User Review: GoLite Jam 70L
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80 on sale
This is a solid, lightweight bag. If you need frills, you'll want to look elsewhere. It has lots of room (almost too much). The material held up under some tough conditions.
- Strong materials
- Does not handle overloading well
The Golite Jam 70L is an awesome bag when you use it the way it was designed (I'll bet you know what's coming next). This bag has a great deal of room, and for someone smarter than me, that is a very good thing. It makes cold weather backpacking easier because you have room for the bulkier items that you need.
During three-season camping, it works great, and has a good cinch system to compress the load. However, when you're all giddy because your pack is so light (my base weight was 16 pounds on a 4 day trip), you may lean towards stupidity (such as I did).
The shoulder straps are comfortable, but it doesn't have the extra padding one would desire for heavy loads. That makes sense because it's a lightweight bag, designed for a max load of 30 pounds. When you overload the bag, it does get less cloud-like, and becomes more of a noticeable addition to your shoulders.
My problem is that it felt so good, I started adding the little extras that usually make the difference between a easy trip and a hard one. I do take full responsibility for this, and I blame myself, not the bag. When I keep my extras realistic, the bag makes me very happy. The load adjusting straps did help, and would have been more effective if the bag was WNL (within normal limits).
The waist belt is also very comfortable, and has small pockets on each side. They won't hold a Jimmy Johns Sandwich, but a Clif Bar fits just right (I highly recommend White Chocolate Macadamia).
The bag will hold a hydration bladder (but none is included). The side pockets are very large. I have read other reviews that say these pockets are fragile and tear too easily. The material is thin, but I had a few encounters with aggressive tree branches and rocks, but the pockets on my pack have held up fine so far.
As with most Golite Ultralight bags, the only access is from the top. There is a lot of room in the bag, so when it's not overloaded, it is easy to find items inside. There is a generous front pocket for quicker access to needed items. The opening was wide enough that I didn't have to fight to get anything out of there.
There are a few places to attach some things (they call it ice pic holders), but they also did a great job of keeping hold of my Sheriff Woody coffee mug.
One thing to note with the overloading of this bag is that I really had this thing crammed full, and aside from the payback it gave my shoulders, it held up fine. No threads loosened up, nothing ripped out of its stitching. It is just a solid bag that is extremely well made.
I've had the bag for about a year now, and I expect to use it for a lot longer.