An ultra-lightweight option for alpine pursuits, ski mountaineering, or fast-moving, technical day hiking, the Salomon S-Lab X-Alp 20 pack has top-of-the-mountain features like an integrated ski carry system, a waterproof compartment, and backpanel access that keeps you from having to take the pack off to get to its contents.
The high performance Salomon S-Lab X-Alp 20 Pack is designed for high mountain pursuits. It also has features that make it an interesting option for anyone moving fast in the back country who wants quick and easy access to the pack without even having to take it off. Let’s take a closer look at its unique set of features.
Taking the pack off and looking at its face it will jump right out at you that there aren’t any traditional access points. You don’t have a top lid to this pack. You don’t have, again, a traditional panel loading design. It is just a smooth face. You will see that light weight and very, very durable Dyneema fabrication. But no way to get into the pack.
That is intended. If I turn this pack the other direction so you are looking at its suspension system, you will also notice this zipper running from the top of the pack all the way down in between the lumbar portion of the pack. Keep in mind, this pack is intended for alpine, top of the mountain usage, quite likely that, you know, you are up high on rock, you are on snow. Again, if you are just using it as a back country pack, this has that fast mover in mind. This design actually allows you to keep the hip belt in place. You don’t have to take this pack off. You can just spin it around, lower it in front of you and get into the interior of the pack without ever actually taking it off, really, really intriguing design feature there, that keeps this pack confidently connected to you, which is not unimportant.
And if you are using this in snow instead of having to lay the suspension down in the snow, so you can get into the pack and then having to put a wet or snowy suspension system back on to your back, you have got a pack that stays dry, stays free of snow.
While I have got the pack turned this way, I will show you the padded shoulder straps. So you have got full padding there on the harness. You can see the columns of perforated foam padding that run down the back and continue basically as a single piece, a seam-less piece out to the wing. That cuts down on potential hot spots and wear points by being a single piece.
You can see it is well ventilated, a little bit of stretch and give in there. So this pack really moves with you. It hugs you, but doesn’t inhibit movement in any fashion. So, again, you have got it really, really fast minded pack.
As we have already mentioned, access to this pack is via this long vertical zipper, whether you still have the pack on your back or whether you have taken it off, this is the way you get into the interior of the S-Lab X-Alp Pack.
It is this single main compartment. The 20 in the naming calls out the fact that it is a 20 liter pack. It is definitely day pack size pack for quick adventures. You are getting in, you are doing what you are doing and you are getting back out again. So you shouldn’t necessarily need a ton of storage capacity.
I have got an extra jacket, some layer, a bivy in here in case I would get stuck, kind of emergency supplies, really.
There is a small zippered pocket in here that lets me separate and organize gear a little bit. So that is there on the inside of the pack. Here on one of the shoulder straps you see this large, elastic pocket, really nice for flasks, drinking flasks. Again, that is not included, sold separately, but is available.
There is also a fairly sizable for a hip belt pocket, a zippered hip belt pocket. I have got my phone thrown in there and I have got plenty of room for other gear as well.
As far as special or other unique features are concerned here on the pack, you can see that it does have this stretch sternum strap. It gives this a bit more stability and there is kind of a laddered system here that lets you best decide what that positioning should be. Easy to manipulate and change for your best fit, but also a real confident bite to that design so it is not going anywhere.
This unique strap that you are seeing here is actually part of an integrated ski attachment system. So that would wrap around the top of your skis down here below, ski tips in there. So confidently carries those skis.
This piece and this piece that can both be removed if that is not something that you in-tend to use on a given trip or just aren’t going to utilize at all.
Other gear attachment point as well at various places on the pack. Those also tuck away, so to maintain that streamlined design and do away with any potential snags if you are not needing or using them. So that is interesting.
Another thing I definitely want to pull out here, it is a big part of what makes this pack different than any other pack I have seen. You can see this entry point here on the side. There is actually an all weather compartment at the bottom of this pack. It is perfect for crampons, anything that is already wet or might get wet. It can be wet clothes for that matter, too. There is a waterproof protective lining in there. So anything in the body of the pack is separated from that piece. It keeps those things conveniently at hand when you don’t need them. There they store away. When you do need them you can quickly get into there.
With that light weight durable design, that feature set that is perfectly oriented for alpine or top of the mountain use, but versatility that make it function well for fast and light pursuits in the back country, the Salomon S-Lab X-Alp 20 is truly a high performance option.