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Whether you’ve been backpacking for decades and prefer the heavy-load capability of an external-frame pack or you’re a novice looking for a sturdy pack that won’t bust your budget, the JanSport Carson Backpack delivers. JanSport loaded the Carson with useful features from internal-frame packs yet retained the easy-to-pack, easy-to-adjust design of the external style.

  • Easily adjustable hip-belt slides up and down to fit 16- to 21-inch torso lengths
  • Extendable lid has a zippered pocket ideal for toiletries, headlamp, other small items
  • Hydration sleeve and port (bladder not included) makes drinking on the trail a cinch
  • Front compression straps stabilize your load
  • Padded, mesh hip-belt stays dry and comfortable

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JanSport Carson Backpack - 4900cu in

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Here's what others have to say...

Is this pack waterproof or must one have...

Is this pack waterproof or must one have a raincover?

Best Answer Responded on

Hey Garry,
This pack is not waterproof, you will need to pick up a rain cover.

Responded on

Where can I get a rain fly for this pack ?

What is the better pack, this Jansport...

What is the better pack, this Jansport Carson or the Kelty Trekker?

Responded on

kelty is the better pack...where do u hike?

Responded on

These two packs are different by almost 1000 cubic inches... so you're really comparing apples to oranges.

That said, the Jansport is just about the same weight for all that extra capacity ... it's reviewed about as highly as the Kelty too.

3 5

Economical but certainly not the best

I bought this pack as a new hiker intending to go on longer trips. It provides A LOT of space, lots of pickets and an external frame to attach a lot of extra gear. There is no space between the pack and your back making the reservoir holder almost useless when any decent amount of weight is carried. The shoulder straps are not padded well nor is the material soft enough to keep your shoulders from nearly rubbing raw when there is lots of weight. So these two short comings take away from the fact it can carry so much.

Other than the reservoir and strap problems, it is a great buy. I've used it on many week long treks in difficult terrain (e.g. Alaska). However, if you know you will be hanging many long trips in the future, it is worth spending the extra money on a more comfortable pack.

Responded on

If your shoulder are getting "rubbed raw" then you are not wearing the pack correctly. If you use your hip belt properly they should be carrying the load not your shoulders. The shoulder straps are just used to keep the pack from falling backwards from your body. If you have an REI close to you feel free to go in and have one of their pack fitters explain (and show) you how to properly adjust and wear a pack so that your hips are carrying the weight - not your shoulders.

2 5

Some Speculation based on Experience

If you are experienced and know what you want go for it. But if you are not please consider this advice. External frame packs have not been popular for some time. 4.8 pounds is a heavy pack. This pack has some very nice features and would probably last your lifetime, but my guess is that as you gain experience you will understand how critical weight is and will shed this one for one that weighs closer to 3 lbs. rather than close to 5. My JanSport is not identical to this, but the weight is and I will probably never use it again because I now own much lighter packs that are more than adequate for the job.

Responded on

Internals are not to everyones liking Mr or Mrs Obvious and 4.8 lbs is not heavy for a comfy 80.

Responded on

I agree with Guy Dabney. That's not heavy for a pack that size. I have a similar older model Jan Sport, about 35 years old. It's still in good shape and gets used regularly. It's actually lighter than my internal frame packs because it's a little smaller (4,000 cu in). I usually use internal frame packs, but for some tasks an external frame is the way to go and I know people who love the versatllity of external frame packs.

Responded on

Just for fun, I did a little QAD research on this site:

One each from Arcteryx, Gregory and Osprey, with similar capacities and features as the Carson. Never mind that they cost two or three times as much, but lo and behold, all three weigh MORE than the Carson. Hmmm.

Yes, internals are more popular. And they're better suited than an external for off trail stuff, mountaineering, and scrambling. If that's your bag, fine. But if the difference in a pound or two in the unloaded weight of my pack will hinder me on the sort of trails I dig, then I probably ought not be on those trails in the first place, with or without a pack.

Responded on

So many people are focused on weight. Far too often we forget about carry comfort. A good pack can make a heavy load feel light. An extreme example would be using your hands to carry a 30lbs rock or two 20lbs dumbbells. The rock would weigh less but you could carry the heavier dumbbells much easier.

Responded on

If you have an internal frame pack I would urge you to load it up with what you are going to take on the trail. Put it on and take a nice 5 mile hike. The put the same items in an external frame pack and do the same. Even though the external frame pack might be "heavier" than the internal frame pack I suggest that the comfort level of it is probably better. Like a previous poster noted - weight is not everything - comfort definitely is the critical aspect. Now if you are going ultra-light and have a total load out of 10 or 12 pounds in a UL pack - then there is no need for an external frame pack that will amount to almost 50% of your total load out weight. I have an EXCELLENT internal frame pack in an Osprey Volt 75 that my son uses. I constantly do comparison tests between a several different model external frame Jansport packs and the Osprey - using the exact same load. I find that the Jansports are more comfortable to carry for long distances (one week to 10 day trips / 50 to 70 miles up and down mountains) than the Osprey. Just like the "Ford and Chevy" comparisons - there will always be the "internal vs. external" arguments. Find what works best for you and go with it. You can buy this pack NEW for about $50 - if you don't like it you can probably get your money back by selling it on Craig's List or to a Scout unit. Hope this helps!

i have friend with a carson 90 almost...

i have friend with a carson 90 almost identical to carson 80. my son has the 80 model, i don't like the waist belt on the 80. the 90 had a thicker and better padded belt. with a better cinch system on the 90. is there anywhere i may be able to find some of the older style waist belts and retro fit to the 80. hopefully someone from jansport may read this but they haven't responded on their own site

Best Answer Responded on

John, I doubt if anyone from JanSport will reply on these forums. I think you would have better luck calling them at (510) 614-4000 and ask for customer service.

