I'd been thinking of buying this pack for a while, so it didn't bother me too much when my old bergen was stolen. My reasons for buying it were that it was reported as being a very comfortable pack. Due to the fact that it's aimed at military use I knew it'd be able to stand up to the extra strain that RUNNING with 18kg to 27kg puts on a pack. Also, the pack is very versatile, with the volume being able to be changed from approximately 5lites anywhere up to 45litres. Then with purchasing the side pockets (which I already had on my old bergen until they were stolen) the Sabre would have a capacity of 70litres.
The first run was with the pack compressed right down by zipping up the zips where the side pockets attach. This gave me enough room inside for my work clothes and a waterproof jacket (just in case). I run without the waist belt even when the pack is fully packed and I keep the chest harness loose because I don't really like it, only using it if the straps are beginning to dig into my shoulders. The buckles on the Sabre are very loud, rattling when not done up tight, this does stop when the straps are tight. The straps have clips to stop them flapping about in the wind and taking your eye out. Which is a nice touch. However they are not on the main closure straps which I thought was odd. When wearing the Sabre it sits high with the bottom of the pack in the small of your back, taking some of the weight off your shoulders even when not wearing the hip belt. This also gives plenty of room beneath the bergen for webbing, without the bergen being so high that it restricts head movement.
I have now been RUNNING with this pack for several miles fully packed, weighing 40lb. I have hardy noticed it on my back. Even with side pockets seen in the photo it is comfy!
The pack was used on an overnight wild camp with Squatt. I managed to fit all the kit needed for 2 people inside (with the drybag side pockets) apart from Squatts sleeping bag and Bivi, which he carried himself.
I've now started running with 50lb in the pack and with the weight balanced correctly I can easily run many miles without using the hip belt. I lift the bergen into the small of my back as I tighten the shoulder straps. This puts the pack in the perfect position for me to run with my hips moving freely.
Even after running a number of miles the pack is comfy, the straps do not dig into my shoulders and it doesn't bounce around on my back.
As of October 2014 I have now ran over 300 miles wearing this pack with an average load of 40lb training for the S.A.S selection test week marches offered by Avalanche Endurance events, and even with a total weight of over 50lb I can run at under 11 minute miles often forgetting it's there.
One of the shoulder straps has started slipping, meaning that every few minutes I have to tighten the shoulder strap slightly. This happened on my old bergen and I'll fix this bergen the same way I fixed than one, with an old kayak tie-down strap, effectively creating a secondary 'locking' buckle (I'll post details when I've done it).
Pack straight after delivery
Packed ready for a camping trip. side pockets are 13litre heavy duty drybags from alpkit. One has the vango tempest 200 inside and the other has all Squatt's and my waterproofs plus a change of clothes for Squatt.
Below are some shots with the PLCE side pockets attached and the bergen fully packed prior to a trip.