User Review: Arc'teryx Naos 70
This is a fantastic pack. Expensive, but this is a ten year piece of kit. The reviews for the Naos 55 apply equally to the 70 version. My comments (in no particular order):
- the waterproof construction is flawless. You'll never need to buy another pack cover or dry bag again.
- no bulky side pockets, but a huge amount of space in the lid. Camera, gloves, everything fits in there. There's another pocket on the lowerside of the lid, as well as two flat pockets on the body (one of which has a drainage hole at the bottom for that damp tarp/flysheet). The tall, slim profile of the pack is perfect for me and balances wonderfully - my gut tells me that slimmer builds will like this pack.
- roll-down top allows the pack to be vertically compressed and expanded as required (although the less roll-down you leave, the greater the leakage potential).
- the material used to make the pack has a white backing, which means the entire inside of the pack is very light. I'd never appreciated what a difference this makes when trying to find things. No more poking around with the headlamp for that lost sock at the bottom of a big black pack.
- pivoting hipbelt, via the Load Transfer Disc. The hipbelt rotates around 20 degrees from horizontal in both directions, keeping the pack nicely upright while your hips move alternately up and down. I love pivoting packs, but have always found that the complexity of the engineering eventually lets them down. The Naos though is beautifully simple - a circular disc on the hipbelt which slots into the body of the pack, and two side straps to adjust the amount of twist. A little grease should be all that is required to keep this going for years.
- the hipbelt is also removable. A counter-clockwise twist removes the belt from the pack, making it much less likely to get damaged if checked for a flight. I also found that without the belt, a full pack will fit nicely into a lightweight suit bag, further lessening the risk of rips and broken straps during flights. Re-attaching the hip belt needs some care, as I suspect incorrect attachment followed by usage could lead to serious damage.
- there's only one way in or out of the bag - through the top. No separately accessible sleeping back compartment, no front zipper. If you can't live without these, you won't like this one. Personally I don't miss them.
- not the easiest pack to load and unload, partly for the reason given above, but also because of the rolldown and waterproof design. The rolldown top extends a long way, around another 12 inches from what could be considered the top of the main section of the bag. While this gives some room for expansion, it can also get in the way when you are stuffing things into the pack, especially given that the top of the rolldown is designed to snap closed. Also the waterproof material is slightly rubbery - things do not always slide into the pack easily.
- the axe/gear loops are a little too low - I'd have preferred them a couple of inches high for better support. I usually end up attaching gear to the 3 side straps instead.
- there is no ugly. This is a beautiful pack.