Friday, 17 December 2010

Karrimor Alpiniste 45+10

Way back when I started buying backpacking gear there were 2 main players when it came to rucksacks, Karrimor and Berghaus. I bought my 1st, a 65l Karrimor Condor and pretty much stuck with Karrimor thereafter. I did briefly switch to Berghaus when I bought a Munro 35l but didn't get on with it so replaced it with a Karrimor Hot Earth.

I always liked the look of the Alpiniste 55l but hadn't actually bought one before drifting away from the outdoors scene. When I started to get back into it in 2008 I needed a rucksack smaller in capacity than my Condor 65l so picked up an Alpiniste 45+10, it was one of the late models and was a bit of a beast to be honest with unnecessarily over padded hipbelt and shoulder straps, in fact it weighed almost the same as the Condor 65l even though the Condor had an adjustable length back system.

About a year later I was browsing the Field & Trek site when I noticed a newer Alpiniste 45+10 in the sale, it looked well designed and was over 1kg lighter than my older model so I ordered it. At the time I'd been considering an OMM pack but went with the Karrimor as preferred the back system and hipbelt.

Comparing the construction with my older Karrimor packs going back to the late 80's the quality is still there, at least as good as the Haglofs LIM45 or Gregory z55 that I had at the time. The top line Karrimor packs shouldn't be confused with the Karrimor branded sports bags you find in places like Sports Direct. The Alpiniste 45+10 (also available in 35+10) is a seriously tough pack and not too heavy for what it is at 1388g, this is a rucksack that can be thrown around, dragged over rocks and so on without worrying about damaging it.

Side Compression Straps, both with Fastex Buckles and Elastic Strap Keepers.

The pack is quite narrow as you'd expect from a climbing sack, the hipbelt and shoulder straps are stiff enough, quite slim but comfortable. The pack is a basic 1 compartment type with the usual features you'd expect like a shockcord on the front, 2 x Ice axe loops, side compression straps all with Fastex buckles and wand pockets. The wand pockets are quite shallow and I managed to loose a waterbottle from one last time out so that's something to be aware of.

Reinforced Patch under Shockcord, Clip Off Shockcord Hooks
The shockcord on the front has hooks that allow you to open the shockcord out to stash gear before clipping it back, I found this good when carrying a snow shovel in addition the fabric has some type of reinforcement under the shockcord which makes it look smoother/shinier than the rest of the pack.

The shoulder straps have a sternum strap and top tension straps which allows you to pull the pack in nice and close, the hipbelt is removable if you need to wear a harness.

Slim but stiff Hipbelt, Hipbelt is Removable

Top Tension Straps and Haul Loop
The lid is semi floating, it's attached to the pack at the back but can be extended by loosening off 3 straps, I prefer this arrangement to fully floating lids. The lid has a large pocket with a waterproof type zip and inside there's a glove hook/key clip. The pack is hydration system compatible, there's a zipped pocket inside the pack and a single central port for a feed tube between the shoulder straps.

Floating Lid Adjustment Straps and Hydration Port

Lid Pocket with Water Resistant Zip and Key Clip

The back pad is reasonably stiff, the pack keeping it's shape when it isn't fully packed but the pad isn't removable as far as I can see although according to the Karrimor website it is, perhaps they've modified it on the latest version as the one shown on F&T does look slightly different to mine. There's a drawcord on the main body of the pack and also one on the extension in addition there's a rope strap under the lid.

Fformat Back System

Snowlock Extension and Rope Strap

There are a couple of things I could remove namely the integrated gear racks at the base of the pack close to where the hipbelt/shoulder straps attach, I don't use them but haven't removed them yet. Finally there's a haul loop at the top between the shoulder straps.

I use I find the Alpiniste very comfortable, it's bigger than I need for day outings but I've been using it when out on ski as it's stiff enough to carry the weight of the skis even when it isn't fully packed. All in all it's a good piece of kit, I know Karrimor aren't who/what they used to be (I've heard it often enough) but there's still some good kit out there if you use your head, they just need to stop branding every piece of generic crap they find with the Karrimor name.

Alpiniste 45+10 in Use. Photo by Les

I've added the pic's below to try to illustrate the dimensions of the Alpiniste.


  1. I've got one of these and it's a great winter mountaineering pack


  2. thanks for posting mate - useful

  3. Do you think it can fit a 2 man tent plus other gear for 1 week trips? Trying to avoid stepping up in size, plus its a cool pack.

  4. It depends on the 2 man tent to be honest, something like a TN Laser with minimal kit for 1 in summer would be possible but it's quite a narrow pack and a bulky synthetic sleeping bag for example would eat up quite a bit of space.

    As a climbing rucksack it's probably designed more for low bulk heavy kit such as climbing hardwear and with the hip belt and back system that it has it can certainly handle the weight.

  5. Thanks, cool site by the way!

  6. I want to buy this one. Would you please tell me the L*W*H about this rucksack ?


  7. Hi, well the sizes are approximate as the pack is tapered up from back to front at the base and tapers base to top, it's narrower at the top. So approx 55cm long (top to bottom) x 30cm wide (left to right) x 17cm (back to front). The circimference is about 95cm near the top. That is the main body of the pack not including the snow skirt/extension or lid.

    I'll add a few pics to the main post to illustrate.

  8. Thank you so much!

    I am gonna buy one. It's about £50.

  9. No problem, £50 is a good price.

  10. Thanks for the great review! These are going for £50 on sports direct. Will this be of cheaper quality?

  11. No it'll be exactly the same as an Alpiniste 45+10 bought from anywhere else. Mine came from Field & Trek (Sister Outlet to Sports Direct)

  12. I bought one of these for a forthcoming alpine trip having had a previous version for 15 years. Got it of Sports Direct for 50 quid. Bargain. On the first trip out with it on the north ridge of Tryfan, I slipped and landed on the bag. When I got back, I noticed that the base had a hole in it. The reason - the base material is crisp-packet thin despite it looking reinforced, believe me it is not!! Only than the material being crap and a really annoying rear haul loop, its a nice bag with loads of features. I've sent it back to Sports Direct and wouldn't recommend it - I'm sticking with my original.