If you’ve ever climbed a mountain, gone on a hike, or even just gone to an outdoor store, the name Arc’teryx is as ubiquitous as it is hard to spell. Known for high quality and equally high prices, Arc’teryx is a Canadian brand that was inspired by the need for durable technical gear suited for alpine environments that would hold up to every day use and abuse. While many companies push the envelope in textile manufacturing, they often prefer to outsource their materials while focusing on pushing the limits of design and manufacturing, as demonstrated by their new Alpha SV Jacket that takes 217 individual steps over almost 4.5 hours to build.
With this in mind, we were excited when they sent over an early release, their new Granville Zip 16, which is the next iteration of their current Granville line and takes some obvious inspiration as a kind of “everyman’s Nomin”.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way, this thing looks great.
The pack is “weather resistant”(definitely an understatement) and sports an external bike light clip and reflective Arc’teryx logo which seems to show that Arc’teryx was going for an Urban/commuter crowd.
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Quality and Comfort
The first thing that struck me about this pack was how light it was. Although it tips the scales at just 750g, the materials look as though it should weigh more. This isn’t to take anything away from its quality of construction. Every seam is tight (and internally sealed) and obvious attention to detail was paid in things like custom zipper pulls (that I won’t actually cut off this time!). The body of the pack is N400r-AC2 Nylon 6 Ripstop with a neoprene backing which basically translates into ‘not 100% waterproof, but really, really close.’ Although this pack is meant for inclement weather above all, the minimal suspension is surprisingly comfortable, even under load. Unfortunately the pack lacks a hip-belt which is something I prefer for bike commuting, but understandable given the urban styling, and small capacity of the bag means that the adjustable sternum strap really does all you need it to anyway.
Overall,this pack is impressive in how much it fits for only being 16L. I was easily able to (over) pack for a day hike, or a commute to work with a stop at the gym and even when stuffed to the brim, it fit nicely on my 6”2 frame. For our shorter readers, my 5”6 partner also said it fit comfortably and snugly.
The bag is separated into three compartments: a main, an auxiliary, and a wallet/glasses pocket. The main compartment also has a subdivision for a small laptop or tablet, another for documents, and a small zip area for anything your heart desires. Although the laptop portion is separated from the floor of the bag, I would definitely invest in a protective sleeve for your electronic device.
The auxiliary compartment can be access from the main through an internal zipper, or by shouldering the bag to your right side. It’s big enough to fit a few pouches and has its own dedicated volume, which really should be mandatory on all bags from now on.
The smallest stash compartment on top has an internal key holder, which I always think is superfluous,but otherwise is a great place for me to throw my phone and wallet for easy access, while still protecting them from the rain.
Did I mention that all the pockets are damn near waterproof? Since receiving this pack I’ve put it through at least four good New Orleans-style storms both on my bike and on foot. Since we here at The Perfect Pack want you to know we take our product testing seriously, I even accidentally left it near the medical waste bin at work and came back to find it covered in mystery fluid (not kidding). It’s still going strong with no stains, smells, or (as far as I know) communicable diseases.
- The pack looks and feels great. It’s a high quality product through and through.
- Arc’teryx was definitely selling itself short when it said “weather resistant”. You can hose this thing down for an hour or two and still feel safe that your laptop isn’t turning into a soggy waffle.
- For being only 16L, you can really jam a ton of stuff in there.
- The lack of hip belt is a personal thing for me, and I know that many people might find this a plus. I still wish it had a minimalist belt, maybe with a stash pocket!
- For only having a few straps, the strap management isn’t great. I’m sure that Arc’teryx product designers are smart enough to come up with a better solution than my Velcro for taking on the dangling straps!
- For some reason they decided to put a “made in the Philippines” label over the left shoulder. It’s a small thing, but in a pack that gets so many small details right, I think we can be picky and say it should be moved inside!
The Wrap Up
Overall, the Granville Zip 16 might not be the pack you wear everyday, but it’s definitely the pack you reach for when it’s wet. The attention to detail is exactly what we’d expect with a company like Arc’teryx and although there are a few small quibbles we have, none of them are even close to deal breakers. For those of you hoping to pick one up for yourselves, which I highly recommend, it’s not yet available for sale in the US, but is expected to hit stores by January 7th, 2019.
The Granville was provided by Arc’teryx as a sample for review purposes, the content of this review was not shared with Arc’teryx before publishing. Our reviews are unbiased and never modified to keep a brand happy.