Salomon Skin Pro 14+3 ReviewAugust 1, 2012
A 17-liter hydration pack built for the specific needs of long distance endurance runners.
- Incredibly lightweight for a pack of this size (420 grams/16.5 ounces)
- Wrap around design is comfortable even on long runs
- Easily carries small or large loads
- Pricey: almost double the price of competing packs
- Included hydration bladder on the small side
Quite possibly the perfect pack for ultra-distance runners or fast-packers looking to carry plenty of water and gear with them on the trail, but a high price tag makes it hard to recommend to casual or shorter distance runners.
Runners looking for a pack designed for longer distances will simply love the Salomon Skin Pro 14+3. Not only is it lightweight, it is also incredibly comfortable and provides plenty of storage for carrying extra gear. While testing this pack I routinely packed a rain jacket, headlamp, hat and some snacks inside the main chamber and still had room to spare.
Salomon’s wrap-around design uses an elastic and Velcro adjustment system that is unique among the hydration packs I tested. I had a healthy dose of skepticism about how well that system would perform in the field, but after just a few runs I became a convert. It is not only comfortable to wear, even on extended runs, it also locks snugly into place without hindering movement.
When properly adjusted the shoulder harness of this vest-style pack conforms to the body nicely and manages to balances a full load of gear and water at the same time.
For a pack of this size I was a bit surprised to find that Salomon’s included hydration bladder had a capacity of just 1.5 liters. That’s a plenty of water for shorter distances, but this pack seems to be clearly aimed at the ultra-runner market so I expected to find a 3-liter bladder instead. Fortunately there are four bottle holsters – two on the chest straps and two mesh pockets on the sides – which increase the water capacity nicely. Adding four bottles filled with water does alter the balance of the pack some, but it still remained surprisingly comfortable to wear, even on extended runs.
If I had to recommend one pack for ultra-runners it would be this one, hands down. Its combination of capacity, comfort and fit simply can’t be beat. It does come with a hefty price tag however. At $160 this was easily the most expensive pack I tested. This pack is probably overkill for anyone running anything shorter than a half-marathon however, as there are smaller, lighter and less expensive options that will work just as well at those distances.