When I was new to this game a long time ago, Karrimor were it when it came to rucksacks. A family company with lots of big names attached, heroes even. Haston, Bonnington, Habeler. Everyone wanted Karrimor kit. No-one could touch them. I still have my Jaguar GR80 in the garage, I loved that rucksack. It was so sturdy you could empty it out and sleep in it, sod the tent.  They made KSBs which were the first hillwalking boots I ever owned. I wore them all year round and regardless of conditions. In a world of leather clumpers, they were a revelation. Don’t get me started on the Alpiniste, that’s some British mountaineering history right there.

Much water has passed under the bridge since then and Karrimor’s fortunes have waned more than waxed. The history is there for all to see, the departure of Mike Parsons, the bankruptcy and buy-outs. Latterly the brand has been used for pushing out mass-produced gear for casual walkers via Sports Direct. If you’re interested in the history, go get yourself a copy of  Mike and Mary Rose’s book, Invisible on Everest.

I’ll be honest, I had written Karrimor off. Imagine my surprise then, when I start to see kit coming from the Karrimor house that’s interesting again.

This is the X-Lite 45+10.

There are a lot of features to look at, some of which are reminiscent of the old models; fFormat back system anyone?

The back is adjustable, which is great news for taller chaps like me. The harness straps are padded, likewise the hipbelt, with the addition of some decent sized pockets.  The fit did remind me of the old Karrimor style, fully adjustable and very comfortable.

Storage-wise, there’s tons of room in the main section and a segmented lower section which takes a sleeping bag and mat very nicely. I haven’t had a segmented sack since the Jaguar. There is a zip if you want to open up into a single space. There’s also a nice double drawcord arrangement up top, which helps with weather sealing and bit of compression.

One thing that really caught my eye is a narrow longitudinal pocket which runs down the back. My tent fits in there perfectly. There are tensioning straps, axe/pole attachments, mesh bottle pockets and sturdy clips and zip pulls. Overall the material seems very sturdy and tear resistant.

So what price do you pay for these features? Weight is 1350g, which isn’t superlight, but it’s not bad for a pack of this capacity either and certainly isn’t a deal breaker for me.

In hill use, it’s been very comfy and capacious. I did 12 miles in the Ochils with a full luxury overnight load in it at the weekend and it was a great carry, with no chafing or rubbing or pokey bits. This strikes me as a decent backpacking sack.

So I’ve been surprised. Who knew that Karrimor could reclaim a place in my estimations? I’ll be keeping a close eye on what else comes from their house from now on.

Leave A

Comment

June 13, 2012
Nice looking little pack. Looks like it worked out well. I got a Helium jacket, giving it a bit of a going over at the moment.
June 14, 2012
Aye this was a real surprise. I'll be interested in what you think of the Helium.
Jonathan
June 13, 2013
Hi Michael, i am looking at getting this pack and you are the only review that i have found online. Do you have any more thoughts or opinions on this pack?
June 14, 2013
Hi Jonathan, I've used it several times since I wrote it up and it's still going fine. Adjustment is good, it holds a shedload of kit and it's not massively heavy. I saw that you can pick them up for 44 quid at the moment, you'll be struggling to do any better at that price point.
Jonathan
June 14, 2013
Hi Michael, Unfortunately i am located in asia and the pack is going for 120 quid. It is one of the cheaper / light options that i have. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
Julian
September 27, 2013
Hi Michael, How are you getting on with this rucsac? Can you tell me how long the front pocket is as I have a Karrimor Xlite X1 tent (picked it up from Karrimor for £36!) and I wondered if it would fit. Packed size for the tent is 35cm x 12c. Karrimor have some good kit for someone on a starter budget like me. This rucsac is currently on at £65.00 http://store.karrimor.com/karrimor-x-lite-4510-rucksack-792041 Where did you see it at £44? Best regards Julian
September 28, 2013
Julian, I reckon that tent will fit with a fair bit of space, but I'll check the size when I get home. I've used it with a Laser Photon which is 35x10 and there's a fair bit of room. I'll do some measuring and report back. I think it's a great pack for the price. It was £44 when I first wrote this up, which was back in June 2012 and I think that was from SportsDirect. A quick survey now shows that £65 seems to be the best you'll get. Inflation eh?
Julian
September 30, 2013
Thanks Michael. I am inclined to get this pack. I am hoping to get into some lightweight solo backpacking and want my pack to be 10kg or less. The dilemma though is that the lighter the kit the more it costs. This fits the bill for now. There is the other matter of creature comforts. When I was in my 20s I could sleep on granite. Now I am the wrong side of forty my bones ache a little so the mat has to be thick!
October 8, 2013
Julian, I managed to get my act together and measure the rear pocket, it's 50x15 at the top, widening to 28 wide at the bottom. Tons of room for the tent and a set of soggy waterproof breeks too!
Zaid
November 1, 2013
Hello Michael, I want to buy this beg but right now almost all the store are out of stock. can u kindly assist me if you know some one want to sell this beg (condition new) My sister currently at UK (Green park) and will coming back to Malaysia on 3/11/2013 (she helping me to buy this awesome bag).. Please help me.. :D
Anonymous
December 12, 2013
Michael - I got this pack in the end and have used it once so far for a 12 mile walk in Malham. It all worked OK and was comfortable. I don't know much but it looks good too. I have bought quite a bit of Karrimor stuff now and you can't beat it for the price. I packed all my kit for an overnighter into the pack just to see how it (and me) would bear up! Then I camped in a site in the village at the end of the walk! Thanks for your help.
Julian
December 12, 2013
Michael - that post just now was from me!
December 20, 2013
Good man Julian, glad you like it.