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TwoSpirits
07-18-2018, 13:14
I have been considering the ZPacks Arc Haul Zip, and curious to hear from others about their own experience and assessment of how well it carries. According to ZPacks, it has a 40lb max limit, but I know full well that there is a big difference between how much a pack *can* carry and how much you can *comfortably* carry in it.*


My current shoulder-season base weight (which can take me down as low as mid-teen night temps) is just under 22lbs. Once I add a couple of liters of water, that jumps up to nearly 27lbs...then adding food and other consumables, it's possible my total pack weight could end up as high as 35lbs (or more?! <gasp!> )


While I understand that there is a certain amount of subjectivity here, my question is, in your experience, can the Arc Haul Zip still be comfortable carrying 35lbs?


Thanks for any info or insights.

Rex Clifton
07-18-2018, 13:47
I've been thinking of buying an Arc Haul but, after watching this video, I'm not so sure. I think this guy loaded it to that 35lb range and the pack had multiple failures. The shoulder straps look like a joke! I'm considering a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400 instead.

https://youtu.be/cca3AN5Djf0

Sent from my SM-G955U1 using Tapatalk

DuneElliot
07-18-2018, 14:06
I loved my Arc Haul but I have recently had a couple of failures on it. ZPacks fixed one by sending me the parts but the other is unfixable sadly (or could be fixed if I want to pay and send it in). The shoulder straps are comfortable (mine shrank and warped in the heat after being in a hot vehicle while I was traveling...the second failure) but I generally go for a slightly longer torso length and have pretty much zero weight on my shoulders as I find that tiring...they are just there to stabilize the pack for me.

I have had it loaded close to 30lbs for a 7 day trip and it was still pretty decent at that weight. I don't think I'd want to go any heavier than 30lbs, personally, for comfort.

Just Bill
07-18-2018, 14:13
I have not used a zpacks pack personally- I'm sure others can subjectively chime in. All I can offer is some objective views on packs generally.

Speaking generally:
Roughly 2/3 of max load is a good measure of comfortable carry load.
Assuming the pack fits you and your packing style well.

Something many don't consider with the ventilated models... is that you are pushing the load further out from your center of gravity. You need a pretty robust suspension system to overcome that.
Some poo-poo that... but a 10" deep pack pushed several inches off your back is a decent bit of difference. That's coming from somebody who is happy to pick up an extra 8-12 ounces of an Osprey pack to get it off my back in peak heat when my load is the lowest. And elected to get that Exos over the Arc series.

Personal opinion- if you're carrying 80% of the max load 80% of the time- you should consider a more robust pack.
Packs are not as overbuilt as they used to be, so the main difference is suspension. Provided features and do-dads are not added just to add them.

Not a bad rule of thumb:
1lb pack= 10lb base+10max (frameless)
2lb pack= 20lb base+10 max (Light stay/frame- some padding)
3lb pack= 30lb base+10 max (wire frame or other frame components and increased padding)

For a basic striped down single main compartment pack with a few basic features (water bottle pockets, mesh back pocket, basic hip belt).
Extra pockets and features add weight.

With cuben packs... tearout and reinforcement is a bigger deal than with other fabrics. So establishing a higher max load for Joe was probably a bigger deal than others.
But your skepticism is valid as a result as that's likely what it can handle without literally bursting at the seams.

TwoSpirits
07-18-2018, 14:23
Personal opinion- if you're carrying 80% of the max load 80% of the time- you should consider a more robust pack.

This is a very good and important reminder for me. Thank you.

Just Bill
07-18-2018, 14:37
This is a very good and important reminder for me. Thank you.

Yar

Two other friendly reminders:
Buying new, replacing or upgrading; the last piece of gear you buy should be the pack. Can't buy the container until you know the contents.

Bad shoes and bad packs end ruin more hikes than anything else.
Next comes bad sleep and crotch rot.

TwoSpirits
07-18-2018, 14:48
Oh yes -- I have learned those lessons. (Well, maybe not the crotch rot...)

