Karrimor Jaguar ST 75-95 2009

The Jaguar has been a staple of the Karrimor range for decades, and its latest incarnation includes taped waterproof seams and an update to the classic Self Adjust (SA) back system. A highly waterproof pack is a real bonus for UK walking, and it will fit a wider range of back sizes than many on test.

 

Design

The new Jaguar is a curious beast, looking innovative with different foam density areas on the SA back system and an increased degree of adjustability. It’s got a large top pocket with a mesh pocket beneath, two bellows pockets on each side, a handy snack pocket on either side, and a rather flat but readily accessible pocket on the front. A long, curved, shaped zip offers decent access to the base, and the main compartment can be opened up via a flap in the front to reveal both the contents and a useful mesh pocket. Most noteworthy, though, is that this pack has highly water-resistant material and taped seams throughout, meaning it should be ideal for British backpacking.

 

On the hill

I found that, despite the high degree of adjustability, the SA back system just didn’t deliver the same freedom of movement as the other sacks. It is comfortable enough, but it felt restrictive too. More concerning, though, is that though comfy during the months it was on test, the cushioning foam on the hips and shoulders could compress to nothing over time – a problem I have had with Jaguar sacks in the past. When it came to the main body of the pack, the huge bellows side pockets were great… if you left the lid unclipped. Much more useful would have been a design where the lid closure straps hadn’t run directly across the pockets and cut their volume in half. The angle of the compression straps at the bottom meant it would take neither sleeping mat nor wet tent, and the taper of the main compartment left the bottom of the sack a weird and awkward shape to pack. At least it remained highly (but not totally) waterproof over a few long days of rain…

 

Made in China
Stated capacity 75 litres with expansion to 95 litres from lid and side pockets
Trail tested capacity 82 litres
Weight 2.71kg
Back lengths adjustable
Materials 420 denier dot matt nylon, 420 denier HD and Hypalon
Stockist details tel. 0870 838 7300; www.karrimor.com
Stockists in the UK no info provided

Verdict: The complex back system, which is comfortable and stable in the short term, gets the Jaguar off to a reasonable start. But overall it is let down by inaccessible pockets, awkward packing, lots of clutter and straps that offer limited functionality.

 

Review by Ben Winston
First published in Trail magazine April 2009