Karrimor Alpinist 45+10 (2012)

The Karrimor Alpinist has been a classic pack since the 1980s, but not all incarnations of the model have been as good as the original. However this 2012 version is superb. At 1404g the Alpinist 45+10 is slightly heavier than some sacks, but it is a more durable design with a nice set of tough features that make it ideal for mountaineering and scrambling while remaining very functional for more general mountain walking. The back system is a padded design that allows good airflow and is very soft on the back. It’s also a very stable carry that sits close to the body, making it ideal for scrambling and mountaineering. The narrow profile is excellent too and it has the essential side compression straps and very durable wand pockets so you can stash trekking poles on the sides easily. There is just one main compartment and no external pockets (other than the lid). The lid has double buckles, unlike past designs of this sack, which have had a single buckle – but the lid retains the ability to be raised – while a baffle prevents water from creeping into the main compartment when it is. The price is great too, but for more money you do get a sack with a little more finesse.

Weight 1404g
Capacity 45-55 litres
Compartments 1
External zipped pockets 1
Wand pocket yes
Compression straps yes
Men’s back lengths one size
Women’s back lengths none
Website www.karrimor.com

 

Verdict

The Karrimor Alpinist 45+10 is a classic sack that is well-designed for easier mountaineering, scrambling and mountain walking with a great price tag; but it is relatively heavy.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2012


Karrimor Lynx (2012)

Traditionally when you needed a durable and roomy backpack you would automatically go for a Karrimor – and those characteristics still apply today, with the Lynx offering plenty of space for all your camping gear (and a fair bit more), a fantastically bombproof fabric and a build that’s certain to withstand everything you (and perhaps baggage handlers) throw at it. But now with people willing to sacrifice durability for lighter weight, these sacks don’t perform quite as well. Tipping the scales at nearly 1.8kg before you’ve even packed it, the Karrimor Lynx is the heaviest sack in our test.
It certainly is easy to pack, though, with two accessible compartments that zip into one (if required); good-sized wand, lid and zip pockets for easy-to-reach extras; and two quick-release compression straps.

The hipbelt contains no pockets and sits well on the hips and back. In fact the back system is one of the most comfortable  here. The mesh padding gives an adequate amount of ventilation too. However the Karrimor Lynx’s heavy weight does start to tire you out on long walks, hampering your comfort long-term.

Weight 1.79kg

Capacity 40-50 litres

Compartments 2

External pockets 2

Wand pockets yes

Hydration pocket yes

Back lengths 1

Floating lid no

Men’s option yes

Website www.karrimor.com

 

Verdict

The Karrimor Lynx is a bombproof and generously sized pack that may prove just a bit too heavy and bulky for the average hillwalker’s needs.

Review by Phoebe Smith

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2012


Karrimor Airspace 35+5 (2011)

The back system is a little different to others, with a thinner area in contact with the back, which can be a little awkward at first compared to wider mesh vents. The hip belt also flexes independently of the rest of the pack, which does allow for more comfort and movement in the hips, although it can sometimes stick into the lumbar region a little. The split padding around the hips also does a good job of gripping, although it isn’t as well-shaped and contoured as other models. The actual pack itself is fairly simple, with a single main compartment and a couple of external pockets. There are a couple of zip-closure side pockets that seem to be a little too thin for much practical use, especially as they are trapped under compression straps.

Capacity: 35 litres

Weight: 1,453g

Main compartment: Lid and drawcord

Back system: Suspended mesh

Contact: 0870 838 7300 www.karrimor.com

Review from Country Walking magazine, December 2011.


Karrimor X-Lite 20

Another pack lacking the extra pockets and strappy bits that you’d expect to find on a technical pack. Its streamlined build works well when you’re in full motion (for example, climbing a steep mountain path) as well as simply keeping everything tucked away together in one main pocket. The slim design means the pack sits tucked away in the middle of your back, allowing plenty of movement for your arms. The thin back system isn’t too bad at venting but it’s that small area of contact that really helps to prevent sweating. Inside, there isn’t too much room, especially if you’re not carrying a hydration system and need to store water bottles inside. Access to the bottom of the pack through the zip pocket is good.

VITAL STATS
Capacity
: 20L
Weight: 603g
Main compartment closure: Zip
Back system: Vented
Accessories: Pole loops; compression straps; hydration-compatible
Contact: 0870 838 7300; www.karrimor.com
• Review from Country Walking magazine, July ’11


Karrimor X-Lite 35

A slender shape, with a low-key back system and not too much in the way of padding. The more compressed padding here is decent enough, giving just enough cushioning whilst maintaining support. The slim, channeled back padding  does help to keep sweat levels down, although not as much as some. After prolonged periods of carrying a heavy load, shoulder straps can get a little uncomfortable.

