When adventure and timeless heritage style cross-pollinate the result is the Patagonia Arbor Classic Pack ($99), a twenty-five liter pack in a retro rucksack design.
What I liked
- Eco-friendly. This is a given with Patagonia, hence the reason they are loved unconditionally by us here at Gear Gals. The Patagonia Arbor Classic pack’s 600-denier polyester fabric is made using eight plastic water bottles and saves a half of a gallon of water by using a solution dyeing process. This approach also produces 96 percent less carbon dioxide than conventional dyeing methods. See? Now that’s eco-friendly. Although I still urge the use of reusable waterbottles like the GSI Outdoors Microlite Vacuum Stainless Steel bottles.
- Large but lightweight. At 25 liters, the Patagonia Classic Arbor pack has plenty of room for short-term raveling, which is what I’ve been using it for. So far this pack has been to Denver, San Francisco, Montreal and Seattle. The San Fran trip was a three-day trip in which it was the only bag I took. Despite filling it with three days’ worth of lightweight clothing and basic toiletries, it didn’t feel overly heavy due to its basic design and minimal organizational accoutrements.
- DWR coating for water-resistant. The Patagonia Classic Arbor pack kept my clothes dry on a drizzly walk to the rental car shuttle. But that’s about it. I don’t recommend a long walk in the rain with this pack.
- Comfortable shoulder straps. The Patagonia Classic Arbor pack uses Human Curve® shoulder straps that ergonomically and comfortably conformed to my shoulders. They are simple and soft. However, I did find that walking around the Seattle airport with clothes and a laptop inside reduced the comfort factor of the shoulder straps because it has no hip-belt (only a thin waist strap) or sternum strap to balance the load.
- Durability for longevity. Another trademark of Patagonia is to make gear that lasts so that it doesn’t clog the landfills after a couple of seasons. The Patagonia Classic Arbor pack uses such as Duraflex buckles and sturdy YKK zippers. The main compartment of the pack also has a strong paracord drawstring that can be tightened up.
- Organization is simple but effective. The Patagonia Classic Arbor pack has a generous main compartment with a padded laptop sleeve, a secure stash pocket beneath the top flap and a secured outer pocket. And that’s it! Simple but effective.
What could be better
No side pocket for a water bottle. Boo! Hiss! If I die of thirst when wearing this pack I’m going to update the review with that bit of information.
No hip belt or sternum strap. The hip strap is kind of useless. It just is. Sorry, Patagonia but it doesn’t offer much in the way of support and is more superfluous than useful. A twenty-five liter pack is pretty substantial. All that space beckons one to fill it. And fill it I did. But without a hip belt and sternum strap heavier loads detract from the pack’s comfort. To be fair, the only time I really moaned about this was on a trip was on the Seattle trip where I hauled my laptop as well as clothes.
The Patagonia Classic Arbor pack is a great pack, no doubt about it. I love its simplicity and heritage style. I love that it’s made from recycled plastic bottles. It doesn’t take any advanced degree in science to know that the condition of our planet is in peril.
Too much garbage, too many smokestacks, too many people not giving a shit about their carbon footprint. And don’t get me started on the fucktards who want turn our public lands into mining pits for profit.
Patagonia has always been an unapologetic force for doing things the right way. I will always support and applaud them for this—and give them plenty of sloppy kisses.
The Patagonia Classic Arbor pack is a Gear Gals Piece of Recommended Gear.