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The Aarn Liquid Agility Body Pack: looking for reviews

lulusmom

New Member
Hi Everyone,

I'd like to especially thank Carole for pointing this item out to me. I've done some research on it, and it looks/sounds like a great way to go. I'm just wondering if anyone has any first hand knowledge - has anyone used on on the Camino, or for other long distance walks? Most of what I'm reading (from a quick search of this site) is from people who have bought but not yet used the packs.

I live in North Carolina and the nearest place that sells them is Georgia (in other words, about a 7 hour drive) but luckily will be in NZ in about 2 months. Very excited, but still looking to hear from someone who has used one. And again - big thanks Carole.

cheers,
Kari
 

kaylfrazer

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalle-SDC (2001), SJPP-SDC(2003), Le Puy - SJPP (2011)
Hi Kari.. I haven't used one but last weekend popped into one of our local (Hamilton, NZ) outdoor shops to look at packs and had a long chat about Aarn. The owner / salesperson was very enthusiastic and introduced me to another customer, a keen tramper, who had recently changed to Aarn and was also a big fan.

At this stage I am not entirely convinced. Aarn seems quite expensive compared to other packs.. about twice the cost of others that I am looking at. Aarn do look light and well made. The front pouch apparently makes people feel better balanced.. but looks to me like it might be better in NZ than in the heat of Spain.

I did my last two caminos using a cheapo Kmart pack (I think it actually came for free with tent we bought!). My daughter has gone on to use it for another two caminos and doesn't want to let me have back for my next camino as she still uses it to bring home the groceries each week! For my next pack I think that I want something about 1.2kilos or lighter (that was what my Kmart pack weighed), but still has a reasonably substantial and comfortable hip belt, some mesh for me to pin my socks to for drying, a way of storing my hiking poles and water and preferably has some pockets for easy access during the day. It doesn't have to be super strong... I am not worried about overhanging branches and river crossings as I might be in NZ, but I do like to be able to use it as a back rest when I stop during the day so am not sure that an ultra light pack is ideal.

I am not in a hurry so have lots of time to ponder my purchase... the most important thing is that it fits me comfortably and carries everything I need.. if it is well balanced I don't think that the weight is quite so important. Good luck with your search!
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hi guys, I have just walked the Via Gebenennsis and the Robert Louis Stevenson trail 630 km total with the Aarn Liquid Agility Small pack with front pouches. Previously I walked the Camino Frances and Jakobsweg in Austria etc and the Le Puy route with a 32 litre Vaude( the back collapsed after 800 km) and 34 litre Deuter ( too heavy at 1.65 kg) pack. With both packs I adopted a slightly stooped posture and always ended up with burning soles of feet and chronically tight muscles in my legs.
For the first time ever, and I put this down to the Aarn pack and the fact that the weight is more balanced, I had no footpain and no leg pain/ muscle stiffness whatsoever. I just fitted everything I needed into the pack, including a lightweight down sleeping bag. It is waterproof and has lots of good adjustments. You can find a few photos of me wearing the pack on http://www.picasaweb.google.com/JohnHarre
look at the pics of the via Geb and the RLS trail. One thing I can't work out is the fact that I had the odd pain across the upper part of my back for a while. I started the walk with inflammation in both shoulders and the upper back issue may have been related to that rather than the pack.
I was able to walk upright, my water bottles were right in front of me, so was the camera and my guidebook. Very practical. When my shoulders have come right, long slow process, I will re-test the Aarn. Basically I think it is superb and I loved the upright factor. It is superbly made. My husband has bought the larger size which is longer in the back, but has not tried it out yet.
Hope this helps you, Gitti
 

lulusmom

New Member
Thank you both so much for the replies. Gitti, I had seen numerous posts of yours from before you used the Aarn, and I'm glad to hear that it worked out so well (hope the shoulders are doing much better at this point). I'm pretty sold on it (they do a good job of making it sound perfect) but of course until you try something on, you can't really tell. Kay made a good point about the mesh to attach drying socks to - does the Aarn not have something like this? I'd like to be able to bring a couple of safety pins so I can hang my drying socks from my pack (if I need to) without hurting the pack.

