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ARCH Grisetti


ARCH Grisetti Backpack Review

by , April 19, 2021
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I came across ARCH completely by surprise back in 2019 when I was browsing through my Instagram feed. What caught my attention were incredibly well-built, colorful yet functional bags that were clearly inspired by hiking packs but had their own unique flair. As a bag nerd, of course, I immediately followed the account and for months was eyeballing the beautiful bags posted regularly by the brand. At some point, simply observing was no longer an option. So I reached out to say hi, share my adoration for the products and find out a bit more about the person behind the brand ARCH.

ARCH Grisetti 

Today, I would like to lift the mystery curtain on Andrea Perici. A one-man army responsible for everything that makes ARCH a vibrant and unique brand in the carry scene.

I was fortunate enough to go through every step of ordering a custom bag from Andrea – a unique take on one of his most popular models called Grisetti. But before we dive into the bag itself I wanted to share a bit more on Andrea. Check out the questions that Andrea was kind enough to answer for Carryology.

  1. What did you do before making bags and how did you end up choosing the life of a bag maker?

I was born and raised in Milan and graduated in Interior Design. After a period in a design studio, I decided to leave the city and moved to the mountains. I worked in different ski lodges during the seasons, but always sewing (I started in April 2010). This has always been my passion and finally a couple of years ago orders started to be enough to live on, so I decided to go all in.

  1. What should one have in mind when approaching you to make a custom bag?

All my products are custom made, so I can seriously make anything. The customer just needs to have clear ideas on their needs and be able to share them with me.

  1. What is the warranty on your products?

My products are made to the best of my capabilities. For any type of issue on the product itself, I’m up to help the client to solve it.

  1. How far are you ready to customize the bag? Is there a limit or things you won’t accept in the order?

There is no limit in customizing a product as far as it makes sense to do it. I do have some of my own design rules to follow, just to express my type of work. But that said, again, no limits.

  1. How do you see the growth of ARCH? Is there a vision for your brand in five or 10 years?

In 10 years of trying to do it, actually 11 now, I finally feel that people understand the quality of the products that I make. In the last two years, I have noticed an exponential growth of ARCH. Hopefully, maintaining consistency in the work itself, I can still grow a lot. Doing what you like is not working, just having fun.

The process of creating the bag was quite simple and personal. There is no e-commerce platform or a bag-builder website. Just you and Andrea chatting through Instagram or WhatsApp about the purpose, use cases, materials, and features of the future bag. I immediately recognized Andrea as a kindred bag nerd and it was very friendly and productive to discuss ideas and inspirations.

As a bag reviewer, dozens of different packs go through my hands. I pick up the things I like and have a good understanding of things I don’t like. This, and personal preferences I developed over the years, were a foundation for my custom pack. It absolutely had to be:

  • 35+ L capacity 
  • Expandable (and consequently a rolltop as the most versatile form factor known to man)
  • All black (I like a stealthy aesthetic and it was hard not to give in to the fabrics/color extravaganza Andrea had at his disposal)
  • With side access to laptop compartment
  • With high visibility inner liner
  • Feature multiple access points – the top of the roll naturally and for additional access, I picked the front panel 
  • With simple internal organization – as a big fan of pouches and packing cubes I definitely wanted a few pockets inside but having in mind that most of my stuff will be in pouches.

Let’s dive in and see what makes my custom ARCH Grisetti pack special.

ARCH Grisetti


  • Name: Grisetti
  • Brand: ARCH
  • Format: Rolltop backpack
  • Measurement:
  • Capacity: 35L
  • Weight: 1.3 kg
  • Zippers: YKK AquaGuard
  • Material: Dimension Polyant X51, Kevlar, Dyneema, Nylon
  • Price380 EUR (~US$450)


Who It Suits

  • The Grisetti, on which my pack is based, is a versatile 30+L rolltop backpack that works great for minimal travel, urban activity, outdoors and anything in between (glorified grocery hauler? Hiking pack? Most definitely). I chose mine with a bigger than base volume to handle one-bagging and anything life throws at me.
  • Anyone looking to make the pack of their dreams and prepared to invest in a custom build. Considering almost limitless customization options, ordering a bag at ARCH feels like visiting a toy store just before Christmas.

