* Prices may differ from that shown
I absolutely cant fault this rucksack, I first had the pink version 30L capacity one from sports direct. At the time it cost £9.99 a few years ago. It was worth £40, but sports direct specialise in cheap Karrimor products. I used it every single day to commute, which involved cycling to the station, a train journey, a tube journey, and then more trains and walking through the day as I worked in multiple schools across london. This was in all weathers, there was times when the whole bag got soaked, snowed on, and hot sun. It kept my belonging mostly dry, was very comfortable to wear because of the padded straps, and in the hot pink colour I looked stylish on my commute. (No suit to wear just normal clothes).
I had to carry some heavy books sometimes, and the straps coped well spreading the weight evenly around my shoulders and back, I never had backache, you can adjust the straps to keep it close to your body. It has two mesh pockets on each side that you can keep a water bottle in. It also has some elastic straps along the back, and when I was walking I would often strap my light weight karrimor pink jacket into these so I could either run or walk depending on how late I was running!
After two years of the London rush the bag was really dirty and so I decided to put it in the washing machine on a handwash cycle, it got completely ruined and the straps went solid. I had to throw it away. I bought another one in purple as pictured, and also bought my partner the grey style one. They are both exactly the same and I plan to take them to iceland with us as day rucksacks when we go on excursions.
Yes you wouldnt be able to climb mount everest with this, but for a daily use bag, that keeps you from back pain and is also roomy enough to be able to wear whilst cycling then this is a great cheap option that will last you. Just dont try to wash it just sponge the dirty bits down.
As mentioned previously we have recently just got back from our honeymoon, and now that we are back I am working my way through reviewing the things we took on holiday with us. I used my Karrimor rucksack as my hand luggage item. The rucksack I used was the Karrimor Urban 30l, and this is the one I will be focusing on in this review.
=== Price and Availability ===
I purchased this particular rucksack earlier this year as my old rucksack was showing some definite signs of wear and tear. I was originally looking at brands such as Jan Sport as they come in pretty colours and patterns (of course the main reason for buying something!). If I had gone down the Jan Sport route the rucksack I liked was around the £40 mark. The RRP of this Karrimor rucksack is apparently £39.99 - but as opposed to the Jan Sport ones which seem to actually be sold at the RRP, I've not actually seen these Karrimor ones at that price. I bought this Karrimor rucksack for considerably less - about £12. £15 including postage and packaging. Considering how often I actually use a rucksack I decided to make the more sensible choice and opt for the cheaper option.
After seeing this rucksack on the Sports Direct website I looked in store to try and find it to avoid delivery charges. Unable to find it in store I bought my rucksack from Sports Direct, but through Amazon. Had to pay a delivery charge, but it was still the cheapest buying option at the time (and I got an unexpected free Sports Direct mug in with the deal... yet another mug in the house). After a quick search I can't find this rucksack on Sports Direct, but it is available through other sellers on Amazon, but for a higher price. Different colours appear to be different prices.
=== Rucksack Specifications ===
So, speaking of colour, I bought this rucksack in 'Amethyst'. Amethyst is purple (no surprises there) with light grey stripes down the sides. There are other colours available including black (all black), navy (with the light grey stripes) and dark fire (red, with dark grey stripes). I have seen a couple of other colours but these are the most commonly available.
Size wise, this is a perfect size for a day sack if you're out walking. I've also used this rucksack as my bag for clothes when travelling overnight. I can easily fit a set of PJ's and a spare set of clothes in here. I have used it when travelling for a weekend, so needed two sets of clothes - a bit of a tighter fit - I don't imagine this would work in winter when thick jumpers are required! The actual measurements of the rucksack are - 50cm x 33cm x 16cm. This is large enough to carry A4 folders in if required.
There are three compartments to this rucksack. The largest main compartment also includes a padded laptop pocket. Then there are two further smaller compartments. The larger of the two has an organiser section for pens, etc. and the smaller is still large enough to chuck a small paperback book in. There are also two mesh side pockets intended for water bottles and a bungee rope on the front.
=== Usage and Wear and Tear ===
I'm sure you're all aware on how to use a rucksack. Pop on back. Done. What this rucksack has is features to make the actual carrying of stuff as comfortable as possible. The straps that go over your shoulders are fairly wide and padded which helps to distribute the weight of the items in the bag. There is also a strap to go around your waist to help with weight. I've not actually used this strap on this bag, but I have on the larger sized rucksacks and they do really help when carrying heavy loads. I have used the chest strap, I feel it makes the rucksack even more comfortable to carry - personally I find it stops the main shoulder straps from slipping. The back of the rucksack is made from airmesh padding to help give your back some breathing space and help you to keep cool. If you do happen to be filling this rucksack up to it's 30l capacity there are also a couple of straps on each side that help to take the pressure off of the zips, which is a handy little addition.
When I first got this rucksack I was actually a little dubious. Even though it was cheap it is also Karrimor, a brand I expect quality from. The material this rucksack is made of is thinner than I expected. That said though this rucksack has been on several long train journeys up and down the country with me, and I used it as my hand luggage for my recent holiday. I've also used it when going to the supermarket on my bike to carry the shopping back to the house in. As things stand at the moment there are no signs of wear and tear which I am impressed about.
=== The Negatives ===
For a little rucksack it does have a range of features. However, it does also come with its problems.
Firstly, the mesh pockets on the side aren't really deep enough for your standard 500ml bottles of water. The bottles fit in fine, but are easily knocked out if the rucksack is brushed up against something for example.
The airmesh padding on the back of the rucksack is a good feature, though isn't structured like some other more expensive rucksacks. It does semi do the job it is intended to do, but I feel it could be better.
Something that I have now seen as being quite common in rucksacks is a phone/mp3 pocket which would have been a useful addition.
Finally, I can't really say if this is a negative or not just yet. Related to my initial impressions in regards to the materials, etc. As I say, it has stepped up to the mark, but I have yet to get caught out in really heavy rain with this and I'm not certain it would be good enough to protect my belongings. It may surprise me though if this situation arises.
=== Summary ===
Quite a good little rucksack for the money. A couple of minor design flaws, and could have had more features, hence I give it 4 stars. Overall though I am impressed with this rucksack for the price I paid.
30 litre capacity: 50cm (h) x 33cm (w) x 16cm (d) / Padded laptop pocket, secondary compartment with organiser, front zipped pocket, mesh wand pockets / Airmesh padding, chest strap, hip belt, front panel bungee / Reflective panels, LED light attachment loop