Kit review: Karrimor walking gear
Karrimor offers good quality walking kit at budget friendly prices. I was surprised to re-discover this brand.
Brand loyalty is not a bad thing, especially if you find items that fit really well and cope with all your training or adventures.
Because I test lots of fitness and outdoors clothing I have the advantage of being able to try new brands and products without worrying about the cost. Of course, I have found my favourites.
Yet sometimes I am surprised by what I find. Take Karrimor, as a good example. When I was a student I wore Karrimor boots and jackets but as I grew up and earned more money I have tended to choose pricier brands. I don’t know why, because my Karrimor walking boots stood the test of time and many, many walks and a Karrimor waterproof jacket served me well for more than a decade.
I think I just ended up being swayed by other brands. So it has been refreshing to give Karrimor another try recently. The brand is sold at great prices at Sport Direct and the items that I have been testing recently are good value for money.
More for less money: Karrimor gear
Here’s a selection of the Karrimor walking equipment that I have been testing. I’ll be writing another blog about Karrimor X-Lite running kit.
Karrimor KSB Pioneer D30 Ladies Walking Boots
The Pioneers are perfect for summer walking at high altitudes or in poor weather and rough terrain, or for winter walking when you won’t need to use crampons.
There’s tons of cushioning and support, rather like a robust pair of trainers with ankles.
Karrimor use a “D30 cushioned midsole for cushioning and support, coupled with a moulded rubber outsole for traction and underfoot stability”.
The boots have “eVent” waterproof and breathable lining (note this is not made of Gore-Tex) but sufficient for most summer walking conditions.
The Karrimor KSB Pioneer boots RRP at £179.99 and sell for £89.99 at Sports Direct.
Karrimor Stretch ladies walking trousers
If the trousers also fit well and flatter (I know, I know, you’re thinking that walking outfits do not need to score highly on looks, but if they look good you’ll feel great about yourself) then all the better.
The slight flair at the bottom of the legs is ideal for fitting over walking boots.
The Karrimor women’s walking pants have in-built stretch, a buttoned waist, belt loops and zipped pockets. They are also machine washable and have a superb price tag at £24.99.
Karrimor Elite Ladies Alpiniste Jacket eVent
This is not Gore-Tex (which I usually swear by for the worst winter conditions) but I have found the Karrimor eVent jacket works well to keep water out and allow sweat to evaporate in spring and summer outdoors conditions.
The addition of YKK AquaGuard water-resistant zips and internal storm flap with rain gutter helps to keep the rain out.
The fit is flatteringly female yet it also has an athletic look. The arm and torso length is good and the roll-away helmet compatible hood with a wire stiffened peak is a great addition.
There are also two chest pockets that when opened allow for venting. These are well located so that you can still open them even if you have a rucksack waistband secured. A useful zipped pocket is positioned on the sleeve.
For RRP £80 it is going to be difficult to find a jacket that looks as good and does what it says it will. There is a also a black version. See Karrimor Elite Ladies Alpiniste jacket or buy for an even better price of £60 at Sports Direct.
Karrimor X Lite 35+5 Rucksack
I really, really like this rucksack. It is extremely comfortable and at up to 40 litres it is the perfect size for a day’s hike in spring or summer. (I might even use it in winter but I tend to go for a slightly bigger pack for all the extra layers and kit that winter hiking brings.)
The main compartment of the Karrimor X Lite is spacious and there are two additional pockets in the lid hood of the rucksack.
Two elasticated meshed bottle pockets are located at the side and the pack even has wand pockets.
Wand pockets are positioned on the sides at the base of the rucksack and allow long items to be fixed to your pack for accessing smaller items, such as walking poles.
Other features include:
* Easily adjusted waist belt that can also be removed
* Chest strap that works okay for women
* Gear Loops
* Side compression with ski carry option
* Twin ice axe carry system
* Dual drawcord bivi closure
* Hydration system compatible.
The Karrimor Fformat back system is also comfortable. This is not a female specific rucksack but I found it fitted me well. The back stays in place and doesn’t rub. It feels stable and wel-balanced, even when packed quite full. The raised pads also prevent overheating of the back.