Over the last few years, I have steadily reduced the weight and sheer volume of gear to be packed, and now I'm thinking about finding a lighter pack to put it in. Right now I have a Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 60. It's a decent pack, but I'm looking around at other options.

Venchka
07-18-2018, 15:04
I will vouch for the capabilities of the ULA CATALYST with a recommended max. load of 40 pounds and comfortable carry of 35 pounds, plus or minus, up to 12,100í in Colorado. Very sturdy. Bear can friendly. Budget friendly.
Wayne

Just Bill
07-18-2018, 15:06
Oh yes -- I have learned those lessons. (Well, maybe not the crotch rot...)

Over the last few years, I have steadily reduced the weight and sheer volume of gear to be packed, and now I'm thinking about finding a lighter pack to put it in. Right now I have a Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 60. It's a decent pack, but I'm looking around at other options.
Sounds like one more stepping stone is needed...
Hyperlight makes some good packs intended to haul loads in the cuben family.
Gossamer Gear and ULA are also great options for mid-volume, mid-weight loads.

Cuben is not quite the mystery miracle it used to be. Nylons have gotten lighter and Cuben has gotten heavier. On the extreme side... still lighter.
But I'd rather dump cuben money into a big payoff like a tarp or shelter than a pack. Especially considering some of the drawbacks inherent in the material.

Osprey and Gregory both make good packs that can be tried on in person for an affordable price at a reasonable weight.
Not everyone is a fan, but the advantage of REI remains something off the shelf and a year to return/exchange.
Packs and shoes are tough mail order products. A cottage vendor requires a very educated customer to really make packs work.
That customer exists, but if you are not that customer it can be a frustrating road to go down.

The very clear monopoly cottage guys once had on light packs has faded as well.
There are some products that really make sense in a cottage setting.
And some things (like custom meshes, molded foams, specialized frame components) that are hard to do without mainstream scale and manufacturing behind you.

Dogwood
07-18-2018, 15:12
"While I understand that there is a certain amount of subjectivity here, my question is, in your experience, can the Arc Haul Zip still be comfortable carrying 35lbs?" There certainly is lots of subjectivity. I see little issue for an Arc Blast or Arc Haul holding up to 35 lbs.


Dont make the mistake of referring to comfortability of a backpack as if it exists separate from the user. Think of a backpack, and your entire kit, as something you're married. You're in a symbiotic relationship with it. How YOU use it(like pack it, the bulk of your gear - NOT just the wt, etc) are key components in overall comfortability.


"...but I know full well that there is a big difference between how much a pack *can* carry and how much you can *comfortably* carry in it." Don't take you out of the comfortability question.

Dogwood
07-18-2018, 15:20
Buying new, replacing or upgrading; the last piece of gear you buy should be the pack. Can't buy the container until you know the contents...


I have a hard time listening to people offering backpack advice and coming to critical conclusions post mortem who embark on LD hikes, like in the vid Rex Clifton shared of a PCT hiker, that never packed his new backpack before starting the hike.

DuneElliot
07-18-2018, 15:28
Sounds like one more stepping stone is needed...
Hyperlight makes some good packs intended to haul loads in the cuben family.
Gossamer Gear and ULA are also great options for mid-volume, mid-weight loads.

Cuben is not quite the mystery miracle it used to be. Nylons have gotten lighter and Cuben has gotten heavier. On the extreme side... still lighter.
But I'd rather dump cuben money into a big payoff like a tarp or shelter than a pack. Especially considering some of the drawbacks inherent in the material.

Osprey and Gregory both make good packs that can be tried on in person for an affordable price at a reasonable weight.
Not everyone is a fan, but the advantage of REI remains something off the shelf and a year to return/exchange.
Packs and shoes are tough mail order products. A cottage vendor requires a very educated customer to really make packs work.
That customer exists, but if you are not that customer it can be a frustrating road to go down.

The very clear monopoly cottage guys once had on light packs has faded as well.
There are some products that really make sense in a cottage setting.
And some things (like custom meshes, molded foams, specialized frame components) that are hard to do without mainstream scale and manufacturing behind you.

