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Aarn packbags


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Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-Leon (15)
SJPdP-SdC-Finisterre-Muxia (16)
Lisbon-SdC (17)

Le Puy-Pamplona (19)
#2
Hi everyone
Any one having experience doing the Camino with an Aarn pack bag?
Buen Camino from a very sunny Western Australia
Anton
Hi Anton.
I’ve walked a fair bit with an AARN pack - approx 1,500km on the Frances, and 750km on Portuguese.
The main distinguishing feature of the AARN setup is the front pouches, which I’m guessing is the reason for your question.
The pack I have has two 7ltr pouches mounted on the front of the shoulder straps.
I find the AARN setup very good. As with all things, there will be individual likes & dislikes, but for me it works well.
If you’ve looked at the info on the AARN website, you’ll have seen the rationale for the front pouches, and for me they work exactly as advertised. The weight in the front pouches balances out the weight in the ‘regular’ backpack section, resulting in a noticeable favourable shift in your centre of gravity. This allows for a more natural upright stance when walking.
Generally most Camino walkers won’t be carrying overly heavy packs, but even so, I find the load balancing effect beneficial even with a 10 - 12kg pack.
Another side benefit of the pouches is that you can store all the things that you might want while walking, giving easy access while still in motion - water, snacks, poncho, etc...
Buen Camino from Melbourne.
Scott
 
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#3
Love mine and I just bought a new one for my next Camino which will be in winter so there will be more bulk carried.
I used the long Natural Exhilaration 33l with compact balance pockets for my summer VDLP camino, a Marathon Magic 22l for the Perth Oxfam Trailwalker and I just bought a short Peak Aspiration which takes 44l with the bigger Expedition balance pockets.
I often use my MArathon magic to walk to work with a similar to Camino weight type of load. Much more comfortable that a regular daypack.
My neighbour is a keen bushwalker and they have about 6 packs in the family (all the other sizes!). Another friend has the occasional bad bout of sciatica and once put his back out on a bushwalking trip. This has not happened again since changing to an Aarn.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked the France
#4
Love mine and I just bought a new one for my next Camino which will be in winter so there will be more bulk carried.
I used the long Natural Exhilaration 33l with compact balance pockets for my summer VDLP camino, a Marathon Magic 22l for the Perth Oxfam Trailwalker and I just bought a short Peak Aspiration which takes 44l with the bigger Expedition balance pockets.
I often use my MArathon magic to walk to work with a similar to Camino weight type of load. Much more comfortable that a regular daypack.
My neighbour is a keen bushwalker and they have about 6 packs in the family (all the other sizes!). Another friend has the occasional bad bout of sciatica and once put his back out on a bushwalking trip. This has not happened again since changing to an Aarn.
Hi Donna I have got the L PeakAspiration plus the pouches.
We are for the Norte this time (Mai 1st) can't wait
When is the Perth Oxfam Trail walk ?
Buen Camino from sunny Perth
 
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#5
Hi Donna I have got the L PeakAspiration plus the pouches.
We are for the Norte this time (Mai 1st) can't wait
When is the Perth Oxfam Trail walk ?
Buen Camino from sunny Perth
The OTWP tends to be held in September each year and they have 50 and 100km options over 48 hours. If you can get together a team of 4 and are game for the fundraising, it can be a very fun thing to do.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
#6
My husband has one. He has severe spinal stenosis and ended up in the emergency room in Marin County USA after one of our legs on the California Mission Walk a couple years ago. I had read about the Aarn and thought it might help him. Kanga on this forum is a big proponent and I think you will find some old posts with lots of info.

Anyway, Tom used the Aarn on a couple more legs of the Mission Walk and last summer when we walked the Hærvejen in Denmark for two weeks. It was great and he had zero neck issues! It takes a bit of getting used to the front packs. It’s a bit more cumbersome for travel and taking it on and off is a little more complicated. But it truly seemed to help redistribute his pack weight to his hips.

Liz
 

MikeJS

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2011), Norte (2012), VdlP (Apr 2016). Sureste/Invierno (Apr/May 2017).
#7
I walked with someone on the VdlP 2 years ago and he was very happy with them.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#8
It is a great backpack. I have used mine on several caminos. It works as advertised, land I found it very convenient to detach the front pockets for making room around my bunk.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
#9
I won't repeat the comments already written but one thing I found when I was walking in the winter using the pack along with the front pouches was that it has a large" footprint". By that, I mean that when I take the pack off at coffee time the front pouches splay outwards, taking a lot more space than just a pack on its own. I have used the Aarn many times without the front pouches and never had a problem with the "footprint". It is one of the lighter packs available, and comfortable to wear even without the pouches. Buen Camino, Janet
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
Leon-SDC 2012, Hospitalera Rabanal 2014, First Aid 2015, Burgos-Rabanal 2017, Part VF 2017
#11
I have an Aarn pack and love it. As I'm on the South Coast of NSW away from Sydney where I'm on holidays at the moment, and the pack is back home in Sydney, I can't tell you which model it is; however it's 30L and - the most convenient thing - it opens like a suitcase. It enables me to access what I need very easily without unloading the pack from the top. I cannot recommend it highly enough - it's brilliant.
I walk with a hiking cart made by a very dear friend and the Aarn pack sits snugly in the cart - bottles of water are tucked down the side of the cart. The joy of walking so easily with the cart and the brilliant Aarn pack make my caminos a completely wonderful experience.
Cheers - Jenny
 
