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Arcido Akra Review Review [Feb. 2020]

Arcido Akra Review
[February 2020]

  • The best Arcido Akra review on the web!
  • Who this backpack is for
  • If it isn’t for you, we’ll show you exactly which backpack IS for you
  • Written by Digital Nomads

Arcido Akra Overall Score

Our Take – While we see a few glaring issues with this backpack, overall we really like the Arcido Akra.

At 35 liters, the Akra looks smart, is designed for great functionality and feels great to wear. 

Although the tech compartment and hip belt leave us scratching our heads, the overall pros definitely outweigh the cons and we think that Arcido has done a great job with the Akra. 

Overall we give it a 4 out of 5

The Arcido Akra is currently ranked #8 on our list of the best backpacks for Digital Nomads

3.9/5
NN Overall Score - 4/5
Style
Comfort
Functionality
Durability
Value

Arcido Akra Specs

Available as 35 Liter

This is the ultimate Arcido Akra review
  • Capacity: 35 liters
  • Weight:1.3kg / 2.4lb
  • Dimensions:55cm X 35cm X 20cm / 22” X 14” X 8”
  • Laptop: Up to 15.4″

Pros of 35L – 35 liters is going to be a PERFECT travel backpack for a minimalist traveler. You can easily pack this backpack for up to a week, and even travel longer term with this pack if you are very committed to traveling light. 

Cons of a 35L – If the above does NOT sound like you, then 35L is going to be a tough sell. Most people will find 35 liters to be too small for a long term travel pack. Travelers typically prefer something in the 40-45 liter range. 

The Arcido Akra
is PERFECT for you if...

  • You are looking for a solid medium-sized backpack

We say medium sized because at 35L the Akra isn’t quite a large travel pack (usually 40 liters or more) and it isn’t quite a smaller daypack (usually 30 liters or more). This means that if you are looking for something in the middle – the Akra is perfect for you. 

  • You like the look

We at Nomads Nation are the first to admit that the way a backpack looks is EXTREMELY important. We think the Akra has a really clean and smart look, so if you dig that then get it!

  • You are looking for a minimalist backpack

This is possibly our favorite minimalist backpack ever. The Akra looks clean and sharp – perfect for a minimalist or a business traveler.

  • You want a pack that is 100% carry on

At 35 liters (and we might add – a small 35 liters) the Arcido Akra is going to be 100% carry on 100% of the time. 

The Arcido Akra is
NOT for you if...

  • You want a smaller daypack

Unless you carry a ton of stuff on the day to day, the Arcido Akra is likely going to be way too large to be a day to day backpack. 35 liters is a bit big – try something in the 15-25 liter range.

→ Here are our favorite 15-25 liter backpacks….

  • You want a larger travel pack

Again, for most people the Akra is going to be too small for a world travel pack. If you plan to hit the road for a long time (for months or years at a time) then 35 liters will probably be too tight of a squeeze.

  • You want a backpack with a bit more craftsmanship

While we do love this backpack, if you are willing to spend an extra $30-50 there are some UNREAL alternatives. Masterpieces you might even say… 

  • You want a backpack that is for hiking

This should go without saying, but the Arcido Akra is NOT a hiking backpack.

→ These are our favorite hiking backpacks…

Pack Style

Color Options

Arcido only offers the Akra in the ash-gray that you see pictured below. 

For our review we bought the only color available for the Akra - gray!

And as of currently writing, Arcido has 4 backpacks – each of which only come in one color option.

While we like the ability to have more color options, we understand why Arcido did this. As a small company it’s difficult to keep different colors in stock so you can distribute them to fulfillment centers around the world. 

So to keep things simple (and to keep their products shipping fast!) Arcido only offers their backpacks in one color. 

But to be honest – we LOVE this gray.

Here’s why…

  1. The gray looks nice. There are tons of other colors within the gray, giving it a patchy sort of aesthetic
  2. Most backpacks are black – the Akra’s gray is memorable and really stands out 
  3. The color is still dark and patchy enough to ensure that the pack hides any dirt or stains. 

