Monday, August 19, 2013

Review - Craghoppers 22L daysack

I've been looking for my ideal daysack for some time and I've now been using the Craghoppers Kiwi pro daysack for a few weeks and have worn it for 64 miles.

I chose it for its capacity - 22 litres is just the right size for the food, water, extra layers and other bits and pieces that you need for a day's walking. I was also looking for one with an airflow system. The smaller sack I've been using just has a plain back and the 'sweaty back' has been a real problem for me, especially in the Summer.

In short I love it. It's comfortable and practical and I'll be using it for every trip from 5-mile leg-stretches to single-day challenges such as the Ivanhoe Way.

The pockets are great and well thought-out. It has one big main compartment. I ruled out others that have more than one large compartment because I don't see the point. That divides your main space up and I think you'll fit your stuff more easily into a single compartment such as this one has. It has a useful small outer pocket which I've found very easy to access for small items. There's also a sunglasses pocket which is 'velvet'-lined. (I don't have shades - I have been using this for my phone). Plus the usual external mesh pockets.

It's very comfortable indeed. So far, 19 miles is the furthest I've walked in one go with it but the straps have been very comfortable on the shoulders. The product specification says that the waist strap isn't weight-bearing but when done up it helps the Kiwi to nestle on the back and it does take the weight off the shoulders.
The airflow system is comprised of some raised meshy padded areas. The air can then flow between them.  It's not as good as the 'mesh' type system on bigger more rigid rucksacks, but those are bigger and heavier. It's certainly better than similar and smaller sacks which don't have an air system.

Those padded shapes also help the bag to sit very comfortably on the back. When it's packed right and adjusted right it really does feel very good.

It has a pocket for a hydration bladder (eg Platypus or Camelbak) with a little hole under a flap for the tube. I've tried this and it's fine, but I prefer to use a Sigg bottle now. I found that a full Camelbak in the relevant pouch, with the rest of the space well-packed, made the back bulge out, reducing the general comfort and also reducing the effectiveness of those air channels because they were all pressing against my back.

I'm not fussed about waterproofness because I take great care not to walk when there are darker clouds forecast. But it has already dealt well with a light shower. It's pleasing to see the water beading and it seems reasonably waterproof.


  • Pockets and compartments are very well thought-out
  • shoulder straps are very comfortable
  • 'airflow' pads make the sack very comfortable on the back
  • bladder pocket and hole for tube
  • Although it's stated that the waist belt on this model isn't load-bearing, it does make the pack more comfortable and helps to support the weight.


  • I'd prefer a more rigid back for better airflow with a bladder in place, and so that a full load doesn't change how it sits on the back. But I think I'd only get that with a bigger, heavier sack.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ivanhoe Way (over two days)

Distance: 19 miles
Walked: Saturday 10 August 2013
Total miles walked this year: 195
Route: Anticlockwise from Stanton under Bardon to Ashby

Distance: 18 miles
Walked: Sunday 11 August 2013
Total miles walked this year: 214
Route: Anticlockwise from Ashby to Stanton under Bardon

As a training walk for doing the whole lot in one go, I walked the route over two days. I'm aiming for 12 hours this year and my speed here was certainly up to it - average more than 3mph each day.

It was a little bit sad to see signs of autumn, but then again, my first blackberries of the year were delicious:
 One of the first signs of leaves turning, the black spots that appear on sycamore. Supposedly a sign of good air quality.

 Paths were still passable despite some crops being head-height
 Conkers, anyone?
 Not very filling but it's great to find wild raspberries:

 Some curious fellas:

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Mystery bird

Distance: 9 miles
Walked: Saturday 3 August 2013
Total miles walked this year: 177
Route: Ashby to Hartshorne and back

This short but pleasant walk was all I had time for today. I was treated to the sight of this bird flapping around while walking through a section of The National Forest and turning a corner he was sitting on a post. I knew he'd fly as I approached so I held the camera (iPhone was all I had with me) ready for that moment. Unfortunately not close enough for ID purposes but it was large, browns with white flashes.

Any ideas?