Last year, KarrimorSF introduced several new pack designs – one of them the Thor 40. The guys were kind enough to send me one and after several months of me using the pack I am finally able to present you my personal opinion and observations.
With the Thor 40, KarrimorSF is adding a full clamshell backpack to its patrol pack line up, which was dominated by toploaders before. In doing so, the company follows current trends and needs in the military sector. Before I start with going through all the details I want to give you a quick overview and the specs.
- Material: KS500e – the special Nylon fabric used by KarrimorSF, which is DWR and Silicone coated. Multicam models feature 500D Cordura. WJ Buckles, YKK zippers
- Dimensions: 60 x 42 x 32cm
- Weight: 1,6 kg
- Volume: 40l
The Thor 40 is a clamshell design patrol pack with long enough shoulder straps, so it can be worn over body armor without being restrictive. It has one huge main compartment, a lid compartment and two elastic side pockets. Two compression straps on each side make the pack easy compressible. The pack has several useful features like a quick release system, a sternum strap, and an integrated raincover. It is MOLLE compatible and offers several exit ports for cables, antennas and hydration tubes. It is available in Black, Coyote, OD and Multicam.
As already mentioned in the overview, the Thor 40 is a patrol pack, using a clamshell design. Usually these designs feature the opening to the main compartment only to the front, but in recent years several companies shifted to a different approach. Now the zippers not only cover the front, but also the top. This gives you different options to open the pack – more to that later.
The ykk zipper opens up one huge main compartment, which offers you enough space to get everything inside for your travels, your equipment etc. 40L Volume offer room for quite a lot and I have even seen pictures on FB using the Thor 40 to transport Phantom 4 boxes.
On the backside of the main compartment you will find an elastic sleeve to store documents or your hydration bladder. Additional MOLLE webbing on the backside gives you further option to mount dedicated accessoires. You get 3 rows of 8 MOLLE channels in total.
Additional to that there is also a velcro loop to hang in your hydration bladder.
So you might already realize there are plenty of options to carry various equipment in the main compartment. If you are using it to carry radio equipment, or other electronics that require antennas or cables to be routed to the outside, you will find two ports (on the left and right on the top) to the outside which are closed by velcro.
External Pouches and Pockets
On top of the Thor 40 you will find a lid compartment. This is also closed by a ykk zipper and features no internal organisation. It is big enough to drop in your edc organizer, cases for sunglasses and the like.
On the left and right side of the pack you will find elastic sleeve pockets. These are quite roomy because of the width of the pack and offer plenty of room for your Nalgene or other items you want to stow away but need to be easy accessible. These also feature drain holes.
Additional (exterior) Features
Because of its military purpose, the pack is covered with MOLLE webbing on the outside. The front features 4 rows with 4 channels of MOLLE plus an Velcro area above it for ID patches etc.
On the left and right side you will find 3 rows with 6 channels of MOLLE, although the channel close to the back might be a bit tricky to use, because of the way it is attached to the backside of the pack.
The bottom of the pack also has MOLLE on it: 3 rows with 6 channels.
If you want to compress the pack if it is not fully loaded, or if you want to stabilise other gear on the side of the pack, you can use the compression straps, attached to the sides: 4 in total. These are sewn on the pack in a way, that the front buckles are located on the lid of the front section. That way you can restrict the zipper of the main compartment to fully open. This gives you the chance to use the pack also as a toploader without having to worry, that it opens up completely and your gear falls out.
Hidden on the backside, to the right (if you are wearing the pack) you will also find a zippered document compartment. This gives you enough room for A4 size folders.
Last but not least you will find a very useful feature in the bottom of the pack. With the Thor 40 comes a rain cover, which is attached by a glider buckle. It has elastic ends and fully covers the pack while being deployed.
The rain cover has two openings so you do not lose use of your antenna/hydration ports of the pack. These are finished with a neopren type material, so you don’t have to worry about too much water seeping through. There is also a webbing tap so you can fix the rain cover on the carrying handle of the pack.
The load distribution system brings together elements, which you might find in outdoor backpacks that size, but also assault packs. Having in mind this is a pack mainly developed for military personal, it has shoulder straps which are way longer than usual and which are also heavily padded. This in combination with their width results in a comfortable weight distribution.
The padding on the back is focused on the area of the shoulder blades as well as the kidney area. Since it is primarily designed to be worn over body armor, you won’t find any mesh on this pack.
The padding itself does provide some air channels however, so you should be cooled to a certain extent. In the back of the pack – basically in between the main compartment and the back padding, there is a framesheet, which gives the pack the needed structure. You cannot access it however.
The shoulder straps do feature a sternum strap to hold everything in place, as well as additional webbing to fixate a carbine or the like. You will also find a clip to fasten your hydration tube.
The strap on your right can be opened by a quick release clip, giving you the option to quickly get rid of the pack.
A waist belt gives you additional options to wear the pack more comfortable, although it does not help with the load distribution per se, it only stops the pack from moving to much around. If you do not need it, it can be easily tucked away into the backside of the pack.
The quality of workmanship is excellent as expected from KarrimorSF. The seams and the stitches are all straight, there are no loose threads and the critical areas are reinforced by bartack stitches. Materials are high grade and I was not able to find anything to complain.
So far I have put the Thor 40 to good use and carried it on several hikes or used it for my trips to my parents place in carinthia. The long shoulder straps irritated me at first, but you can easily adjust them to your height and then the comfort of carrying the pack is immediately there.
The long shoulder straps make the pack not only ideal for carrying over body armor, but also for taller people, who have to struggle with too short shoulder straps.
The volume of 40l gives you so much space to carry gear with you, that you are tempted to overpack. I am pretty sure a smaller version would be a good addition to the line-up for people who do like the design, but don’t need the huge volume. From what I have seen from KarrimorSF’s social media accounts this might actually happen.
One thing that I like in particular, is the option to not only use the pack in a clamshell configuration, but also as a top loader. Even though you might think that the compression straps are in the way of opening the main compartment – it makes way more sense this way, because you can stop the pack from opening too much.
The pack offers several features that you have to buy extra with other companies. One being the included rain cover.
With its measurements the pack is on the bigger side and close to being bulky – close. In comparison to other packs it is also more shaped like a square – this actually comes in handy if you need to transport boxes.
The Thor 40 by KarrimorSF is a job well done, when it comes to bringing the company’s line-up to the 21th century. The clamshell design and its features give the user a very balanced pack, not only when it comes to usability, but also comfort. The pack might be primarily designed as a military one, but this does not mean that it doesn’t provide the features needed by civilian users. Padding and load distribution offer usability for both worlds alike.
Using and carrying the pack was a pleasure so far and I have not come across any points to truly criticise. So far it did not let me down and I plan to use it further during my hikes and review expeditions.
With that being said I want to thank you all for reading. Special thanks to KarrimorSF for giving me the opportunity to review the pack!