This is some good advice here. While I loved my Arc Haul while it lasted and found it comfortable and loved the design in general BUT I can't afford the price or wait time for a new pack with the second failure on mine especially as mine hasn't seen more than half a dozen backpacking trips. I have ended up going with a slightly sturdier Osprey Aura as I love the fit (almost don't know the pack is there) and can get the weight of the pack close to the Arc Haul with how I had it configured.

Just Bill
07-18-2018, 15:34
I have a hard time listening to people offering backpack advice and coming to critical conclusions post mortem who embark on LD hikes, like in the vid Rex Clifton shared of a PCT hiker, that never packed his new backpack before starting the hike.
Opinions, elbows, rectums, ....and youtube videos:D

Right up there with the shoe reviews citing blisters or black toe after a 20+ mile day in a shoe that never fit them in the first place.

Dogwood
07-18-2018, 15:42
Something many don't consider with the ventilated models... is that you are pushing the load further out from your center of gravity. You need a pretty robust suspension system to overcome that.


The Arc series packs have a robust enough suspension system when packed and fitted correctly used within the manufacturer's specs. See how Joe packs his Arc Haul? He has little wt, probably less than 8 oz in a Dyneema Composite tarp, in the rear shovel pocket. I'd strongly guess that he has it packed with his biggest wt close to his back inside the main volume compartment. His frame AND THE WAY HE'S USING IT is working well to keep most of the wt on his hips. I dont notice undue strain pulling on his shoulders. Some of the same crossover considerations can be said for frameless packs.

http://www.zpacks.com/backpacks/arc_haul.shtml


BTW I take the Arc haul to 40 lbs on long heavier kit winter trips with maybe the first two nights between 40-45 lbs(food).

Rex Clifton
07-18-2018, 15:51
I have a hard time listening to people offering backpack advice and coming to critical conclusions post mortem who embark on LD hikes, like in the vid Rex Clifton shared of a PCT hiker, that never packed his new backpack before starting the hike.I agree with your criticism regarding the guy who started a LDH without first trying out the pack on a few test runs. That is just commom sense. However, that does not make up for the fact that the pack fell apart less than halfway through his hike. Zpacks claims their stuff will last through one thru hike. With regards to the Arc series packs, this does not seem to be the case. One further note, I have personal experience with Zpacks customer service, and can confirm that it sucks. No way to call or get in touch other than email and the soonest I have ever heard back from them is one week, even though I headed the message as urgent.

Sent from my SM-G955U1 using Tapatalk

Dogwood
07-18-2018, 15:55
Opinions, elbows, rectums, ....and youtube videos:D

Right up there with the shoe reviews citing blisters or black toe after a 20+ mile day in a shoe that never fit them in the first place.
It was the socks, the weather, the sand,....every thing but ourselves.

Inappropriate packs, shoes, sleep crotch rot and long hair. Tuck that in Hippie Bill unless you'll get it caught on a branch ending your hike needing a chiropractor.

Just Bill
07-18-2018, 16:01
This is some good advice here. While I loved my Arc Haul while it lasted and found it comfortable and loved the design in general BUT I can't afford the price or wait time for a new pack with the second failure on mine especially as mine hasn't seen more than half a dozen backpacking trips. I have ended up going with a slightly sturdier Osprey Aura as I love the fit (almost don't know the pack is there) and can get the weight of the pack close to the Arc Haul with how I had it configured.
Failures suck. No matter how great the guarantee, the failures never ever seem to occur in the parking lot.
On a critical item like a pack, being able to swap it out easily and quickly is a big help. Not having to worry about it is a bigger help.

There is plenty of stuff you can repair or deal with in the field but most are not equipped to repair a pack failure in cuben as it's usually more than a popped stitch or broken buckle.
If you can patch a tarp or shelter... you can patch a cuben or a nylon one. But cuben in packs requires special knowledge, equipment and supplies most do not posses.

