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Road Tests :: Arc’teryx Quintic 28

Road Tests :: Arc’teryx Quintic 28

by , October 22, 2013
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A versatile snow pack that can do double duty…

The Basics

US $199 for a 28L snow pack with ski and snowboard carry (vertical or horizontal).
The Quintic 28 is about getting from bottom to top, then back to bottom, with your skis, board, or whatever snow toys you play with. This is a versatile daypack for backcountry pursuits.

The bonus is that this pack also gives you great access, works well in travel, and can even do double duty as a regular day pack. We’re loving it.



  • Name: Quintic 28
  • Brand: Arc'teryx
  • Format: Backpack
  • Measurement:
  • Capacity: 28 Litres
  • Weight: 1.2 kg / 42 Oz
  • Zippers: YKK
  • Material: 500D Cordura & 840 D Nylon
  • Price$199


Who it suits

The Quintic is a higher spec pack for all-round snow play. It’s a mid-sized day pack, so it suits those who need more than a shovel holder but less than a tent and camp mat.
There are more specialist beasts out there, but they won’t do much better than this.

Who it doesn't suit

This isn't an avalanche airbag pack. Lots of backcountry folk will want one of those. It's also larger than many low profile resort backpacks, so you'll have to remove for chairlifts.



Quintic 28 view


Arc’teryx have some of the best pattern-making in the outdoor world, and the Quintic is a great example. A truly 3D shape, there is total rhyme to its organic form. While our yellow colorway won’t be the color of choice for many, you can get a Quintic in black and two shades of blue.


One of the real highlights to the pattern is the pockets. The gussets sit flat when the bag is empty, but start to grow and unfold as you need more space. It is really elegant and useful.

Pocket Gussets

Materials, Construction & Hardware

The Quintic is more solid than you’d expect. That means there’s a touch more weight to it, but it can withstand some abuse.

To get a little geeky, the main body fabric is a slightly higher denier than most packs (840D Cordura), which is plenty tough, especially with the thicker than standard PU backing. There’s Duraflex plastic, #8 YKK zippers (could almost have been #10's), and a really comfortable scratch-free airmesh, so it’s solid component brands with solid gear.

As with all Arc’teryx packs, you’re unlikely to find loose threads. This bag is really well put together.



Multi-way ski and board carry

You can pretty much carry any skis or board in any orientation. The compression straps can work in loads of configurations, and the ski loop can even be tucked away. So you have skinny or fat skis going in A-frame or diagonally, and snowboards vertically for hiking or horizontally for sledding. More packs should be built this way, as it's a versatile strap system that covers you for almost any change in your toys.

Yep, they're my 3 year old's skis. Mine fit too but went off screen.
Yep, they're my 3 year old's skis. Mine fit too but went off screen.

Specialist pockets that can perform other duties

There’s an avy pocket, a side skins pocket, and multiple delicates pockets (goggles or tunes). But each of these pockets work really well for other duties – for instance I love the skins pocket for toiletries when traveling, or the back delicates pocket works a treat for my sketch book and headphones.

For work, I slid a laptop sleeve into the avy pocket and used that for my computer (I'd love a slightly suspended section for this, but it works well enough).

Business Ends

Side pocket works great for skins or toiletries
Side pocket works great for skins or toiletries

Goggles or Music

Side access to main section

There are very few packs that work well for an SLR, and this is one of them. Even with a board attached, you can still swing the pack around and grab your camera. Heck, the side access zip let’s you grab almost anything from the pack with a board or skis still attached. This also means you can swing the pack around while still on one shoulder and get at your goodies.

The downside is that getting a jacket in there feels a touch cramped, with a little negotiation needed. I couldn't get my helmet in with other contents in the bag, but at least I could strap it to the outside easily.


All the basics covered

From hydration clips and ports to a really stable harness and frame sheet, they haven’t missed a beat.



Space & Access

There’s an interesting central hinge point to this pack that means you can navigate above or below a board or skis with little access issue. Most snow packs are not like that, restricting access the second you strap your hardware to them.

There’s a top pocket where you can drop the floor to make a full length back pocket, and very sensible space usage for a variety of carry needs.

It’s a touch large for inbounds stuff, but grows and shrinks well with your load if you’re traveling lighter.

arcteryx_quintic04 (960x470)


Excellent comfort, with a harness you can wear all day. You don’t want too much weight in it, as you can’t transfer load very effectively to your hips, but that is appropriate for this sort of pack. Oh, and the scratch-free airmesh is a bonus when getting about town.



Only fair, with only everyday water-resistance levels. The fabric is great, with a thick PU backing, but the zips are not waterproofed and the stitching is not sealed. So it’s fine for snow duty, but will struggle in a tropical downpour.


If you’ve read my post on A Carry Awakening, you’ll know I’m searching for more versatile products. The Quintic works great as a travel pack on your way to the mountains, and then performs a treat as you get active with it. This versatility really hit a sweet spot with me.


Reasonable for a pack built to this standard. The fact that it’s also great as a travel pack means it then becomes good value.



Anyone doing serious backcountry pursuits now needs to be considering airbag backpacks, as they can save lives. However, they also cost around a grand and add weight and complexity.

For bags without balloons there are plenty but most are not this versatile. For instance, most uncluttered daypacks are small capacity for inbounds or side-country. Most larger capacity packs get lost in strap city. Or they only carry skis. Or only snowboards. Or only vertically. You get the picture…

Of those that get close to the Quintic vibe, you should check the new Gregory Targhee packs (26L and 32L). We haven’t tried them but they look neat.

Also the Osprey Kode range is solid, a little cheaper, but not quite as versatile.

Front view worn


I love it. The Quintic ticks all the main boxes, without looking fussy or over-designed. While I could love this pack just for its patterning and build quality, it’s the versatility that really endeared it. I could happily use the black colorway of this as a full-time work and travel pack.

In a dream scenario, I’d pimp the zips to waterproof, finding a zip supplier that did #9's (#8’s feel only just large enough), and play with a more matt fabric, but all of that is me just being me. The pack is rad, and shows restraint where I typically don’t.

Arc’teryx is properly back in carry, and doing a darn good job of it.

The Good

  • Super versatile board and ski carry
  • Works really well as a travel or everyday backpack
  • That typical Arc'teryx awesomeness with form and build quality

The Not As Good

  • Not compatible with any avalanche airbag systems
  • Weatherability is only fair, so rainy days on the mountain will get through

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
Brand experience
X Factor

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