I appreciate the help and answers. Thank you both so much. Kay - good luck getting your Kmart pack back!
cheers,
kari
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
There are plenty of loops you can attach safety pins to, i would often hang my socks on safety pins, no problems there. I have the latest version Aarn. It is pale grey and a bit of lbue.,there may be older models still out there, get the new one, as it has been perfected. Also it was very hot at times and I did not find the front pockets uncomfortable, you can bend them so you get ventilation through between them and you body. Cheers, Gitti
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
There are plenty of loops you can attach safety pins to, i would often hang my socks on safety pins, no problems there. I have the latest version Aarn. It is pale grey and a bit of lbue.,there may be older models still out there, get the new one, as it has been perfected. Also it was very hot at times and I did not find the front pockets uncomfortable, you can bend them so you get ventilation through between them and you body. Cheers, Gitti
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
One other thought, have you considered ordering your pack directly from Aarn in New Zealand? I bought mine that way. Cheers, Gitti
 

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)
Hi there. In 2007 I used the Aarn Natural Balance and my sister in law used the Aarn Featherlite Freedom. Both of us loved them. I used it without the pockets and Liz used it with the pockets. I chose the larger one so that I could put food etc inside the pack with out it turning to mash or crunmbs. I still had loads of room despite that (which I had the self control not to fill!) whereas the smaller model that Liz used made it a tight fit for fitting things in. I chose not to use the pockets as I was carrying less than 8 kilos, have a natural upright stance when walking anyway, and had chosen to use Pacer poles for that walk which have a great effect in pushing one upright if there is a tendency to lean. We chose the ultralight bodypack range because of the weight - they are very light - and were very happy with them. I also liked the bottom and top pockets (openings) on that one - and also the way the internal top section was divided into 2 pockets - made for very easy and ordered packing. Cheers, Janet
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Hi Gitti,
Thanks for posting your photos . . . Aarn bodypack looks great, also the Altus raincoat/poncho.
What size are your front balance pockets please? I'm wondering which of the 6ltr, 12ltr or 15ltr I need to buy. Husband has 12 ltr but I'm hoping I might get away with the smallest.... in my serious bid to reduce weight!! Have been told smallest are just too small. Would water bottles fit in the 6ltr do you think? Thanks in advance. Carole
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hi Carole, I had the small ones, the water bottles were 0.5 mls each, soft pliable ones and they fitted into the mesh pockets in front of the front pockets. I had tube like bags for toileteries and meds which I put inside the front pockets and on top of them I fitted the digital camera and toilet paper on one side and headscarf and sunnies and small guidebook and useless dictionary on the other side. The total weight of my pack was 6.7 kg water included and I attached the sandals to the outside of the pack. My lunchbox was on top of the backpack. I had just enough room for everything, but no luxury of extra space. I would not however want the larger front pockets. I tried them and it did not work for me. I had a waistbelt under my clothes for passport etc and a little pouch across my shoulders for cash and notebook and pilgrims passport. Hope this helps, cheers, Gitti
 

lulusmom

New Member
Gitti, this is all incredibly helpful information. The main reason I'm not ordering from NZ is that I'd like to try the thing on before buying, make sure I get just the right size, etc. and also that I'll be there anyway in Jan. and Feb. The closest place for me to buy them from where I live is over 6 hours drive away.

The pack sounds perfect. Not having a natural upright stance, I might prefer the other model, but I'd really like to see what is available there and try all. Having the larger size - did that in any way feel uncomfortable; did it slide around on you? How tall are you?

Thanks again, so very much.
cheers,
kari
 

lulusmom

New Member
Oops, one more question - speaking of poles, is there somewhere to attach poles (or more like a single pole) to the pack for when I don't want to use it?

sorry to have so many questions, but I'm both fascinated and excited about this.
cheers,
kari
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Hello Lulu,

. . . . .. http://www.aarnpacks.com . . . .

Most of your questions will be answered here, eg weight, pole attachment (yes I think), etc

... tho not easy to judge comparative sizes of the front balance pockets from the pics, and like you, I need to try on before buying. You'll find Aarn himself very helpful with email questions. Anyway, have a look at the Aarn Web . . . it's very good and will have all the details, eg shop location in NZ. I have been using my husbands Liquid Agility locally on short walks and it feels great. Am still debating which size front pockets to get. Thanks Falcon and Gitti for helpful info.

Check out the pacer poles while you are there (thanks Janet) .... heard they are brilliant too.
Buen camino Carole
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
One other thing of general interest .....

