The Arc Blast Backpack weighs close to 20 ounces but has more features than many heavier packs. The 3 pack sizes and 5 hip belt sizes with optional thicker lumbar pad and shoulder pad add-ons helps ensure a proper feel & fit for an individual hiker’s proportions. The hip belt has two tightening straps on each side to ensure the belt hugs the unique hip shape of each user. A bear can strap can be added to hold the canister on top of the pack. There is also a hydration port. My medium size pack had a 55 L capacity.
One key pack detail is the ability to adjust the position of the shoulder straps with respect to the hip belt. This allows the user to fit the pack’s yoke/harness to their torso dimensions. Shoulder strap position adjustment is not always available on lighter packs.
The pack has side water bottle holders and lash straps on the bottom of the pack. Compression cords run along the side of the pack to help adjust the pack volume to your current needs. A large mesh pocket on the back of the back is ideal for items needing quick access or to dry wet items/clothing during the course of the day. I have found this back pocket very functional to hold key items and dry any wet clothes.
Zpacks offers a variety of hip belt, shoulder strap, internal and side pack pockets to allow for customization. I added a zippered pocket on the inside of the pack for items such as keys or other seldom used valuables. I also added a shoulder strap pocket and two hip belt pockets, all made from dyneema composite fabric. These add ons bring my empty pack weight to 24 ounces.
The pack utilizes an external frame with load lifter straps that transfers pack weight from the shoulder straps to the hip belt. This adjustable frame moves the load off the hiker’s back allowing air flow between your back and the pack. I find this attribute to be a very nice feature on hot days compared to packs that are in direct contact to my back. I feel this frame provides better load distribution onto your body as compared to simple stays in the pack body. The frame has adequate flex to move with your body over rugged terrain. I have comfortably carried 25 pounds with the pack on and off trail.
The dyneema roll top has proven to be able to keep my pack contents dry in all conditions and durable enough to endure many sandstone abrasions from Southern Utah. I was initially concerned with the mesh durability of the external pockets. After pushing through miles of brush choked drainages in Southern Utah and nasty Gambel Oak and brush in the mountains, the mesh pockets show very little wear.
My experience has been that this packs ability to be adjusted to fit the user allows for personalization and creates a very comfortable pack. With a frame that is able to transfer load to the hips, keep your back cool on a hot afternoon and move with the hiker in rugged terrain, there are few packs that can match the comfort and performance of the Zpack Arc Blast Backpack.
Thanks for reading,