cubed, Jam On etc.) weighs 31 oz! Come on!! A frameless pack that weighs 2 lbs! You can get a internal frame Osprey Exos that only weighs a few more ounces, has more features and is WAAAY more comfortable.

GoLite appears to be going in the wrong direction.

I can understand this being done by a company like "The North Face" being owned by Vanity Fair, but from GoLite? Just say no..

Jason Newkirk
( WarKittens )
Getting worse all of the time on 06/24/2010 08:52:24 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

Agree with above poster. The older packs were much better. I have one and like many others, I love it. However, I just bought a new one for my brother as a gift and I am thoroughly disappointed. I'm kind of embarassed to give it to him!

Definitely the wrong direction for GoLite.

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