A highly functional and exceptionally well ventilated unisex daypack for day hikes in all seasons
The Gregory Arrio 24 Backpack is a highly practical and functional daypack boasting unusual storage options and a very well ventilated back panel for hiking in hot conditions. It’s also a bit of a looker which makes it doubly appealing for everyday use as well as staying sleek on the trail!
Gregory Arrio 24 Backpack: The stats
|Best for:||Day hikes|
|Material:||210D honeycomb Cryptorip HD nylon with PFC-free DWR|
|Eco-conscious:||Lining made from 40% recycled polyester with PFC-free DWR|
Features of the Gregory Arrio 24 Backpack
Back panelThough it lacks any sort of padding, the FreeSpan suspended open-air mesh back panel is superbly effective at keeping air flowing between you and the backpack. The mesh panel is stretched over a tensioned alloy frame.
The shoulder straps are constructed of lightly padded perforated fabric to keep breathability high. Attached to the straps is an adjustable sternum strap with an integrated safety whistle.
Inside the main compartment is a hydration sleeve which is best holding a 2 litre reservoir. It has a hanger to hold the bladder in place which is compatible with Gregory reservoirs but not compatible with all other reservoirs. There’s a small port out of the main compartment for the hose, which is held in place under a small clip on the shoulder strap.
The main compartment has a top lid which buckles closed at the front of the pack. Underneath the hood, an easy to open draw cord mechanism provides access to the main compartment which feels spacious when the outer zippered pockets are empty but a little less cavernous when said pockets are filled.
There are two lid pockets, both of which are zippered. I like to store snacks and a buff in the external one, whilst money, phone and a penknife are stored in the internal pocket for a greater level of security. The internal pocket also stores the rain cover, which I really like, especially living in Cornwall! The cover has an elasticated edge for a snug and secure fit around the Arrio. It’s also nice that the cover isn’t in a garish neon yellow.
Unusually, the two side pockets are different. One is zippered and for me, holds easy access items like my sunglasses case and sun cream. There’s also an essential key clip attachment inside the zippered pocket. The other side pocket is constructed of stretchy mesh with an open top to hold a water bottle.
Unlike many daypacks I’ve used, the front pocket is actually a zippered pocket rather than an open top mesh compartment. This is somewhat limiting if you want to stuff in layers. However, it does provide better protection from the rain than mesh pockets.
For those that like hiking with poles, the trekking pole holder is really useful. This includes an elasticated, cinched in toggle and a lower webbing loop that can be adjusted for a customised fit.
The low profile hip belt is constructed of webbing straps that don’t provide any comfort, but aren’t uncomfortable either. They simply add a degree of stability to the pack and minimise movement. The belt can be fully removed.
Slim webbed straps buckle at the sides to cinch in the pack for greater stability. This is especially useful if the pack isn’t filled to capacity. The straps are also well placed to secure longer items into the mesh side pocket.
Gregory Arrio 24 Backpack review
If you’ve ever read any of my other backpack reviews you may have grasped that, along with tents, backpacks really float my boat! I’m a practical pig so I love the functionality of a piece of gear that enables me to carry everything I need for a period of time with ease and comfort. But I also love how pleasing backpacks can be from an aesthetic point of view.
With that in mind, the Gregory Arrio 24 Backpack ticks lots of boxes for me.
First up, it’s hard to deny that the Arrio is a bit of a looker. It boasts a sleek design with no unnecessary straps or fussy buckles. It’s streamlined, understated and comes in tasteful colours with subtle accents that make it well suited to everyday life, as well as time on the trail.
Next up, is how usable the design is from a storage point of view. The formats of the pockets are somewhat unusual, with one of the side pockets being zippered. Unheard of! But when you think about it, this makes perfect sense. I don’t know about you, but I rarely hit the trail with a filled water bladder as well as two bottles. One flask of coffee and a bladder is really all one needs for a day hike, making the other side pocket a little redundant as a water bottle holder.
Sure, stretchy mesh pockets are good for stuffing things in. But personally, I’m always a little nervous of the stuff falling out on the trail, unless it’s clothing which tends to fill up the pocket nicely! As such, I really like the security of having a zippered side pocket from which I’m most certainly not going to lose my sunglasses.
Another unusual feature is the zippered front pocket. I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% sold on this just yet. It’s a great place to store a map and a layer which, on wet days, are well protected from the damp and drizzle. However, I really like to have a stuffable pocket in which to store waterproofs and layers. A pocket that is super easy to access and doesn’t require the items to be neatly folded to fit in.
Either way, the Arrio 24 provides plenty of space to carry everything you need to carry on a long day hike.
I’ve been totally spoiled with the excellent selection of female specific backpacks that I’ve tried out in the last few years. The result is that I really notice the minor nuances of unisex backpacks.
The limited adjustability of the sternum strap is a common gripe, which is unfortunately an issue with the Arrio. The strap attachment rail just needs to extend higher up on the shoulder straps to ensure that the sternum strap sits higher up on the chest for us lady hikers!
The other problem I have encountered when it comes to comfort, is that the base of the frame digs into my lower back at the sides – my love handles, if you like! I have quite a small frame so I think this is probably the reason, along with the lack of padding in the lumbar area.
Despite the above downsides on the comfort front, the overall feel of the pack is really good and is especially noticeable when hiking in hot conditions. The back panel keeps air flowing expertly and minimises the build-up of sweat with efficiency, resulting in minimal rubbing or chaffing.
What I love the most about the Gregory Arrio 24 Backpack
The super airy back panel is really great and does an excellent job at minimising the amount of backpack that actually touches your body.
I also really like that one of the side pockets is zippered, providing extra security for easy access items.
What I don’t love so much about the Gregory Arrio 24 Backpack
As mentioned, the base of the frame sticks into the sides of my lower back. This is fine on short trips with not much weight in the pack. But a full day on the trail requires more weight and prolonged wear, after which I feel slightly sore in this area. This is potentially down to the size of the frame relative to my body size. Rob (6ft 3inch man) doesn’t have this problem.
With some unusual yet functional storage solutions and a streamlined design, the Gregory Arrio 24 Backpack is a versatile daypack for hiking and everyday life. With an exceptionally well ventilated back panel, it is highly adept at dealing with hot conditions as well as providing protection on those rainy days.
The unisex design makes it less well suited to small-framed lady hikers than other female specific designs, so it’s worth trying it on if this applies to you.
Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.