It's Shape

One of our favorite aspects about the Arcido Akra is its design and the way that it is shaped. 

Check this out…

A lot of backpacks...
... have a rectangle shape

As you can see in the pictures above, a lot of backpacks have a sort of boxy shape to them.

And while a boxier shape has it’s advantages (you can pack more stuff) they also have their disadvantages (they look lame!).

In contrast if we look at the Arcido Akra…

 

Notice how the shape of the Akra is much sexier

In particular there are two things to note about the shape of the Akra…

  1. The bottom of the pack is less wide than the top of the pack. As you go up the pack, it gradually increases in its width.
  2. The top has round corners as opposed to square corners

As you can see these two design choices give the Akra a really beautiful and memorable aesthetic – which we are big fans of. 

But remember, while this design choice looks sexier, it comes at the sacrifice of functionality. You flat out aren’t going to be able to pack anywhere near as much stuff in this backpack as you would the Tortuga Outbreaker. 

How it Feels

Arcido Akra Materials

Exterior Materials

Utilizing 500D nylon and quality mesh, we generally like the materials used on the exterior of the Akra.

The exterior materials...
... feel high quality

The main material has a scratchy, yet satisfying feel to it, and obviously we think it looks fantastic. And being advertised as water-resistant, the materials should handle light water exposure just fine.

But for the inside materials, we weren’t quite as thrilled…

 

These materials...
... aren't our favorite

The interior materials were a bit more ‘meh’. They felt a bit cheaper and poorly put together – especially in the tech compartment (which we will complain about later).

But don’t lose too much sleep over this. Most backpacks spend their big money on their exterior fabrics and use cheaper materials for the interior – it won’t have an enormous impact on the functionality of the backpack (assuming that these materials can stand the test of time). 

YKK Zippers

Arcido uses YKK 7 zippers across the majority of the Akra. 

On thing to note is that for the main compartments these zippers are a bit on the small side.

Most other backpacks use larger zippers to access their larger compartments. This is because larger zippers are easier to grab and are typically more durable. 

Strong zipper game on this backpack

But for the Arcido Akra it isn’t really a big deal. The zippers work very well, and their smaller size adds to the sleek and professional aesthetic of the pack. 

Comfort

Overall the Arcido Akra is quite comfortable!

There is a decent amount of back padding and we think that the back panel in general is designed in a way that makes it fit very comfortably. 

And while the shoulder straps are a bit dense and harder than we are used to – they actually turned out to be quite comfortable as well. 

Front of the Pack

OK, for the first big section of this Arcido Akra review, let’s take a look at the front of the backpack. 

Arcido Logo

We don't love the stitching for the logo

We have to admit that while we love a lot of things about this backpack – the logo is not one of them. 

The Arcido logo itself is fine, we just don’t particularly like the stitching they used. We find that it looks a bit cheap and a little big dingy. 

Overall, not our favorite logo. 

Bottom Front Pocket

We think there are some pros and some cons to this pocket. 

This pocket...
... gives us mixed feelings

Pros

  • It’s nice to have additional pockets.
  • This pocket is great for a journal, book, or other large item that can’t fit into the smaller top front pocket
  • It doesn’t screw with the aesthetics of the backpack… too much at least

Cons

  • There is a mesh divider that both connects and divides this compartment from the main compartment – but you can only open this divider from the main compartment. We find this annoying and strange.  
  • While it doesn’t screw with the aesthetics too much – we can’t help but think that the front of the pack would look more streamlined without it

Overall the existence of this pocket is fine. We are just being nitpicky. 

Top Front Pocket

Simply put – we love this pocket.

Our reason?

Because it is simple and effective. 

This soft-lined quick access pocket...
... is great for a phone, passport, or sunglasses

The pocket is small and lined with a super soft fabric. 

This fabric is put there to give you a secure location to put your fragile items. 

Pockets like this are common (and always appreciated!) on backpacks, and are the perfect places to store your sunglasses, phone, or even a fifth of whiskey if that’s how you roll. 

Middle of the Pack

The middle of the Arcido Akra is really well built and in line with the vibe of the rest of the pack – minimal and streamlined. 

