Silicone and polyurethane coated mini ripstop nylon
Aluminum/EVA foam/HDPE framesheet
Top / Panel
7 + main compartment
Gear capacity (L)
Gear capacity (cu. in.)
Weight - metric
Number of stays
Suspended mesh back panel
Number of exterior pockets
Sleeping bag compartment
Arc'teryx Axios 50 Pack
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Arc'teryx Axios 50 Packis rated3.5out of5by4.
Rated5out of5bylivingzenfromExcellent Pack!I have other Arcteryx gear that I like and use a lot. I hike five miles a day, five days a week, twelve months of the year with two multi-week treks--one in the late spring and another in the fall. I've trekked, hiked and climbed for just over forty-five years.
At three and a half pounds the Axios 50 is on the high side of lightweight packs. I have two other lighter weight packs that are under two pounds, from other gear makers. However the features of the Axios 50 are unique in lightweight packs in several important ways. This top loading backpack has a lid with three zippered compartments. Its secured to the body of the pack by two straps, where other lightweight backpacks have a roll up top and no lid. This is a more traditional design but offers stable carrying space for a tent outside of the pack. It means the compression straps on the sides of the pack can be used to hold a sleeping bag pad and trekking poles, instead of tent poles. It also means the tent and sleeping bag pad aren't stuffed into the pack, taking up valuable space.
The Axios 50 is slightly more narrow at the bottom than at the top, but there is no appreciable difference in the center of gravity. It rides very comfortably in trekking and that's what it's made for.
The hydration sleeve is on the interior left side of the main compartment. This placement allows access to the main compartment from the top, but there is also a full length zipper on the right side. It provides easy access without pulling out everything or burrowing down through the pack from the top to find something at the bottom.
The kangaroo pouch on the face of the bag is well designed with a zipper down the middle. It can hold ultra-lightweight rain gear and a hat, a fleece, or a multiplicity of small things that might otherwise migrate to the bottom of the pack. One reviewer said that it makes a good compartment for dirty laundry.
This backpack is designed for use with lightweight gear--a lightweight sleeping bag--down--a lightweight tent, like a Shangrila one or two. This design concept is important in understanding the way this pack works so effectively. This is essential in going lighter, further and faster, or just further and perhaps enjoying your trek a little more.
I'm just over six feet tall, weigh one hundred fifty-five pounds and this lightweight trekking pack is excellent!
Date published: 2013-01-22
Rated3out of5bydscottfromPromising but not quite thereBackground: I've owned this pack for approximately 10 months, and have used it very regularly for geologic fieldwork (mapping, surveying), hiking, and climbing, mostly in the PNW. I tend to be very hard on my packs, doing a lot of bushwhacking and very dirty climbing.
The Good: I like the simplicity of this pack. The top pocket is huge, which is kind of nice. It makes the pack almost a crossover between a top-loader and a zippered opening style pack. The top is removable, and can be easily modified (with some webbing, buckles, etc.) to be carried as a messenger/lumbar summit bag. The DWR is awesome for about 6-8 months, keeping the bag's contents dry even in sustained light rain. The outer pocket is good for wet gear, and isn't mesh. The side zipper is very nice, and the angle at which it's sewn to the pack makes it easy to access nearly everything in the main compartment via the zipper alone. The different colored (grey, in my case) top-pocket buckles makes it easy to close the top lid without mixing straps, just a little thing that is kind of nice.
The Bad: The DWR wears off fast compared to what I expect the life of the pack to be, making it not much more than a gimmick in my opinion. Over the past ten months, the pack has developed 4 small holes in the ripstop nylon. The ripstop is doing its job and keeping them from spreading, but ripstop isn't perfect and they're getting bigger. The mesh side pockets also both have pretty sizable holes. The daisy chains are nice, but unfortunately my pack has a manufacturer's error in which one chain has been sewn up with an inner stitch of the pack, making it unusable. The large top pocket is very cool when you're packing the bag, but it makes it kind of awkward to pack it fully unless the main compartment is absolutely stuffed. There are no ice axe loops, but this is really no big deal, as the daisy chains allow for loops to be attached pretty easily.
The Fit: The pack fits well, but requires a lot of fine-tuning, similar to older style packs. The suspension isn't quite as easy to adjust as some other modern-day packs (e.g. gregory's, osprey's). The back panel is an excellent innovation, and performs very well. It is also extremely durable. Padding is just about right.
Conclusion: Not worth the price, unfortunately. It could easily be a great bag with some minor design changes and some more durable fabric. I hope the back panel material/design starts to become more widespread.
