Osprey Archeon 25 Review
Cons: Strange feature set, heavy, not breathable, poor suspension
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Archeon 25 is a roll-top pack with a duffel-style zip to make accessing most of the main compartment convenient. This burly main compartment is paired with suspension that is stiff and burly, like a backpacking pack, but lacking a comfortable hip belt to match. While it's burly fabric sets it apart from many other packs, it lacks features that are key to either outdoor or urban pursuits.
The Archeon features a stiff, velcro-adjustable frame, with well-padded shoulder straps. Unfortunately, those comfort-oriented features don't extend to the hip belt, which is extremely small, and mostly just webbing strap as opposed to the padding found on most other stiff packs.
The back panel also ventilates poorly, unlike most of Osprey's lineup. The thick fabric on the shoulder straps sure does look nice, but it prevents them from breathing much at all.
In our calisthenics testing, we found this pack to severely restrict our range of motion, similar to a backpacking pack, which is unfortunate for a pack this small. The sternum strap also has no elastic, which really makes it almost useless - you can't tighten it sufficiently without restricting breathing. Almost every pack we test has a partially elastic sternum strap.
The Archeon 25 is ridiculously heavy at 3.5 lbs and a 1.85 oz/L weight-to-volume ratio. Its weight comes primarily from the stiff frame and thick fabrics. That makes it very burly, but consider that with a lighter pack, you can load up for a short hike and come in at a total weight just a little bit above this pack's empty weight.
This pack also adds weight with an extremely large zipper combined with a roll-top opening and metal hardware. Unfortunately, there's not really anything that can be easily removed from the pack to cut down on its weight.
For a travel-oriented bag like this one, we usually look for convenience features, like a laptop sleeve, plenty of organization, and a semi-flexible frame that makes stuffing it places a little easier. This pack lacks all of that. It's also really heavy and bulky for outdoor activities.
Unfortunately, we just don't see this pack being great at much else than stylish commuting. It admittedly looks very nice, with a sleek, neutral color scheme, unobtrusive accenting, and very premium looking and feeling fabrics. For short commutes (without a laptop, as it lacks a laptop sleeve), this pack would actually be pretty nice. It's slightly water-resistant, even, and comes with a rain cover, so it would work alright in a rainy environment.
Ease of Use
While we don't necessarily like the features on this pack, they all perform pretty well. The roll top is slick and has buttons to help you keep it tidy. The metal buckle and zipper both operate smoothly and feel well constructed. Osprey's high-quality workmanship still shines through, even though we have major issues with the pack's design.
We did find ourselves wishing for features like compression straps (there are none on either side of the pack, but the generously-sized stretchy mesh pockets on all sides sure were nice. We also really liked how easy it was to access most of the main compartment with the large, half-duffel style zipper.
Every pack usually has at least one metric that it does really well in. For the Archeon, that's durability. This pack is constructed from primarily extremely thick, 1880D recycled nylon canvas. Yes, 1880D! That's a very thick fiber. We also dig Osprey's effort to use recycled materials.
In our rain testing, the included pack cover performed flawlessly, letting in no rain. While the pack material is water-resistant itself, once you remove the rain cover, the roll-top and massive zipper do little to keep out water. It'll do fine in light rain, but if the skies open up, get that rain cover out!
The Archeon is priced according to its style, materials, and workmanship. It's clearly a premium product aimed at a market that values style and a quality feel to a product. That said, it's not the best value for a functional pack. There are packs that cost almost a quarter of the Archeon's price that we'd confidently reach for first when travel, commuting, and hiking.
While it's very stylish and feels like an extremely premium product, the Osprey Archeon 25 does not provide the function or comfort of other daypacks we've tested. It doesn't shine at any particular function, other than looking and feeling very well-built. While it's extremely durable, that durability comes at a severe weight cost.
— Dan Scott
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