Arcido Akra Review Review [Feb. 2020]
Arcido Akra Review
- 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.
Arcido Akra Specs
Available as 35 Liter
- 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...
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.
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!
This is possibly our favorite minimalist backpack ever. The Akra looks clean and sharp – perfect for a minimalist or a business traveler.
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...
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.
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.
Arcido only offers the Akra in the ash-gray that you see pictured below.
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.
- The gray looks nice. There are tons of other colors within the gray, giving it a patchy sort of aesthetic
- Most backpacks are black – the Akra’s gray is memorable and really stands out
- The color is still dark and patchy enough to ensure that the pack hides any dirt or stains.
One of our favorite aspects about the Arcido Akra is its design and the way that it is shaped.
Check this out…
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…
In particular there are two things to note about the shape of the Akra…
- 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.
- 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
Utilizing 500D nylon and quality mesh, we generally like the materials used on the exterior of the Akra.
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…
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
Because it is simple and effective.
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…
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
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….
- The are elastic, so they expand a bit
- 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
- Right next to the water bottle holders are secret side pockets, which we will explain, now!
Secret Side Pockets
We love inconspicuous pockets.
Because they make you feel like a spy – duh.
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.
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.
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!
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…
- 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?
- 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.
On the other side of the main compartment is the mesh panel that gives you access to the front bottom pocket.
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
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
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
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.
Up to your stomach.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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’.
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…
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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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