We go packing in the jungles of Latin America with Joshua Haarbrink and the Saber 30 Rucksack from Karrimor SF.
In the nearly endless parade of tactical bags available on the market today, the Karrimor SF brand is quickly proving itself a great pick of the pack. After nearly a year of use, the quality of design and the durability of the material put into my Karrimor SF Sabre 30 have proven themselves and I’ve come to rely on it as one of my primary go-bags in my travels and adventures.
With a legacy of nearly 70 years in bag design for the civilian market specializing in Alpine and adventure bags, Karrimor has gathered a wealth of experience in creating durable and effective rucksacks and outdoor equipment for skiers, adventure-seekers and athletes. Building on this heritage, the Karrimor SF brand now celebrates almost 20 years producing specialized bags and accessories in the UK for Special Forces as a supplier to the UK Ministry of Defense as well as law enforcement communities, and has recently increased their international reach by expanding into the U.S. market.
I picked up this Saber 30 last year amid travels and without thinking much of it, promptly filled it with some gear that I didn’t want to carry with me in my journeys, and stuck it in storage. Whether it’s on alert at a FOB, standing by for a Code 3 call-out or living out of hotels as we chase business meetings around the world, those of us who are always on the go typically create our own personally organized and effective system for packing and carrying the equipment and supplies of our trades and it’s no trivial matter when it comes to considering new gear to add to the mix, let alone substituting elements of a proven load-out. Among my multi-compartment bags and cases, the Sabre 30 didn’t seem particularly utilitarian other than perhaps serving as a good stash bag to stuff some extra clothes in. Upon returning from my trip, I dug up the bag while reorganizing and planning for another extended adventure abroad and had the thought that it might actually be an ideal size to throw in my suitcase and keep handy for day use. So I tossed it in my luggage and shipped out.
The Saber 30 offers a relatively basic design with only two compartments: a main compartment with an internal personal hydration system pocket, and a smaller lid compartment with YKK zipper. For a guy that carries all sorts of smaller pieces of gear and gadgets, I felt that this would be an issue for me as I typically prefer bags with lots of pockets and pouches in order to keep things organized. Two pouches on either side of the bottom of the pack have reinforced holes in the bottom of them to act as ski guides, although with much of my time spent in tropical climates I knew I would have to find a better use for them than that. I also wasn’t sure that I would get much use of the ice-axe holders on the back of the pack.
My first real opportunity to use the Saber 30 came with a search & rescue call-out in the mountains of Panama. Preparing for a solid day hike with potential over-night in the case of emergency, I strapped my machete to the side of the pack with the tip of it conveniently tucking into the ski guide and the cinch straps locking it in tight. The main compartment had the perfect amount of room for a med kit, my GORE-TEX® Arc’teryx jacket, water and snacks, and a few other essentials. The other ski guide provided an ideal location to stow a rain guard and clip my multi-tool while D-rings on the shoulder straps offered anchor points to secure my GPS device, gloves, flashlight and emergency whistle for easy access. All the essential supplies and equipment needed for a rugged excursion fit well in this simple, compact bag and when secured with the chest and waist straps the pack fit snugly on my back and was well-balanced when crawling up and down steep, slippery terrain as well as hopping across boulders and navigating the dense tropical rainforest.
The Sabre 30 is certainly one of the more basic configurations of tactical rucksack offered by Karrimor SF, but its durable construction is indicative of Karrimor’s celebrated quality and the size and functionality of the Sabre 30 has earned it an important place in my line-up of mission-specific bags. It is now my primary day bag and for over-nighters I have found that my laptop or tablet fits comfortably in the internal hydration system pocket. With the addition of the innovative Tribe One Outdoors MiniNet™ system I can even add a pair of boots or other gear to the outside of the pack while maintaining the minimalist approach that I practice in my travels. Overall, this bag puts in work and will be enjoying a long-term role in my outdoor load-outs.
For more information about purchasing Karrimor SF products in the United States, please visit Grey Ghost Gear™.
To view Karrimor SF’s entire product line, please visit www.KarrimorSF.com.