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.
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.