The Aarn Marathon Magic 33

The Marathon Magic is a 33 litre pack made up of a 30 litre main bag and 2 front pockets capable of holding 3 litres in total.

There are all sorts of fancy names for the harness system such as Omni Flow, U Flow and Conus Clip chest strap, however, what they do is ensure a snug fit of the pack with the body and as a result the the pack moves with you, partly as a consequence of shoulder harness where each side is connected using the U Flow system allowing the shoulder straps to move as you do. The conus clip which is perhaps best described as the alternative to the chest straps found on conventional packs, connects the shoulder straps together. The shoulder straps are in turn connected using the uflow strap. The net result of the harness system is that you are not “fighting” with the pack as you walk.

The hipbelt has a central buckle between the balance pockets and is connected to two points on each side of the pack, each of these straps are adjustable thus allowing the tension to be varied resulting in the ability to reduce pressure on any points or areas of discomfort that may occur.

The other unusual feature of the pack is the front balance pockets (which can be removed) these are designed to distribute the load with some of the weight placed on the front to counter balance the weight in the main sack. It is recommended that the pockets are loaded with heavy items such as water bottles etc.

For my recent trip trip the balance pockets contained a camera, my Velbon vpod tripod, tent stakes, approx 1 litre of water, all my food for the day as well as maps and other items for use during the day. In the past I have often used hipbelt pockets and shoulder strap pockets, to enable easy access while on the move, the balance pockets have replaced them, and have allowed me to access items such as camera and tripod without needing to remove my pack. The pockets may look strange but I felt that I was walking more upright, however, one trip does make a full test. One question that is often asked is can you see your feet, yes is the answer and the balance pockets do not interfere with my use of my pacer poles.

According to Aarn’s website the main sack holds 30 litres, I have no reason to disbelieve that as I was able to carry my bivy, tarp, sleeping bag, neo air mattress, down jacket, pot and stove as well as odds and ends with some space to spare. It has a draw string closure with a flap with a small zippered pocket on the inside of the flap. Of note is the aluminum bar across the top of the flap which allows the shoulder straps to move as you walk providing a “load lifter” effect. I was able to place my Haglöfs Pullover under the flap when not wearing it.

Between the back and the pack there is Matrix Mesh, which I found to be very comfortable and have no doubt that in warmer weather would provide some airflow on back as you walked.

The front of the pack has a mesh pocket which is ideal for placing small items in it such as gloves, hats etc. The cross straps allow the securing of items to the outside such as sleeping mats. Also tucked away under these straps are points to secure walking poles.

I loaded the pack up with 8.5 kgs of gear for my over night trip with the front balance pockets holding about 2.5 kg. I quickly felt that I was walking more upright with the pack and noticed how it moved with me as I walked, there did not seem to be any weight on my shoulders as well there seemed very little pressure on my hips, though the hip belt was tightened.

I believe that this pack will be ideal up to 3 days 2 nights using lightweight gear and I am looking forward to using it again very soon.

There is an increasing number of dealers of Aarns packs, mine was purchased from Outlandia in Copenhagen, a visit to Aarns website will soon find more.

Aarns website also has several videos on how to fit and use the Aarn pack, which I found very helpful.

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11 Responses to The Aarn Marathon Magic 33

  1. Dave Hanlon says:

    Interesting. I keep returning to these since I think the front pockets are ideal for those of us who can't leave the camera gear at home and if they carry as well as I hear people say they do then all teh better. I realy like the look of your pack. I just wish they'd do something to fill in the cavernous gap between the 33l/750g Marathon and the 65l/1.8kg featherlite.30l just won't do for the most of my trips and 65l is huge overkill. They need a 40-45l version in there to plug the gap. Ih they made a 40+5 at a kilo or less I'd be reaching for my card.

  2. Dave your wish will be granted, a 45 and 55 l version named the Mountain Magic, will be available in April.There is only a few details available on the web at this stage, if you go to Outlandia's site and click on produketer and then Aarn you will see some details there.

  3. Tomas says:

    Looks like a nice pack, those front-pockets seem so useful. I can't think of anything that regularly annoys me more than trying to keep an SLR dry during a hike, and also having it easily accessible. I wonder if those Aarn pockets will easily clip onto other brand rucksacks…

  4. Niels Blok says:

    Aarn Mountain Magic will come in 2 sizes a 32+12L and a 37+18L weighing at 1450g and 1490g respectively. The large front/back ratio will give them an easily achieved bodycentered load. The little extra weight of the pack itself is countered by the efficient ease of carrying your entire load. You will not be able to use balance pockets with other packs without extensive modifications. The pockets have a girder that fits into a sleeve on the hip belt.

  5. Thanks Tomas and Niels. Tomas I am not sure if the front balance pockets will work on any pack, but I suppose there is always the make your own gear path. Roger

  6. Would you recommend the Mountain Magic over the Marathon Magic, if one would like to try out a Aarn pack?

  7. Hi Hendrik, my answer it depends. Both packs are very much the same with regard to design and construction. So my answer would be what volume do you think is of most interest to you? Though I would also say that I feel that the front pockets on the Mountain Magic 55 are too big. So … my suggestion is the Mountain Magic 44, as it will give you plenty of volume to play with and the weight difference is minimal.However, as I said the the frame and other design features are the same for both the Marathon and Mountain Magics so it really comes down to a volume question.I look forward to hearing more about you experiences.

  8. Thanks for the quick answer =) I just got curious as I finished the interview with Aarn – going online tomorrow morning – and thus had a look at what you had to say about them. Both seem interesting, and I have now a week in the forest to think about it!

  9. Thanks Tomas and Niels. Tomas I am not sure if the front balance pockets will work on any pack, but I suppose there is always the make your own gear path. Roger

  10. you have quite a collection of Aarn packs :p Are you selling one, esp. since I'm looking for a used MM55 😉

  11. nielsenbrown says:

    Hi Ismailfaruqi2003 please use the contact me link at the bottom of the page and we can discuss this via email.ThanksRoger

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