And once you're trying to reinforce, bulk up, or redesign cuben for loads much past 25lbs... you're not really ahead of the game any longer when you can get pretty bad ass traditional fabrics that can be repaired with simple needle and thread. 4 ounce per yard Hybrid-CF with added reinforcements and bonded seams looks really silly to me next to simply sewn 5 oz 210 robic gridstop. (ULA pack fabric)

I can build a bridge hammock that holds my 225lb butt standing on one foot without failing out of 1.7 ounce Robic nylon... Don't really see much reason I can't build a pack out of it too. Nor why a 110D, 3 ounce fabric like Gossamer gear uses is much of ding compared to a 2 oz cuben. Nor why I'd want to pay labor for someone to glue, bond, and sew when nylon feeds through the sewing machine in one pass.

I'm a big fan of SUL and cottage stuff... but when you can piece together 10-15lb kits with pretty bomber off the shelf stuff it gets harder every year to argue against going that route for a casual trip or for someone who doesn't know exactly what they want. A speed hike or limit pushing trip... go for it. But a casual trip with no particular reason to push... why give yourself a headache.

Save your bucks for a sweet pad and quilt... a cuben tarp... or even for a trip

DuneElliot
07-18-2018, 16:15
Failures suck. No matter how great the guarantee, the failures never ever seem to occur in the parking lot.
On a critical item like a pack, being able to swap it out easily and quickly is a big help. Not having to worry about it is a bigger help.

There is plenty of stuff you can repair or deal with in the field but most are not equipped to repair a pack failure in cuben as it's usually more than a popped stitch or broken buckle.
If you can patch a tarp or shelter... you can patch a cuben or a nylon one. But cuben in packs requires special knowledge, equipment and supplies most do not posses.

And once you're trying to reinforce, bulk up, or redesign cuben for loads much past 25lbs... you're not really ahead of the game any longer when you can get pretty bad ass traditional fabrics that can be repaired with simple needle and thread. 4 ounce per yard Hybrid-CF with added reinforcements and bonded seams looks really silly to me next to simply sewn 5 oz 210 robic gridstop. (ULA pack fabric)

I can build a bridge hammock that holds my 225lb butt standing on one foot without failing out of 1.7 ounce Robic nylon... Don't really see much reason I can't build a pack out of it too. Nor why a 110D, 3 ounce fabric like Gossamer gear uses is much of ding compared to a 2 oz cuben. Nor why I'd want to pay labor for someone to glue, bond, and sew when nylon feeds through the sewing machine in one pass.

I'm a big fan of SUL and cottage stuff... but when you can piece together 10-15lb kits with pretty bomber off the shelf stuff it gets harder every year to argue against going that route for a casual trip or for someone who doesn't know exactly what they want. A speed hike or limit pushing trip... go for it. But a casual trip with no particular reason to push... why give yourself a headache.

Save your bucks for a sweet pad and quilt... a cuben tarp... or even for a trip

This is one of the reasons I decided to go with Osprey this time around instead of buying another Arc pack...it may be another 20oz more in weight after being stripped down but it carries better, even to the point that I don't notice the pack itself at all (my legs notice the weight I'm carrying, but not my shoulders or hips).

Just Bill
07-18-2018, 16:19
Something many don't consider with the ventilated models... is that you are pushing the load further out from your center of gravity. You need a pretty robust suspension system to overcome that.


The Arc series packs have a robust enough suspension system when packed and fitted correctly used within the manufacturer's specs. See how Joe packs his Arc Haul? He has little wt, probably less than 8 oz in a Dyneema Composite tarp, in the rear shovel pocket. I'd strongly guess that he has it packed with his biggest wt close to his back inside the main volume compartment. His frame AND THE WAY HE'S USING IT is working well to keep most of the wt on his hips. I dont notice undue strain pulling on his shoulders. Some of the same crossover considerations can be said for frameless packs.

http://www.zpacks.com/backpacks/arc_haul.shtml


BTW I take the Arc haul to 40 lbs on long heavier kit winter trips with maybe the first two nights between 40-45 lbs(food).

It's hard enough teaching someone how to pack a traditional pack or communicating the importance of how to carry that load as is.
Add in the fancy turtle shell tricks and that problem compounds.

