Arc'teryx Granville 16 Zip Backpack Review
The Arc'teryx Granville 16L Zip Backpack could benefit from more organization, but does well with its incredibly durable and weather-resistant materials.
- Highly durable, lightweight, weather-resistant material
- Simple-yet-comfortable harness system
- Easy-to-access external pockets
- Not a lot of integrated organization
- No mesh lining for added breathability
- The sternum strap is time-consuming to adjust
1.625 lb (0.7 kg)
18.9 in x 11.02 in x 7.87 in (48 x 28 x 20 cm)
Ripstop Nylon, Nylon, Polyester, Urethane, Elastane, YKK Zippers, ITW Hardware
Laptop Compartment Size
Aren’t you glad to be reading another Arc’teryx review? We sure hope so, because today we’re taking a look at the Granville 16L Zip Backpack: a daypack that’s smaller in size but intense in its protection of your gear.
This bag doesn’t have an excess of features but what it does have is a super durable, lightweight, weather-resistant construction and enough space to carry the basics you’re typically carrying in your day-to-day.
You can jump into the review below to read all about our two weeks of experiences with this bag!
Materials & Aesthetic
Around 74% of our Instagram followers were fans of this bag’s aesthetic, and we think we know why: it has a clean, slick look that works in urban environments, yet is still rugged enough that it doesn’t look out of place for outdoor use.
You can pick up this pack in three different colorways at the time of this review: Pilot (a technical, subdued grey), Black (the one we’ve been testing), and Bushwhack (an olive-yellow green). Black and Pilot blend into the crowd, while Bushwhack caters to the more outdoorsy, hardwearing aspect of the bag.
If you’re wondering what the odd-looking skeletal figure is on the front of the bag, it’s based on the fossil of the Archaeopteryx Lithographica—AKA, the first reptile known to have possessed feathers for flying. What does that have to do with bags? It speaks to the brand’s mission to create cutting edge products with better functionality than the others out there.
Looking at material, the Granville 16L Zip Backpack is made up of N400r-AC² nylon 6 ripstop, with two layers of a polyurethane coating inside and out, not to mention taped internal seams. It sounds complicated, we know. All you need to know is that this fabric is highly durable and highly water-resistant; it’ll hold up in storms and on rougher terrain, no problem. For reference, we stuck this thing under a fountain and everything inside stayed nice and dry.
The zippers are YKK’s doing, and thankfully so. They’re also water-resistant and offer that extra level of protection from moisture for your gear. As expected, they’ve been working well throughout testing—they’ve been nothing but smooth so far.
The last of the materials on this bag is its ITW hardware, another brand we’ve seen a lot of in the past. Like the zippers, every buckle and adjuster has been working as it should be, so we don’t have any issues to report at this time.
The padding on this pack’s shoulder straps is thin but very dense, so it keeps you comfortable without all the added bulk and weight. However, they don’t possess any mesh lining, so your shoulders won’t be as well-ventilated in warmer weather or on lengthier wears.
As for the sternum strap, it’s pretty standard. It clips onto attachment points along the shoulder straps and can be adjusted to wherever it best supports you and stabilizes the bag. Adjustments can be a hassle to do so, as you have to remove the hardware and reattach it entirely, but once you have it set to your standards, it’s unlikely you’ll be moving it around much anyway.
The back panel is similar to the shoulder straps in that the padding isn’t significant in its amount but is in its comfort. It’s stiff in a way that provides structure and doesn’t make it feel like we’re strapped against a brick wall, but if you disagree, you can remove the frame sheet via a zipper against the back wall in the main compartment.
Again, we do want to point out that this bag is lacking in the mesh lining department. So, if you’re using this bag for something like a day hike (or just in general), it’s inevitable that you’re going to have to deal with some back sweat.
Then, there’s the classic backpack handle at the top, which has some padding to it as well—it’s comfortable in hand and convenient for grabbing the bag when you’re getting something out or are just quickly moving it from place to place.
It’s easy to miss, but you also have a small attachment point on the front of the bag toward the bottom where you can attach a bike light for some added visibility when you’re out, especially late or early in the day. If not, you can also clip a carabiner or other smaller accessories here, so they’re always close by when need be.
Inside The Pack
The first spot we’ll cover is the quick-grab pocket at the top of the bag in terms of external storage. Its location makes it great for the gear you’re using more frequently, like your wallet, headphones, pens, and even your keys—mostly because this pocket houses the bag’s dedicated key leash.
This key leash is longer than others we’ve seen on bags in the past, which makes it easier to reach whatever you’re unlocking without having to remove your keys altogether. It’s also bright red, so it’s easy to see within the pocket when you need to reach for it. The clip itself is plastic and pretty standard, but it’s been doing well enough at holding our keys.
Next, you have a much larger pocket you can access from the side that stretches most of the bag’s front. The zipper placement allows you to sling this thing to your front and quickly grab gear out on the go, so you don’t have to go all the way into the main compartment or take the bag off completely.
We’ve been packing out this space our tech accessories, including cables, a computer mouse, adaptors, and the like. There’s no organization inside, so if you’re looking for some segmentation, incorporating pouches will get the job done. There is, however, a lot of free space to stash bulkier gear also—a rain jacket, umbrella, water bottle, and other more outdoor-oriented items when they apply to your use case.
You can also access this pocket from inside the main compartment. There’s a zipper on the front flap you can open to reach inside and grab what you’re looking for or to redistribute gear between the two places as needed without having to go in through the side zipper.
Since we’re already inside, we might as well talk a little bit about this main compartment. This bag can hold up to 16L of gear, making it an ideal size for light, everyday use but it can be restrictive for multiple-day travel depending on how much you pack. We recommend perusing through our Best Travel Backpack guide if that’s more what you’re looking for.
Organization-wise, there’s a medium-sized zippered mesh pocket against the back wall that can compartmentalize other smaller items you don’t plan on keeping in the external pockets—more tech accessories, personal care items, your old Pokémon trading cards (or current, we don’t judge), and anything similar.
Behind this pocket lies the dedicated laptop sleeve that’s advertised to hold up to a 15″ laptop. We like to push bags to their limits here at Pack Hacker, so we’ve been sliding a 16″ MacBook Pro inside during testing. It’s a tight (and we mean tight) fit but manageable if you’re toting larger tech.
This sleeve is floating, so you don’t have to worry about cautiously setting your bag down each time. Plus, you’re getting the protection you need from any accidental drops because they can (and most likely will) happen.
There’s yet another sleeve behind this one you can slip documents and other flatter items into if you have them. Other than that, the rest of this compartment is free space for you to pack out with anything leftover. Bulkier gear like a lunch box or packable jacket could free float in here just fine, or you can opt to integrate packing cubes for additional segmentation.
- Shoulder straps and back panel are thin but densely padded and are more than enough for a bag of this size
- Materials are extremely lightweight and water-resistant
- Side pocket can be accessed from outside or from inside the main compartment
The water-resistance of this bag is top-notch. Even in the most intense rain, our gear remained dry. Even the padding on the harness system doesn’t absorb water. This bag is a perfect size for EDC and day hikes but we had trouble finding enough space in this 16L bag for longer weekend trips.