All while looking great!

Let’s take a look…

Top Handle

The top handle looks great...
... and feels great!

This is a stellar top handle.

It has everything you want in a top handle – it’s very comfortable, has a nice feel to it, is easy to grab, and most importantly it doesn’t throw off the look of the entire backpack. 

Insert clapping emoji here -> 👏🏻

2 Water bottle Holders

There are two of these - one on each side

While we aren’t the biggest fans of two water bottle holders…. they are growing on us.

This is because while basically nobody ever travels with two water bottles, the other holder can be used as storage for other things like a phone charger, camera tripod, or (in our case) even a laptop stand. 

Aside from the fact that there are two of them, there are a few other things you need to know about the water bottle holders….

  1. The are elastic, so they expand a bit
  2. But they are still SUPER tight. If you travel with a large or thick water bottle, it will not fit in this holder. You will need a thin-ish water bottle to make the squeeze
  3. Right next to the water bottle holders are secret side pockets, which we will explain, now!

Secret Side Pockets

We love inconspicuous pockets.

Why?

Because they make you feel like a spy – duh. 

Very subtle....
... these pockets are great

No, but seriously, these shouldn’t be considered ‘secret’ pockets, but they are very subtle, and if you have a water bottle in the holder then the pockets become VERY subtle. 

Since they are discrete and easily accessed, these pockets are great for a ton of things – you can use them for boarding passes, a phone, your passport, or (our favorite) – for snacks!

Throw a couple of healthy-energy bars in these pockets and you can grab and go one anytime you need a quick pick-me-up. We recommend Caramel Almond Kind Bars – holy crap those are delicious. 

NO Compression Straps

It should be noted here – we need to highlight an important LACK of a feature. 

That lack of a feature? No compression straps.

Why do we feel the need to highlight this?

Because on a backpack of this size, it is extremely, EXTREMELY rare. 

Most backpacks 30 liters and above – and basically ALL backpacks 35 liters and above – use compression straps. 

We at Nomads Nation have always debated the value of compression straps, and we love that a 35 liter backpack has gone against the grain and removed them all together. 

And it works brilliantly. The Akra is a minimalist, streamlined backpack, and the decision to NOT include compression straps perfectly reinforces those points. 

This is one of our favorite features of the Arcido Akra. 

The decision to go against the grain shows bravery and innovation on their part – and the results are fantastic!

Insert five clapping emojis -> 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

 

Classic Clamshell Opening

Clamshell openings are very common in backpacks of this size – and for good reason!

Clamshell openings allow you to open the backpack in it’s entirety like a suitcase. 

This will allow you to pack more stuff, and to be able to access your stuff much easier. 

Clamshell opening...
... always a classic

The clamshell opening on the Akra is also fairly unique as it matches the shape of the bag – the zippers come closer together at the bottom of the pack, and widen at the top of the pack.

Overall the look, and zipping experience are very smooth. 

Main Compartment

The main compartment is possibly the most minimalist main compartment that we have ever seen in a backpack this size.

It is literally just on large compartment – and nothing else!

The main compartment has some compression straps and that is it!

Yet again, the Arcido Akra is staying true to its minimalist roots. There are no extra pockets, no extra compartments, nothing!

There are some pros and cons to this…

Pros 

  • Less pockets = less weight = more minimalist!
  • Less pockets = less manufacturing cost = cheaper for you!
  • Do you really need 14 pockets in the main compartment for internal organization?

Cons

  • At the end of the day some people really love internal compartments, so this is just not going to be enough

This is going to be a personal call. 

Some people will love the simplicity of the Arcido Akra, but others need more from their backpacks and prefer the feature-heavy designs of the Tortuga Outbreaker or the Nomatic Travel Bag

Mesh Panel

On the other side of the main compartment is the mesh panel that gives you access to the front bottom pocket.

You can access the bottom front pocket....
... through the mesh divider on the front panel

Still, we aren’t crazy about this whole thing.

We would rather it to be its own section, or for it to be eliminated all together.

Back of the Pack

The back of this pack is far from perfect...