In the wrong hands Zpacks in general and the arc series in particular has a high propensity for user error and several caveats need to be added.

I'm not saying that Osprey did it right and Joe did it wrong.
But I am saying that Osprey did a much better job fool proofing it for the general public.

More often than not the packs they sell fall into the 'if you're asking the question then the answer is no' category.

Dogwood
07-18-2018, 16:29
I agree with your criticism regarding the guy who started a LDH without first trying out the pack on a few test runs. That is just commom sense. However, that does not make up for the fact that the pack fell apart less than halfway through his hike. Zpacks claims their stuff will last through one thru hike. With regards to the Arc series packs, this does not seem to be the case. One further note, I have personal experience with Zpacks customer service, and can confirm that it sucks. No way to call or get in touch other than email and the soonest I have ever heard back from them is one week, even though I headed the message as urgent.

Sent from my SM-G955U1 using Tapatalk

I dont buy the problems we experience always just fall out of the sky happening to us.


Hmm. I have had positive customer service experiences with Zpacks answering in a timely manner. It has never taken a week. ALTHOUGH, when Joe was more hands on with answering Emails I thought he was a little more on pt with providing details than "Redbeard." But I can be BPL gear wonk anal about details. Both have always gotten back to me within two days despite me never including I needed info or assistance ASAP other than once. That's me preparing ahead. My decisions play into what I reap. I think that's reasonable for Customer Service considering they are workshop cottage and how busy they can be. In fact, both Joe and "Redbeard" assisted me over and above when 1) I was shipped too few cord locs overnighting the missing ones. ZPacks lost money BUT they strengthened ties to a customer 2) answering how to proceed when their delivered package was stolen off the doorstep. 3) swapping out a return ASAP

Just Bill
07-18-2018, 16:33
This is one of the reasons I decided to go with Osprey this time around instead of buying another Arc pack...it may be another 20oz more in weight after being stripped down but it carries better, even to the point that I don't notice the pack itself at all (my legs notice the weight I'm carrying, but not my shoulders or hips).
Not knocking your particular Osprey choice as that's the point I'm making, lol.

But I don't think it's even that bad a swing anymore.
A Levity vs a plain Arc is only an 8 or 9 ounce ding. Less if you add padding and ding dongs to your Arc series which many seem to do.
Trick that Arc pack out and you get close to or over $400.
Catch that Levity on sale and you pay $200 or less... with enough money to darn near buy a cuben tarp or buy a 850 fill down quilt.

That's considering they messed up the levity and exos this year in my opinion. But the Exos or gregory version of the levity only add a pound vs the base Arc pack with some seriously sturdy fabric involved overall.

DuneElliot
07-18-2018, 16:40
Not knocking your particular Osprey choice as that's the point I'm making, lol.

But I don't think it's even that bad a swing anymore.
A Levity vs a plain Arc is only an 8 or 9 ounce ding. Less if you add padding and ding dongs to your Arc series which many seem to do.
Trick that Arc pack out and you get close to or over $400.
Catch that Levity on sale and you pay $200 or less... with enough money to darn near buy a cuben tarp or buy a 850 fill down quilt.

That's considering they messed up the levity and exos this year in my opinion. But the Exos or gregory version of the levity only add a pound vs the base Arc pack with some seriously sturdy fabric involved overall.

I picked up an Aura 50L out of desperation when the vertical stays on my Arc Haul bent overnight after it was packed and left in my truck...the day before my Collegiate Loop hike. The Aura is heavier than the Exos but the confort definitely makes up for it and I can get it down to 3lbs 8oz which is very little difference when compared to my tricked-out Arc Haul at 34oz. I didn't like the new Exos or Levity for fit once it had weight in although I do have a bramd new 2017 Exos packed away that I can't get to right now (would have saved me some money if I could). I bough it while there were still some available for future use. I don't love the utility design of the Aura quite as much as the Arc Haul (water bottle pocket access being the prime one) I still like it and find it as easy if not easier to hike in than the Haul

soumodeler
07-18-2018, 17:02
I have an ArcHaul Zip and personally consider it a 30lb max. However, that fits perfectly with my other gear weight, so I never come close to its stated max weight. Could it carry 40? Sure, for a short period. I probably wouldn't find the pack nearly as comfortable as it is below 30 though. Under 25lbs and it is amazing.

