Nov 13, 2009 at 3:32 am #1241647
a photo of the new MM44 aarn pack. so far it feels very comfortable. I've a bigger description here http://www.fatgitwalking.com/?p=40Nov 13, 2009 at 8:15 am #1545023
Looks fantastic, where did you get it?
fredNov 13, 2009 at 8:38 am #1545028
I ordered direct from Aarn sight unseen. I must admit my first hour with it I was a bit overwhelmed because there are a lot of straps, it is more complicated than the version in the vid on the webpage, but now I'm very convinced. with 4 l of water in the front pockets, it balances well and re enforces the posture you get from walking with the pacerpolesNov 13, 2009 at 10:58 am #1545084
Julian, I can't get the link to work.Nov 13, 2009 at 11:52 am #1545103
Thanks for that, the link doesn't work for me either.
Any chance you can post some specs- weight etc?
How about that beer?
fredNov 13, 2009 at 12:14 pm #1545109
yeah, thanks guys, just upgrading to the latest wordpress and the db has gone crazy and locked me out. I may just start the blog again!
Sure specs are these – price was NZ235
Mountain Magic 44, 55
With large front-back volume ratios, a body-centered load is easy to achieve with these new cutting edge designs. Pack them correctly and your balance and posture are unaltered by the load! When combined with low pack weight and you have the most efficient load carrying system for longer trips with ultralight gear. The pack and Balance Pockets are 100% waterproof. The Balance Pockets are removable and interchangeable.
* Balance Pockets * 1 torso length with Clip Torso-adjust, 15cm range * U, V, Omni & Flexi Flow * X Flow chest straps with new Conus Clip buckle * Auto-mould Frame * waterproof Dri-liners with roll top closures * 5 external pockets * Web-loc compression * Foam, ice axe and trekking pole attachments (V1)
Mountain Magic 44 32L + 12L 1156gmNov 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm #1545112
Here was what I posted on the blog, not much to add tot the above..
When you first start working with this pack, the sheer complexity is daunting, but having sorted out exactly what each strap does what, and getting it set for you, it is very comfortable and the intelligence and thoughtfulness of the design becomes clear. Adjustments like the back length you only do once, and the other adjustments, such as those regarding pocket fit, is a once in a while job.
The Mountain Magic 33 is a new pack due to be officially launched in March, but you can buy from the manufacturer. The specs are these:
Mountain Magic 44 32L + 12L 1156gm
MT44 front web
The pockets are attached by what I’m taking to be aluminum stays to the hip belt. There is then an adjustable stability strap to the shoulder strap, but the weight is transferred directly to the hip belt by the stays, which in turn acts as a counterweight to the load on your back. AFAIK this is an arrangement that only the Aarn has and offers severe performance improvement over accessory pockets available on other packs. the whole system really IS a balanced, integrated system, where everything works together.
Aarn recommends putting something heavy like water in these balance pockets. Each pocket should hold a 1.5l bottle. The pockets are balanced, but you can fine-tune how close to your body they are.
There is a velcroed roll-top which opens the dri-bag inner, thus doing away with the need for a pack liner. There is a piece of alu running across the top from side to side which is joined to the main frame stay. This frame stay runs from halfway down the pack to over the top of the pack which then joins to the load lift system. When I first saw this I thought it was too complex, but having used it, the effect of this is that the load moves much more closely with you, and the centre of gravity doesn’t really shift as you lean forward, up or sideways. The load is very stable as the frame, the pack closure and the lifters are linked in a fluid way.
Packing is slightly different than a normal pack. Aarn advises that the heaviest items for the back go in first, with the quilt and lighter items at the top. The weight should be low, which keeps the fore/aft balance centralised. Heaviest items in the front pockets.
To put the pack on you loosen everything off. Do up the hip belt, fasten the chest cross strap, tighten the hip belt, tighten the shoulder straps, fasten the pocket buckle, tighten the two straps on each side of the pockets, by pulling the loop they make, sort out the load lifters if need be…. yeah, not the most intuitive, but once you get it all worked out, it becomes pretty simple.
The compression system works really well, and again, this integrates well into the load lifter and the top frame. Plenty of mesh around the outside for wet gear storage.
