Just finished a 5 day solo loop round Mt Ruapehu with my Load Limo packed with good food, a generous quantity of liquid fuel and a solo tent, so I was not travelling ultra light. This was its first realistic test. I'd spent some time familiarising myself with it and taking the trouble to adjust the shape of the metal stays and the hip belt angle, but I was still apprehensive that it wouldn't live up to the hype. Well, it came through with flying colours on days that were cloudless and hot. It did just what it was supposed to do. In my endless search for tramping gear Nirvana (with no expense spared), I've had top-of-the-range packs from several manufacturers, but they all ended up inflicting the same discomfort in the same areas. Sure, I had aching muscles from the exertion, but for the first time ever, gone were the sore hips and shoulders. So I never felt the need to resort to those tricks you see in tiring trampers - holding onto the front of the shoulder straps to take the pressure off the shoulders, reaching behind to lift the sack from below or fidgeting with the hip belt to stop the pinching or the slipping.
What I really like about your hipbelt is that it can be made to fit the pelvis and wrap around and over it snugly for even weight distribution irrespective of the tilt of the pelvis, which can vary a lot between individuals. On most conventional belts, there's a trade off between having enough weight on the hips and needing to tighten the belt to a degree that sooner or later becomes uncomfortable.
Walking upright was a welcome novelty. I loved being effortlessly able to look up and around (as we normally do) rather than feeling forced to look at the ground by constantly walking in a stooped position, especially as you're tiring towards the end of the day. Breathing and recovering from a steep climb was also easier because the diaphragm and lower front ribs are not compressed and restricted.
With those front Balance Pockets putting on and taking off the sack takes a little getting used to, and the adjustment buckles aren't as readily accessible as on conventional packs, but the small effort to adapt really pays off. They never got me hot and they didn't swing round wildly or feel unstable. Having them meant no more reaching behind to fumble for a snack, stuffing things into trouser pockets or asking someone to fish something out of the lid pocket.
In short, my long search for tramping packs stops here. Great product - thanks!’
Chris Fetto, Osteopath, Torbay, Auckland, NZ
I find the concept of having the center of gravity of the body and the load along the same line is brilliant. I have a back problem. It has been recurring for 3 years now. This year, just a month ago, I had a spinal spasm. Severe pain lasted only 3 days. Previously, it took over a month to loose the pain. My physiotherapist says, 'Your back was much stronger and posture much better, what have you been doing for it?" I tell her about my new Aarn pack and show her the brochures and literature. She’s very impressed. Her prescription for me: "You just keep walking and tramping and using your Aarn pack, that combination is the perfect balance for your back situation."
Paul Kilgour, Takaka, South Island, New Zealand
In my 48 years of life I have spent a significant amount of time with a pack on my back participating in the activities of tramping, climbing, travelling, working and family activities. I tested Load Limo on a 6-day trip with clients in the Southern Alps.
The pack for the days 1-3 weighed 21 kilograms and from days 3-6 weighed 16 kilograms. From the first step taken this Bodypack was significantly different to any other pack that I have used, the comfort level was very high both in terms of the hipbelt and shoulder straps, so comfortable that I thought that this cannot last, but 2, 3, 4, 5 hours later the same degree of comfort was being experienced. Likewise, the Balance Pockets involved a cultural change in what I was used to, like me habitually leaning forward with my tramper’s stoop. But again, after a couple of hours of consciously walking more upright, the benefits of the Bodypack became apparent.
The ease of availability for essential items (first aid, camera, scroggin, water bottle) stored in the Balance Pockets meant less frustration and less stops along with the obvious benefit of weight balance.
The sewn in pack liner is a very useful and one less thing to consider The Velcro closing for closing the top was great and the simplicity of the feature made me wonder why it hasn’t been thought of earlier. The Bodypack stuck to my body like glue and the harness was particularly effective when I negotiated constant windfall.
Overall this pack felt like something from another planet, something us pack-carrying people have not seen the likes of before and have only encountered in our dreams. The comfort, the lack of aches, strains and stresses make this Bodypack a must for serious consideration for anyone considering replacing or buying their first backpack.
Paddy Pawson, Waipuna Community Trust, Christchurch
I am a 60 year old bushwalker and I only took it up at age 58. My son has had one of your Load Limo packs and he’s always raved about it. So, I bought one for my trip on the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia. It was fantastic. For the first time I felt really balanced and I never once experienced sore shoulders. So thank you for designing such a wonderful pack and I wish you every continued success in your business.
Bob Sharples, Victoria, Australia
Got my Load Limo recently and headed for my favourite trail in the Kenai mountains. I have never before covered that mileage with so little pack pain/ awareness. Simply amazing! I noticed that at rest stops, after taking the pack off, that feeling of being ’pushed forward’ that you get from compensating from a pack that pulls backwards, was absent.
Bill Siemens, Anchorage, Alaska
My husband and I have fairly recently returned from a tramping tour in NZ. We invested in two of your backpacks, and I wanted to say how fantastic they were. We have used ’normal’ packs previously and found yours to be far superior for comfort and fit. Once the fitting was understood and worked out, we really enjoyed the freedom that the pack gave and the sense of balance when walking. We now look forward to many years using our packs!
Margaret Jawerth, Australia3
I would like to tell you about my "Bodypack" experience. I lay down last night in my tent, there was something wrong, there was NO PAIN!! Mate, I felt like I had been transported to another planet.
The Aarn pack has revolutionised tramping for me. For the first time in over 20 years of tramping almost all of the pack weight now sits on my hips rather than my shoulders and I no longer have aching back and shoulders that I had come to accept as the norm when tramping. When I stop for a rest my friends usually take their packs off as I always did. Now I leave it on and even stay standing because I hardly notice it! The front Balance Pockets too are great because pretty much everything I need for the day can go in there meaning I don’t have to take my pack off to access stuff. I also load them with heavy stuff like food and water. This distributes the weight more evenly and also makes the load less noticeable. So well done and keep up the good work! Dave Mason, Head of Outdoor Education, Howick College, Auckland, NZ
Rick Wildman, Carterton, North Island, NZ
I just got back from another day hike with a full load in my pack. I can't believe how comfortable it is. You're really onto something.
Chris Heaps, Ontario, Canada
I have had 25 years of outdoor experience and I was blown away by the comfort and load carrying ability - outstanding.
Chris, outdoor instructor, Tauranga, NZ
I've been the happy owner of one of your Load Limo packs for the past 3 years, and every summer have been using it on mountain expeditions while instructing with Outward Bound USA. I have to say that this pack has made a dramatic impact on how much I enjoy my job: at the end of the day my hips and back are not sore and aching like they were day after day wearing one of my old packs. I have given dozens of endorsement for your packs to students and fellow instructors over the years, because the natural balance system works so well. Thanks so much for the innovative work that you do!
Daniel Chambo, Outward Bound instructor, Asheville, NC, USA