REVIEW: Karrimor SF Sabre 35

Today we will take a look at a great daypack, manufactured by Karrimor SF, an UK based backpack manufacturer with a long history. Karrimor is well known for high quality internal frame packs at a great price point.

As always we will take a look at the category of gear this particular pack is based on before we got into details.

24 hour packs or daysacks come in different shapes and sizes ranging from 30 to 40 litres.

All have one goal. Sustain you for 24 hours of patrolling, with items that belong to your third line.

The Sabre SF 35 has just the right size and profile.

There are the European style packs that offer only one big compartment and then there are the US Style packs with several small zippered compartments. The latter offer you quick acess to critical items whereas the afore mentioned European style packs let you carry more bulky items.

I got issued a Berghaus Munro which only had one big main compartment and a small zippered lid pouch. So I’m pretty used to organize my stuff in stuffsacks and zip lok bags.

SF35 in the field. Note the great ergonomics and the overload capability.

Despite this I was always looking for something like a compromise between the US and EU style packs. Something that gives you some organizational capability but also gives you space to stow bulky items.

The Karrimor SF Sabre 35 caught my eye because it offers just this. It has the following compartments and pouches:

Side view. I added an adventure light strobe for security reasons.
  • A big, divided main compartment.
  • Water bladder pouch.
  • Two zippered side pockets.
  • Two small zippered ski pockets
  • One zippered lid pouch.

It 35 litres capacity are just about the right size for a daypack.

The ski pockets do not only fit skis but other flat items like a packed poncho or tarp. They are also great for tripods and similar sized items.

The Sabre 35s classic, short and yet wide construction works perfectly in concert with load bearing equipment. Anyway, Karrimor kept the profile narrow enough to move through woodland without catching on every branch of a tree you are passing. Good job on this.

Main compartment with water bladder pouch and elastic divider.

The pack itself is a top loader, it’s lid is fixed to the main body and closed with two 25mm fastex clips offering plenty adjustability . So a limited overload capacity is given, although I would have preferred an adjustable lid. It also features a classic snow skirt. On the top of the lid you find an elastic daisy chain to stuff a rain jacket or similar stuff. The top lid also features a spacious pouch that fits a whole mess kit and a stripped down MRE.

The body is made of PU coated 600D Cordura and is heavily water repellent. But I always use waterproof bags to organize and protect my gear.

Note the packs great padded back and the ergonomic standoff it creates.

The main compartment features a water bladder pouch with velcro closure and an elastic divider pouch. It fits cold weather gear, rain clothing, bivvy bag, a small sleeping bag, spare clothing and some tiny stuff. The only thing Iam really missing is a hydration port.

Picture of the great shoulder straps. Note the broken sternum hydration hose hardware.

The ski pockets are closed by a zipper and work not only with skis. I usually stored a tarp on one side and a poncho on the other.

The side pockets have a zippered clam shell design that opens just wide enough to find everything quickly but yet prevents losing small items.

The bottom of the pack definetly misses some attachment points.

The load carrying system is more than most mid class daypacks offer.

The side pouches have just the right Opening angle.
The SF35 is a classic top loader with snow skirt.

You get sturdy, thin but yet comfortable shoulder straps. The straps are padded with spacer mesh that is also laid out to don’t chaf your neck. You also get a sternum strap. The sternum strap features a 25mm fastex closure and is fixed by plastic hardware which unfortunately failed in the field. During Fieldtesting the plastic hydration hose hardware also broke. Karrimor has to find better solutions here.

The side pouches are just the right size. I stuffed an whole overwhite into one of them.
The padded bag, carrying handle and the hip „fins“.

The back is generously padded with spacer mesh. Enough to prevent back pain when you overload your pack with bulky items. The Sabre 35 is lacking aluminium stays or a plastic sheet. But the suspension works even on long trips with about 10kg of weight inside the pack.

The shoulder straps are amazing regarding their anatomical fit.

The waistband is 40mm in size and features small padded fins to distribute the weight around your hips. I would have wished the pad to be removable because when wearing your second line it could get in the way. Most of the time I just reversed the waistband around the pack.

The Sabre 35 gives you little external storage capabilities. Besides the afore mentioned daisy chain you get two ice pick holders. So I had to stuff my savotta sleeping mat under the lid. I would like to see some straps for non inflatable sleeping mats on the bottom featured on future incarnations.

There could have been a better solution for routing a drinking tube. Also note the way the spacer mesh protects your neck.

All in all I tested the system for over a year conducting SERE training, reserve exercises and even used it for ruck running. Some might call it old-school, looking at the high end daypacks that you can get from other manufacturers like Mystery Ranch or Arcteryx. But aside from the broken hardware I never encountered problems and the pack was always comfortable to carry.

So if you are in the market for a simple, sturdy top loader for a good price the Karrimor Sabre SF 35 won’t disappoint you.

You can get the Karrimor SF 35 directly at Karrimors SFs online store.

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