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Want a reasonably priced yet stylish hiking backpack you can carry around the city and take on a weekend holiday trip? Jack Wolf Skin Highland Trail 55 Backpack might be the ideal bag for you.

Jack Wolfskin made its mark as a company innovating cross-over products. The German company makes gear for the great outdoors and urban life with a quality to be respected and at a price not to be dismissed.

They pledge to provide you with a nylon backpack you can equally use while strolling city centers and also take the middle of the wilderness.

It’s a 2-in-1 performance deal that has proven quite compelling to a segment of casual outdoor enthusiasts these last few years?

To confirm these expectations with reality, we put this Jack Wolfskin backpack to the test.

Here’s our verdict.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Stylish design works in both urban and outdoor escapades
  • check-mark
    The clamshell opening is one of the best
  • check-mark
    Zipped front pocket provides security for items you need within reach
  • check-mark
    Spacious sleeping bag compartment
  • check-mark
    You can max out another 5 liters on top
  • check-mark
    Lumbar pad and hip belts are thick and comfortable
  • check-mark
    Adjustable torso length for a custom fit
  • check-mark
    Integrated rainfly saves you time
  • check-mark
    There's a hidden pocket under the top lid for your valuables
  • check-mark
    Hydration sleeve for longer trips
  • check-mark
    Reflective accents help with visibility during the night
  • check-mark
    The right hip pocket can double as a water bottle holder
  • check-mark
    Enough lash points on shoulder straps for compass, flashlight, etc.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThe back padding system isn’t as breathable as it could be.
  • check-markMissing criss-cross bungee strings or a front mesh pocket for wet items

Where to buy:

Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail Product Image

Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55

Specs & Features

  • Material: : 280D Cross Rip Polyamide (Body) and 300D Cross Rip Polyester (Base), Polyester Lining, DWR Coating, YKK Zippers
  • Volume: : 55 Liters + Expandable 5 Liters
  • Dimension: : 14.96” x 12.6” x 32.28”
  • Weight: : 4.85 lbs.
  • Colors: : Black (Phantom)
  • Ideal for: : Day Hike, Short-Term Travel

Your Sleek Hiking Companion

At first look, Highland Trail 55 is aesthetically pleasing. Low-profile design, just what we like for outdoor gear. Technically, it offers every necessary compartment you’ll need from a nylon backpack.

With a maxed-out capacity of 55 liters, you have plenty of room for multi-days of hiking supplies. Plus, lots of lash points for extras. It comes with reflective loops that aid with visibility during the dark. Hydration is easy as well. You’ll have a built-in bladder sleeve, side mesh pockets, and a hip pocket that converts into a holster.

Jack Wolfskin is famous for creating products suitable for the outdoors and city use. But that divided focus compromised Highland Trail 55’s capacity to go head-on with raw, rugged environs. The materials can’t take much beating. However, the overall construction is sturdy enough for seasonal hikes.

You can count on Highland Trail 55 from Jack Wolfskin if you’re looking for a nylon backpack you can use for trail tracing or downtown.

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Construction

The Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55 Backpack is suitable for your overnight camping trip or a weekend getaway. It’s only got 280D cross rip nylon at the body and a 300D polyester base. It might not be able to withstand heavy, technical hiking over longer periods of time. But it’s an ideal backpacking bag for a cross-country trip or European tour.

On paper, the ideal technical backpack should have a 450D nylon rating. But the Highland Trail brings surprising durability that we tested and found in spades with Wolfskin’s Expedition Trunk.

We’ll keep stressing and testing this backpack and provide running updates, but it seems to perform deeds above and beyond glamping escapades, to which it would otherwise seem to be best suited.

It’s got the durability to carry a heavy load. This nylon backpack from Jack Wolfskin is ok for a glamping escapade. But for the rugged backcountry? Nope.

There’s Durable Water Repellent coating to help with waterproofing. Your items will stay dry inside while walking in drizzles. Besides, there’s a built-in rain fly at the base of this nylon backpack. You can quickly pull it over once a heavy downpour starts to fall.

Highland Trail 55’s aluminum frame comes with not-so-breathable padding. You’ll have a waterfall on your back during summer getaways. If you plan to stay under the sun for a long time, you might find the Deuter Aircontact Lite Hiking Backpack helpful.

Seams are neatly put together in clean stitches, and the YKK zippers glide smoothly. The only trouble is the materials’ quality. But when it comes to the craftsmanship of this Jack Wolfskin nylon backpack, it won’t disappoint.

