This pack shouldn’t be this good. It should be yet another expensive backpack, which is a little too overcomplicated for its own good. That’s what it should be, that’s what a lot of people assume and think it is. When I look at the specs, the images, and other reviews of this bag — that’s what I see in this bag. It’s the entire reason I’ve never bothered to try it.
The reality is far from all that.
The reality is that this is possibly the best pure EDC backpack money can buy. The reality is that this perfectly meets the needs of backpack nerds, office goers, and urban explorers. It strikes the balance of understated looks, with very high performance materials, and a mix of organization and empty space.
The Axiom 24 is a damned good backpack.
Special nod to all the readers who have been ever persistent in telling me the Axiom isn’t what I think it is, and that I need to try it.
Specs and Materials
This bag uses very nice materials. The main shell is VX-21 Ripstop, which has a discrete Diamond grid below the nylon face material — the face itself has a small square grid on it. All in all, it’s a very clean looking bag in all black. It can easily pass for any generic backpack if you don’t know what you are looking at, yet is instant recognizable by those in the know. And it does all that while looking sharp.
On the inside the pack is lined with a light grey/silver/beige VX-03 material, which carries over a lot of the outer shell elements in a brighter and lighter material. This is a great pack lining as it is not in your face like an orange liner would be, but is a color which really aids in finding your gear.
Along the top of the bag there is what appears to be a large Hypalon Synthetic Rubber patch — which seems out of place at first. All the zippers are aquaguard, with a matte finish. There are three types of zipper pulls, which I find slightly annoying — pick one type.
This all is made into a 24L bag that is 12” wide x 19.75” tall x 7” deep, and comes in at a scant 2.35lbs. When you pick up this bag empty, it feels oddly light and generally awesome.
It’s almost impossible to get a sense of this bags shape and materials from descriptions alone, so be sure to look closer at the pictures below for more accurate depictions. It’s not a rectangle, and it’s very clean looking despite all the loads of pockets it has.
Comfort & Carry
I am going to start here, because this is the one part of the bag I thought would fail. After using the Triple Aught Design FAST Pack Litespeed, I was loathe to try another Triple Aught Design harness. However, on this bag it is really comfortable.
The straps are wide enough to be comfortable and nicely padded. They also stay put on your shoulders, and don’t interfere with your clothing — they don’t get bound up easily, snag/rough up clothes, or otherwise slip off clothing. Great materials.
Getting the load lifters adjusted taught is key to keeping the comfort in check as well, I found that the bag actually requires rather taught load lifters — they are not there for looks only — if you want the bag to sit correctly on your back.
The only comfort downside is the back panel itself, where you’ll find that the three distinct vertical padded sections can push oddly against your body, the more stuffed the bag is. There have been a few times where I found this annoying, but never “get this off me” levels of uncomfortable. It seems like a thicker framesheet would help loads here as the discomfort tends to happen about 1/4 way up the back panel as it can slightly protrude out towards your back. It is possible to manage this by rearranging your gear, as far as I can tell.
This bag places in my second tier of comfort and is overall on par with other bags like Tom Bihn for comfort — while falling short of Mystery Ranch and GORUCK’s offerings which rank in my top tier.
I’m not a fan of bags with a ton of organization. At least that’s what I thought going into this, but turns out I am just not a fan of bad organization. This bag has an absurd amount of pockets: two laptop pockets, main area with MOLLE and a pocket, at top quick access pocket, two side water bottle pockets, admin section with two further zip pockets and many open pockets. There’s a lot of pockets, I even added more.
This admin section is the best admin section I’ve ever used in any bag/pouch:
That’s my perfect layout and it’s awesome, the two zippered pockets are not my favorite. The one on the flap can’t be too full, or it won’t flop open well. The back pocket pushes against stuff in the pouches, so you need to keep things in there thin/flat.
Here’s my setup for the main compartment:
What you are seeing here is a custom ‘Control Panel’ (TAD sells one, it’s almost always out of stock) which is strung between the linking tabs in the bag. Behind it is a Shemagh and attached are some custom pouches which are hook backed for my loop covered Control Panel thing. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to best add more org here, and this setup works really well for me.
On the front flap I have a Triple Aught Design Booster Pod Double, which is a quick stash place for me, and mostly is empty. It tends to flop about when you open the bag fully, but you can unzip just the top of the compartment and get to it well enough to unzip it and drop items into it, or dig them back out. When not in use, it lays pretty flat.
The top quick access pocket is stellar. I toss breathe strips, lip balm, my AirPods Pro and a ton of other stuff. It’s one of the best pockets here for how easy it is to get to, and how much extra volume it has.
The side pockets for water bottles work well and keep everything really tidy looking. I doubt you will get a large Nalgene in there, but my Fellow Carter Move mugs fit well. These pockets, as well as the quick access pocket, have a baffle into the main compartment of the bag and eat up space there. They only slightly bulge/print to show that a bottle is in the pocket.
There’s another pocket/sleeve which is designed to hold a rain jacket and sits on the lid/flap but behind the admin section. It’s accessible in the main compartment, and from the outside of the bag. It’s a great pocket and is where I store my rain jacket.
Like I said, there’s a lot of organization, but if you don’t use most of these pockets: you get the space back without penalty. The part which drives the value: the admin section works well for me, and the main compartment allows me to roll my own organization — or pack clothes.
There’s a lot of fancy stuff on this bag. Like the seam on the front of the bag has a hidden column of MOLLE webbing which you can hook stuff up to:
Each small touch adds to the bag. The rubbery stuff under the grip feels premium, but also helps the bag keep it’s shape and not collapse inward — and it gets dusty/marks on it, to keep the bag from being an abnormally shiny bag (h/t to Steve for pointing this out to me).
This bag kicks ass in practice. That’s what I am saying. However there are more than enough pockets where you will find yourself duplicating small bits of gear because you’ll forget which clever area you packed something in — or that you packed it at all.
This bag is simply amazing. I thought the Axiom 18 was good, but it always gave me space anxiety. When I grabbed the Axiom 24, I instantly fell in love with it.
I highly recommend this bag.
It could be my only bag, and it would cover all my needs except rucking. It’s an ideal bag for offices — probably perfect. I am not someone tends to love bags like this, but this bag displaced almost everything I took to the office, a day or two after I used it.
Buy it here, $365. It’s a chunk of change, but it’s really that good.
Compared to Axiom 18
The Axiom 18 has been discontinued for a while now, and you can snag them second hand. It’s almost the same bag, just shallower. I personally don’t think that the 18 is worth it, as the 24 isn’t that much larger, and is much more useable. And the 18 has a not-as-good admin section.
- Axiom 18: 12” (30.48 cm) W x 19.75” (50.165 cm) H x 5.25” (13.335 cm) D
- Axiom 24: 12” (30.48 cm) W x 19.75” (50.165 cm) H x 7” (17.78 cm) D
Here’s some comparison pics for you as I owned both for a short period:
🔝18 left, 24 right.
🔝18 left, 24 right.
🔝24 left, 18 right.
🔝24 left, 18 right.
🔝18 left, 24 right.
🔝18 left, 24 right.
🔝18 front, 24 back.
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