OSPREY’S NEW ARCHEON BACKPACKS ARE BUILT FOR MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE, BUT HOW DO THEY PERFORM?
Osprey has a well deserved reputation for innovation and quality in its pack design, but what it is perhaps less well know for is the stripped back functionality that’s immediately obvious when you get your hands on the all-new Archeon series. There are four sizes available in men’s and women’s fit – 25L, 30L, 45L (pictured) and 70L (65L in the women’s) – all made from recycled fabrics and metal components that immediately give the packs a bombproof and hard-wearing feel. Those same fabrics are also treated with a durable water-repellent fabric that’s free from harmful PFCs to further enhance its environmental credentials. Most importantly though, what’s the Archeon like to carry? We’ve thrashed the 45-litre version around the mountains of England, Wales and Scotland over the last few weeks, and despite picking out a few little niggles we’ve been mightily impressed with almost everything it has to offer.
6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Strong and tough
The build quality and materials used feel completely bombproof, and look beautifully retro. The trade-off is that the Archeon is heavy, but it really does feel built to last for many mountain trips.
Deep side pockets
The stretchy side pockets in the 45-litre option are fantastic, and deep enough to carry a hot flask on a winter’s day without worrying it’s going to slip out.
Padded back panel
The Adjustable AirScape back panel is close-fitting (in that it doesn’t lift the pack away from your back), but is well padded and can handle heavy loads.
Huge front zip
There’s a giant front zip that lets you quickly open up the whole front of the pack. It’s a handy feature, but adds a bit of stiffness to the outer material.
This was our one big negative. When fully loaded, the four tensioning buckles on the shoulder straps began to loosen as we walked. We fixed the problem by tying knots in the straps, but were still surprised by how easily they slipped.
NOTE: Following this review Osprey has informed us that the production packs have been updated to plastic to eliminate this issue.
Hooks vs buckles
There are metal hooks in place of plastic buckles in key areas like the chest and hipbelt, which look great and feel robust, but they’re a bit fiddly to use with gloves.
An excellent pack with all the features hillwalkers would need, plus a cool and retro design. It’s one of the toughest rucksacks we’ve used in ages – the only question mark was the slippy shoulder straps, but the updates to the packs that are going into shops should rectify that.
Capacity 45 litres
Fabric 1880D recycled nylon canvas
Key features Mesh side pockets, hydration sleeve, side compression straps, walking pole attachments, ice axe loops, hipbelt pockets, detachable raincover