" Just before Xmas my partner and I had a fantastic trip to the Garden of Eden Ice Plateau with skis. It was a great test for the Featherlite Freedom pack as I skinned, skied, climbed, bush-bashed and tramped over 5 days.
The 2 day exit from the Gardens is definitely thorough testing country and we had full camping kit with us. I was more than happy with how it performed when it was loaded up, and how good it was to ski with all my gear in it and the Balance Pockets in front.
We were bush bashing in alpine scrub and bush and this was no problem with the Balance Pockets. There was also no issue with not seeing the ground because of the Pockets - and a lot of the terrain we were on was quite technical. This included a steep climbing ascent of The Great Unknown and a steep descent down a creek bed on our route out.
During the long 14 hour tramp out down the Perth/ Whataroa, I never got the expected/normal sore shoulders/neck and bruised hips.
Jo Haines, Alpine Guide, Wanaka , NZ
Just completed a 22 hour continuous training mission in thick west coast bush. Featherlite Freedom was awesome. No sore shoulders or back first time ever that I have carried a load for that long without a hint of discomfort. Amazing comfort and stability.
Andrew McLeod, Wanaka, NZ
The Aarn Featherlite Freedom Balance Pack gets an "A" for innovation. I achieved a superb fit with this pack and comfortably carried 30-pound loads over a variety of terrains. Featherlite Freedom has one of the most sophisticated and adjustable suspension systems to be found anywhere, and I had no trouble dialing in a perfect fit. The pack's articulated hipbelt and sliding shoulder straps allowed excellent freedom of movement while the pack "stuck" to my back.
Will Rietveld. Read the entire backpackinglight.com review of Featherlite Freedom
I've come off a 5-day tramp in the Tararuas with Featherlite Freedom, packing around 9kg. Like many older trampers I too have suffered & been damaged by inadequate packs, little realising how they were hurting us.
This trip my partner carried my last "good" pack, a 55 litre design from one of the big players that until now seemed better than most. Because we have very similar body sizes we were able to swap from one to the other for direct comparisons. The Featherlite was the clear favourite.
Perhaps the most noticeable effect was the ability to just "stroll" in a relaxed normal gait on the flat sections. To my mind the unbalanced lean forward pose of the older designs means that you are constantly "walking uphill", expending extra effort even on the flat. All up we estimate your design trims anything up to 15-20% of the effort off a typical day's tramp.
Phillip Wilkie, Wellington, NZ
"I would like to thank you for your excellent packs. I have recently walking the Kokoda track. I am a 52 years old woman and short - 156cm.
When I arrived in PNG I was concerned that I had made the wrong decision not to organise a porter as most of the walkers in my group had and were just carrying a day-pack. Most of them where much younger than me and all of them much taller! I carried all my own gear plus 4 litres of water.
I found my Featherlite Freedom fantastic. It felt like a pack only half the weight - the balance was perfect - which was a real advantage in the areas of the track that were very steep and slippery. I had no trouble keeping up and no discomfort. Thanks - its a fantastic pack".
Suzanne Deed, Warragul, Australia
" I started hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Southern Terminus, starting April 25th, and finished the trail at the Northern Terminus on September 15th. In the desert sections I took the waterproof bags out of the pockets and pack.
Through the Sierras and Washington I put the waterproof sacks back in. In the desert section I was carrying on average up to 4-6 liters of water per day, along with the rest of my gear, which weighed about 8 to 9 pounds. The rest of the way I carried 1-2 liters on average during the day.
Waterproof sacks: The sacks worked great. They did what they were designed to do. When I encountered rain or wet conditions all my stuff remained dry. I really loved having those sacks.
Front Pockets: Got some weird looks and comments, but it was a great way to introduce the pack. I highly doubt I would ever go back to a traditional backpack, because the Aarn is just too good. The pockets performed as expected and then some. I had all my essentials up front, including water, food, camera, map, and water treatment. I really enjoyed the pockets up front, and didn't get overheated or tired of them up front.
Backpack: The pack worked great and I really like the roll top closure and the 3 buckles for the pack. The zip divider at first took some getting use too, but then became second nature. The two side pockets of the pack worked great too, I was able to stow water bottles with no problem. I can't say enough about how great the backpack performed. The only recommendation I would make would be to experiment with a large mesh pocket on the front of the pack.
Overall: In the beginning I was really nervous and anxious about this pack, and wondering if it was a "sham" or if it would last, and how would it perform, and I hope I make it through all the way with this pack. But now, all my questions have been answered, I am excited about this pack and really enjoyed the Featherlite Freedom. The pack did not put any pressure on my shoulders or back, and the pack I think actually helped my back in some weird way.
The Aarn Featherlite Freedom Balance Pack created by Aarn Designs in New Zealand gets an "A" for innovation. The bodypack concept is deployed through a combination of innovative design features. At 50 liters, the Featherlite Freedom is a medium sized pack suitable for a lightweight weekend trip or an extended trip using ultralight gear and food. I achieved a superb fit with this pack and comfortably carried 30-pound loads over a variety of terrains.
Will Rietveld Backpackinglight.com review. USA.