Karrimor SF Predator 80 - 130 Expedition Rucksack Review 2018/08/02
The Karrimor SF Predator 80 - 130 is perfect for those longer trips
in the backcountry, most recently I have used this rucksack in Finnish
Lapland for a winter snowshoeing trip.
It’s a large, very durable and no nonsense expedition rucksack that is
able to carry heavy loads long distances. Operating in colder conditions
means you have to take more gear and supplies with you to be comfortable
and operate effectively, all this requires a rucksack that you can
depend on. To review the Karrimor SF Predator 80 - 130, or indeed any
rucksack, the most important feature to start with is the back system.
How the harness is designed to fit and where the load is distributed
through you is critical to success. A rucksack with loads of features is
rendered useless if it doesn't fit!
The SA back system on the Karrimor SF Predator 80 - 130 is fully
adjustable and very easy to fit precisely. It's a very simple design of
two locking buckles which can be released to allow the shoulder and back
sections to slide up or down. Once the desired fit is found the buckles
can be pulled tight so the system stays in place. A great addition to
this design is how the user can further adjust the back system even
whilst wearing the rucksack. So if you notice a sore spot after a
morning of hiking then the SA back system can be self adjusted to adapt
to this developing situation and shift the load to another area.
The straps and hip belt are all super
thick and supportive with strong webbing around them. The hip belt
features a great lumbar pad which is large and supportive; it bulges out
from the rucksack so it sits very well against you. Having a proper
lumbar pad and hip belt are essential for when the loads are heavy.
The closure buckle on the hip belt is made from a strong feeling
plastic, as is the sternum strap. To tighten the hip harness you pull
the strap to your side. I tighten each side individually as it allows
the user to get a tighter fit by using your triceps. It would be
fantastic if Karrimor SF made the change to a front pull system as it is
a lot easier to do than pulling to one’s side.
The Karrimor SF Predator 80 - 130 feels great on and fully loaded.
Carrying 22kg feels acceptable due to the two aluminium stays that run
parallel down the back of the pack. These provide stability and
integrity to the user. Moreover the rucksack maintains its shape and
form regardless of what you put in it. Having weight properly
transferred through you in the correct area is vital for your body when
hiking and the aluminium stays help push weight through your hips. This
helps you walk further with less fatigue and it makes the Predator 80 -
130 a very comfortable rucksack. The Predator 80-130 can be altered in
other ways too. When packing the rucksack you have the option of
unzipping two large expansion baffles that run down the entire main
section of the pack. These give you a little extra space that allows for
accommodating wider items as well as giving you the ability to compress
the main compartment when your supplies are running low and you no
longer have the need for any additional space. It's a great feature and
I use it a lot.
There are normal compression straps on
the side of the rucksack which allow you to further control weight
distribution as when you pull them tight the weight is drawn closer to
you. Going one step further you can close the zips on the side of the
rucksack to dramatically reduce the volume, say for example when going
on a day hike from a basecamp.
The Predator 80 - 130 can also be fitted with two PLCE side pouches. I
have not needed this extra volume as fully expanded I find the rucksack
big enough. I do see people fitting the pack with side pouches but I
would say focus on your packing technique first before trying them as
you might be alright with a bit of rethinking.
I normally stick my sleep system in the
base of the rucksack along with a stove for quick access for mid hike
brews. There is a division between the base compartment, with its zipped
entrance, and the main compartment. You can toggle this using a
drawcord. The rucksack is large and spacious with no difficulty fitting
large winter sleep systems in whatsoever.
The lid is not completely floating but it has a large baffle at the rear
which can be loosened to allow the lid to be pulled over when you have
lots in the pack. I always prefer floating lids but the Predator 80 -
130’s design is good enough.
The lid has two pockets, one you can access from the outside and one on
the inside. The lid is covered by MOLLE and has a patch to stick a
Velcro badge if you want. MOLLE also continues down the face of the pack
so your attachment options are vast. You can easily attach two poles and
two snowshoes to the exterior of the pack. Down the sides there is a low
profile pocket at the base which can hold hiking sticks or a pair of
snowshoes, I find they fit perfectly here.
The compression straps at each side are
very handy for quickly attaching equipment on the move as well as more
permanent attachment points at the base of the pack where you could
store a large expedition roll matt for long term use. The buckles are
strong and built to last but they are not the lightest in design. This
can also be said for the zips which are all strong and very sturdy. I am
glad of this as the pack is made more dependable as a result.
The overall weight of the Predator 80-130 is 3.8kg (3.6kg for the
MultiCam). It uses 1000D Nylon which is very strong and abrasion
resistant. It's a fabric that can handle a ton of abuse out in the field
and if you are venturing out for longer backcountry trips then it's
certainly reasonable to expect this bomb proof fabric to serve you well.
The fabric is also treated with a DWR
of fluoro carbon. One of the strongest and longest lasting repellent
finishes available. It does come at a price as it's a very damaging
chemical to nature and health. I always leave rucksacks treated with
this out to air for a couple of days before use when I buy them new.
Performance of this coating is exceptional, with snow, rain and mud all
falling off the fabric without adhering to it.
Overall the Predator 80-130 is great long distance, heavy load carrying
pack which is built to last.