If you’ve been hitting the hiking trails frequently this season, you may have noticed there’s a new backpack on the scene: the High Sierra Karadon.
The Karadon series can be described in two words: affordable and accessible. Starting at $59.99 for a 5L day pack and topping out at $219.99, for a 65L multi-day pack, the Karadon series is High Sierra’s new line of technical backpacks that offer hikers a quality backpack at a price that isn’t too hard on the wallet.
Designed with adaptability and long distance travel in mind, the Karadon packs offer several useful features, most notable being the adaptable AIRFLOW ventilation back panel that gives hikers an option between a rigid back panel and torso wrap that remains stable, even during tough scrambles.
Standard Karadon features include light blinker loops and reflective details located on the front and back to provide 360° visibility in all environments, a hidden helmet holder, and hydration compatibility (reservoir not included).
When I took the 15L model out for a quick day hike, key features that were of most use to me were the expandable outer sleeve (provides a nice stowaway to shed layers on the go), the two small inner pockets where I could store my keys, electronics, etc., and a small outer pocket where I could keep my nutrition quickly accessible.
My favorite feature of the 15L was that the main compartment zipper that stretched from the pack’s top to bottom- thereby providing easy access to additional layers and sunscreen and avoiding the hassle of rummaging through contents.
The other Karadon pack I tried was the 40L. The 40L pack was slightly heavier than I expected (it tips the scales at 3.5 lbs.), but this was due to the internal aluminum tubing frame. Once I got used to the weight, I appreciated the fact that the tubing helped transfer my heavy load to my hips, making it easier to carry over longer periods of time.
Hikers taking the 40L on long trips will also appreciate the washable shoulder, lumbar and waist straps, each of which is easily removable. This was a nice feature for sure, and one I’d like to see other packs adopt too.
Key features of the 40L include a hidden rain cover, tuck-away webbing grab handle, trekking pole lashing points (a must-have for any backpack I own), open side pockets to keep water bottles handy, and top-load, as well as full U Zip main compartment access. Like the 15L, the 40L offers just enough pockets to keep everything accessible, without overdoing storage options.
High Sierra’s Karadon series are good for novice hikers who are looking for quality gear, but want to avoid sticker shock when they go to check out. At $99.99 and $159.99 respectively, the 15L and 40L models are both priced very affordably for the quality and features that they deliver.