Has this Arcido Akra review seemed overly supportive of the backpack?

Well, that’s all about to change.

Because while we think the front and middle of this backpack are incredibly well put together – we have a lot of problems with the back of this backpack. 

Here. We. Go. 

Removable Waist Straps

Removable Waist Straps = Great

We always love the option of being able to remove features we may or may not need.

And waist straps are one of the best features to make removable. 

Be warned though!

While they are super simple to snap back on, these waist straps are incredibly difficult to snap off. 

Pockets on Waist Straps

Another great feature – EACH of the waist straps has its own pocket. 

While these pockets are convenient, they are also fairly small, so don’t expect to use them for your phone or for large bluetooth headphones. 

Instead look at this as a place to keep a boarding pass, a parking ticket, some spare cash or maybe even some chapstick or mints. 

Magnetic Buckle on Waist Straps

FREAKIN MAGNETS!

Here at Nomads Nation, it’s no secret…

We think magnets and backpacks go together like cookies and milk. They are literally a perfect combination.

And this particular magnet configuration is solid. It’s not the best we’ve ever used, but it gets the job done and makes the waist-strap-buckle experience seamless and much more fun.

Waist Strap (More like 'Stomach Strap')

This is one of the most bizarre aspects of the Arcido Akra.

Here’s the deal…

While the waist strap looks all fine and dandy when it ISN’T being worn… when it IS being worn, it rides really high.

How high?

Up to your stomach.

Possibly the strangest feature of the Arcido Akra
The 'waist strap' is more like a 'stomach strap'

It doesn’t matter if you are 5’5 or 6’5 – the waist strap rides extremely high and will likely settle somewhere around your mid-abdomen.

Which frankly, really sucks. It makes the ‘waist strap’ less wearable. It feels weird. It looks weird. We don’t even really think there is much point to wearing it. 

Definitely one of the worst features of the backpack.

Amazing Back Padding

But on the bright side, this backpack is super comfortable!


That’s because the Arcido Akra has great back-padding. 

The padding is soft, thick, made from great materials, and very breathable. 

The Akra is mad comfortable - mostly due to this back padding

Overall this padding is simple, but extremely effective. 

And it also looks great!

Average Shoulder Straps

While the shoulder straps look exactly like the back padding – they are nowhere near as comfortable. 

 

The webbing and materials are the same
But the shoulder straps have much less padding

We aren’t saying they should be made as thick as the back padding, it’s just worth noting that the back padding is super-comfy, and the shoulder straps are OK-comfy.

Ultimately they shoulder straps on the Arcido Akra are OK – they get the job done, but that’s about all you can say about them. 

Removable Sternum Strap

Great for aesthetics, good for function

Along with a waist strap, sternum straps are another amazing feature to have removable – and Arcido does a great job with the Akra’s sternum strap. 

If you want to remove the sternum strap, simply lift the flap of materials and underneath you will reveal a hook-like system that allows you to attach or remove the sternum strap. 

Simple and effective. It looks great and functions well. 

Magnetic Buckles on Sternum Strap

MORE FREAKIN MAGNETS!

The sternum strap is buckled via a magnet – albeit, an OK magnet. 

Overall, while we really like the magnet buckle on the waist strap, the magnet buckle on the sternum strap is far less fluid. 

We find that it doesn’t connect, or disconnect anywhere near as seamlessly as other magnetic buckles we’ve tried. 

But overall it still works fine.

No Dangle on the Sternum Strap

Simple to implement
And greatly appreciated

There’s nothing worse than putting a backpack on and having the spare parts dangle and flop all over the place. 

Excess dangle is the worst. Arcido did a great job combatting the dangle. 

Top Back Pocket

Top back pocket from afar
Top back pocket when opened

This pocket is interesting…

Normally back panel pockets like this are not very large. Usually they are small in size, and are meant for smaller items that you want to be able to grab quickly.

But not with the Akra – this pocket is shockingly deep!

While we didn’t have much use for this pocket, we were glad to have it. It didn’t take up any extra space, and we did use it from time to time for notebooks and journals. 