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#12
Hi everyone
Any one having experience doing the Camino with an Aarn pack bag?
Buen Camino from a very sunny Western Australia
Anton
Yes. I’ve got one. It has done the Frances, Via de la Plata and Sanabres so far and is still as new. I love the fact that it has an internal waterproof bag for double the protection. I had lower back problems before my first camino but haven’t gad a problem since, so it must be a perfect fit. Once on, I hardly know it’s there. It’s very comfortable. The only thing I don’t like is that I can’t reach my water bottle. I don’t like the straw thingy or camelback, and as a woman, the front bags that you can attach are impractical and too bulky. I noticed that Andrew Suzuki has one (if that’s a recommendation. ) I love mine
Hi everyone
Any one having experience doing the Camino with an Aarn pack bag?
Buen Camino from a very sunny Western Australia
Anton
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
#13
Hi Donna I have got the L PeakAspiration plus the pouches.
We are for the Norte this time (Mai 1st) can't wait
When is the Perth Oxfam Trail walk ?
Buen Camino from sunny Perth
Ponchos, such as the Altus, can become rather tight fitting!
Aarn now sells a poncho called the Water Wizard which is designed to accommodate the footprint.
If you're not wearing the pack it reconfigures to fit a normal person.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#14
Hi everyone
Any one having experience doing the Camino with an Aarn pack bag?
Buen Camino from a very sunny Western Australia
Anton
More popular that you think mate,
Seeing more and more each year , especially with couples
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France (2015 and 2016)
#15
I used an Aarn on the CF in 2016 and it was brilliant. Infinitely adjustable and very comfortable, so the critical thing is to be fitted properly and shown how all the variations work. You need to find a dealer who knows the product and will spend time with you fitting it properly. The videos on the Aarn website are good too, but nothing beats a hands-on demonstration from a knowledgeable dealer. Also, jl is right about the large footprint. In fact, what I found was that if you don't prop it up carefully when you take it off, the front pouches can make it fall over and be a bit of a tripping hazard for others (and yourself). However, this is a small price to pay for the load balance and convenience of lots of easily accessible satorage.
 

LouLou

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
‘2004’ C. Frances (Apr-May)
‘2009’ C. Frances (May-Jun)
Pending ‘2018’ C. Frances (Sept-Oct)
#16
Hi everyone
Any one having experience doing the Camino with an Aarn pack bag?
Buen Camino from a very sunny Western Australia
Anton
Hi,
Another fan of the Aarn pack. I have a peak aspiration (s) that has accompanied me on two caminos from SJDP (2004, 2009). It will walk with me again a section for de Plata and the full Francés again this year. I didn’t use the front pockets, my minimising the temptation to fill them and add weight. Very comfortable, hip belt and movement whilst the pack is on is second to none. I have demonstrated the benefits of the aarn to others, who have also used on various caminos and treks. The designs and materials improve constantly. Highly recommend.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk the Camino Frances in May 2018
#17
I’ve got the Peak Aspiration for my Camino Frances in May. Looking forward to testing it out now I’ve finally got all my gear. The place where I bought it fit it for me and said to come back with it fully packed just before I leave for a second fitting. I like how they have short and long for different heights. Didn’t get the front pockets as my budget is running low and 44 litres is enough for my gear
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#18
I bought a Peak Aspiration for my upcoming Camino Frances in 5-1/2 weeks time. Today I wore it fully loaded (7 kg) and my inner arms were chaffing on the torso buckles/straps. Bugger. I am going to contact K2 where it was purchased to see whether they can adjust it to reduce the chafing. My inner arms catch the buckles on the grey straps under the arms.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF April 2016 April - Jun
Del Norte planned 2018 May - Jul
#20
Just looked at the Aarn website. They advertise the feather lite at 1.8 kg with the waterproof liner and front pockets. Even without the front pockets it is 1.4 kg. Isn’t that a bit heavy? Or is the weight worth it?
My Mammut is 1.6 Kg and I'm looking at a Z Pack Arc Blast at 595g.....obsessed with weight despite the price! Am I silly?
 

LouLou

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
‘2004’ C. Frances (Apr-May)
‘2009’ C. Frances (May-Jun)
Pending ‘2018’ C. Frances (Sept-Oct)
#21
I have an older Peak Aspiration, took a little adjusting, a few days ‘dancing’ with my pack. Worked out beautifully. Accompanied me on 2 caminos SJdPP to SdC, going for number 3 end of September/October this year. No regrets on purchasing the Aarn.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#22
My Mammut is 1.6 Kg and I'm looking at a Z Pack Arc Blast at 595g.....obsessed with weight despite the price! Am I silly?
Not in my opinion!;) I am obsessed with keeping my total pack weight below 5kg because I have osteoporosis but I still like to walk with my pack.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#23
I'm obsessed with weight too, but no way does that mean sacrificing my Aarn Featherlite! @Anton Muhlbock I've now worn it on so many caminos it looks an absolute disgrace (despite scrubbing brush!) but it is so comfortable. I used it on the Norte loaded with 14 kilos (more than twice my usual load) and hardly knew I had it on.

@Matamoros try crossing the straps on the balance packs at the front. Connect the sternum straps to the opposite balance packs. If you don't have balance packs, you can still buy a cross-over X flow strap from Aarn. Here
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#24
Thanks @Kanga. I already do cross the sternum straps. My inner arms are collecting the main shoulder strap buckle on each side. Tomorrow I try to get it fit properly. Today’s run fully loaded was uncomfortable on my shoulders. I had adjusted the pack longer so that the hip belt comes across my hip bones, but maybe I should set the top of the hip belt at my waist. I have no idea. I like the pack. But it is proving a bit difficult to get right for me.

Thanks for the message you sent me. It got lost last night during site maintenance and the forum won’t let me send you a message.
 
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Chaya

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC Ap-May14
Navx-Muxia Mar-Ap17
SJPP-SdC May17
SJPP-Fterre Feb-Mar18
Cahors-Fterre (Sep-Oct18)
#25
For this Camino I needed to update and have chosen the peak aspiration in the long size, with the smallest sports front packs as it was the pack that fit me best. I had it professionally fitted, and feel this helped the performance of the pack.
Over the past 2 days I've walked from St Jean to Valcarlos to Roncesvalles. I am in absolute awe of this pack!
I have had no issues, considering my pack weight was heavier than usual because of extra winter gear. In fact it felt lighter than what I have walked with before!
Originally, I was not a fan of the front packs as they at first felt cumbersome. However, the convenience of having my water, snacks and tissues right there, far outweighed any discomfort of having extra size out front.
I looked around the albergue last night at those suffering from sore backs etc, and realised I didn't have any pain.
Great pack!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#29
Has anyone taken the Sports Balance Pockets on cabin baggage during a flight? I am concerned about the aluminium bars. Thanks.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#30
@mousehog, yes, all the time. I used to clip them together and sometimes set them up like a small backpack. The last couple of trips I've taken the whole pack onboard, with the Sports Balance Pockets inside the main pack (to keep it all tidy and easy to stow). The pack was oversize but weighed well under 7 kilos and the airline was happy.

Whatever you do, don't be tempted to take out the aluminium stays to save weight. Without the bars the pockets will cling to your chest and make you hot. Plus they won't do their job properly.

(Edited to add) - the aluminium struts are not considered a weapon at all - they don't have any points or sharp edges.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#31
@mousehog, yes, all the time. I used to clip them together and sometimes set them up like a small backpack. The last couple of trips I've taken the whole pack onboard, with the Sports Balance Pockets inside the main pack (to keep it all tidy and easy to stow). The pack was oversize but weighed well under 7 kilos and the airline was happy.

Whatever you do, don't be tempted to take out the aluminium stays to save weight. Without the bars the pockets will cling to your chest and make you hot. Plus they won't do their job properly.

(Edited to add) - the aluminium struts are not considered a weapon at all - they don't have any points or sharp edges.
Ah, I have to work out how to make the small daypack. I leave in a little over a week. Very keen!
 

Chaya

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC Ap-May14
Navx-Muxia Mar-Ap17
SJPP-SdC May17
SJPP-Fterre Feb-Mar18
Cahors-Fterre (Sep-Oct18)
#32
Just a quick update, I'm currently in Mansilla, just over halfway from SJPP. I'm still LOVING my Aarn Peak Aspiration pack! I've walked through rain, wind, sun and snow. No leaks at all. This pack with the sports balance packs has been excellent!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF April 2016 April - Jun
Del Norte planned 2018 May - Jul
#34
Just a quick update, I'm currently in Mansilla, just over halfway from SJPP. I'm still LOVING my Aarn Peak Aspiration pack! I've walked through rain, wind, sun and snow. No leaks at all. This pack with the sports balance packs has been excellent!
My decision: Natural Exhilaration with Sports S balance pockets VERSUS a ZPack Blast - The AARN won after much deliberation despite the extra weight!!! Always great to hear +ve reviews....continue to enjoy your Camino:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#35
Quick update on Peak Aspiration. I am doing Stage 5 this morning but have bad bruises on hip bones. I am going to try putting sanitary napkins as padding to see if that will work. Lol it will look a shocker. PerhaoscI should stick the padding to my bones. I am thin so this may just be a thing for thin women. Any advice from the forum would help. Right now the waist band starts near my natural waist and the bottom of the waist band sits on my hip bones.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#36
It sounds as if the adjustment on the hip belt is wrong as there should not be pain.
How heavy is the pack?
I gather you are female. There is an adjustment to the hip belt based on your body shape, it is shown on the Aarn website in a video. Check it out.
I have Peak Aspiration as well
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata Oct 17
Primitivo Aug 18
#37
I did my first Camino with a Peak Aspiration Aarn pack - it was fantastic! The design assists with weight distribution for every step and allows your shoulders to move easily and independently while the pack stays in a neutral balanced position in the centre your back. It was very comfortable and the front pockets were a bonus! The front pockets also move independently with the pack because they are attached to the hip belt and shoulder straps - so you don't feel the weight (but you need to get two to balance each other out) and I could easily access my guide books, sunnies, hat, torch, snacks, sunblock etc. I had NO back problems on the entire trip - VDLP. I put my water bladder inside (on the top) lying sideways and it worked beautifully. I removed the hip belt and front pockets and put them in the main pack for my flight home. I can highly recommend the Aarn pack designs - not 'cos I am a biased Kiwi, but because it is the best pack design I have used. Buen Camino
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
#38
Not in my opinion!;) I am obsessed with keeping my total pack weight below 5kg because I have osteoporosis but I still like to walk with my pack.
So impressed by you keeping it under 5kg! Would love to know how you do this!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#39
I did my first Camino with a Peak Aspiration Aarn pack - it was fantastic! The design assists with weight distribution for every step and allows your shoulders to move easily and independently while the pack stays in a neutral balanced position in the centre your back. It was very comfortable and the front pockets were a bonus! The front pockets also move independently with the pack because they are attached to the hip belt and shoulder straps - so you don't feel the weight (but you need to get two to balance each other out) and I could easily access my guide books, sunnies, hat, torch, snacks, sunblock etc. I had NO back problems on the entire trip - VDLP. I put my water bladder inside (on the top) lying sideways and it worked beautifully. I removed the hip belt and front pockets and put them in the main pack for my flight home. I can highly recommend the Aarn pack designs - not 'cos I am a biased Kiwi, but because it is the best pack design I have used. Buen Camino
Hi I adjusted the hip belt by angling the sides and it seems better. I am carrying about 8 kg which is 1.5 kg more than I would have liked, but there isn’t much I can remove.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#40
It sounds as if the adjustment on the hip belt is wrong as there should not be pain.
How heavy is the pack?
I gather you are female. There is an adjustment to the hip belt based on your body shape, it is shown on the Aarn website in a video. Check it out.
I have Peak Aspiration as well
Yes I am female. The pack is 7.5-8 kg. I watched the video and made adjustments. Time will tell. I am fairly thin and my hipbones are bruised. But the pain is gone with the belt fitting comfortably so I hope the bruising will resolve itself.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#41
Just had a look at the Aarn Pack Poncho on their web site. It does look rather over-engineered and ungainly. I think I will stick with a standard, large poncho...
 

