User Review: Arc'teryx Naos 55
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $500
Most rugged, waterproof, reliable backpack I've ever seen.
- Completely waterproof
- Well padded, comfortable waistband
- Doesn't seem to wear out
- Holds plenty of stuff
- Isn't made anymore.
I hate to write a review on a backpack that isn't made anymore by Arc'teryx (2013). However, I feel the need to get the information out there that these were excellent packs and if you come across one used or in the discount section of an outfitter somewhere, buy it immediately.
This backpack was the pack of the year in some magazine back in 2005. I was thinking about hiking the AT back then and after reading the article, I went online and bought one. The expense hit my wallet hard (these packs were in the $500 range back then), but I have never regretted the decision.
My Naos 55 was used on both my Appalachian Trail (2007) and Pacific Crest Trail (2009) thru hikes. Yes, this pack has well over 4000 miles on it and it still looks good and needs no repair.
The Naos 55 has a simple dry bag construction with a roll top closure. Simple, but effective. It does take planning to get everything packed correctly due to the difficulty of getting stuff from the bottom of the pack. However, that is a small price to pay for the ability to be totally waterproof. There is a single opening for a water hose that comes through the top of the pack. This opening has a small stopper that closes the hole and with this opening closed, you can actually close the top and throw this pack in a river, it'll float.
The pack has a torpedo like construction that looks different than most packs out there. However, the torpedo construction carries most of the weight higher on your body and enables you to carry more weight comfortably.
Another interesting feature of the Naos 55 is the removable and rotating waist belt. The waist belt is attached to the pack through a round plastic bearing of sorts that enables the belt to rotate with your hips. This actually works better than it sounds.
It is a weak point however, I have had occasions where the belt snapped off the bearing when I was picking the pack up off the ground and was unaware I was stepping on a strap. Although the belt snapped off the pack, it has always been easy to snap it back on and I have been amazed by how well the bearing was engineered.
I have dragged this pack over rocks, thrown it in rivers, dropped it off cliffs, and it just goes and goes.
I am beginning to think this backpack will outlast me.
It's too bad Arc'teryx doesn't make this pack anymore. They appear to make a bigger Naos 85 version, however the Naos 85 appears to be made with cheaper materials and is not waterproof (they say "water resistant").
So, if you are looking for an excellent, bombproof and waterproof backpack that will carry all you would ever need on a long distance hike; and not have to throw it away after the hike, look for an Arc'teryx Naos 55 somewhere. They might pop up on Ebay on occasion.