..What is the weight of this pack? How...

..What is the weight of this pack? How small will the hip belt cinch down to, IOW what is the smallest waist size it will work with?

Responded on

Hey, the weight is: 4 lbs 12 oz / 2.18 kg and the hip belt will cinch down small, until the padding is touching...

5 5

I love this pack

I bought my Carson 80 from backcountry probably 6 years ago, when i was getting ready for my trip to philmont in boy scouts. what actually had happened was i had purchased a kelty external frame, and backcountry didn't realize they were out of them until after i had ordered. A REAL PERSON called me, and told me that although they didn't have the kelty, they would sell me the carson 80 at the same price due to the trouble i had gone through. they told me it was a good pack, and they were right. after all this time, the only thing that has worn out on it is the straps, but that's because they are the old design and apparently i can get a new pair for free from JanSport. i took this pack on a 10 day trip at Philmont, New Mexico, i took it on 2 trips on the massachusetts section of the AT as well as other memorable journeys. I also gave it to a friend of mine who took it to South America and Africa with them. every trip i have taken it on, it has performed beyond my expectations. the other thing about it is, it NEVER runs out of room! it's magical how much stuff you can put in it! it may be a bit worn in, but it's still running strong! thank you backcountry for this wonderful pack! my one complaint is that because it has so much room, everyone will want to fit what they can't fit into your bag!

Anyone know if the Jansport Carson can be...

Anyone know if the Jansport Carson can be had in any other color than blue? My sheila hikes with a blue one and mine just needs to be a different color...I have googled images and see the Carson in Black and Cilantro Green but cannot find to purchase.
Besides being different it just helps to tell at a glance her backpack from mine.

Responded on

Try Craig's List or Ebay to find one of those colors

What is the weight of the bare frame plus...

What is the weight of the bare frame plus waist belt and shoulder straps, minus the bag parts? I'm looking for a practical way to haul a large, heavy duffle bag up mountains, and am considering modifying this pack into a duffle hauler.

Responded on

This pack is not well suited for your use. There are other's that are specifically designed for that. They have a support shelf on the bottom instead of the supporting frame on top. You can remove the bag and just use the frame when you need to. I have one that is comfortable with a 90 to 100 lb. load, not that I would want to carry that more than a couple miles. My legs would be the issue, not the pack/frame.

What is the maximum weight that this...

What is the maximum weight that this backpack can carry comfortably?

Responded on

This is a very large pack ... with enough volume for weeks-long unsupported expeditions. So... the question really becomes how much weight can you carry. Most people would recommend not exceeding one quarter of your body weight if you're going to hike any distance--and at that limit you're looking at a heavy pack.

I have an old carson that I've used for...

I have an old carson that I've used for many years. Unfortunately the shoulder straps are wearing out. Where can I buy new upgraded straps + belly band?

Best Answer Responded on

JanSport has a lifetime warranty. I blew out a shoulder strap on a 2002 Carson 90 and took it and another one (my son's) to the JanSport warranty center. They replaced both sets of shoulder straps for free. Go to their website, call the warranty dept and they will take good care of you.

do the shoulder straps have a sternum...

do the shoulder straps have a sternum strap?

Responded on

Yes on the sternum strap, it's a great pack. Plenty of room, the external frame gives you many options to add lashings to hold extra stuff and it sits on your body very well with plenty of adjustments for different body types. Huge A+ on this pack!

4 5

cheap and excellent

I like JanSport external frame pack very much, although shortcomings exist. It is easy to improve and remodel. The new Carson 80 have many advantages than older model. The hip-belt and shoulder-belts were re-designed and fit well, but slightly harder than before. The size of external frame is smaller than the old D3 frame, but it is too large, because I am living in Japan and Japanese mountains are steep. So, I had completely re-modeled Carson 80. In the first place, I had cut the frame shorter and attached the old D3 joints to the frame. In the second, I twisted the hinge to fit my waist and sewed the used insole to the belt, because it was too solid. I also changed the way of connecting shoulder yoke to slant easily and fit well. And I change the way of passing the belts, because the buckles easily loosen. I cannot upload other photos. Please see my HP.

cheap and excellent
4 5

Great external frame pack for the $$

Bought the pack for a trip that got rained out, but loaded 'er up to get a feel. Good displacement of weight (50lbs), good fit (6' 185lbs.) bag does have a sleeping bag compartment.
Over all wish I could have trail tested it, but so far a great buy for the $$.

What type of hydration system works with...

What type of hydration system works with this Pack?

Best Answer Responded on

Basically any bladder can work, so throw your favourite system on.

were can i find replacement shoulder straps...

were can i find replacement shoulder straps for a carson 90 backpack

Best Answer Responded on

Contact Jansport's warranty department. If your shoulder strap failed, they will likely replace it for free.

Otherwise, you can purchase new shoulder straps - I just purchased new ones from their warranty department that have load lifter straps. Price was very reasonable!

Responded on

If you have the older straps with plastic grommets, the warranty department will replace them for free. If you wear out anything, they will replace it. I recently replaced two sets of shoulder straps on 2002 vintage carson 90s.