Arc’teryx Index 15 Backpack Review

By Richard Corrigan •  3 min read

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Offering all the advantages of a great day bag with few drawbacks, the Arc’teryx Index 15 Backpack is an excellent choice for hikers and adventurers of all kinds. It’s made by a trusted brand using quality materials, and offers durability despite its lightweight design. 


Specs and Stats

As its name suggests, the Arc’teryx Index 15 Backpack has a capacity of 15L, which makes it just right as a hiking backpack for day hikes. The pack is made of N100mr-HT ripstop nylon and 200-Denier Polyester. Weighing just 8 oz, the material is thin but tough. It would be a stretch to call it waterproof, but it’s definitely water-resistant enough to keep your stuff dry in a light drizzle. 

I like the simple and well thought-out design of the pockets on the Index 15. It has a spacious top-loading main zippered compartment, along with a separate internal compartment that can accommodate a hydration bladder or small laptop. Multiple exterior loops make it easy to bungee-cord extra gear to the outside if you need to.

Pros of the Arc’teryx Index 15

  • It’s lightweight. At just 8 oz, the Arc’teryx is a backpack that definitely won’t weigh you down. It’s great for anyone who prefers to pack light.
  • It’s adaptable. While the Arc’teryx Index 15 is an ideal size for hikers to use as a day pack, it’s versatile enough for a wide range of uses. This is a solid gym bag, commute bag or carry on bag.
  • It packs small. This backpack stows away in its own zippered pocket, and you can easily pack it inside another backpack or suitcase. For backpackers, it makes a good summit pack or “slack pack.”

Cons of the Arc’teryx Index 15

  • It fits a little small. The overall dimensions of the Arc’teryx, and especially the straps, can feel a little constricting if you’re a big guy. It’s great if you have a trimmer build (and also a perfect youth or woman’s pack) but definitely not designed for those of us who shop at the big-and-tall store.
  • It doesn’t handle heavy loads well. The Index 15 does not have a frame or any padding. It’s comfortable for light loads, but can hurt your back if you over-pack it. 
  • It’s not for longer adventures. You could potentially use this pack for overnight trips if you’re willing to strap things to the outside of it (i.e. a sleeping bag and pad). But it’s really not designed for anything longer than a day trip.

Arc’teryx Index 15: Final Thoughts

The Arc’teryx is an excellent backpack for everyday use. It’s a trusty companion on day hikes, and equally suited to the urban adventurer. While its small size might make it less than ideal for some, it’s a well-made backpack with a simple design that has enough capacity for day hiking essentials: lunch, a water bottle, an extra layer of clothing and a few gear necessities.

Richard Corrigan

Richard Corrigan has been writing about outdoor adventures, gear and travel for more than 10 years. His work has been featured by USA Today,, Next Luxury, and Gone Outdoors. He lives in Upstate New York, and If he isn't at his writing desk, you can probably find him out in the woods somewhere.

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