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Osprey Archeon 25 Review

This is a strangely designed pack - it looks like a commuter bag, but has mostly outdoorsy features. It performs poorly in both realms
Osprey Archeon 25
Photo: Osprey
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Price:  $190 List | $138.70 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Durable, wide access to main compartment
Cons:  Strange feature set, heavy, not breathable, poor suspension
Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Dan Scott ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 25, 2020
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • Weight - 25% 2
  • Versatility - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Osprey Archeon 25 is a super burly daypack with a mix of travel/commuting and hiking features. While it shoots for a nice blend of urban- and mountain-oriented features, it misses some key aspects of both realms. It is extremely durable, but that comes at a burdensome weight. While its stiff suspension is comfortable, it's paired with a nearly useless, tiny hip belt, and ventilates poorly. We could see it being nice for some types of travel, but there are much better options for packs that can carry your gear comfortably from the overhead compartment all the way to a summit. While it might be nice for stylish commuters, it lacks the functionality we normally look for in packs we'd recommend to others.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Osprey Archeon 25
This Product
Osprey Archeon 25
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  
Price $138.70 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$139.00 at REI$180.00 at REI
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$89.93 at Amazon
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$140 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Durable, wide access to main compartmentComfortable, stabilizes heavy loads, thoughtful design, modular, recycled fabricsComfortable, ultralight, versatile, effective featuresTons of features, fully adjustable, comfortable, well ventilated, separate hydration compartmentGreat range of motion, excellent external carry, durable, well-executed side access
Cons Strange feature set, heavy, not breathable, poor suspensionNon-adjustable frame, only decent ventilationLacks ventilation, lots of cords, steep learning curveRuns small, side mesh pockets are debatably smallNo lower compression straps, not water-resistant
Bottom Line This pack's strange assortment of features make it non-ideal for most situationsA function-over-form backpack for carrying big loads in any conditionsThis daypack transitions seamlessly from running to scrambling or winter travel, all the while staying comfortable and easy to useTime tested and a top pick for versatility, this pack wins our Editors' Choice awardWith durable fabric and a comfortable carry, this pack is stellar for mountain adventures
Rating Categories Osprey Archeon 25 REI Co-op Traverse 35 Salomon XA 25 Osprey Talon 22 Black Diamond Bolt 24
Comfort (25%)
5
10
10
9
9
Weight (25%)
2
7
9
7
6
Versatility (25%)
6
7
5
9
7
Ease Of Use (15%)
6
8
9
7
8
Durability (10%)
7
9
7
7
8
Specs Osprey Archeon 25 REI Co-op Traverse... Salomon XA 25 Osprey Talon 22 Black Diamond Bolt...
Weight (ounces) 55.63 53.69 15.25 27.44 33.13
Measured volume (liters) 30 48.34 29.4 22.56 25.8
Back Construction Mesh-covered bumped foam Spring steel Vented EVA foam Vented, contoured OpenAir back panel for airflow
Hydration Reservoir sleeve Internal hydration sleeve Internal hydration sleeve, 2 included 500ml soft flasks Externally accessed sleeve, holds up to 3L, bladder not included External hydration sleeve
Hipbelt Webbing hipbelt with hip pads 3D Contoured hip belt Thin webbing, nonremoveable Broad, padded, with pockets Padded, with pockets
Number of pockets 4 9 10 9 7
Description of Pockets 1 main roll-top with zipper, 2 side stretchy mesh, 1 large back stretch mesh, 1 internal zippered 1 main top loader, 1 outer flap with nylon/stretchy-mesh, 1 outer zippered, 1 top lid zippered, 1 top lid mesh, 2 side stretchy mesh, 2 hip belt 2 front stretch, 2 front flask pockets, 2 front top-of-shoulder stretch, 2 front zippered, 1 main roll-top, 1 large back stretch mesh with clip 1 main compartment zippered, 1 stretchy mesh shoulder strap, 2 waist zippered, 2 side stretchy mesh, 1 back stretchy mesh, 1 top zippered, 1 open hydration reservoir pocket behind back panel 1 top-loader main, 1 zippered lid, 2 side stretchy mesh, 1 raincover pocket (raincover isn't included), 1 hipbelt pocket, 1 outer crampon/stuff pocket
Materials 1880D Recycled Nylon Canvas Recycled 200D ripstop nylon, recycled 400D Oxford packcloth 82% Polyamide, 18% Polyethylene Nylon 210D ripstop
Outside Carry Options None Ice axe loop and bungee holder, 12 attachment loops along bottom and sides of pack perimeter double-cinched cord for poles/axes, pole carry on front or back Bungee helmet tab, Blinker light patch, ice axe loop and bungee holder, front-side pole carry bungee loops Trekking pole lash points, ice axe attachments, daisy chains, bike light clip
Whistle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Key Clip Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other Notable Features Removable raincover Uplift compression straps really tighten down the load, included raincover Running-vest style suspension, comes with soft flasks which fit into strap pockets on chest Blinker patch, front-side pole carry loops Swing-arm suspension
Weight : Volume (oz/L) 1.85 1.11 0.52 1.22 1.28
Weight : Volume Ranking Heavyweight Midweight Ultralight Midweight Midweight

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.

Performance Comparison


This super burly pack can handle getting tossed around, but isn't...
This super burly pack can handle getting tossed around, but isn't great for dayhikes.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Comfort


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.

The stiff frame is great, but we found the hip belt lacking.
The stiff frame is great, but we found the hip belt lacking.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

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 range of motion of this pack is really bad. Sure, you can...
The range of motion of this pack is really bad. Sure, you can mantle, but don't expect to easily reach above your head.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Weight-to-Volume Ratio


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.

The material is super thick and durable, but we don't find that to...
The material is super thick and durable, but we don't find that to be worth it given this pack's prohibitively heavy weight.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Versatility


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.

This pack is alright for most day activities, but there are cheaper...
This pack is alright for most day activities, but there are cheaper, higher performing, and more versatile options out there. It lacks features like compression straps and well-positioned hose routing that we like on our hiking packs.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Durability


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!

We struggled to put even a scratch on this pack.
We struggled to put even a scratch on this pack.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

This pack just didn't measure up to most other tested packs in terms...
This pack just didn't measure up to most other tested packs in terms of function.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Dan Scott