Capacity: 35L
Weight: 891g
Main compartment: Drawcord and buckle lid
Back system: Channeled
Contact: 0870 838 7300; www.karrimor.com


Karrimor Airspace 35+5 2010

Karrimor’s Airspace technology offers a good reason to opt for a ventilated back system. With very little of you in contact with the pack the Karrimor Airspace 35+5 is extremely comfortable, and it was best in our test at dealing with sweat. The articulated hipbelt really helped comfort and stability. But it felt heavier than it needed to be at 1455g.

Stockists – tel. 0870 838 7300; www.karrimor.com

The Karrimor Airspace 35+5 is a good, robust pack offering one of the most comfortable ventilated back systems; it should be tested alongside the Lowe Alpine Airzone 35 and the Vaude Triset 35+8.

Review by Matt Swaine
First published in Trail magazine September 2010


Karrimor Airspace 25 rucksack

The Airspace is a neat, good-looking pack with a great back system that feels both cool and very stable. It also has an excellent harness, with well-shaped, breathable mesh straps. Zip-access makes it easy to get kit in and out of the main compartment and the large front pocket is just about big enough for a hat and gloves. Side compression straps help keep it stable when it’s not full and the drawcord pole attachments do their job well. It’s hydration-compatible and comes with a useful rain cover.

VITAL STATS
Capacity
: 25L
Main compartment: Zipped
Back system: Concave
Other features: Hydration-compatible; pole holders
Contact: 0870 838 7300; www.karrimor.com


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




KARRIMOR X LITE 35

Review: The X Lite offers a new take on the concave back system with two mesh panels stretched between the wearer and the pack rather than the usual single panel. It worked well and felt both cool and comfortable. A short, boxy pack but well-made and stable with any load. It has a good lid pocket and easy bottom access but the mesh side pockets aren’t as useful as most as they’re a bit small with fiddly zips.
VITAL STATS
Capacity: 35 litres
Main compartment: Lid/drawcord
Back system: Concave
Other features: Padded waist belt, front pocket, lid pocket, pole attachments
Colours: Cinder/black, race blue/cinder, flame/cinder
Contact: www.karrimor.comVerdict: A good-looking, well-made pack that has a good back system and some very useful features, although it could do with bigger side pockets. Quite dear for what it is.

KARRIMOR KODIAK 35

Review: A superbly comfortable pack, even with a heavy load. The wind tunnel back system keeps the weight close to the back and stable, although we had to pack hard items carefully to stop them digging in. It has plenty of space with some useful pockets and a rain cover for the inevitable soaking.
VITAL STATS
Capacity: 35 litres
Main compartment: Lid/drawcord
Back system: Wind Tunnel (channelled)
Other features: Padded waist belt, multi- pockets, pole attachments, external hydration sleeve
Colours: Cinder/flamingo, willow/pebble, marine/cinder
Contact: 0844 8001001, www.karrimor.comVerdict: A well-made pack with a very reasonable price tag. It manages heavy loads with ease and has plenty of useful features, including zipped pockets on the hip belt.

Karrimor Alpiniste 45+10 2008

The Alpiniste has been a classic rucksack for about 20 years. This latest incarnation is as good as it ever was. The pack has a stiff  ‘Fformat’ padded back system with airflow chimney that takes a little of the heat out of the carry. The shoulder straps are just wide enough and padded enough to make the carry comfy without unnecessary weight and bulk. It is a single compartment sack, with a snow-lock extension and a lid that can extend to add 10 litres of extra capacity. There is also a bellows panel linking the lid to the body to help keep water out of the main compartment. On the sides you get wand pockets and side compression straps, a system that is ideal for stowing trekking poles. The fabric is very durable. All that at a reasonable weight makes this ideal for mountain walking, scrambling and mountaineering. But there are lighter options, while other sacks have more airflow around the back, so this model is not for everyone. If you prefer side pockets then this will not be ideal either. I’d be keen to see this sack with a single-clasp closure on the lid rather than the twin buckles provided. 