Aussie Cossie Tanya

Walk over the day or the day will walk over you:)
Camino(s) past & future
June 2014
#42
Hi everyone
Any one having experience doing the Camino with an Aarn pack bag?
Buen Camino from a very sunny Western Australia
Anton[/QUOTE

Hi
Live from the camino. Having a crushed joint in my lower back, as well as broken ribs and displacing my sternum really put a massive dent in my hiking. I tried so many backpacks and all aggravated my injuries almost instantly. Drove to Melbourne and got fitted for a Peak Aspiration and 500kms done in 17days of cold, wet and very windy weather. Due to the cold here, I am carrying about 15% of my body weight (I am small and feel the cold). I seriously cannot rate my backpack high enough. I don't even know I have it on and my sports front packs are unbelievable for distribution of weight, but also ease of getting things like water bottle, tissues, food etc. I carry about 20% of the total weight in them. The packs are waterproof and seriously the best investment I have made. If anything was to stop me I was sure it would be back issues and backpack, not an issue at all. Hope this helps.

Cheers Tanya
 
Camino(s) past & future
2005 Frances
2006 LePuy to SJpdP
2007 Frances
2008 Toulsana to Santiago
2010 Frances
2010 Vezelay + Via de la Plata
2013 LePuy to Santiago
2015 RL Stevenson GR70
2016 Leon to Santiago
#43
By far the best pack I ever owned!! Well balanced, water tight. I use the front sport pouches for day-pack, shopping, and for airline cabin when backpack (because of walking poles) is checked. Only downside (besides cost) is that my Altus poncho barely goes around both me and the pack.
 

Sikpupi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis '2018'
#44
Can someone post a UK distributor link for the above..... all this positive talk makes me wanna look it over ( and see if i can afford it!)
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#46
Can someone post a UK distributor link for the above..... all this positive talk makes me wanna look it over ( and see if i can afford it!)
Like Pacer Poles, the Aarn packs are mostly an internet purchase. It is difficult to get a peek at them in a store; you have to go with information you can find on your computer. That is why they have not exploded in popularity despite being a vast improvement on traditional backpacks. I have been around long enough to remember backpacks without a waist belt, when tumplines were popular to take some of the weight off your shoulders. I tied my equipment to a pack frame with a diamond hitch over a shelter half. External frame packs came next, then internal frame packs. Then ultralights came along, which were basically a nylon bag with shoulder straps (GoLite, for example), but they have mostly disappeared because the lack of structure prevented transferring weight to the waist belt, and anything over about 15 pounds was not very comfortable. New materials have allowed ultralights to include a frame, so further developments are likely to be tweaks of the design. Aarn is a completely new concept with its balance pockets on the front so that even less weight is carried on the shoulders. Properly adjusted, you can slide your hand under the shoulder straps at all times. Having the weight ENTIRELY on the waist band has caused some bruising and pain for at least one user, so be aware that it takes a bit of time to adjust. To me, though, there is a long term benefit -- no more neck cramping from the strain of the shoulder straps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#47
Like Pacer Poles, the Aarn packs are mostly an internet purchase. It is difficult to get a peek at them in a store; you have to go with information you can find on your computer. That is why they have not exploded in popularity despite being a vast improvement on traditional backpacks. I have been around long enough to remember backpacks without a waist belt, when tumplines were popular to take some of the weight off your shoulders. I tied my equipment to a pack frame with a diamond hitch over a shelter half. External frame packs came next, then internal frame packs. Then ultralights came along, which were basically a nylon bag with shoulder straps (GoLite, for example), but they have mostly disappeared because the lack of structure prevented transferring weight to the waist belt, and anything over about 15 pounds was not very comfortable. New materials have allowed ultralights to include a frame, so further developments are likely to be tweaks of the design. Aarn is a completely new concept with its balance pockets on the front so that even less weight is carried on the shoulders. Properly adjusted, you can slide your hand under the shoulder straps at all times. Having the weight ENTIRELY on the waist band has caused some bruising and pain for at least one user, so be aware that it takes a bit of time to adjust. To me, though, there is a long term benefit -- no more neck cramping from the strain of the shoulder straps.
Yes I concur. I went backpacking 30 years ago and it is a totally different story today. My AARN Peak Aspiration is a joy. My hips were bruising but a small adjustment has taken care of that (I think). I am walking in comfort where other people are having their bags sent from Stage to Stage to alleviate foot problems. My feet are sore, but I am pushing 60. They are always sore. I have completed 8 stages of the Camino Frances and could not be more happy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF April 2016 April - Jun
Del Norte planned 2018 May - Jul
#49
Jeez.... they are Super-expensive!!!!!! And limited outlets .... none in UK.
That’s how I felt about the Z Blast pack from USA and decided against it. The cost with shipping was around $400Aus and if it didn’t feel right....?? Luckily here we have outlets so tried the Natural Exhilaration 30L with the front balance pockets 10L.....very comfy even tho the weight is 1.8kg. The cost was $322Aus with Seniors discount. I’m also going to trial the new Osprey Lumina 800g $250Aus and see which I prefer. Comfort is paramount because today I’m 66
 
