Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Karrimor has joined the lightweight revolution

14th February 2007

Every month, my subscription copy of TGO features articles dedicated to lightweight backpacking. Late last year, they featured Karrimor’s forthcoming X-lite range of backpacks. See OutdoorsMagic.com for more. The weight (2.75 kg) of my Karrimor Cougar secured my memory of the article. Now that that I am pondering replacement of my current daypack, two members of the range have caught my interest: the Ether 500 (1500 g; £120) and the Vapour 45 (1220 g; £90); both are just becoming available to buy. Both offer the ability to remove items such as hip belts and lids to save a further 300-400 g. In terms of specification, they seem to compare well with their Gregory counterparts with prices are at or below those of Gregory’s G pack and Z55. In a head-to-head, I would have to say that Karrimor’s capacities would swing it for me unless comfort was an issue.

However, my virtual window shopping has revealed that other mainstream manufacturers are coming in the lightweight game too. For instance, I have spotted options from Berghaus and Lowe Alpine in the same weight range, thought there seems to be no suggestion of removable components like in the case of Gregory or Karrimor. For instance, Berghaus’ Arete 45 weighs in at a trim 1300 grams while Lowe Alpine’s Walkabout Air 45 tips the scales at 1460 grams. The prices are nice too: I spotted an Arete going for about £45 and a Walkabout for around £60.

My Eurohike is set to last a while longer, I’ll continue my pondering. That said, I might act when Karrimor’s Vapour 45 becomes more widely available. Field and Trek seem to be the only ones beginning to stock it right now.

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