Capacity 45+10
Fabric nylon ripstop
Features Fformat back system; removable hipbelt; top tensioning straps; compression straps; external lid pocket; twin ice axe/pole attachment points; hydration system-compatible
Weight 1350g
Made in China
Stores in the UK 50
Verdict
This is a classic rucksack that is virtually as good as it ever was and ideal for hill and mountain walking, scrambling and mountaineering.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2008

Karrimor Marathon 30 rucksack (2008)

Review
This ultralight rucksack has a good entry-level capacity of 30 litres coupled with a respectable weight of 652g for the sack. You also get a 128g hydration bladder provided for the price, which again is very respectable. The sack has a plain, padded back panel with padded hipbelt and shoulder straps, making this a reasonably comfortable carry. The main compartment has a zip-round opening plus an external zipped pocket. The mesh pockets are really useful for a lightweight jacket or food. Compression straps on the side of the pack are ideal for stashing gear as well as compressing the load. There is a dash of reflective piping on the back and shoulders straps for safety on night runs too. This sack feels durable and certainly offers a good introduction to light and fast gear. But there are lighter sacks out there, and some are lower in price. The hipbelt pockets are not the easiest to access on the move. The back system is sweatier than others with open mesh contact zones. A daisy chain system of webbing is not provided for stashing extra gear. I’m not a fan of zipped main openings as they can fail.

Capacity 30 litres
Fabric 210 denier ripstop nylon
Features padded back system; padded hipbelt fins; zipped mesh side pockets; mesh front pocket; front bungee gear stash; external zipped front pocket; zipped main closure; hydration system-compatible
Weight 652g + 128g hydration system
Made in China
Stores in the UK 20

Verdict
This is a great general mountain marathon sack for those wanting to save weight and retain a high capacity of 30 litres.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine August 2008

Karrimor Kodiak 30

At just 844g  this 30-40 litre rucksack is one of the lightest sacks in this review. It is extremely simple, yet it manages to embody the basics of functional performance. So you get a padded back system, with some airflow channels to reduce sweat buildup. The waistbelt is a basic webbing design but it is wide enough to be reasonably comfortable. The body of the sack has a main compartment with a small snow-lock extension, and there are compression straps to stabilise the load. Mesh wand pockets are also provided, so you can stash trekking poles on the sides. The lid is a simple design with an external pocket. This sack won’t win any prizes for complexity and snazzy looks, but on the hill it’ll happily carry your gear without problems. Overall, a great basic sack for day-tripping in valleys, hills, moors and mountains. But you’ll easily find sacks with more padding on the waistbelt and some with cooler airflow back systems that would be better in warm weather. Some sacks offer greater capacity for the same price, and others have numerous extra features. Some are even lighter and cheaper too.

 

Capacity: 30 litres
Fabric: 420D nylon, 300D ripstop polyester
Features: padded back system; compression straps; mesh wand pockets; external lid pocket; twin ice axe/pole attachment points; removable rain cover (90g)
Weight: 844g
Made in: China
Stores in the UK: 100

Verdict: A basic sack that has no delusions of grandeur. It is just a simple, effective carrier that is ideal for comfortable, lightweight walking and scrambling.

 

First published in Trail magazine, May 2008


Karrimor Cougar 60-70

This backpacking rucksack has bags of heritage and a well-proven design. The back length is adjustable on the move, thanks to the well-established SA back system, and this also allows lots of airflow around the back. The body of the sack is fairly conventional with an upper and lower main compartment, bellows side pocket, compression straps and a slim front pocket for maps. I really liked the fact that the compression straps had quick-release buckles to make side pocket access easier. The lid is not able to rise vertically to accommodate bigger loads and is instead directly attached to the body to ensure that rain doesn’t drain into the main compartment. The lid gets an external pocket with a second pocket, inside which a removable rain cover is stowed. It’s remarkable value at £100. But the rain cover is stuffed into a pocket in the lid and for me this was the first thing I removed, as it takes up too much space. While I liked the SA back system, it is not quite as stable as other designs (although to be fair I didn’t find it a problem when I took this pack out backpacking).

 

Capacity: 60-70 litres
Fabric: nylon & polyester
Features: SA Cool Mesh adjustable back system; twin main compartments; lid with internal and external pockets; bellows side pockets; front pocket; side compression straps; wand pockets; rain cover; hydration system-compatible
Weight: 2550g
Made in: China
Stores in UK: 150

Verdict: A superb rucksack at a stunning price. Some may prefer more stable back systems or extending lid designs.


Karrimor Airspace 35 Ladies

This rucksack has a cool Airspace back system, but we didn’t find it as stable and comfortable as others on the market. The hip belt is nicely padded, but we would have liked some elastic on the chest strap. It’s a good pack but we’d have preferred more pockets, especially one inside the lid. Also, the single compression strap makes load-carrying less effective than it could be.

 

Capacity: 35 litres
Main compartment: Lid/drawcord
Back system: Airspace (concave)
Other features: Waist belt independent of back system, two side pockets, lid pocket, pole holder
Colours: Ruby, marine, lime
Contact: 01372 377713; www.karrimor.com

Verdict: A fairly comfortable pack with a nice lightweight harness and back system. A few more pockets and another compression strap would have earned it more marks.


