Yesterday I did about 20 Km with this pack on, packed with all I needed for an overnight camp and onward journey. I was noticing issues at about 3-4 Km and really starting to regret it after about 15 Km. By the time I finished my first day’s hike, I was in a very sorry state and decided to abort: I really enjoy hiking but I do it for fun and want my pack to be comfortable – I wasn’t prepared to go through a second day of agony, just for the sake of it.
Perhaps the reason I’m disappointed with the Karrimor is that the only other pack I own is a Berghaus Cyclops II Vulcan, a monster 120L beast that is far too big for my needs these days. I bought the Karrimor to downsize to a more reasonable pack for overnight hiking but to maintain the PLCE compatibility so I had an element of interchangeability (my Berghaus Vulcan is the older model that was still compatible). The Karrimor also has a full length back with a waist belt that sits on the waist, unlike most other small (cheaper) PLCE compatible packs which are made to sit on top of webbing and therefore have ‘waist’ belts that actually sit somewhere around the middle of your stomach.
The key issue I found was that the padding was wholly inadequate for heavy loads. Admittedly, my kit is what you might call ‘robust’ as opposed to ‘lightweight’. If I just packed a bivvy, basha and sleeping bag, I might have been OK, however, I expected a lot more in terms of comfort from a bag that boasts the capability of being expanded to 70L (45L pack + 2 x 12.5L rocket pouches). I had a very similar load on a slightly shorter hike about a month ago using my Berghaus (minus side pouches). I managed the whole two day hike, coming back knackered but ready for more. The key difference being that the Berghaus has some of the thickest padding I have ever seen and, in spite of the size and weight of the pack itself, it is one of the most comfortable packs I have ever worn.
The issues I had were :
(1) The pack sagged and no adjustment to the waist belt or shoulder harnesses could prevent the bottom of the pack digging into the base of my spine. Moreover there was also no extra padding on that part of the pack to mitigate the issue. Most disappointingly, it was the edge of the pack’s backboard that was digging in and causing the discomfort, not any of the content.
(2) After many Km of adjusting and tightening to alleviate the first issue, the shoulder harnesses were really starting to dig in. I much preferred the narrower thicker harnesses of the Berghaus to the broader flatter Karrimor harnesses.
On the positive side, as others have already commented, the bag is stuffed full of features and built like the proverbial brick outhouse. I do intend to keep this pack to see how it fares as a daysac (I suspect it will do very well) but I doubt I will ever try to do another overnight hike with it.
The good stuff:
(1) Very well made
(2) Lots of features
(3) PLCE compatible with full length back
The ‘could do better’:
Verdict: Good, so long as you don’t have to carry anything heavy too far…