Sad to say, but the Highland Trail 55 Backpack only comes with a limited warranty. The company would only repair or replace your nylon backpack if it’s got a manufacturing defect. It doesn’t cover damage due to rugged use like Osprey backpacks and their All Mighty Guarantee.

Not impressed? See these hiking backpacks for more options.

Highland Trail 55 shoulder supports

Custom the Fit

Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55 Backpack shares the same back adjustment system with Deuter’s Aircontact Lite. It’s got a pull tab with a Velcro seal at the back with different loop levels so you can fine-tune the torso length.

There’s nothing special about the hip belts and shoulder straps. It’s decently padded with typical nylon webbings. Much better than the rather minimalist and budget-class Teton Scout 3400’s belt, it’s still not as comfortable as we hoped it would be. But considering its price, it’s ok. Make sure that you loosen up all the straps before you customize the fit of this nylon backpack from Jack Wolfskin. Just pull the straps, and you’re all set.

Now, if you want a hiking backpack where you can tweak even the angle of the hip belts, you might want to see how the Osprey Aether 65 works.

Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55 Backpack has a simple adjustment system. But it’s enough to provide you with a good fit.

Want more choices? Click here for the lowdown of the best hiking backpacks today.

Clips, Loops, Straps

We like that the loops in this nylon backpack are reflective. It helps with your nighttime visibility if you get caught outside still looking for your accommodation. There are various lash points. There are four on top of the lid, four on the front pocket, and a bungee string for your trekking pole on the right. Just the right amount of attachment loops, unlike the Mystery Ranch Glacier Hiking Backpack with one long line of lash points in the middle of the bag.

The compression straps of Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55 Backpack get the work done. It keeps the bag squeezed as possible while the load lifters on top remove some weight off of your shoulders.

This nylon backpack also serves some lash points in the shoulder straps. You can attach your compass or mini flashlight by the loops or clips at the sternum strap’s seams.

Even the side water bottle holders have compression straps outside to accommodate any bottle size.

Although it could’ve been better if there was a criss-cross bungee string outside to help drain your rain poncho after a storm. Take a look at TETON Sports Scout 3400 and Arc’teryx Aerios 30 Backpack for good examples of this.

If you don’t like what you’ve read so far, you can check our complete guide to the best hiking backpacks.

jack-wolfskin-highland-trail-55-front-view-with-bradley

Storage

Let’s see how much room Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55 Backpack got for you:

Main Compartment

With its 2-way access, this nylon backpack from Jack Wolfskin provides you with easy access. Double-cinched drawstrings on top give you a secure seal whether your hiking bag has five more liters or not. The clamshell opening at the front is a plus, so there’s no hassle digging your hands sifting through items inside.

This clamshell feature is also present on famous brands like the Salkan Backpacker’s Main Pack and Osprey Aether 65 Hiking Backpack. But the Highland Trail is better in terms of ease of access. The size of the clamshell opening is bigger, and the zipper opens more smoothly.

It also means no need to take out everything from the top opening to get your OOTD from the bottom of this nylon backpack. Just unzip the front access (under the front pocket), and voila! You have everything in sight.

We managed to squeeze in more than 80 rolled clothes for the actual storage space. You can also add another 5 liters on top. Although we don’t recommend you jam-pack it to the max. The materials are unreliable to carry significant weight and take some beating.

Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55 Backpack will do great for quick holidays on all-inclusive resorts where you have every convenience at your fingertips. But for technical off-grid adventures, where there’s a need to carry every gear you need? You might as well invest in a Granite Gear Blaze for durability you trust.

jack-wolfskin-highland-trail-55-trees

Hydration

There’s the typical built-in hydration sleeve with a 3-liter bladder capacity. You’ll find the tube port sitting on the right side. That translates to less time-consuming stops to rehydrate while tracing trails and more miles on your feet.

Jack Wolfskin’s side pocket for water bottles can carry small and big jugs. It was a bit challenging to get my drink while wearing the bag. It could’ve been great if there were angled openings towards the body for ease of use, like in the Osprey Aether 65 Hiking Backpack.

One solution is getting one of the water bottles and placing it in the right hip pocket of this nylon backpack. Once it’s empty, replace it with the other jug and put the empty one in the side pocket. But again, that’s a bit time-consuming.

jack-wolfskin-highland-trail-55-hydration-sleeve

Top Lid

The top lid is adjustable to accommodate the extra five liters in the main compartment. It’s the ideal space for your sunglasses, action cam, headlamp, USB cables, and other tech accessories. The zipper is on the rear section with an overhanging flap, so there is no stressing whether criminal hands can get a hold of your items.