At the very bottom of the Aarn Web pages and on left index, Contact .... works well, with easy to use 'Email and Order" form, address (Christchurch NZ), phone, etc.

.. and I'm not even on commission, just excited by these body packs. :p Carole
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Just answering some questions, yes you can attach poles to the outside of the liquid agility pack. The sizing relates to backlenght. Look at http://www.aarn.co.nz I think is the website. It will tell you how to get the correct size. I tried on my husbands large liquid agility and my back is too short for it, it does not fit at all. I also tried the larger front pockets and they did not really fit well on my small pack. So the compact ones really are the only ones that will be ok with the small pack. I attach my gear list, this will fit into the pack and front pockets and that is more or less it. It worked fine for me, but every one is different. Here in NZ Aarn will send you a pack to try as long as you fill in a feedback form when you decide not to buy it. I bought mine that way, but sent back one lot of front pockets. Hope that helps, cheers, Gitti
 

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downtwo10

New Member
Hi
The Aarn Packs are too heavy-all that's needed is a lightweight day pack of the proper volume.
Check out the lightweight packs at http://www.gossamergear.com or at http://www.golite.com
Either site would have a pack that would work to carry about 18-20 pounds of gear and the empty pack would weigh very little--sadly very few people consider the weight of the pack when
purchasing and of course it counts on your back. Granted a lighter pack is made of more fragile material, being only a bit careful, it should last fine-and it's a small cost of the entire trip.

Downtwo
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I disagree somewhat with the comment about keeping the weight of the pack down to a minimum. Yes I do believe in not having anything that weighs more than 1.2 or so kg to start with. That is about the minimum weight a pack has to be to be well enough constructed not to pull on your shoulders or dig into your waist. Even at 5.5 kg contents, I found the really light daypacks just did not balance right and got really uncomfortable, where as the well built packs like Aarn ( 1.1 kg), Deuter ( a bit heavy at 1.65 kg) and Vaude ( 1.3 kg) after a while felt like they were a natural part of your anatomy. Gitti
 

LJAA

New Member
Hi - I have just purchased an Aarn pack - "Natural Exhilaration" with the Compact front packs.
In my front packs I plan to keep the things I want quick access to during the day - snacks, camera, water etc
We are walking with our packs (increasing weight weekly to reach 7 or 8 kg by the time we set out on Camino) now for our upcoming Camino in June. I find this pack extremely comfortable. No sore shoulders and easy ability to turn head etc. It's all in getting the adjustments right and pulling the cords in the right order. Having an adjustable back length is great. I find it does take a bit of practice to get it right. The front packs can be converted to a small backpack (easily with a little practice) which I will use to carry valuables/papers etc after we have arrived at the day's destination and we walk about the town etc.
Aarn lent me a pack (Peak Aspiration) to try a year or so ago when I did a 4 day walk (Queen Charlotte Track) and I was sold on it. Peak Aspiration is bigger and heavier to start with and so I decided this smaller model - Natural Exhilaration which was lighter and smaller was more suited to the Camino trip with the addition of the front pockets. In my view comfort is paramount.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hi LJAA, re using front pockets as backpack, I did find this a bit of a pain to do and instead I always carry my passport in a document pouch under my clothes and have a small security purse on a string that can't be cut for money and a tiny notebook and digital camera. I wear this as well as the pack, it does not really notice. That way I can just take the pack off without having to remember to take bits out that might get stolen. I carry an eco shopping bag in my front pouch, which is great for doing shopping, taking stuff to bathroom and laundry. I use it all the time. It rolls up into a minute ball and is almost weightless, Cheers, Gitti
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Gitti, your info and recommendations are so very useful as ever. Also your "Packing List" is spot on..... I totally recommend it to any new pilgrim wondering what they'll need. It's excellent.

Not sure if it will work for us to have 1 or 2 small pouches hanging separately ..... still working on that one. We may go with the Eco bag holding documents and money all the time and being kept in the pack, probably in the Front Balance pockets, if big enough. Like you, I've decided it would be a pain to undo and take off the pockets, after walking each day, and then have to put them on again at night. Tho......what else have we got to do?...... :roll:

Still really excited by the Aarn pack.... my husband looks like a different person with his Liquid Agility and Front Balance pockets on....... he stands so much more upright and says it feels fantastic.
 

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