Aarn Marathon Magic 30 rucksack (2008)

Developed by top New Zealand adventure racing athlete Marcel Hagener, this ultralight rucksack is designed to limit energy output and enhance balance, agility and stability. The key is the balance pockets, which link the shoulder straps to the waistbelt, and the shoulder straps also slide through the pack to allow body movement. A one litre bottle can be stashed in these pockets. A unique system of rod supports prevent the sack from bulging when stuffed with gear. The chest straps also get a unique cross-chest configuration that again works towards stability without reducing freedom of movement. There is a massive stash pocket on the front and a fast-closing single-buckle lid. This all adds up to a very functional pack that I found ideal for running with gear. But some other sacks have benefits over this, including a lower price and less weight. Not everyone will like the torso pockets, as they may just feel in the way and they can bounce a bit if the straps are not adjusted tightly to prevent movement.

Capacity 30 litres + 3 litre pockets
Fabric 500D Cordura, 330D Cordura, 90D ripstop nylon
Features padded back system with free-floating shoulder straps; torso-mounted pockets; shoulder straps slide through tunnel in sack; front compression pocket; external lid pocket; single buckle lid; hydration system-compatible
Weight 785g
Made in China
Stores in the UK 12

If you want optimum performance, then this sack should be considered, but you may not like those torso pockets – so try before you buy.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine August 2008