CGR looks at the latest sustainable offering from Osprey to see if it passes the test!
2020 is going to be all about the environmental and responsible credentials of all the major outdoor equipment brands. Some will be radical changes in philosophy and outlook and others will be greenwashing – we will try and pick out the best offerings for you and only feature products that meet the mark of being a true, responsibly made item of outdoor equipment.
The new Osprey Archeon 30 does meet that standard, being durable and made using sensible and useful fabrics and fittings. With is highly durable and burly 1880D nylon canvas material for the main body, chunky YKK zips and metal buckles and components (for the most part, there are some plastic buckles and these are made from recycled plastic) means the Archeon 30 should last you a lifetime of adventures. This is the main premise of the Osprey offering – making a bombproof pack that will last and getting away from packs that last a few years before wearing out and having to buy another.
I particularly like the styling of the Archeon 30, although stuffed with thoroughly modern features it nods discreetly to the current fashion for heritage style packs. It has a distinct Scandanavian feel to it with its stonewashed colours, woven canvas feel and sewn badging. As I said earlier though, Osprey have bought all their pack and technical knowhow together to stuff the Archeon 30 with modern features such as: an adjustable back; an integrated and super comfortable waist belt with two open and quick access pockets, a large lid pocket and a meshed security pocket inside the lid with a key clip; two large wand pockets that swallow kit, ice axe loops and lid loops for stashing crampons; a full 2 way, zippered front opening for accessing kit easily, a rain cover and 4 compressions straps. There is also a hydration bladder sleeve together with a hose opening that is compatible with Osprey hydration systems. So as I said, you are not lacking in features. This comes at a cost those and if you are a lightweight freak then the 1.82kg weight might put you off. I’ve been happy with it though as I’m no longer a lightweight freak and prefer to spend more precious time journeying mindfully through the landscape and the Archeon 30 fits that ethic nicely. You could reduce the weight by removing the rain cover but not by much as it’s pretty light, you can also choose the lighter Archeon 25 if weight is a real issue.
The Archeon 30 is an all mountain style of pack so it’s perfect for long days out in any conditions and any time of year from winter to autumn. The 30L version of the Archeon range is perfect for autumn and winter an to be honest with the way UK summers are going summer and spring too.
I would be fine for a lightweight summer divvy or hut stop as it’s big enough for stove, lightweight sleeping and bivvy bag and a bit of food, there are some cord loops for lashing shock cord to so you could load it up if you wanted to hike in with some bivvy stuff, leave that at camp on go onto bag an alpine summit.
The lid is a single buckle close with a metal hook, it has a nice external pocket that is plenty big enough to stow a hat, gloves, some food bars and a laminated OS map, with room for a few extras if needed. There’s also an internal mesh security pocket for stashing a wallet, phone and key (on the included key clip). It’s super burly with 4 shock cord loops that could easily accommodate a set of crampons without damaging it. The zip tags on both the lid and front zip are a mixture of plastic and metal to help keep the plastic down – they also look good and are a nice feature as well as being glove friendly.
The main body is plenty big enough to stow everything you would need for an extended day in the mountains. I’ve used it throughout the autumn and winter in UK conditions (which have been very wet and windy this year) and have been able to stash, hardshell jacket and pants, food, flask, wind stopper insulated jacket, small emergency shelter, compact first aid kit, extra photography stuff (compact tripod) and still had room to spare. If you are a real kit fries and still have more then the huge side pockets will accommodate a ton more stuff. The kit in the pain body can be accessed via the two way front zip, this worked really well for scrambling so I could get to the bottom of the route and easily access technical climbing kit for scrambles. A nice feature that I’ve found really useful. The pack is 30L but I was able to reduce the volume for lighter days by tucking the lid into the main body and using the single metal buckle to hook into the grab loop, this worked really well – especially for scrambles when I was wearing a helmet. The back is adjustable so you can fine tune the fit for your height as the pack just comes in one size.
The Osprey Archeon 30 can carry two ice tools and work well for a technical winter day out. There are two traditional type loops for sliding the axe heads into and then you just pop in under the side compression straps and cinch it tight, if you want more security on the shafts you can rethread the side compression through the loop and hook it back. This also works for stowing hiking poles, I found it easiest to pop the poles into the side pockets and secure them with the side compressions straps but you can added extra security in the same way as the ice tools.. There is also a comfortable waist belt that has two pockets, each with a lash loop. Used one for my compass and the other for a couple of food bars. Perfect! Needless to say the shoulder straps are comfortable and have an adjustable chest strap and shoulder tension straps.
For those (frequent!) rainy hikes there is an included, detachable, rain cover. I’m happy to use it these days as I’m no longer taking clients out into intentional bad weather. There are pros and cons and I’ve lost too many to count in windy conditions. Hopefully this one will last the winter out – my pack came with a black cover and it would been better to include a brighter coloured one as the colour options are quite muted. It did have a large reflected logo however, so it would be easy to follow with a head torch on.
On top of that we wanted to investigate and mention the supply chain and the sustainability credentials for the Archeon range as this is a big push for this range. The pack is a very environmentally and socially reasonable offering – the materials are recycled, the DWR and chemical treatments are PFC free and the durability will ensure you can keep using and abusing the pack for many years. From Spring 2020 all Osprey products will be constructed in accordance with Bluesign’s Restricted Substances List and they adhere to the Ethical Trading Initiative so worker welfare is monitored and well paid.
So, the Archeon 30 is a great all mountain pack that you would useful as a ‘one size fits all’ pack that you could use throughout the year and for all your adventures. It has great environmental and social responsibility credentials and most importantly of all is stuffed full of useful features that will make your journeying a joy. A highly recommended pack that should last you many years.
The Archeon range features a 25L roll top day pack, the 30L pack reviewed here and two backpacking sizes 45 and 70L for those multi-way adventures.
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers and writers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!