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#50
We were looking at the Osprey Exos however after putting the Aarn Peak Aspiration on I was sold. With the front balance pockets weight is not a huge thing. Loaded up with 750ml of water in a bottle in the front pocket I weigh 8.3kg so happy with that. The convenience of having water and other day items in the front pockets so the pack doesn’t need to come off. We are experienced multi day hikers. Have done many km with the Aarn loaded and it’s just so comfortable. And I’m 68
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#51
Aarn now distributes its products in the US. Check out this web site: http://www.aarn-usa.com/

While most everything is available, it is still at the top end of the price range. That said, you get supreme quality and value for money spent. The choice is yours to make. But the Aarn packs cost about the same as better quality products from Osprey, Black Diamond, Deuter, Gregory, etc.

I just ordered an x-strap replacement for the standard sternum strap. It appears to fit any bag. We will see. I plan to try it out on my Camino starting in mid-April.

Hope this helps.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#52
So impressed by you keeping it under 5kg! Would love to know how you do this!
Sorry for late response. I’ve been away volunteering for our upcoming National Folk Festival. Backpack around 500 g. Ditto for walking shoes. Ditto for sleeping bag plus 200 g for doona and sheet. Lots of silk and lots of time spent hunting for anything lightweight. Attached is the packing list for my last camino and a pic from the pilgrim office in SJPdP. It can be done.
PS Hemp socks were a failure. I replaced them with cotton socks but mostly wore the woollen pair and the waterproof ones if raining. I donated the down jacket within the first week of walking because I found I didn’t need it as had thermals and a fleece.
59B3EB4D-4B47-49B9-8D73-366EBF427B40.jpeg
 

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Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean
2014, 2016 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
#53
I have an Aarn pack and love it. As I'm on the South Coast of NSW away from Sydney where I'm on holidays at the moment, and the pack is back home in Sydney, I can't tell you which model it is; however it's 30L and - the most convenient thing - it opens like a suitcase. It enables me to access what I need very easily without unloading the pack from the top. I cannot recommend it highly enough - it's brilliant.
I walk with a hiking cart made by a very dear friend and the Aarn pack sits snugly in the cart - bottles of water are tucked down the side of the cart. The joy of walking so easily with the cart and the brilliant Aarn pack make my caminos a completely wonderful experience.
Cheers - Jenny
Hi Jenny
Can you please tell me more about your hiking cart. I have some back issues and it intrigues me. Photo perhaps also
thanks and regards
HappyMark
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean
2014, 2016 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
#54
Like Pacer Poles, the Aarn packs are mostly an internet purchase. It is difficult to get a peek at them in a store; you have to go with information you can find on your computer. That is why they have not exploded in popularity despite being a vast improvement on traditional backpacks. I have been around long enough to remember backpacks without a waist belt, when tumplines were popular to take some of the weight off your shoulders. I tied my equipment to a pack frame with a diamond hitch over a shelter half. External frame packs came next, then internal frame packs. Then ultralights came along, which were basically a nylon bag with shoulder straps (GoLite, for example), but they have mostly disappeared because the lack of structure prevented transferring weight to the waist belt, and anything over about 15 pounds was not very comfortable. New materials have allowed ultralights to include a frame, so further developments are likely to be tweaks of the design. Aarn is a completely new concept with its balance pockets on the front so that even less weight is carried on the shoulders. Properly adjusted, you can slide your hand under the shoulder straps at all times. Having the weight ENTIRELY on the waist band has caused some bruising and pain for at least one user, so be aware that it takes a bit of time to adjust. To me, though, there is a long term benefit -- no more neck cramping from the strain of the shoulder straps.
I have the Featherlite Freedom with balance pockets bought from K2 BaseCamp in Brisbane and am using it a lot in my training program with around 9kg. BUT I am having trouble getting the weight off my shoulders even after watching the videos. Would appreciate your further comments please.
Thanks and regards
HappyMark
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
#55
Sorry for late response. I’ve been away volunteering for our upcoming National Folk Festival. Backpack around 500 g. Ditto for walking shoes. Ditto for sleeping bag plus 200 g for doona and sheet. Lots of silk and lots of time spent hunting for anything lightweight. Attached is the packing list for my last camino and a pic from the pilgrim office in SJPdP. It can be done.
PS Hemp socks were a failure. I replaced them with cotton socks but mostly wore the woollen pair and the waterproof ones if raining. I donated the down jacket within the first week of walking because I found I didn’t need it as had thermals and a fleece.
View attachment 40605
Thankyoi! Can't wait to peruse your list :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#56
Thankyoi! Can't wait to peruse your list :)
Should add it works for me but we’re all different. If I could carry extra weight I would take heavier weight walking trousers and shirts as the lightweight ones I take are usually close to worn out by the time I reach Santiago. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing except if I want to do a longer walk than the CF. ;)
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
#58
Should add it works for me but we’re all different. If I could carry extra weight I would take heavier weight walking trousers and shirts as the lightweight ones I take are usually close to worn out by the time I reach Santiago. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing except if I want to do a longer walk than the CF. ;)
I think the fact your clothes are worn out by Santiago is an achievement! I've looked at your list and am amazed by how light your clothing is. Where do you buy all your silk products? And what time of year/season have you walked the Camino? Does what you pack and the weight of it vary much season to season?

