Our TRAIL RUNNING GEAR section travels today to Annecy with Mayayo for SALOMON XA BACKPACKS. After recently taking you through the TO7 Trail shoes for 2020 from the french brand with Mike Ambrose, today we listen to James Hadley as he takes us through the development that led to the new Salomon XA 15L; Salomon XA 25L and Salomon XA 35L.. We kick off with the video of the three sisters, before going into further detail below. 






Trail running and mountain backpacks offer a wider range every day. Today we present three new backpacks within the Salomon XA 2020 range, each with an outstanding personality. They are the new Salomon XA 15L-25-35L backpack range, rather designed for polivance towards all types of mountain uses, than looking for race performance as we have grown quite used to expect from the brand in recent years. Let us move on with a summary presentation by Mayayo, as discussed with the Salomon experts at their HQ in Annecy, France.

As you well know, the concept of moving fast and light on the mountain is active everywhere today. The idea behind all this range SALOMON XA is to have backpacks by the French brand not only for running, but also for fast packing anytime, anywhere, where we really carry the house in tow, be it a PTL in Chamonix, a Transpyrenean or a Camino de Santiago.

Hence, three models emerge in a range that may come as a successor to the very effective Salomon Peak that we already reviewed here. With those very same Salomon Peak packs, our teammate Alex fraguela has shone at Marathon des Sables racing for a week across the Sahara, carrying weights from 5 to 10 kilos, including his sleeping bag, clothes and food on his back. He even got the team silver medal, beaten only by the all-star local Moroccan team.

Lightweight yet solid: (15L-347gr; 25L-443gr; 35L-520gr) The goal from Salomon for this 2020 is to see what can be done better, with the new XA range. As we  go over the three backpacks, separately, we note that none seeks to be a hyperlight racing weight, but rather strive to offer solid construction and versatility of use. In this way, the weights are as follows: For the 15L we add 347 grams; for the 25L we go to 443 grams and up to 520 grams for a 35L portage. As a reference, it should be remembered that until a few years ago, the traditional crossing backpack was about a kilo and a half.


The real challenge when making a medium volume backpack, as in those that you are going to carry throughout the Sables Marathon, Camino de Santiago or similar, is to combine two needs:

  • On the one hand, it is vital that the more weight you load the better it fits, so you have to work what the designers call weight transfer, which is why the play of loads between shoulders and hips is vital here, unlike of backpacks for mountain races where we trust everything on the shoulders not being designed to carry more than 5kg.
  • The second challenge is constant comfort: We are not talking about backpacks to share 2, 3 or even 10 hours together, as in mountain races. NO partners for 4-8 hours a day for a week or more.

From those needs come developments such as the set of shoulder straps and backpack textiles with basic impermeability (1,500mm) which may be proof vs a slight ocasional drizzle but not at all from a real storm, which still requires waterproof backpack covers, as always. By the wat, that sealed upper closure, will be instantly recognized as a time tested solution for whitewater sports such as rafting and kayaking. The set is finished in each case with multiple tensioners to expand / reduce volume as it is third, as well as external anchoring or porting points.

Now, we will test them thoroughly for you, in order to share real conclusions as soon as possible.










Info by Mayayo Oxígeno for Trailrunningspain