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Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Karrimor Trig 30 Airspace

I bought this rucksack many years ago when I first moved away from home to attend college, it has served me well all over the globe from short expeditions here in the UK to New Zealand, North America and Scandinavia. At the time of purchase rigid air space rucksacks were becoming popular and having returned from many a hike drenched in sweat under my rucksac straps and on my back I thought it was time to try one of these new-fangled packs. 

I had been concerned that the rigid plastic which maintained the gap between my back and the rucksac would limit the carrying capacity of the rucksac and it did to an extent, and Bulkier objects if forced into the pack would also bend the plastic which maintained the gap between my back and the pack it'self. If packed sensibly though these things were never any more of an issue than they would be in any other type of pack.

The side pockets have proven very useful, although not really deep enough or secure enough to hold a water bottle the pack is equipped with well placed straps on the sides to allow the pockets to hold the end of ice axe's or other similar gear which can then be secured with the straps. The front pocket, if stuffed full, does eat into the available space of the main compartment but I found it an excellent place to stow waterproofs and gear that needed to be accessed quickly. The lid pocket houses a waterproof rain cover which can be stretched over the pack in bad weather and which is large enough to house other gear which you need easy access to; first aid kit, compass and map etc..

The 'air space' meant that your back was much cooler  during extended hikes, and the problems of sweating and overheating were much reduced compared to a pack without this space. 
The air space lived up to it's hype and has kept me dry and very comfortable for several years over hundreds of short expeditions, day walks and days of supervising groups out of doors carrying this loaded with first aid kit, emergency equipment and the other trappings of an outdoor educator.


Talking of hiking and supervising people out of doors what should you pack for outdoor adventures on foot? 

Equipment is one of the many things that separates bushcrafters from other outdoors enthusiasts; while a bushcrafter might be comfortable with a simple tarp and no camp stove, someone else might consider those essential items but will only carry a small pocket knife and no other tools which the bushcrafter packs a sheath knife, hatchet and crook knife. 

Having worked with Duke of Edinburghs Award groups, youth groups, colleges, the field studies council and other groups put of doors for many years there are a few things I will always pack to make sure I can take care of a group out of doors whether I am teaching bushcraft or just supervising an expedition or hike. I have given a rough kit list for an overnight trip of a few nights duration here and I have also highlighted in bold the things I would carry on a single day hike;

·        Shelter
o   This might be a tent, tarp or bivi bag for over night expeditions or just a simple survival bag or bothy bag in case of emergencies on day hikes. 
·        Waterproof trousers and jacket
·        Spare clothes (even if you are only expecting to be gone a few hours a change of clothes can be life saving in the event that you or one of your team ends up soaked to the skin, remember to ensure that groups you are supervising carry a change of clothes as well but to be on the safe side I carry some extra spares in my 'emergency bag')
o   Hat and gloves (yes even in Summer)
o   Warm over layer (a lightweight down jacket or similar, I carry one that packs up no larger than your average can of coke which I use all the time even in the Summer)
o   Spare socks and underwear
o   Spare trousers
o   Spare t-shirt/shirt
·        First aid kit (minimum contents)
o   Plasters (band-aids)
o   Antiseptic wipes
o   Nitrile gloves
o  Pain killers (paracetamol or ibuprofen although you can't give these to your group if you are supervising young people)
o   Scissors/shears
o   Wound dressings (various sizes)
o   Blister treatment
o   Compression bandage
·        Sleeping Bag
·        Carry Mat (therma-rest, foam pad or equivalent)
·        Camp stove (unless you are planning to cook on a campfire)
o   Enough fuel to last your entire trip
·        Mess kit;
o   Cooking pot
o   Spoon
·        Lighter or matches
·        Pocket knife
·     Head torch (a head torch is a must for pitching a tent after dark and keeping your hands free to perform tasks at night, but is also vital in case of emergencies on short hikes)
·        Food (enough for two hot meals each day plus snacks for lunch and hot drinks)
·        Emergency bag;
o   Mobile phone with full charge and spare battery
o   Spare batteries for torch
o   Space blanket or survival bag
o   Whistle
o   Extra spare clothes for group members, including a few sets of gloves and hats, spare fleece or down jacket and trousers.  
·        Rucksac/Backpack
·        Map and compass
·        Water bottle
·        Water purification tablets
·        Personal hygiene items;
o   Toothbrush and past
o   Wet wipes
o   Microfiber towel (I always carry at least one of these even on day hikes in case of accidental soakings, they are so small and light that you hardly know they ar ein your pack at all)
o   soap

For a day hike when I am not carrying a full shelter such as a tent and sleeping bag I would still ensure I have an emergency shelter such as a bothy bag or blizzard bag but would not carry these on a multi day trip as I would already be carrying sufficient shelter items. 

Also from a bushcraft perspective I would want to carry a bushcraft knife and possibly a couple of light weight craft tools such as a crook knife, however these items aren't actually vital. On a camping trip where you carry all your kit including packaged food and a camp stove you will be absolutely fine with no larger tool than a pocket knife, you may want a larger knife but if you are prepared you won't desperately need it. 

There may be some circumstances where you will need to carry additional equipment for a specific environment, such as camping in the cold or snow, but these are the basics and will be sufficient in a temperate climate.

Looking worse for wear after thirteen years hard use. 
Eventually though all good things come to an end and the wear and tear started to show, the fabric and frame of the bag it'self is still completely sound and free of any significant damage but the, zips, buckles, straps and padded hip belt have all gradually degraded and worn away. All the buckles have now been replaced with various combinations of elastic and carabiners or have had so many changes of buckle that the straps themselves are worn out. 

A make shift closure for the pack made out of elastic and a caribiner. 

If Karrimor still made them I would highly recommend them, even after a more recent experience with a pair of disintegrating walking boots by Karrimor has put me off the brand, this particular pack was a winner and it's a shame to see it go but sometimes kit really does need to be retired.  

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