User Review: Aarn Guiding Light 60L
Price Paid: $480 including pockets
I am writing this review for one simple reason, it works. It works not just as a backpack but as a true weight load carrying system. By way of background I have been hiking for many years, firstly for fun and then in various careers including a long military career. I have used many different brands of packs in the past 30 years.
At Christmas time I purchased two traditional model packs in preparation for an April 11 New Zealand Milford Track tramp(a quaint kiwi term for hiking) for my wife and I. After several practice hikes all the usual aches and pains had come back. These packs were sold on eBay shortly thereafter.
Being a long time gear freak I went out and researched my Internet off. After finding Aarn I knew this was the way to go, better load distribution, greater balance, no fighting of the pack. I purchased the smaller Peak Aspiration for my wife and the 60l Guiding Light model for myself. We also purchased 2 sports sized front pockets each. The packs initially took about 15 minutes to set up, bending the frame to your spinal shape, adjusting the belts and cross straps. It took another 3 minutes to put the front pockets on. A very simple process. One piece of advice, buy the correct size for your back.
The front pockets are great and each morning I loaded them up with day snacks, 2 x 1litre collapsible water bags, sunscreen, camera and gear and away we would go. Not having to take the pack off all the time to get at some small nicknack or day snack was just brilliant. In the backpack I carried spare clothing, the lightweight Mont Helium 450 sleeping bag ( a great truly lightweight bag), jetboil, assorted travel items, eating utensils and toiletries. Being the pack mule in this relationship I also carried all the food for the main meals and a 2 l of water in a hydration bladder.
Each evening I would do a body scan and I found that my back didn't ache, my neck wasn't sore, I felt less fatigued and not as stiff. Sure I knew that I had been moving and working out for 6-7 hours each day but each morning I was ready to hit the trail again. For me, using an Aarn pack has put the joy back into hiking.