I'm a little obsessed with weight now bc on my past 2 Caminos I have had to send my pack forward due to issues with my left knee. On my next Camino I REALLY want to be able to carry my pack so ensuring the weight is down is crucial. If I can could get to 5-6kgs I'd be stoked. My Aarn pack weighs over 1.5kgs itself.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#59
Oh dear I am sure this is not everyone’s cup of tea but I buy a lot of vintage stuff. I keep my eye out for silk stuff all the time. I use op shops, Etsy, eBay, whatever I can find. Sometimes a bit hit and miss. I’ve also used AliExpress but that too can be a bit hit and miss. Like the shorts I bought that were supposedly 100% silk and disintegrated on the second wash.:p The simple stuff like doona cover for my sleeping bag I make myself. I don’t look like the normal pilgrim in hightech walking gear but I don’t care because I am comfortable and I am protecting my spine.
I’ve walked with that gear list mid to late autumn and very early spring. I added the down vest (from Aldi) for the early spring walk but found I didn’t need it.
There’s another current thread on this same topic. Lots of pilgrims walk with backpacks less than 5kg and they probably bring proper pilgrim clothes. ;)
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/that-silly-10-rule.53958/#post-601894
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#60
Quick update on the Peak Aspiration. I have adjusted the hip belt, but to no avail. My hip bones are bruised and painful. It has been cold so wearing some thickness under the hip belt helps. I am annoyed that I can’t seem to get it right. AARN would do well to train its distribution network. I have just finished Stage 15 of 33 and will likely have to use extra padding to stave off further injury. K2 did not offer any assistance in fitting it, so will attempt to get some help when I return. I would not be surprised if I took months to heal. Yes, I have read the webpage and I have watched the video but I am not really an experienced bush walker. I can only strongly encourage those who purchase this pack to have it fitted properly in the shop.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#61
Sorry to hear of the ongoing problems. We purchased our bags from Trek and Travel Sydney however we are Queenslanders and have purchased many items from K2 in Brisbane over the years. I am having no issues now with my Peak Aspiration in training however it took some time to get the fitting correct. They are complicated. Aarn says to have the middle of the soft webbing between the two hip straps right over the point of the hip to prevent bruising.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#62
I'm obsessed with weight too, but no way does that mean sacrificing my Aarn Featherlite! @Anton Muhlbock I've now worn it on so many caminos it looks an absolute disgrace (despite scrubbing brush!) but it is so comfortable. I used it on the Norte loaded with 14 kilos (more than twice my usual load) and hardly knew I had it on.

