My Trail Backpack Light 50L

Specs

Pack Weight 2 lb 1.5 oz
Max Volume 50 L
ComPackted Volume 20 L
Max Suggested Load 40 lbs

Reviews

17

My Trail Co. has redesigned the Jam series backpack…

Rating: rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by My Trail Co for testing and review)

Summary

My Trail Co. has redesigned the Jam series backpack from the GoLite days, with improvements to its lightweight and frameless design. This water-resistant backpack is designed for backpackers where low pack weight is a priority.

Pros

  • Excellent price point to consumer
  • Streamlined design
  • Highly water resistant
  • Easy access water bottle pockets
  • Great hip belt pockets

Cons

  • Overload potential
  • Hip belt waist can max out
  • Limited load lifter function
  • Poor back ventilation
  • Lighter options in its class

When it comes to finding the right backpack, it appears there is never an easy choice with all of the available options in today's market. In 2016, GoLite had successfully ‘reloaded’ as My Trail Co, basing their operations out of Denver, Colorado. My Trail Co has resurrected several of the best and most popular products, and is slowly growing from its streamlined product range. One of GoLite’s most popular products, the Jam 50, is now known as the Backpack Light 50 L.


IMG_1326.jpgThe Backpack Light 50 L bridges the gap between daypack-weight, and a full-feature backpack

Specs

  • Volume: 50 Liters
  • Weight: 2 lb 2 oz
  • Load Range: Up to 40 lbs
  • Frame Type: Flexible Frame Sheet Only (Removable)
  • Fabric: DWR coated Dyneema Threaded Nylon (PU Coated Interior)
  • Hydration Reservoir Compatible: Yes
  • Included Rain Cover: No

 

Fit, Comfort, Ride, and Capacity

The My Trail Co Backpack Light 50 L is overall a very comfortable backpack. That being said, the maximum capacity can easily overload the wearer. Although the pack is specified to have a range up to 40 pounds, a weekend winter trip through the Appalachian Trail’s Rollercoaster in Virginia proved this to be very inaccurate.


IMG_6173.jpgTotal pack weight of approximately 25 lbs with food, fuel, and water


IMG_6174.jpgBase pack weight for this snowy trip was approximately 13 lbs

A total pack weight of approximately 25 lbs was found to leave sore shoulders. Having happily worn this backpack in warmer weather from 8-14 lbs a dozen times, it wasn’t just the backpack. On a 19th backpacking trip in 2017, it also wasn’t the wearer. Note: the pack tested was a size L (19.5-21.5" torso, 33-56" hip) on a 5'10" 155 lb tester with a 21" torso.


IMG_1343.jpgAlthough not overloaded, the load lifters must be fully tightened to snug the pack to one's shoulders

The question of comfort then, is either the nature of a frameless pack, or poorly designed strap load lifters with thin straps. Quite simply, a flexible composite frame sheet cannot remain rigid enough to provide the necessary geometry for conventional load lifter design. Professional opinion on maximum comfortable capacity: 20 lbs.


IMG_0010.jpgThe load lifter cannot achieve the proper angle due to such a flexible frame sheet.


IMG_0013.jpgLoad lifter loose on left, pulled snug on right

Another Note Regarding Fit: It is not possible to modify, or use the hip belt for a waist below 32". This limits fit for the tall, slim folk.


IMG_0024.jpgIt is recommended to test-fit this pack if one's waist measurement is below 34"

This backpack will hold A LOT of gear, including a bear canister. Restraint is necessary to keep this pack comfortable!


IMG_0005.jpgThis 50 liter backpack can stash a lot of gear

The front pocket for this pack can hold quite a bit of gear, but it is difficult to get items in and out of the pack if your pack is loaded, and relatively full.


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Organization, Accessibility, and Features

Simplicity is evident when looking at the Backpack Light 50 L. Although easy to overlook, there are several features that make this 2-lb pack luxe.


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MyTrailCo’s ComPaktor system is a welcome feature, allowing the wearer to hem the bottom of the pack in, assisting with a more comfortable ride when carrying less gear.


IMG_0030.jpgsimple hook


IMG_0031.jpgAnd a simple loop


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IMG_0033.jpgThe bottom of the pack winches together, helping with weight distribution

 

Easy access water bottle pockets are not always "easy" to find in a backpack... Finding a friend on the trail to get your water isn’t necessary with My Trail Co. 

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The stretch mesh pockets performed very well, with no sign of wear during testing.


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The hip belt pockets are another big plus for this pack. Easy to zip and unzip one handed, stretchy, and a second flat interior pocket inside the pocket. Note: these pockets are mesh, with cordura above the zipper—not water resistant! 


IMG_0014.jpgEasy one-handed zipper operation! 


IMG_0015.jpgHeadlamp, medical gloves, hand sanitizer, and room for several snack bars


IMG_0017.jpgFlat sewn-in pocket for infrequently used items


IMG_0018.jpgA PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), pocket knife, and spare room for about five snack bars

Detachable side compression straps.

IMG_0043.jpg

IMG_0039.jpgPeace of mind is well worth the minor weight penalty

The elastic clips and ice axe retention loops will hold trekking poles or an umbrella.


IMG_0029.jpgLower axe loop



IMG_0006.jpg

IMG_0008.jpgThe elasticized upper loop attachment lacks an adjustable cinch.

The reflective sternum strap has an integrated whistle. This whistle IS NOT emergency loud.

IMG_0012.jpgThis whistle could not be heard when testing about 500 yards away from some fellow hikers

The pack has hydration access ports on both sides.

IMG_0042.jpg
The simple features save weight, and still allow the pack to serve its necessary functions


IMG_0044.jpg
The top closing strap allows the wearer to add some bulky items, ie. a winter CCF pad.


IMG_0046.jpg

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Construction & Durability

This pack has shown very little to no wear during testing. The dyneema robic fabric is tough, and highly water resistant.




IMG_0021.jpgHighly water resistant pack fabric in a lightweight, svelte package


The mesh areas of the pack have also held up well


IMG_0034.jpg

One area of long-term concern are the buckles used with this backpack. It feels as though there is just a bit too much flex to the plastic.


IMG_0036.jpgSternum strap buckle


IMG_0037.jpgHip belt buckle

 

Conditions

This backpack has been tested from late summer to late autumn in the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA for over 200 miles on the trail. Temperatures have ranged from over 90°F down to approximately 25°F.


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Many thanks to the people out at My Trail Co for the opportunity to test the Backpack Light 50 L for the Trailspace Gear Review Corps.


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Thanks for reading!

Mike Mineart

Nice review Sean and timely as I am starting to shop for a lightweight pack for this next season.


9 months ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Great review and pictures, Sean!


9 months ago
Shawn McDermott

Sean - Thanks for the thorough review!


9 months ago
Matthew Pullan

Hi Sean, nice review, great photos. I still own a GoLite Gust (the design from which the Jam was spun off) from 2003 and I still use it for all my multi-day trekking. It only weighs about 560 grams and it is the most comfortable pack I have ever used. It's a pack that works well with lots of light gear to fill it up (not a problem for me on long hikes). With just a few heavy items the pack will sag quite a bit, but then it wasn't designed for that kind of backpacking. It's a shame the old Golite 'ultra-minimal' mentality is gone. Nowadays, most other so-called 'ultralight' rucksacks are at least twice the weight. The idea was that whilst it was very simple without any support, it saved at least 1lb of your pack weight right off the bat. Only problem is, the rest of your gear has to be super light too. Golite was quite cheap as well.


9 months ago
300winmag

I will never see the wisdom of a frameless backpack designed to carry more than 25 pounds. The "weight" of a frame, say the tubular frame of my Osprey EXOS 58, is far offset by the comfort of transferring most of the pack weight to the pelvic girdle and OFF the spine.


9 months ago
Nick Mesarhakis

Very nice review Sean! Can't go wrong with cordura/dynema combo when it comes to durability. May I ask, is there any internal zippered pocket in the top lid? Also a suggestion about the back support rigidity: I guess it could be possible to replace the composite frame sheet with a CE back protector from a motorcycle jacket if you can find the right size for the pack.


8 months ago
Sean Van Cleve GUIDE/OUTFITTER

Nick, there is no internal pocket, nor a lid... only a roll-top closure. There is a sleeve where the foam pad lives, I’m confident one could make a modification like the one you are referring to.


8 months ago

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