Arc'teryx Fly 13: First Impressions

This year for Christmas, we traveled to Ottawa to spend the holidays with my wife's folks. After we got settled in, my wife encouraged her dad to show me his day pack, as she knew I'd be interested. The former RAF member shrugged his shoulders and was pleasantly surprised to see me excited by his Arc'teryx Fly 13. My in-laws are into short-distance hiking, and this bag was aquired to carry the supplies needed to sustain a day on the trails.



I can only imagine that the 13 in the pack's name refers to the fact that it's a 13L bag. My father in-law told me that he uses the main compartment for a lunch, a simple first-aid kit, camera and some water. There is a pocket for a hydration bladder and a hole in the top of the bag for the tube to exit the interior compartment, but since the bladder wasn't included with the bag, he said he never bothered and just brings bottles.

There is a smaller compartment in the front of the bag that he uses for storing his hardshell, should inclement weather catch them out. The storm zippers are YKK and should be effective enough at keeping the elements at bay, but I wouldn't call them waterproof. A nice feature is that all the zippers have a short length of cord with a knot at the end that makes grabbing and using the zippers easier.

The internal horizontal frame is a rigid bar that aligns with the adjustable 1" waist strap. Conveniently, there are two small pockets on the exterior of the pack to stow the straps when you aren't using the them. My father in-law said that he never really fills the bag up enough to ever warrant the use of the strap, but he did find that the sternum strap was quite useful.

The bladder pocket has a sturdy webbing loop and a clip to attach items via lanyard.
The front pocket is a great way to separate your wet hardshell from the rest of your gear.
The hole to run your hydration tube is quite small.

The buckles are all Rock Lockster, made with Woojin Duraflex plastic. There are sliders for the sternum strap that allow for about 1.5 inches of vertical adjustment. And there is a removable clip that can attach to any of the 3/4" webbing and holds a 1" O-Ring.

The majority of the bag that comes into contact with your body is made with spacer mesh, which should keep you comfortably dry. The straps are contoured and very generously padded. And although this bag is advertised to be able to fit a laptop, I was unable to fit my 15" Macbook Pro inside this bag. 

I'd love to pick up an Arc'teryx pack, but I already have 5 other backpacks, so I should probably wear through those before I buy another. That being said, I have put some thought into having a bug-out bag that isn't covered in molle or camouflage. I think the last thing anyone would want in a bug-out situation is for a pack that screams "THIS BAG IS FILLED WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO SURVIVE! ROB ME!" Personally, I think that an Arc'teryx pack is a great option.

Removable clip with O-Ring which is suitable for attaching light items.
The straps are quite comfortable. The inside is constructed using spacer mesh.
Fitting a Macbook Pro was close, but no cigar.

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