Who It Doesn’t

  • Those seeking the heritage look would find current ARCH custom bags (including mine) a bit too technical. But nothing is stopping them from making a custom heritage bag with Andrea – the sky is the limit.
  • Someone on a budget might find a custom bag handmade in Italy a tough pill to swallow.

ARCH Grisetti



The ARCH Grisetti can be anything you want it to be. I decided that my perfect pack would be all black with an interesting mix of materials. Dimension Polyant X51 black on the main body, Kevlar for the bottom of the pack, and a sprinkle of black Dyneema on the front panel makes a very nice contrasting look while remaining stealthy.

The bag is tall yet has a slim silhouette. Even when packed to the brim it does not look weird (like some bags do, becoming too wide or comically sticking out to the outside).

It has an unmistakable hiking/outdoors DNA with a front grab handle, rolltop closure, and generous water bottle pockets that can store even the largest 64oz bottles with ease.

The Kevlar bottom alone is very subtle yet resembles dragon skin. It makes me look like a dragon slayer when carrying the pack. 🙂

ARCH Grisetti

Materials and Hardware

Right off the bat, I knew I would pick X51 as the main fabric of the bag. I came to love it from my extensive use of the Remote Equipment ALPHA 31 and BRAVO 18. It basically became my favorite fabric with its extreme abrasion and weather resistance, subtle diamond pattern, and a bit of structure (thanks to multiple layers used when making the fabric).

ARCH Grisetti

The Kevlar was new to me and suggested by Andrea for the bottom of the pack and I am glad he did! This is the most surprising and unique fabric I had the pleasure of using. I absolutely love its slightly rubbery feel, a bit of texture, and more importantly the peace of mind that it can withstand the most brutal abuse one could imagine.

Dyneema on the front panel is just enough to spice things up while not being too much. I am not the biggest fan of the crinkly sound it makes and the look of the aged Dyneema is not my cup of tea. But when it comes to performance it is one of the most durable yet lightweight fabrics out there. Plus it looks cool.

The inner liner is a white luminous nylon for increased visibility. 

I was very pleasantly surprised to receive my ARCH Grisetti in a custom sack made out of the same white luminous nylon as the inner liner. It was a very nice touch and just came together as the perfect package.

ARCH Grisetti


Let me tell you, feature fatigue is a real thing. After going through many dozens of different packs I realized that I much prefer the essentials done right instead of a ton of half-baked features that don’t click or complement each other well. So when building my ARCH Grisetti I asked for features that are important to me no matter the pack:

  • Side access to the laptop compartment. It is a must on a rolltop bag. Nobody should suffer through constant rolling/unrolling of the top of the bag to get the laptop. I would go as far as to say that rolltop backpacks without external laptop access (side or top, no matter) should be banned.
  • Expandability. I like extra space for days when life throws a curveball with some unexpected grocery runs or shifting travel plans. 
  • Full front and/or vertical zip to have side access to the main compartment. I loved my Remote Equipment ALPHA 31 to bits. But the front panel there (opened horseshoe style) was a bit small, which was limiting for larger items like a big packing cube. So when designing my dream pack I knew I wanted to have better access and also an option of using the side zip to quickly get into the main compartment. The front panel secures with a strip of Velcro.
  • High-visibility inner liner. The bigger the pack the more critical it becomes. Trust me, you don’t want to end up digging through a black hole to find your stuff.

ARCH Grisetti


Space and Access

When designing the bag with Andrea I asked to make mine bigger than the standard ARCH Grisetti (which is around 25-30L) and what I got was a 35+L bag. Thanks to the slim and tall silhouette it does not look gigantic. And the side compression straps with a rolled-down top can make the bag almost compact enough for EDC.

As mentioned above, one of my main considerations was ensuring easy and fast access to the contents of the pack. Hence I requested to add side access to the main compartment, dedicated side access to the laptop compartment, and a full front panel opening for effortless loading/unloading.

ARCH Grisetti

Pockets and Organizing

To keep things simple and utilize the pouches I already have, my goal was to not complicate the built-in organization.