Karrimor Vapour 45L

This is a 41-50 litre pack that’s designed to keep the weight down. The parts that need to be sturdy are just that, while other sections are nice and light. Even the clips are designed to reduce weight, and the walking pole straps can be removed. Pockets are limited to an internal and an external pocket in the lid, while wand pockets on the sides and elastic on the lid will allow extras such as fleeces and water to be kept handy. The snow lock is fairly deep with the added benefit of being compressible. The shape is nice and slim too, ensuring only the colour and the design will make you stand out. The Trail tested capacity matched the manufacturer’s claims to the litre. But though the main pack is a great shape, as soon as you pack into the snow-lock extension the lid bulges badly. While the shoulder straps have been designed to be lightweight, this unfortunately makes them dig in and feel rather uncomfortable to wear.

 

Sex: men’s
Manufacturer’s capacity: 45 litres
Trail tested capacity: 45 litres
Fabric: Dyneema and nylon
Features: adjustable shoulder straps and removable hipbelt, side and lid compression straps, ski guides, bladder facility, axe and walking pole attachments
Weight: 1200g
Made in Vietnam
Stores in UK: no info provided

Verdict: Buy it if you want a slim, light, functional design for a fast pace on the hill.


Karrimor Endurance 60-90

This men’s backpacking rucksack’s new self-adjust back system is far more stable than before due to internal X-frame; can easily adjust back length without taking the rucksack off; lid extends; huge external pockets built into compression system; front mesh pockets; very flexible capacity. But back system feels a little lumpy; very unconventional compression and pocket layout takes time to understand; heavy at 3750g; it’s hard to find a more expensive ‘sack.

Verdict: Buy it if you want a very flexible capacity and adjustment on the move.


Karrimor Airspace 30

This daysack is similar to a technical climbing ’sack in concept with no unnecessary clutter and a clean, streamlined profile. The back system is adjustable, with shoulder straps you can alter at the top, a chest strap and hipbelt. The pocket on the body of the pack is comfortably OS map-sized. Plastic lugs and adjustable elastic allow for walking poles to be carried. The lid is secured by one buckle and fits well. It also has an external pocket that contains a rain cover. This is a really nicely designed pack that will satisfy your hill-walking needs well, and all for a thoroughly reasonable price. But for a walking pack this might be considered slightly light on pockets, as there are no external, secure pockets suitable for a water bottle. The use of plastic lugs to secure walking poles means you could not place an axe there instead if you needed to.

 

Manufacturer’s capacity: 30 litre
Trail tested capacity: 38.5 litre
Materials: KS-P600C 600D polyester & KS-420ND HD 420D nylon
Features: ventilated back system, lid pocket, front pocket, walking pole attachment, hydration system-compatible, rain cover
Weight: 1600g
Made in Vietnam
Stores in UK: no info provided

Verdict: Buy it if you appreciate minimalism, slick designs and don’t need bells and whistles.


Karrimor Trail 35

This daysack from Karrimor is pretty comfortable, with plenty of padding on the hip belt and a fairly cool channelled back system. The padded shoulder straps are well shaped and the chest strap offers plenty of adjustment. The Trail is a short pack with a boxy shape that makes it feel a little unstable. The choice of pockets is good, but some compression straps to keep the contents secure when part full would be nice.

Verdict: A traditional, well-featured rucksack at a fair price. The wide design makes it easy to pack, but the lack of compression straps means it’s more unstable than some with smaller loads.

Capacity: 35 litres

Main compartment: Lid/drawcord

Back system: Superwick (channelled)

Other features: Padded hip belt with zipped pockets, fixed side pockets, front pocket, mesh stash pockets, ice axe strap, hydration system compatible

Colours: Red/cinder, gator green/cinder, bluestone/cinder

Contact: 01372 377713; www.karrimor.com


Karrimor Zephyr 25L

This compact zipped daysack from Karrimor has a comfortable, channelled back system that keeps the load close to your back for stability. The padded shoulder straps are fine, but more adjustment on the chest strap would be a good idea. Some good features, including double compression straps, space for a hydration bladder and useful pockets. But the zipped compartments aren’t great, and the exterior is quite cluttered.

Verdict: A comfortable pack that carries heavy loads well. Make sure you try before you buy, as some may find the harness too small. Not as neat and tidy looking as some.

Capacity: 25 litres

Main compartment: Zipped (YKK)

Back system: Supercool Windtunnel (channelled)

Other features: Detachable waist belt, ladies fit harness, two front pockets, ice axe strap, rain cover, hydration system compatible

Colours: Wedgwood/cinder, black/cinder

Contact: 01372 377713; www.karrimor.com