- Buyer's Guide
Arcido Oxna Backpack Review
Arcido has been around since 2015 and, since then, has garnered quite a reputation for making stylish, heathered, high-quality packs. Their motto is “Travel more efficiently. Move freely,” which is an appropriate line for a company that’s primarily focused on creating travel bags – they hit the mark.
The Oxna is their latest iteration of the travel pack, the veritable love child of their Faroe and Akra models. It’s slightly smaller, 28L vs. 35L, and aimed specifically at minimalist travelers.
In the market, there are many packs designed to adapt and serve multiple functions, and that suit numerous occasions; heck, I’ve loved and reviewed a few of them. But it’s refreshing to use a pack that’s purposely designed and built for a narrow use case – traveling efficiently with a minimal set of gear, and doing so with panache. I’ve never felt so free in my travels.
Let’s dive into some of the details:
Magnetic Sternum Strap
Large Main Compartment
330D Recycled Kodra
Fleece-lined Sunglasses Pocket
External Water Bottle Pocket
The Cool Stuff
Large Top and Side Handles
YKK #7 Zips
Full Clamshell Opening
Outer Stretch Pocket
The Wow Stuff
Deep Security Pocket
Elevated Laptop Sleeve (up to 15.4″)
28L “Personal Item” Possible
Foam Back Panel with Large Air Channel
Who It Suits
Arcido designed the Oxna with the minimalist traveler in mind; its form, function, and design work smoothly and effortlessly for that use case. A streamlined silhouette, ample storage, a dedicated laptop/tech compartment, and thoughtful security features meld to produce a pack that is a joy to use in one-bag travel.
Additionally, those with a lot of gear in their EDC and gym-goers looking for a sophisticated, professional, and comfortable bag should give it a look. As a basic gear hauler, it may be overkill – but damn, you’ll look and feel good. Plus, you’ll have a purpose-built piece for short travel and getaways.
Who It Doesn’t
Those who tend to pack a lot or require a plentiful loadout while traveling. It’s possible to use the Oxna in tandem with another piece of luggage. However, some airlines may chafe at using it as a personal item (I was always able to slip it under the seat in front of me). The Oxna shines when used as the only piece of luggage – although this may seem restrictive.
Also, those looking for a more rugged, outdoorsy pack, such as those from Mystery Ranch or Triple Aught Design, should pass. Arcido designed the Oxna to get you from point A to point B in comfort and style, and once there, deploy their packable daypack for extended exploration.
The Oxna is one of the most comfortable packs I’ve worn in my travels. That’s precisely the type of accolade you want when choosing what will carry all your worldly possessions. How did Arcido make it happen? Firstly, this bag is crazy light at only a little over two pounds (1.1kg). Then, the back panel is firm and backed by two large, contoured strips of foam, giving it a Goldilocks level of firmness with the right amount of give. The shoulder straps also provide the right amount of cushioning and width. The pack rides high, which I like, and the mix of paneling and shoulder strap density allows the Oxna to feel secure and comfortable. I can’t remember a time when I felt the need to use the sternum strap, and even if I did, the magnetic buckle makes it a breeze to put on or take off.
Although being a minimalist-inspired bag, the Oxna’s main compartment is quite cavernous – a full clamshell opening gives you access to the whole thing. In that main compartment, I was able to fit two pants (Western Rise Evolution, Coalatree Trailhead), five shirts, a puffer jacket (Cotopaxi Fuego), three underwear (ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh), and three socks (Western Rise StrongCore Socks). All those clothes went in the Arcido Oxna Packing Cube which fits the bag’s unique shape. Additionally, a toiletry kit (Sea to Summit), my Aer Day Sling II, and some of my diabetes supplies. The main compartment also comes with two cinch-down straps, which is a nice touch. Lastly, the Oxna’s domed lid allows you to pack a little extra as it’s zipped up.
The tech compartment, too, is thoughtfully designed. The laptop sleeve, which can hold up to a 15-inch laptop, is elevated off the ground – this should be a requirement for all bags going forward.
Then, there are additional mesh and polyester-lined pockets. They fit quite a bit and don’t interfere much with the main compartment, although I did find these pockets to be floppy and would droop at the slightest weight. The mesh pocket spans the width of the bag, and I found it useful for storing my chargers and cables. There are three pen/stylus pockets, a small tablet/e-reader pocket, and one final polyester pocket that spans the width and length of the bag. One note, though, documents don’t specifically have a place to go, but it’s possible to place them along with a laptop in the sleeve.
Organization is essential when one-bag traveling, or when being a minimalist traveler. In addition to the organization in the tech compartment, here you’ll find quite a bit: The front of the Oxna has a fleece-lined zipped pocket that goes quite deep. I was able to fit my phone, Secrid wallet, Oakley Full Jacket sunglasses, keys, and headphones. There’s a “hidden” pocket that rests against the back panel, great for storing more sensitive items such as passports, wallets, and boarding passes. The pocket spans the width of the bag and goes down about a third of its length – being one of the better implementations I’ve seen of this type of pocket; useful, secure, and hard to spot. Aside from sensitive documents, I put medicine in here as well. Now, on the side, near the bottom of the pack, you’ll find a charger pocket that fits little else. Only my RAVPower 20100 and Anker PowerLine II cable fit inside comfortably – especially when the bag is loaded.