ARCH Grisetti

On the outside, I requested a flat pocket on the front flap (behind the Dyneema), two large mesh water bottle pockets, and side access to the laptop compartment. If I were to build another bag I would add some sort of quick-access pocket on top of the bag. Especially if you have developed a habit of using/having one on another bag.

ARCH Grisetti

Inside the bag, there are just two open side pockets and two mesh pockets behind the front flap. That’s it and I couldn’t be happier since my pouch game is strong. I hate forgetting about things stored in a myriad of pockets. So the simplicity of the organization is very much intentional.

ARCH Grisetti


I have to admit I was a bit concerned about this aspect of the ARCH Grisetti. There are bag companies with decades’ worth of experience, huge amounts spent on R&D, and dozens of experts employed working to nail this critical part of the bag. Simply put, the comfort alone can make or break a bag. I was not sure how ARCH would handle this. And I was relieved to find out that Andrea absolutely nailed it.

ARCH Grisetti

The straps are contoured and strike a delicate balance in terms of thickness, wideness, and density of the foam. The same goes for the back panel. It looks basic, deceivingly simple but performed really well under different kinds of loads. Everything about the straps and the back is just right. Consider me a fan.

ARCH Grisetti


My choice of materials was very deliberate. I did not want to worry about the elements getting in the ARCH Grisetti. So YKK AquaGuard zippers, X51, Dyneema, Kevlar – everything I selected for the bag was to ensure extreme weather resistance and the ARCH Grisetti did not disappoint. I was “lucky” enough to get into a couple of strong March downpours. And even though I got drenched, the contents of my bag were as dry as in the Sahara desert.

ARCH Grisetti

Alternatives to Consider

Comparing apples to apples, it would make sense to look into other custom bag makers out there as an alternative to ARCH. One of the standout brands is UK-based Azo Equipment. Their small team of wizards pump out limited, made-to-order bags that put to shame many big brands.

The Good

  • The impeccable build quality and incredible materials used on the Grisetti (and I would imagine on any other custom ARCH bag) is a testament to the passion Andrea has to create some of the best bags in the world.
  • The insanely comfortable harness system makes using this bag a joy, no matter the load.
  • A custom, made-to-order bag means you could go nuts with personalization and customization of the bag (anything from size, materials, etc.). In my case, I made the exact bag I was looking for and couldn’t be happier with the result.
  • Excellent accessibility – from the top via rolltop, from the sides using the vertical zipper, or from the front by opening the entire flap. 

Not So Good

  • The included waist strap is a huge pain to remove and I dread the thought of putting it back. It’s far from effortless and I am glad to have removed it in my early days of testing. The difficulty in taking it on and off is the Velcro placed on both sides of the strap and the opening for the strap itself is very tight.
  • The nylon used for the inner liner is very thin. Chosen primarily for excellent visibility and weight-to-strength ratio, I still find it unusually thin. This makes me worried about accidentally poking/piercing it with something sharp I could have put inside.

ARCH Grisetti


I had a dream pack in my mind and Andrea at ARCH turned it into a really awesome thing I got to use and I feel lucky every day. I don’t imagine a second Grisetti identical to mine would be made and this is the beauty of going custom – you can make a one-of-a-kind bag that would be perfect for your use cases. My experience of creating the bag was smooth, fun, and actually pretty informative.

If you are ready to invest in a custom handmade bag from an Italian artisan, I can confidently recommend ARCH as an excellent brand with superb quality, comfort, and attention to detail.

P.S. To complement my ARCH Grisetti, Andrea also made a custom drone pouch for me by asking what I want to carry in it and requesting the exact measurements of key items.

The end result is an absolutely gorgeous rectangular pouch with a grab handle, an embossed leather signature, made from Dyneema and an X51 body to match the Grisetti perfectly. Naturally, the same white liner was used with some red fleece padding for the delicate DJI Mini 2, extra battery pack, remote, and some extras. I did not expect this but was smitten by this above and beyond attitude and Andrea’s love for his craft.

ARCH Grisetti

This article was written by new contributor, and self-proclaimed bag whisperer, Alexander Dotsenko. You can check out his work here and here.

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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