Underneath the top lid, you’ll see a hidden pocket. Sneak in your cards, passport, and other valuables here. There’s also a key leash inside to grab your keys without turning the entire compartment inside out. Besides, it’s not always you come across a nylon backpack with a convertible hip pocket.

Front Pocket

Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55 has a safe zipped space for your extras, trading off shove-it front pocket for security. You get enough room for your journal, plane ticket, pens, and map.

Sleeping Bag Compartment

The spacious sleeping bag compartment has the standard detachable divider. You can unzip that to make extra room for your outfits. But unlike hiking backpacks from Osprey and Deuter, there are no loops outside for your sleeping mat/bag.

Under the sleeping bag compartment of this Jack Wolfskin nylon backpack, you’ll find the integrated rainfly. It’s already sewn into the base like TETON Sports Scout 3400. You save some time since all you need to do is pull it to the top to cover your hiking bag if you get trapped by torrential rains.

Hip Belt Pockets

You’ll love the spacious hip belt pockets of Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55 Backpack. Your phone, a few granola bars, and a Bluetooth headset can stay in the left pocket. The right hip pocket can double as a water bottle holder! I have trouble snatching my water bottle the traditional way while carrying my hiking backpack, so this feature is a megahit for me.

Storage space a little off for you? Jump to these hiking backpacks for alternatives.

jack-wolfskin-highland-trail-55-hip-pocket

Summary

For roughly $140, Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55 Backpack is a decent companion for quick holidays and luxury-outdoor hybrid activities like glamping.

While the materials don’t present the technical specifications for technical backcountry trips and year-long backpacking, they appear to hold up against a few sessions of camping & hiking wear and tear. The robust stitching is worth praising here.

We’re also rooting for the convertible hip pocket and hope to see this add-on on more hiking backpacks.

Overall, this nylon backpack is not a bad option within its price range. It’s got all the basics on board, plus the sleek look is hard to miss.

Buy this backpack if:

  • Want a sleek looking hiking backpack
  • Need a bag you can use both in an urban and natural setting
  • Looking for a hiking backpack worth its tag
See the complete list of the best Hiking Backpacks here!

Related Reviews

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Stylish design works in both urban and outdoor escapades
  • check-mark
    The clamshell opening is one of the best
  • check-mark
    Zipped front pocket provides security for items you need within reach
  • check-mark
    Spacious sleeping bag compartment
  • check-mark
    You can max out another 5 liters on top
  • check-mark
    Lumbar pad and hip belts are thick and comfortable
  • check-mark
    Adjustable torso length for a custom fit
  • check-mark
    Integrated rainfly saves you time
  • check-mark
    There's a hidden pocket under the top lid for your valuables
  • check-mark
    Hydration sleeve for longer trips
  • check-mark
    Reflective accents help with visibility during the night
  • check-mark
    The right hip pocket can double as a water bottle holder
  • check-mark
    Enough lash points on shoulder straps for compass, flashlight, etc.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThe back padding system isn’t as breathable as it could be.
  • check-markMissing criss-cross bungee strings or a front mesh pocket for wet items
FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Is Jack Wolfskin Highland Trail 55 Backpack waterproof?

This Jack Wolfskin backpack is for hiking and backpacking. It is made out of nylon and comes with a DWR coating which helps in waterproofing. But it also has a built-in rain cover at the base to ensure that heavy downpours won’t penetrate inside the bag.

How to clean a nylon backpack?

If you choose to machine wash your bag, remove every detachable strap. Then, turn the nylon backpack inside out (along with the pockets) before putting it inside a laundry sack. Throw it inside the washing machine with cold water and mild detergent and rinse thoroughly. Let it air dry.

Some nylon backpacks need special care, a.k.a. hand washing. The same procedure goes. But instead of using the machine, you carry on using a toothbrush on hard to remove stains and soft cloth of mesh areas. Rinse properly before hanging to air dry.

Which is better, nylon or polyester backpack?

It depends on your purpose. Nylon is lightweight and stretchable yet still has a better strength-to-weight ratio. A nylon backpack is light but can endure heavy loads without breaking easily. But, polyester has got an edge over tear- and water-resistance thanks to its rough texture and extra-tight weaving patterns.

Given how technology moves today, plus DWR coating, whether a nylon or polyester backpack is better is no longer a question. Materials are not the primary factor when looking for a bag anymore, but their performance. And the best way to do that is by investing some time diving into in-depth reviews and customer feedback.

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