Karrimor Cheetah 60-85
Backpack, Rucsac or Rucksack
Product Review / Walking Gear Test
Backpack, Rucsac or Rucksack
Colours: Black/Cinder, Gold/Cinder
Weight: 2320 gms
Features to Note:
- Fabric : N420D Dot Matt/N420D HD /Hypalon
- SA2 backsystem
- Hydration system compatible
- 3 point compression
- Base loads straps
- Rope strap
- Expansion side pockets
- Extending lid with 2 pockets
- Adjustable shoulder and chest straps
- Ice axe/ walking pole attachment points
Whilst I've not yet had opportunity to use the Karrimor Cheetah on an actual backpacking trip, I have used it as my pack on several long, day walks when I've had full winter day's kit with me.
The main compartment is a great size and is easy to access from the top and also from a side zip. There is also a separate base compartment with its own access. The two way zip to this appears to be quite robust (always a concern of mine) and has a couple of good sized tags to help when wearing gloves. There is a zipped divider between the main and lower compartment - so it is possible to have one big space if necessary.
I did not fill the backpack so the top and bottom load compression was important for me - it certainly worked well in stabilising the pack.The lid is fixed (and has a bungey cord for attaching eg bed roll/sleeping mat) but can extend upwards to accommodate larger loads. There is also a strap across the top of the main bag section, which can be used to anchor items such as a sleeping bag under the lid, across the top of the bag.
I was really very comfortable wearing the Cheetah throughout the day. The shoulder straps and the hip belt are very well padded. The SA2 back system did a good job in transferring weight to my hips - the belt really did seem to hug my hips very comfortably.
The back length is adjustable (although I found some of the strapping a little stiff.) Moreover, I didn't find the back systems at all restricting for example when walking with poles.
There are a useful selection of pockets; there is a a good sized zip pocket on top of the lid, a zipped net one on the inside of the lid, two large side-front zipped pockets (just about accessible when the lid is closed), a large front flat pocket. There are also loops on top of top for a bed roll or insulation mat. The front also has two sets of walking poles/ice axe attachment points.
I've used the Karrimor Cheetah during some quite persistent rain and found that the rain resistance was pretty good. However it does come with a (black) water-proof cover which is secured by means of a reasonably effective draw-cord. Irrespective of this, though, I always keep my stuff in plastic bags - climbing into a wet sleeping bag is really not an option! Incidentally - I always think it is a shame when a backpack in a really bright, easy-to-spot colour such as the Gold option for the Cheetah, comes with a water-proof cover that is black.
We've not had the Cheetah on test long enough to check the durability of the material and/or the padding in the shoulder straps and belt. So far, though, I've been quite impressed with it.
The Karrimor Cheetah 60-85 backpack is a well specified, competitively priced backpack - a great option for multi-day walking trips with all but the heaviest of loads. It's comfortable, relatively water resistant and has enough easy access storage for your day's needs (food, poles, OS maps, gps etc ) without having to access the main body of backpack.
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• As a means of testing this backpack, I used it on part of my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze expedition and for one of the training sessions for my Gold. Amongst these expeditions I experienced a vast range of weather conditions, from heavy rain to 25°C temperatures.
I felt that the main compartment was a perfect size for a 2-3 day trek, never being pushed for space.
There is also a separate zipped base compartment, which was very useful for accessing equipment that was not needed during the day time walking of the expedition but needed quick access at the campsites.
For example, I left my sleeping bag and dry clothes in this compartment, which was only needed in the evening. The contents remained safe and dry. Also, in the main compartment, there is a good sized pocket at the rear side of the compartment, which was perfect for a platypus.
The backpack has plentiful pockets, with one in every available area of the bag which is great for storage of things that need to be quickly accessible.
There are two very deep pockets on either side of the bag which are good for storage of drinks bottles and torches, although it is hard to get into these without taking the bag off.
There are also 2 pockets on both sides of the lid which are ideal for snacks or waterproofs that need to be accessed quickly.
Above the lid is bungey chord, which I found very useful for carrying my fleeces and waterproofs with the very quick changing weather conditions.
As a fan of pockets, I found that this bag was great, with a suitable amount and in good size and they all had tabs on the zips which meant I could open them, even with gloves on.
The lid has two easily adjustable straps that are perfect for carrying a tent or roll mat. There are also looped straps near the bottom of the bag too which again is good for carrying either of these. Both having easily adjustable straps helps ensure that the bag doesn't become lop sided during the day, which can often happen if not adjusted properly.
There are many further load compression straps all over the bag, which turned out to be very handy as it added degrees of stability and flexibility to the bag around the load I was carrying, between days.
On my expedition, I found the bag overall very comfortable. The hip belt was adjusted in unison with the shoulder straps to allow all of the weight to be around the waist, instead of on the shoulders which may have dug in and put strain on them. Both the shoulder and hip straps had good amounts of padding on them which kept them comfortable and prevented excess aching.
In my experience with the bag, I found the chest strap too high up and hard to adjust so I ended up having it across my collar bones rather than chest, but this could be a personal fault in adjusting the bag.
The back system was very comfortable too! It has extra padding, leaving a gap between your back and the bag, making it well ventilated. This kept the bag comfortable on a long walk in hot conditions. It kept its shape when the backpack was fully loaded too.
Overall, I felt the Karrimor Cheetah was a very good backpack. Throughout the heavy rainfall I experienced on my expedition, the backpack withstood it all and nothing inside the bag got wet. This bag had all the qualities needed in the backpack and it fitted me very well (a 6ft male with all the camping equipment, cooking facilities, clothes and food needed on a 3 day trek).
Also, there were plenty of places along the bag that gave opportunities to tie a compass or whistle to which were easy to use whilst still attached.
However, there were only two faults I could think of. One was the fact that the back system was quite stiff to adjust and weighed quite a bit, due to the metal involved in the structure of it. This wasn't too much of a problem at the start of the expedition but as the days went on I started to feel the weight more.
The second was that there were 2 elastic bottle holders but when the bag was fully loaded, they weren't deep enough for the bottles to stay in so I couldn't use them. Therefore, I had to put the bottle in the side pockets which made accessibility less easy as I had to take the bag off every time I needed a drink.
Jon Howard, Shawbury