Clamshell-opening rucksacks are popping up more and more these days, and you’ll either love or hate them. The Salomon Synapse Flow 30AW features an all-round zip allowing you to open as much or as little of the sack as you like. This allows you to access items in the very foot of your rucksack. But if the zip breaks or snags, your whole closure system is knackered, water can get in easier and if you forget to zip it up – as I did, embarrassingly – when you sling it on your back everything falls out! But the Synapse is still an accomplished sack and will appeal to lovers of stripped-down backpacking. Everything is cut lean to save weight, but while the compression straps and fabric are scrawny, the straps and hipbelt are still ‘proper’ and the back system is quite clever, featuring rumples of stiff foam overlaid with mesh. On, this rucksack hugs the back a little more than some, which not everyone will like – but the lean profile pulls your centre of gravity in and makes you feel a lot more balanced and streamlined. Features-wise, you get a top-mounted raincover, two (count ’em!) hip pockets, some flimsy but functional axe loops and compression straps, a top pocket, a very useful front pocket and two stretchy wand pockets. Overall the Salomon Synapse Flow 30AW is a nice sack to use though, and its quirkiness is pleasing more than annoying. But while pricy and fairly specialist, ‘fast and light’ devotees will love it.
Capacity 30 litres
Internal compartments 1
External zipped pockets 2
Wand pockets 2
Rain cover? yes
Back lengths three sizes (S, M, L)
Women’s version? no
Durability might be a concern, and the closure won’t appeal to all; but otherwise the Salomon Synapse Flow 30AW is very decent.
Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine March 2014
The Salomon Sky 45 tips the scales at 1189g, making it ideal for lightweight overnight trips as well as year-round hill and mountain travel. It’s a fairly clutter-free design and cannot boast some of the elaborate thinking of other packs, but what it does have is a good, clean, practical design. The back system is called Airvent Contact and it is basically a moulded back panel with perforated holes and raised dimples to allow minimal body contact and good airflow, as well as allowing this pack to sit pretty close to the user’s back. Mesh-covered foam lines the shoulder straps and hipbelt, and overall this is comfortable – although some packs we looked at have more airflow and others have hipbelts that can take more load off the shoulders. The body of the Salomon Sky 45 is a simple single compartment with lid entry plus a zipped side entry. There’s a good-sized front zipped pocket too that’s great for smaller waterproofs, while the lid pocket is ideal for maps and guidebooks. The compression straps get quick-release buckles, which can be used with the side mesh pockets for stowing things like trekking poles or tent poles. The mesh side pockets are a little more baggy and less elasticated than others, so they don’t grip small items as well as they could. But overall for its weight the Salomon Sky 45 is a great all-rounder for hillgoers who aren’t in need of more elaborate designs.
Capacity 45 litres
Internal compartments 1
External zipped pockets 4
Wand pockets yes
Compression straps yes
Men’s (unisex) back length one size
Women’s back length none
If simple functionality at a decent weight and a reasonable price is your need then the Salomon Sky 45 is a good, though not stunning, option.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine September 2013
This is a slimline pack for those who like to stay on the move. The long shape of it means that you could even run with it, should you need to. The long, narrow design keeps your arms free to swing around, and the pack is very lightweight. The breezy airvent back system really keeps the pack away from your body, with only two thin straps in contact with the wearer and a rigid curve to the bag itself. Of course, this does mean that load capacity is compromised. Loading is made trickier by the vertical zip opening on the main compartment. If the bag is full the contents are inclined to burst out when you unzip. That makes it difficult to re-pack too.
Main compartment closure: Zip
Back system: Airvent MINIM suspended mesh
Accessories: Pole loops; hydration-compatible
Contact: 01256 479 555; www.salomon.com
• Review from Country Walking magazine, July ’11
The mesh back system has a deep lateral curve that helps pull the load on to your back, but reduces venting a little – although not enough to be a major problem. It’s the only pack to use a side zip as a secondary opening for the main compartment, which isn’t as effective as it could be. You have to reach under the lid (or unbuckle it) and can’t get access to the whole width of the pack. Also, buckles were stiff when new.
Main compartment: Drawcord and buckle lid
Back system: Suspended mesh
Contact: 01256 479 555; www.salomon.com/uk
At 670g the Revo is one of the lightest 30 litre ultralight rucksacks. The back system has padded zones to allow some airflow and increase comfort, while wide, padded hipbelt fins are ideal for transferring the load to the hips. There are zipped pockets on the hipbelt for easy access to energy bars. On the side of the main sack you get very deep mesh pockets that could swallow a one litre water bottle. Compression straps are also provided to control the load. On the front of the sack is a good compression bungee system that is again ideal for stashing gear. A series of daisy chain loops means you can attach extra gear if needed too. You get a good, simple lid with a single buckle closure, snow lock extension and an internal and external lid pocket. Inside the sack you can fit a hydration system bladder too. But some rucksacks have more reflective piping for night events. The sack is very durable but could be made lighter with thinner materials or for example by replacing the wide webbing compression straps with cord (as other sacks do). Some sacks allow more airflow on the shoulder straps and back system too.
Capacity 30 litres
Fabric 2100 double ripstop nylon, 210D Oxford nylon
Features mesh padded contact zones on back; padded hipbelt fins; hipbelt pockets; very deep mesh side pockets; compression straps; daisy chain gear loops; bungee compression panel on front; hydration system-compatible; single buckle lid closure; inner and outer zipped lid pockets
Made in China
Stores in the UK 87Verdict
A simple, narrow sack that is great for adventure racing thanks to its weight and capacity, which are ideal for entry-level competitors. It won ‘Best value’ in our test.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine August 2008