There are two ways to carry the Oxna, either backpack-style, or stow the straps away and hand-carry using one of the robust and beefy handles. With one top handle and one side handle, this pack gives you options. While boarding a flight on a budget airline, where gate agents were persnickety about carry-on sizes, I held the Oxna at my side like a briefcase. I breezed on through while others suffered the dreaded size test. If for some reason you need to take this pack into a professional setting, hand-carrying can improve your look. Both handles are thick and outfitted with plenty of padding and coupled with mesh, producing a comfortable, dry, and secure feeling when carrying. Even with a full loadout, the Oxna feels good in the hand.
You’ll find some quality materials and hardware on this bag. The outside consists of a 330D Recycled Kodra with PU coating. This material produces a sleek matte finish while providing a level of weather resistance and keeping the bag light. I generally prefer low-key, stealthy looks, and the Oxna nails that. Also, the texture on the Kodra adds an elegant yet durable look. In between, there is padding all over protecting your gear, which is crazy since this bag is so light. For the inside lining, you’ll find 150D Polyester Oxford. It’s encouraging to see a company use high-quality materials on the inside as well; this material reminded me of the inside of my EVERGOODS CHZ. The zips are YKK #7 all around, they’re smooth, with a satisfying sound. And although not the biggest YKKs, I didn’t experience any issues, even with a heavy load. Lastly, the harness system, although not metal, is made of hard, durable plastic and thick, durable webbing. Even after three months of heavy use, neither has signs of wear or fatigue.
Not So Good
Designed to carry all your stuff across the country, or the world – one of the compelling features of this pack is that it has a water bottle pocket. Unfortunately, I was unable to use it. With my 21oz Hydro Flask, I struggled to fit it inside the mesh pocket; it’s a bit surprising as the bottle itself is thin, but the mesh itself doesn’t have much give. Even with the Oxna being empty, it’s not tenable, much less packed out. It’s a mix of the wrong mesh, and the placement of the side handle that gets in the way. I was eventually able to fit my bottle into place. Still, it took a veritable wrestling match to make it happen – that said, I didn’t use it again.
Front and center on this bag, there is a large mesh pocket meant for wet clothes, a pair of flip-flops, or miscellaneous items. It’s a bright idea that I first saw on the Cotopaxi Inca 26L, where I used it to store a rolled-up scarf. On the Oxna though, I suspect this pocket and the water bottle pocket share the same material, meaning there’s not a lot of give here, especially when the bag is full. As a result, I had a hard time finding a use for this compartment. Your mileage may vary.
Arcido designed the Oxna to stand upright on its own, a feat many bags strive to achieve. They did this by having a flat bottom, with a protruding lip that juts from the base. In theory, this should work splendidly. In actuality, though, I found the design to be a little flawed. Why? Although the flat bottom is excellent, the protruding lip requires that the user pack out that small section inside the bag for it to be useful. And if you’re using the Arcido Packing Cube or any packing cube for that matter, you’ll need to stuff something into that little space. I used my Aer Day Sling II for this purpose. Even then, this requires a delicate balancing act to get the bag fully upright. Look, this isn’t just a problem the Oxna has, it’s tough to get a bag to stand on its own consistently. I am nitpicky here because I believe Arcido has a great pack that can be genuinely excellent! The last thing I’ll say about this is that the protruding lip makes the bag look a little weird when it’s not packed out. Otherwise, the Oxna would look sleek as an EDC, even with just a laptop and a few cables inside.
There are no attachment points on the outside of this bag, so unless you can fit what you need inside, or snug in the outside mesh pocket, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a way to attach anything. I rarely have to attach stuff to the outside of my bag when I travel. Still, when I did, I used a Heroclip attached to the top or side handle – it’s an unsophisticated solution, but functional.
Looking at the Oxna with a critical eye, there is one point that bears mentioning: The Oxna has a unique, almost-teardrop shape. It’s stylish and gives the bag an elegant contour when many others are blocky and square. I like it, especially when using the Oxna-specific packing cube. Nevertheless, I can see how some people may dislike the inherent inefficiency of having a bag taper down. In my experience, it wasn’t a bother, and I had three strangers at different airports positively comment on the look of the bag.
After having taken several trips with the Oxna, I can safely say that Arcido has a great, minimalist travel bag. Their attention to detail, coupled with features that travelers would appreciate, make it a worthy contender for your attention and money. Are there things Arcido can improve on the Oxna? Sure. But none of them are genuinely deal-breakers; even the bottle holder issue, the most glaring of the perceived problems, can potentially improve with a bit more breaking-in time.
The market has an ever-increasing number of packs that adapt, mold, shapeshift, convert, and unfurl to meet varying circumstances and situations. The Oxna is coming in and saying: “I am purposely built and designed for minimalist travel.” It’s lightweight, feature-rich, with a toned-down and stealthy aesthetic that will give your travels a sense of freedom and efficiency. Can it be used as an EDC pack? Yes, given certain circumstances. Bottom line, the Oxna shines and is a fantastic companion for short travel, and possibly longer journeys if you’re a zen-master of packing. Either way, the Arcido Oxna deserves your attention.
This article was written by Jovanni Bello. Renaissance man, adventurer and cell phone photographer.