" I don’t know if you followed us on the www.4deserts.com Sahara race or not, but the Lowe family, all three, made it to the finish, making it through it with your Marathon Magic 33 packs intact. All three of us were very pleased with the pack and praised it to others when asked. We had no problems, no tears or breakage as many had with their packs. Matthew did the best of the three of us taking fourth, just a short time from third overall. We both came in first in our age groups. Carrie Anna, my daughter competed in a very competitive ladies group, came in third in her age group and 8th overall in women.
People asking thinking the front pockets would be hot on the body– they weren’t, even when the heat that got up to 117 – 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Air seemed to flow well enough between the pockets and the body, yet the pockets did not move excessively. I know the pockets are for counter weight, but they provided plenty of space for easy and fast access to water, electrolytes, and energy foods. Grateful."
Ted Lowe, USA
I would just like to send a quick word about my wife and my experiences with your Aarn Marathon Magic (33) packs during our March/April trek of the Camino De Santiago (French Route, total distance 827kms in 24 days).
I have been involved in trekking, SAR, mountaineering, military and backpacking for most of my life and used a wide variety of pack systems in that time. I have usually preferred New Zealand options, but have also tried what other countries manufacturers have to offer.
Because of the long distance we were covering, the weight we carried (including the weight of the pack) was a priority concern. We chose the Aarn Marathon Magic 33l for its lightness, harness system and the front pockets. My wife and I managed to get our pack weights down to 7 and 9kgs respectively (this included food/water and sleeping bags).
Our thoughts on completion of the Camino are that these are by far the best packs we’ve ever used.
- The harness system with the way the pack hugs your body and moves with you via the Omni-Flow system at the bottom of the shoulder straps is excellent. The X-Flow chest harness allowed the pack to fit so snugly that it got to a point that after a few days I had forgotten I was even wearing a pack.
- The front pockets are excellent and not only for their quick access to gear.
- The weather was abnormally cold and stormy for early spring in the North of Spain this year. We were regularly trekking through snow and cold wind with temperatures ranging from -5 to -7 degree C. The front pockets shielded the cold wind from your chest and stomach and also allowed you to warm your hands up by sliding them between the front pockets and your body.
- Equipment such as guide book, Spanish Phrase book, mobile phone, camera & tripod, pocket knife, Head torch, lunch and water fit easily into the pockets and meant you could walk indefinitely without the need to stop and remove your pack to take the same items out. We even put a toothbrush and paste each in the front pocket so we could brush our teeth on the run after our breakfasts! Got some humorous looks but it’s all about saving time and getting the kilometers behind you!
- The items in these front pockets were the heavier small items and by having them at the front meant that the balance of the pack was great. Basically it was only clothing, sleeping bags and toiletries in the back.
- I also found an excellent spot for my Garmin Oregon GPS by clipping it to the strap close to the higher snap clip off the front pocket (where the traditional sternum strap would go).
- The walking pole/ice axe holders on the sides are a great way of storing them when not required.
- The pocket low down on the back of the pack was great for storing my wide brimmed hat when there was no sun (most of the time) and helped to prevent crushing it out of shape.
- I was a little worried about how rugged the packs fabric was going to be. But by the end of our 2 month backpacking trip that included the 830km trek I only had one cut on the front of mine and my wife’s went unscathed. I was able to repair this with some strong adhesive repair tape.
In summary I found the Aarn Marathon Magic 33 to be an excellent piece of kit and in its element on the ultra long distance trek that is the French route of the Camino De Santiago. I received a great deal of interest and curiosity from other walkers (who were mostly Europeans) and certainly recommended this pack to anyone who asked.
Thanks very much for the good work in creating this comfortable and highly usable pack. It made our experience more fulfilling.
Richie and Tracy, NZ