@Matamoros try crossing the straps on the balance packs at the front. Connect the sternum straps to the opposite balance packs. If you don't have balance packs, you can still buy a cross-over X flow strap from Aarn. Here
I have a question. I haven't used an Aarn, but am seriously considering one.
I have a knee that plays up sometimes, I had to have it reconstructed after a car accident years ago.
It doesn't normally give me trouble when walking long distances, but sometimes will, when carrying a pack. It seems to be the outside ligaments attaching into the knee that hurt. Last year I did the NZ Oxfam Trailwalk (100km) and a few months later a Camino so I've been religious about stretching all the ligaments. I don't take a pack for the Oxfam event, I can fit all I need in a Kathmandu waist belt (its like a Tardis) But for the Camino I need to take more. My previous Camino pack is a standard type, an Osprey - total packed weight with water just over 6kgs.
From the Aarn website their explanation about changing the weight distribution and leverage on the body makes sense to me.
However they are expensive, and I'm unsure whether the change in weight distribution will do the trick, or whether the knee just doesn't like the extra weight. I'd hate to buy it and find the problem still exists.
Do you have any ideas about this?
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
#63
I have a question. I haven't used an Aarn, but am seriously considering one.
I have a knee that plays up sometimes, I had to have it reconstructed after a car accident years ago.
It doesn't normally give me trouble when walking long distances, but sometimes will, when carrying a pack. It seems to be the outside ligaments attaching into the knee that hurt. Last year I did the NZ Oxfam Trailwalk (100km) and a few months later a Camino so I've been religious about stretching all the ligaments. I don't take a pack for the Oxfam event, I can fit all I need in a Kathmandu waist belt (its like a Tardis) But for the Camino I need to take more. My previous Camino pack is a standard type, an Osprey - total packed weight with water just over 6kgs.
From the Aarn website their explanation about changing the weight distribution and leverage on the body makes sense to me.
However they are expensive, and I'm unsure whether the change in weight distribution will do the trick, or whether the knee just doesn't like the extra weight. I'd hate to buy it and find the problem still exists.
Do you have any ideas about this?
I bought an Aarnpack for this exact reason althoigh i haven't had an opportunity to try it out yet. The feedback i got from Aarn was that they were unsure if it would alleviate knee pain. Hopefully someone here will be able to share their experience.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2005 Frances
2006 LePuy to SJpdP
2007 Frances
2008 Toulsana to Santiago
2010 Frances
2010 Vezelay + Via de la Plata
2013 LePuy to Santiago
2015 RL Stevenson GR70
2016 Leon to Santiago
#65
I have used Aarn and seriously doubt its brilliant engineering will come into play at a mere 6kg. My experience is that load balancing becomes useful from 16kg. And $250 for a 40 liter pack is overkill if it is only for the Camino. 30 liter lightweight pack is more than enough for Camino if it fits (I miss my GoLite!! )
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#66
Just had a look at the Aarn Pack Poncho on their web site. It does look rather over-engineered and ungainly. I think I will stick with a standard, large poncho...
I think it looks too tight and would be hot. Also a bit short. My Altus (which is large, loose and long) fits easily over the front packs and I too will be sticking with that. It opens down the front so I can access the front packs easily.

@Anamiri I don't think anyone can give you an answer about your knees. All I can tell you is that my knees were my biggest worry on my first camino and they were fine. I'm sure that the muscles around the knees strengthen over the course of the walk.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPP on 2015, 2016, 2018
Way of St. Francis, Italy April 2017
Portuguese (2018)
#67
I had the Aarn pack sent to the U.S. last year and wanted so badly to love it, as I have back issues. I had Camino friends who swear by it. Ultimately, after many attempts I just couldn't handle how heavy the pack itself is, even with the balance pockets. I gave it to my son who can carry more weight and he loves it.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#68
I think it looks too tight and would be hot. Also a bit short. My Altus (which is large, loose and long) fits easily over the front packs and I too will be sticking with that. It opens down the front so I can access the front packs easily.

@Anamiri I don't think anyone can give you an answer about your knees. All I can tell you is that my knees were my biggest worry on my first camino and they were fine. I'm sure that the muscles around the knees strengthen over the course of the walk.
They started to give me trouble coming into Estella, the next day the trip to Los Arcos was truly dreadful, every step was excruciating. So I dithered between staying an extra day or so (I didn't really have the days to do that), or sending my pack on and walking. In the end I did that, and walked to Viana without too much pain. By the time I got to Burgos I was fine again. So maybe that's what happened. I also got a knee brace at Navarette, and I think that helped as well. None of the physios know anything about that kind of walking, having the Aarn conversation with them was fruitless, so I thought I'd try this forum.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#69
Yes, @Anamiri I'm sorry I can't be more definitive about the Aarn, but I'd hate you to put all your faith (and money) into it and then still have problems. The Camino is a world unto itself. It is unsurprising that physiotherapists at home are not good at predicting what will work and what will not. I've seen the youngest strongest fittest people fall by the wayside, and the apparently dreadfully injured and broken down old crocks make it to Santiago! I myself have walked many long caminos without injury (apart from the odd blister) and suddenly I tore my plantar fasciitis. Stopped me completely. It repaired within a few months, and I happily walked another camino without problems. We make our plans but...
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#70
Just to share something related, I recently ordered the Aarn "X Strap" sternum strap replacement that is designed to fit any rucksack. BTW, the US web site is very convenient.

My 38 Kg Osprey Kestrel S/M (new this year, replacing a five-Camino 48 Kg Kestrel M/L) has a sternum strap that rides rather high on my somewhat prodigious torso. So, I thought, hmmm, this looks promising. I will give it a whirl... I do like evaluating new gear I come across...

Well, I fitted it as instructed and made some short test walks with my loaded rucksack, at 12 Kg. I am getting ready to leave a week from today. I much prefer walking the first few miles locally, so I can sort out any load or fitment issues without discomfort or drama. Things are much easier to repair, replace or adjust at home than once on Camino.

My observations are:

1. Having 'moobs' (sort of - they want to be muscles...honest they do!) the 'X' strap feature highlights this anatomical irregularity and looks sort of like a bra harness. Looking in the mirror and, once I stopped laughing at myself, I recalled that it looked akin to those empire-waisted shroud-like gowns that women wore way, back in the day (ancient Greek and Rome IIRC), also with a 'X' fitting chest strap...they accentuate the breasts, or so one imagines...NO THANK YOU! While it might be acceptable for some out there, it is NOT the look I am going for.:eek:

2. As if #1 were not enough, the 'feel' of the 'X strap' is different and it does not relieve the friction or strap pressure over the front of my shoulders as much as I thought it might.