Date published: 2012-12-31
Rated2out of5byZeroSceneCredfromDisappointed After Spending Time With ItThis is a follow-up review to my original 4-star review. Sadly the pack is no longer with me. Shipped off to the glue factory (aka returned to REI) after a few trips with it. Why? Well I'll get to that! Patience!
I do want to reiterate that the pack could be great for you for a lot of reasons that hold true even in light of my return: fantastic lid (still the best I've found), kangaroo pouch that's quite useful even with a full main compartment, side bladder pouch is unobtrusive and convenient, side entry zip makes unloading a breeze, and the main bag retains its shape even stuffed to the gills with better than expected side compression (see original review for hesitation).
However, there was one big flaw that got Ole Yellar taken behind the shed and plugged: it wasn't comfortable to carry. Primarily, I feel the pack was too short for my torso because as it turns out, I much prefer a hip belt low across my hips to deal with my bad back. As such the shoulder straps were then too low. What this left was a situation where the pack needed to be carried high, hip belt around my navel, which just frankly wasn't comfortable. Maybe if I had flat abs? I don't know, but I doubt it. Because....
The problem I observed originally with the lower portion of the pack sagging below the lower edge of the hip belt created a situation where the weight was cantilevering below the hip belt which then pulled the hip belt down and into my stomach making it painful. The straps too, were set too close together for my broad shoulders and the neck-biting was never fully solved. Plus the foam never really softened and whatever stiffening they placed inside the straps at the edges was always just a bit too stiff and would hurt.
So my take on it as a whole is that the design of the body is great. It could definitely be lighter with different fabrics but Arcteryx doesn't do UL so whatcha gonna do. BUT, I feel like with an adequate suspension this pack would really be awesome...which I think is essentially the design of the Altra series packs which are twice as much money.
Please note, if you're a tall person this pack isn't for you even in Large. I would recommend this pack still to someone carrying only about 25 pounds tops, and only if they were of slender, toned build, who like a pack that needs to sit high, or if they're generally shorter than maybe 5'10". But hey, it's a preference thing so please give the pack a try despite my return.
Date published: 2012-12-25
Rated4out of5byZeroSceneCredfromExceeding Expectations So FarI'm just started off with backpacking and have been on a bit of a gear-collection bender lately. It's been years since I've camped, and that was car-camping which I never keen on because it's just not the "great outdoors" if you're next to your car and 200 other people. So my goal has been "go as light as possible, without spending a serious fortune" and this pack fit the bill.
I discovered this pack after buying the REI Crestrail, another fine fine pack. However I noticed with the Crestrail's 70L at my disposal I was more inclined to fill it with unnecesary things and the load was starting to strain on my bad low back (3 herniated discs). Once I saw Arcteryx made a reasonably priced pack with what I hoped was their legendary attention to detail and design, I traded my unused Crestrail and ordered the Axios 50.
Well I'm happy to report a number of things about the pack....
THE GOOD OR GREAT:
1. It's an easy 2 pounds lighter than my previous pack.
2. The mini-ripstop nylon feels as tough as anything used on packs I can afford, which is to say it feels pretty darn tough.
3. The capacity seems just right for 3-4 day hikes, even without going crazy buying only expensive gear that stuffs down to the size of a ping-pong ball or folds up like a transformer.
4. The side entry zipper is actually really nice and tends to expose the contents in a way that allows you to just slide them out, versus digging through the pack to pull things out.
5. The top-loading drawstring portion of the main body is REALLY nicely designed. The top of the pack isn't just a cylinder with a drawstring; it's actually given extra material and cut at an angle so when you've opened the drawstrings (there's actually two spaced about 6" apart vertically) the "mouth" creates a big funnel allowing you to see/reach deep into the body. Seriously nice and very thoughtfully designed!
6. The lid, floating pouch, whatever it's called, is the nicest I've seen on any pack. It includes 3 pockets. One is on the underside where I'm keeping all my first-aid stuff. The other two use a baffle set vertically so that your lid, when it has some stuff in it, can function as two large boxy compartments that aren't too shallow everything flies out, and aren't too deep making it impossible to find stuff in (or having it all shift to one corner). Seriously well designed!
7. The straps are surprisingly comfortable albeit narrower in profile than the gigantic puffy straps of my Crestrail. Less comfy? Sure a little. But comfy? So far yes. I theorize that they're narrower dimension will yield more range of motion with my arms.
8. Back is nicely shaped and didn't produce sweating even in my air conditioned house like every other pack has. Nuff said there. I'm sure outside it will be nice as well.