I’ve had an hour with it on the Elliptical Trainer in the gym, loaded up with 6 litres of water in the back padded out with a bed quilt, and two 2 litre bottles of water in the front pocket ( plus clothes to pad them out), in other words, more weight than I’d normally carry, and it was very stable and comfortable.
I’ll put some pics up in the next few days, but can’t find any charged batteries for the camera!Nov 13, 2009 at 3:44 pm #1545156
Thanks for the report Julian.
fredNov 14, 2009 at 12:26 am #1545215
No problem Fred. I've got the blog working again so I'll post some pics in a couple of days – it really is a unique packNov 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm #1547835
The Aarn Mountain Magic we be available here in the US in the Spring of 2010.Nov 24, 2009 at 4:34 pm #1547851
Can you get them without the front pockets? They look like nice packs otherwise.Nov 24, 2009 at 4:46 pm #1547853
Without the front pockets? Doesn't that defeat the purpose?Nov 24, 2009 at 5:36 pm #1547869
The front Balance Pockets are removeable but the pack comes standard with these pockets. It does somewhat defeat the purpose of balancing the load, but the pack still has other features. I too don't always wear the front Pockets.Sep 16, 2010 at 2:10 am #1646046
I am about to take the plunge and buy either a mountain magic 44 or 55 and I was wondering if anyone has any action photos of either of these packs?
Thanks.Sep 16, 2010 at 2:53 am #1646050
@cyphyrLocale: Light but NOT "ultra light"
Outstanding, I'd love to get one of these in the UK. I noticed that very few (are there any?) companies offer front pack pockets like this. I'd like to see a better belt but I guess thats something that the front load system makes unesnecessary.
I wonder, if I offered to take it round uk stockists, maybe they would give me a sample :)
RichardSep 16, 2010 at 2:58 am #1646052
@cyphyrLocale: Light but NOT "ultra light"
THinking about it I believe that with the front pockets only loosly attached to the front straps the load can not be supported on the belt that much. This will mean all the weight will be going down through the back and shoulders. I wonder how the perfect weight distribution factors against a higher load carrying centre (weight supported on back and shoulders)
RichardSep 16, 2010 at 3:33 am #1646055Sep 16, 2010 at 4:57 am #1646059
@carlbeckerLocale: Northern Virginia
Richard, I have the Marathon Magic 33. The front pockets are very well attached to the hipbelt but removable. Items in the front pocket do carry on the hip belt. There is very little if any pull on the shoulder straps. Mine has a Conus chest cross strap that pretty much relieves shoulder strap pressure completely. The compromise is lots of straps that take a bit of getting used to and a heavier pack. Still so far in my quest for the pack that works best for me it is tops. I first purchased a price reduced 2008 model without pockets and was impressed enought to get a new model with pockets.Sep 16, 2010 at 7:30 am #1646086
I have an Aarn MM 55 pack.. worked great on my Colorado Trail hike this year.
After 10 – 12 hour days and 20 miles, my upper body barely noticed there was a backpack on. Don't think I had a single sore spot or anything that needed stretching anywhere on my upper body during the whole month.
It was so comfortable, I rarely removed the backpack while resting or eating a snack. My 55 L pack weighs about 3 lbs and I carried a max load of 26 lbs in it though the carrying capacity is probably much higher.
The main down side is perhaps that accessing the main pack (as opposed to the udders in front) takes a little more fiddling than with a conventional pack.. but ideally you don't have to open the main pack during the day and keep food and misc. things in the front.Sep 16, 2010 at 10:21 am #1646134Sep 18, 2010 at 10:55 pm #1646874
Hi Roger, I enjoyed reading your blog and your review of the mountain magic 55. It was great to finally see an action photo of the pack. I do know what you mean about the annoyance of the attachment to the top strap as the current aarn pack i own has the same issue. I was planning about maybe putting a cable tie or thick rubber band to keep it up, but havent yet tested this.Sep 19, 2010 at 1:58 am #1646886
The elastics are only really an issue if you overload the pockets (as I did) reducing the weight in the pockets improves the carry, though perhaps an overide "cable tie" to limit the stretch maybe useful. For trips of less than 5 days I do not see the elastics as a problem.
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