Sharing experience. No copying of press releases. Everything paid out my own pocket.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Aarn Marathon Magic 22 - good for commuting?

Usually my 12 l Inov-8 backpack does just fine for my commute. I do not run every day but go by car or by bike at least once a week. This is when I take fresh clothes with me. However, every once in a while I have to take some more stuff with me on my commute run. So far I've used an old Deuter hiking backpack that I had bought many years ago. This was o.k. but not perfect for running. Therefore, I was on the hunt for a larger pack in the > 20 l range. After some research I found the Aarn Marathon series. I have to admit that I had never heard of this brand Aarn before but the gear geek in me was intrigued immediately.

You get all the specs from their homepage, I see no point in repeating it here.

The only deterrent was the hefty price tag of €150. However, if the pack is really so good I'd be happy to pay the price. Was it worth it?

Overall impression

A lot of money wasted. Top part of the pack bounces annoyingly. Not different to my cheap old Deuter. Don't get me wrong, this is a great product. Given the alternatives on the market it's simply not worth to spend so much money.

Test conditions
  • urban environment, paved surfaces, all weather conditions, runs up to 1 hr, twice a day.
  • "Freight": a pair of shoes, pants, shirt, winter jacket. Sometimes a 15'' notebook. 
  • I've never used it with the the front bags. To cite Aarns homepage "All models are exceptional performers either with or without the Balance Pockets.".
  • I actually like its looks. Nice design. The pack seems a high quality product.
  • Adjustable to back lenght (theroretically, I never found the proper set up for my back length)

  • Extremely long straps. Why???
  • Set up is confusing. Where do I have to pull? Which strap?
  • This may only bother me but they could have quipped the belt with a (optional) small pocket when one does not want to use the front bags. There should always be a small pocket for keys and cell phone in the immediate reach.
  • Haven't noticed any of the "biomechinal" features that are advertised.
  • My main concern: The shoulder straps are connected to the pack some 15 cm below the top of pack. During my runs this top section of pack would bounce annoyingly. When you look at their homepage the pictures there seem to show a previous model. The shoulder straps are connected with additional straps. This seems to be more stabilizing. I don't know why they got rid of it. Maybe set up was just wrong ... but then, finding the proper fit with this pack is really difficult. I guess, the intention for this design is to reduce the load on the shoulder and to put more on the hips. This may increase comfort when hinking but not when running.

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