I allow that folks with less of a chest and gut out-front will have a wholly different experience. And women, well...being shaped differently, will also have a different perspective. However, my chest shape is more akin to a classic wooden barrel....seriously! It is just the odd parts I was born with...

So, I returned to the basic sternum strap that came with the rucksack. If it continues to chafe, I can fashion a pad from a small microfiber towel... I am clever too...

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#71
I’ve got the Mountain Magic. Waterproof liners. Balance packs (loaded) fit into a Sea to Summit Ultra Sil daypack, so valuables could come with me on the plane.

Very lightweight. I’ve got balance problems, and I would think the stability the Aarn provided me would make for a better hike for anyone.
 

rohanmce

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
{Sept-Oct 2019/SJPDP-Finisterre}
#72
Background: My wife and I are prepping for the Camino in September 2019. We're also bringing along our youngest son (a 13-14 year old teenager). Currently - I'm focused on packs and footwear for myself and suddenly I've found myself looking at the Aarn range of packs.

Personal Info: I turn 57 in January 2019, I'm 198cm tall (6'6"), around 102Kg and only moderately fit. I also have large duck feet (13UK/15US/49EU).

Packs: Until very recently, I'd been looking at the Osprey Exos 38 and the Mystery Ranch Hover 40.
- The Mystery Ranch looks a bit ugly but is fully featured, highly rated and would do the job without doubt. However, ordering from the US and shipping to Australia is very risky in the event I'm unhappy (for whatever reason).
- Osprey: The Exos in orange and black is pretty, very light and very comfortable. However, while I couldn't put my finger on it, it just lacked something for me.Perhaps the lack of side pockets or something to do with the shoulder straps? Overall it felt flimsy and lacked appeal.

The Pack Journey: Following a recommendation from a store assistant (where I was trying out the Exos) I went to the Aarn website. The site is horrible, ugly, poorly laid out and counter-intuitive but also a revelation, and with a bit of perseverance I started to get into the science behind the design. I also came here and found a lot of support on the forum for the Aarn brand as a great option for the Camino.

So I'm now looking at the Aarn Natural Exhilaration which looks like a decent 33L pack and coupled with the Sports R (12L total (2 x 6L)) balance packs would appear to offer me plenty of pack space, a fair bit of versatility and all-in-all a well balanced and ergonomically suitable package.

I haven't pulled the trigger yet but I'd welcome any opinions as to suitability and/or alternative options.
 
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Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Norte/Liebana (Planning)
#73
@rohanmce Cant help you as I haven´t used Aarns, but there are good options you don´t have to order from overseas. Osprey is surely one of them.

Are you in Sydney or Melbourne? Have you also checked the backpacks at Decathlon?
My husband and I used Quechua Forclaz for our last Camino and it was a very comfortable, resistant and cheap option. We also noticed that a lot of the European pilgrims made the same choice.
 

rohanmce

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
{Sept-Oct 2019/SJPDP-Finisterre}
#74
Thanks @Anamya - I'd not seen that bag before and I note it has some mixed reviews online around comfort and durability (although these do appear to be in the minority.

PS: I'm a few hundred km outside of Sydney so am contemplating a day trip into town. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#75
Aarn are available in Brisbane K2 Sydney Trek and Travel and Melbourne not sure of store name.
We have just completed Camino with Aarn packs me 47l Peak Aspiration and Carol 30l Natural Exhilaration with front pockets. Both great. Maybe the 30l too undersized for you I’m around (was) 73kg.
 

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rohanmce

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
{Sept-Oct 2019/SJPDP-Finisterre}
#76
Thanks @Louis Lloyd that is a very valid point and another forum member has recommended the Peak Aspiration. I guess I'm gonna need to drive to Sydney and try on both.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPP on 2015, 2016, 2018
Way of St. Francis, Italy April 2017
Portuguese (2018)
#77
I ordered from Aarn and had it delivered to the US as it came so highly recommended from my Camino friends. In the end I just found the pack itself too heavy. I would definitely advise going to try them on as the fitting is somewhat complicated if I remember correctly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata Oct 17
Primitivo Aug 18
#78
I had an Aarn Peak Aspiration also with 6ltr pockets (they were really handy and so easy to remove for the flight). Highly recommended!! It doesn’t have a water bladder pouch but I just put the bladder under the top flap and it worked a treat. All Aarn packs have a waterproof liner put I put the bladder in a waterproof bag anyway.
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#79
There’s a US distributor for Aarn.

I don't think that all the bags have waterproof liners - most do.

I found the distribution of weight with the balance packs to be very helpful.
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
Leon-SDC 2012, Hospitalera Rabanal 2014, First Aid 2015, Burgos-Rabanal 2017, Part VF 2017
#80
I have one of the Aarn packs - it’s around 30L and it opens like a suitcase - no having to dig down to the bottom of the pack - it’s fantastic. It’s also very forgiving with how much you can cram into it. I really like this pack.
Best of luck with your pack choice.
Cheers - Jenny
 

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