Tech Compartment

Now let’s jump into our least favorite part of the arcido Akra – the tech compartment.

While the tech compartment isn’t awful, we have a few problems with it. 

Let’s start with the back panel of the tech compartment – or as we call it, the ‘office compartment’. 

The materials feel a bit on the cheap side
But the extra organization is nice to have

We like compartments like this to feel tight and secure. And we like them to be made of nicer materials.

All of this^ makes sure that we feel our laptops and other expensive Digital Nomad gear are in the best hands possible.

But this whole section feels cheaply made, and not very secure. 

Pros of this section

  • Additional organization
  • Holders for pens, notebooks, and a truly great mesh pocket!

Cons of this section

  • Feels cheaply made
  • Does not feel very secure

But this section isn’t anywhere near as bad as the…

 

Laptop Compartment

We’ll just say it…

We hate the laptop compartment.

Some other backpack reviewers spoke highly of this part – but we just couldn’t get into it.

Here’s why…

This section does not feel secure at all
And again, the materials feel cheap

Pros of this section

  • Having a laptop compartment is crucial for a technical backpack like this
  • Arcido tried to innovate – you can completely remove the whole compartment and attach it to other Arcido backpacks
  • Velcro strap allows you to secure your laptop as well as lift it out
  • The laptop compartment is elevated, meaning if you drop your backpack, your precious laptop won’t hit the ground

Cons of this section

  • It feels cheaply made
  • The laptop compartment itself does not feel very secure
  • We debate the actual value of switching your laptop holder from backpack to backpack

While the laptop compartment works – it just does not feel great to use. The materials feel cheap, and which will make you feel that your Digital Nomad laptop is NOT secure.

This is our least favorite part of this backpack. 

But don’t worry. While we have our issues with this compartment, we still stand by our review. Overall is an amazing piece of equipment that will last you for years to come. 

Overall Pros and Cons of the
Arcido Akra

Overall Pros

  • Amazing aesthetic and shape
  • A true minimalist backpack - Arcido really cut on the things they didn't need
  • Super comfortable and durable

Overall Cons

  • We hate the laptop compartment
  • Some of the interior materials feel pretty cheap
  • The shape looks great, but at the sacrifice of storage. If storage space is you main concern - look elsewhere

Other Arcido Products

Arcido makes some serious travel gear. Here are a few more of our favorite Arcido products…

Boasting many of the same features, the Arcido Oxna is a smaller (but just as sexy!) version of the Arcido Akra. 

Weighing in at 28 liters, made from premium materials and sporting an awesome all-black look, the Oxna is a a perfect daypack for urban travel. 

Seeing double?

Don’t worry, we confused the Akra with the Faroe at first as well. 

But while they are basically the same pack, the Faroe is a stripped down version of the Akra. It’s lighter, got a few less pockets, and a bit cheaper.

Still a solid backpack for your Digital Nomad packing list.

If you are planning on getting an Arcido backpack (or already have one) then you will be pleased to know that Arcido also makes packing cubes!

These packing cubes are made from high quality materials, and most importantly they are build to perfectly fit Arcido’s packs. 

Which is awesome. 

FAQs

What rating did Nomads Nation give the Arcido Akra?

While we aren’t crazy about the laptop compartment, the Arcido Akra is a true minimalist backpack that looks gorgeous, and has great functionality. Our Nomads Nation score is a 4 out of 5. 

Is the Arcido Akra perfect for me?

If you are looking for a modern, minimalist backpack at a great price – this is one of the best options out there! Check out the top of our article to see our other backpack recommendations…

Where is Arcido based?

While their backpacks are made in Vietnam, Arcido is headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Is the Arcido Akra l worth it?

While the Akra certainly has some flaws, we think for the price is it one of the best value backpacks on the market!

Conclusion

Our Arcido Akra review is complete!

All of our backpack reviews take us weeks to buy, ship, wear, test, and write. Because of our process we know that they are the best on the web.

But! If you have any unanswered questions, let us know in the comments below – we answer every single one of them.

Travel on nomads…

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Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Dumpling crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -