Problem: while the fabric is good, the elastic on the Golite Jam’s side pockets is lame! Super lame.
Looks like something from your underwear. I can’t abide side pockets that won’t hold things with a vicelike, bushwacking proof grip, so this needed to change. Stat. Golite made it easy by not using a stretch stitch, so that the first time I yarded on it, the thread blew out.
While it’d be possible to sew stiffer elastic or shockcord into the pocket rim, doing so with the pocket on the pack would be a pain. Instead, I undid all the stitching, cut out the elastic, and installed small grommets at each inside edge. I cut four small square of VX07 to use as backing for the grommets, but that probably isn’t necessary. After grommet installation, sew the edges back up, install some cord, and tie thick knots that give you the desired tension.
Easy. Just be sure to use a stretch stitch. Most sewing machines have them.
Straight lines not mandatory.
Aside from the side pocket issue, and the lack of drain grommets in the bottom on front pocket (also fixed), the 2011 Jam has really impressed me. It’s a great size and shape, a very functional design, and has an absolutely dialed and kickass harness system that is better (more supportive, yet still adequately dynamic and flexible) than any other frameless pack I’ve used. A major part of that is the hipbelt, which is fantastic.
The belt is only attached close to the center, and split, yet contains a thin layer of quite stiff foam. If the foam weren’t as good as it is, the minimal amount of surface area tying the belt to the load would cause problematic belt sag and thus torso length collapse (which equals crappy carry).
The upper wing of the belt isn’t attached further, and the lower one is held in place using this odd looking strap and buckle arrangement. At first I thought it was some halfass engineering, but after the pack carried a very full load this pack weekend over much deadfall and bushwacking with no sag or load shifting, I think otherwise. This aspect of the pack design is absolute genius. It balances rigidity with dynamism in a way that facilitates the goal of frameless packs very well indeed.
In summary, Golite has gotten a lot of grief from the fringe for the weight the Jam has gained over the past few years. This hipbelt design is a major part of that, and is absolutely worth the grams.