Here was what I posted on the blog, not much to add tot the above..
When you first start working with this pack, the sheer complexity is daunting, but having sorted out exactly what each strap does what, and getting it set for you, it is very comfortable and the intelligence and thoughtfulness of the design becomes clear. Adjustments like the back length you only do once, and the other adjustments, such as those regarding pocket fit, is a once in a while job.
The Mountain Magic 33 is a new pack due to be officially launched in March, but you can buy from the manufacturer. The specs are these:
Mountain Magic 44 32L + 12L 1156gm
MT44 front web
The pockets are attached by what I’m taking to be aluminum stays to the hip belt. There is then an adjustable stability strap to the shoulder strap, but the weight is transferred directly to the hip belt by the stays, which in turn acts as a counterweight to the load on your back. AFAIK this is an arrangement that only the Aarn has and offers severe performance improvement over accessory pockets available on other packs. the whole system really IS a balanced, integrated system, where everything works together.
Aarn recommends putting something heavy like water in these balance pockets. Each pocket should hold a 1.5l bottle. The pockets are balanced, but you can fine-tune how close to your body they are.
There is a velcroed roll-top which opens the dri-bag inner, thus doing away with the need for a pack liner. There is a piece of alu running across the top from side to side which is joined to the main frame stay. This frame stay runs from halfway down the pack to over the top of the pack which then joins to the load lift system. When I first saw this I thought it was too complex, but having used it, the effect of this is that the load moves much more closely with you, and the centre of gravity doesn’t really shift as you lean forward, up or sideways. The load is very stable as the frame, the pack closure and the lifters are linked in a fluid way.
Packing is slightly different than a normal pack. Aarn advises that the heaviest items for the back go in first, with the quilt and lighter items at the top. The weight should be low, which keeps the fore/aft balance centralised. Heaviest items in the front pockets.
To put the pack on you loosen everything off. Do up the hip belt, fasten the chest cross strap, tighten the hip belt, tighten the shoulder straps, fasten the pocket buckle, tighten the two straps on each side of the pockets, by pulling the loop they make, sort out the load lifters if need be…. yeah, not the most intuitive, but once you get it all worked out, it becomes pretty simple.
The compression system works really well, and again, this integrates well into the load lifter and the top frame. Plenty of mesh around the outside for wet gear storage.
I’ve had an hour with it on the Elliptical Trainer in the gym, loaded up with 6 litres of water in the back padded out with a bed quilt, and two 2 litre bottles of water in the front pocket ( plus clothes to pad them out), in other words, more weight than I’d normally carry, and it was very stable and comfortable.
I’ll put some pics up in the next few days, but can’t find any charged batteries for the camera!