9. Last and certainly not least, the hydration sleeve.... It's great. Loaded up I detect no lopsided weight distribution. Also, in practice it seems much smarter on the side. Why? Well first it means filling it will be easier with it in the pack since all the weight of your stuff isn't pressing down on it. Simply loosen the side compression straps and it expands away from the load in your pack (i.e. to the side and out). Secondly, my 3L camelbak bladder isn't baffled and while not the firewood shaped log of water they used to be, it's got some girth. With the traditional hydro sleeves I feel like when full the bladder really reduces the pack's usable capacity in what's probably the shorter dimension (out away from your versus side to side). So bravo to Arcteryx for taking a gamble. Also, lastly, when you're digging around in the pack via the side zip the bladder isn't getting in the way and likely hasn't made things shift as it's gotten smaller through drinking.
10. I scored the orange and it's quite a nice color. If you get the black I hear the interior of the lid is lined with orange so you can see your stuff easier. Smart.
11. Holds a TON of stuff. I think I overfilled it to the listed 64L (for the tall) and while heavy it certainly wasn't the worse for wear.
12. Daisychain loops. The last pack didn't have them and I'm pleased to say that while they're not about to lash 20 pounds of climbing rope or some other stuff without crying, they're definitely handy if I want to use some paracord, some 20lb s-biners, and carry a few extra things on it.
13. The top compression strap is long enough to carry more stuff horizontally under the lid. If I wanted to carry climbing rope I'd do it here and it wouldn't complain.
14. Super long straps all around. If I were wearing a huge puffy coat I'd not be worried about running out of strap length.
15. Outer-most pocket (the one with the long vertical zip) is an interesting open-top design similar to the "stick something in here to dry" stash pocket a lot of packs have, but it's a LOT bigger and it's opening is actually covered at the top by the lid. There's a snap at the top, like the fly on pants, and the zipper, as it unzips, lets the pocket open...like a fly on pants. It's also shaped in a way (out away from straps) that gives you extra storage without being stretchy. Again, really well thought out I'd say.
THE POSSIBLY BAD BUT RESERVING JUDGEMENT TIL MORE USE:
1. Straps seem set a little close together. I'm a big guy (6'4") with broad shoulders and a fairly thick neck. If I get overzealous with the chest strap and pull the shoulder straps in too much they start to rub my neck. So I figure there will be a perfect spot somewhere short of that. I'll just have to be aware.
2. Bottom of pack lacks compression straps. I'm reserving judgement but initial testing showed that the load of the pack, whatever's in the bottom, could possibly sag a bit below the line of the hip belt. Granted, it did this when I was testing it out sans-sleeping bag and my Exped sleeping mat was being kind of heavy.... so yeah, like I said, will reserve judgement. When I jammed my super-compressed 0 degree bag in there, it seemed less likely to happen.
3. Bottom width of pack is kinda narrow. Mentioned above, I tried stuffing my winter bag (a Mountain Hardware Lamina 0) and inside an REI 16L stuff sack, at first it wasn't wide enough. It took me another 5 mins of huffing and puffing to REALLY crank down the compression (to about half the width) and get the bag comfortably loaded into the Axios. Once compressed though it seemed fine. My compression sack looked like it was about to explode and take my apartment with it in the blast though....
4. Hydration port kinda small. I have a camelbak with the refill coupler plus switchable valve and getting it threaded through the port on the pack is a BEAST. Like bad enough that I'm considering putting a quick disconnect at the bladder. I probably won't though and enlarge the hole with scissors. Meh. It's nit picking really.
5. The side pouches for bottles and snacks are small. They're however big enough for a 1L Platypus bottle full. Definitely not a Nalgene 1L, at least with stuff actually IN the pack. They could have really included some drawstrings on the pouches to secure things. Elastic seems like it might sag-out eventually.
6. Top handle is meh. The Crestrail has a rounded profile handle that was big enough to put my man-sized hand through and lift the pack. This pack's handle is big enough for 3 fingers maybe and it's that kind of flat nylon webbing that bites your digits if the load is heavy. Not great.
7. The side compression straps could use some more thought. They don't seem to cinching down the pack in an "even all over" sort of way. They do the job, but I've seen packs where you're really drawing the whole of the body closer to the frame. Like I said, they work, and frankly with all the stuff i have jammed in the pack I'm barely using the compressions anyways!
Very nice pack!! So far I love it and it seems like it'll be with me for a long time. I'm glad I was able to get into the Arcteryx brand's quality without dropping a fortune on the next pack up which was about twice as much money. Despite the lack of adjustability in the load carrying system it seems to work well for my body dimensions (19.5" pack size measurement, 6'4" tall dude). I'm going to be cutting some weight from my load-out now however because I'd say I'm carrying about 5-10 pounds too much. But that should be pretty easy by changing out some things here and there for a couple pounds each. I'm sure in the end my goal of being light, not broke, and having quality gear that lasts will be satisfied.
Date published: 2012-09-26
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