Arc’teryx Aerios 30 Backpack | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Arc’teryx Aerios 30 Backpack | Review

An impressive new lightweight backpack from the Canadian brand, one that’s decked out with clever features to support day hikes or even summer backpacking adventures

Why We Chose It: Impressive design features and fabrics, lightweight build

Ultralight backpacks crept onto the scene a few years ago, courtesy of a few smaller scale specialist brands like Z Packs, Hyperlite Mountain Gear and Six Moon Designs. Now, the bigger brands are moving in. Osprey brought us the Levity a couple of years ago, around about the same time that Berghaus released their Fast Hike 32, and both of those packs came in well below 1kg. Now, Arc’teryx are the latest brand to join the party, with their impressive Aerios series.

We’ve been testing out the Aerios 30L, a pack designed to serve day hikes right throughout the year, but with the capability to stretch to overnighters too. 

Photo: Chris Johnson

Materials and Construction

The Aerios is made from an incredibly tough ripstop nylon with durable Cordura threads.

There’s also a liquid crystal polymer mesh as well. All you need to know about this material is that its first use was in Kevlar – aka the material used for bulletproof vests. 

The main fabric is waterproof, by the way, but we wouldn’t say the whole bag is as the seams and zips might let in some water if there’s non-stop rain all day, 

The harness system is similar to the kind you often find on trail running packs these days, or at least on fastpacking bags. That’s because rather than the narrow but thickly padded straps you’d find on a traditional pack, you instead have a vest-like get up, with wide panels that conform to the shape of your torso and a double bungee on the sternum that’ll rise and fall with your chest movement. 

The pack’s supported by an S-shaped internal frame-sheet and this can be removed with a bit of fiddling around if you want to strip the weight back even further. Against your back, there’s an Aeroform pack panel that’s essentially foam padding with a slightly raised mesh. Indents and ridges across this panel bring some nice ventilation to proceedings.

Stretchy chest straps. Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson
Stretchy mesh pocket. Photo: Chris Johnson

Features

As we’ve come to expect from Arc’teryx, there’s plenty to talk about on the features front. We’ll address the pockets first. On the hipbelt, there’s a stretchy mesh one on the left-hand side – perfectly sized for a big bag of Wine Gums. On the right hand side there’s a zipped pocket that you could store your phone. On each side of the harness you have a stretchy pocket to swallow a squeezy bottle or phone and long zipped pockets underneath them too.

On the main body of the bag there’s one zipped pocket that’s big enough for a pair of fairly bulky gloves along with other small items. In here you’ll find the end toggle for cinching in the external bungee on the front of the pack. They’ve stuck it here presumably to keep any excess bungee out of the way when things are fully cinched in, but you can also use it as a little stow system within the pocket to keep things like gloves or a soft-walled first aid kit organised.

“All you need to know about this material is that its first use was in Kevlar – aka the material used for bulletproof vests.”

The sides of the Aerios feature two large mesh pockets with cord controlled volume adjustment. When we say large, we mean you can make these big enough to fit a roll mat, crampons and even some solo tents, basically expanding the capacity of this pack far beyond the stated 30 litres.

Then there’s one small zipped pocket inside the main compartment of the Aerios which, due to its small size, is only really suitable for valuables like a phone, wallet and keys (which is has a clip for) and maybe also a First Aid Kit. Bear in mind that if you’re hanging a hydration pack off the hanger that’s located on the inside of the back, this small pocket will be difficult to access. 

Final details include loops and toggles to fit an ice axe or two trekking poles and gear loops throughout, including on the hipbelt. Accessing the main compartment is via a large U-shaped zip at the top that opens up basically half the length of the bag thus making kit much easier to access. 

As for the back length, this isn’t adjustable however you can get the Aerios in a Tall version. Giles Dean, who’s 6 foot has been testing the regular size….

Tester’s Verdict

Giles Dean, Outdoors Magic staff

Giles testing the Aerios in Snowdonia. Photo: Chris Johnson

“This is a pack that I was really excited to test out as soon as I saw it. What struck me immediately was the trail running -influenced shoulder straps and how light the bag felt.

“I have been fast hiking with this backpack and it has been great for days out where you want to keep moving all day and cover a lot of distance. At 30L there’s plenty of room for all the kit you would need for a day in the mountains or if you have super lightweight kit you could even pack enough for a couple of days of adventuring.

“Even though it’s not designed for it, I have been for a couple of runs with the bag and it works well. I did find that it jumps about a bit of it’s overpacked.

“I’m really looking forward to more big days out with the Aerios and I have a scrambling trip in the Lakes coming up which it will be perfect for.”

Photo: Chris Johnson

Arc’teryx Aerios 30

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