I think ZPacks is suffering from growing so fast. They moved from their original market to more mainstream, and that has hurt them. I do believe a significant percentage of their negative press is from people who probably shouldn't have bought UL gear, but saw it on Youtube/Facebook/Instagram from another hiker and thought it was the best pack for everyone. It is not. I buy all my UL gear knowing it is less durable, more likely to break or rip, and that I need to be mindful of how I treat it. I see some hikers being rough on UL gear, and they probably complain later about how it is junk for not lasting long. I would NEVER drop any of my Arc packs on the ground, especially with the frame arced, but I see people do it all the time. No wonder it snaps. (Granted, I do know that ZPacks had a frame design flaw/issue at one time, and any of them can break even with the utmost care.)

MuddyWaters
07-18-2018, 17:13
Write the following sentence 100 times:

"A conventional pack will make
30+ lb feel lighter than it ever will in an overloaded lt wt pack."

I have no experience with arc haul
But...
At 22 lb baseweight
You should be considering Osprey, gregory, deuter, etc.
You will be happier, and your gear might actually fit into pack.

DuneElliot
07-18-2018, 18:03
I think ZPacks is suffering from growing so fast. They moved from their original market to more mainstream, and that has hurt them. I do believe a significant percentage of their negative press is from people who probably shouldn't have bought UL gear, but saw it on Youtube/Facebook/Instagram from another hiker and thought it was the best pack for everyone. It is not. I buy all my UL gear knowing it is less durable, more likely to break or rip, and that I need to be mindful of how I treat it. I see some hikers being rough on UL gear, and they probably complain later about how it is junk for not lasting long. I would NEVER drop any of my Arc packs on the ground, especially with the frame arced, but I see people do it all the time. No wonder it snaps. (Granted, I do know that ZPacks had a frame design flaw/issue at one time, and any of them can break even with the utmost care.)
Yeah, you do have to baby UL gear more which is why I was surprised the stays bent in mine (and while not even in use). I treat my gear like it's a nuke that could explode...very delicately (my pack still looks almost new after 2 years). I still don't know why the foam in the shoulder straps warped and shrank so bad....wasn't expecting that from being exposed to some extended sun in a tote for a few days.

DuneElliot
07-18-2018, 18:05
Write the following sentence 100 times:

"A conventional pack will make
30+ lb feel lighter than it ever will in an overloaded lt wt pack."

I have no experience with arc haul
But...
At 22 lb baseweight
You should be considering Osprey, gregory, deuter, etc.
You will be happier, and your gear might actually fit into pack.

I can attest to this. Even with a 13lb baseweight and a full load of food and water my pack felt like it carried lighter in the Osprey than it did in my Arc Haul (still under the 30lb mark). I love them both though in different ways.

Dogwood
07-18-2018, 18:14
"It's hard enough teaching someone how to pack a traditional pack or communicating the importance of how to carry that load as is."
"Add in the fancy turtle shell tricks and that problem compounds."
If we can find and watch youTube vids and read and write WB posts and threads about everything else including our long winded ones, of people applauding and complaining about gear, how great our kits, how light our kits, "how to hike the AT" , FKT's, stove comparisons, etc etc etc ad nauseam we can access general Tips On Packing A Backpack on youTube or directly from pack manufacturer's sites. I dont buy it's all that hard to access this info or tersely teach it. OMG REI Backpacking Associates are overheard on how to pack a backpack in 2-3 short sentences. We're talking about backpacking. We should learn how to pack backpacks, our backpacks our kits. We should learn how to to care for and adjust our packs...NO matter the category of purchase. Be a student of what you're involved. Right? Am I being overly forward assuming it doesn't take a Einstein IQ to comprehend we don't want excessive wt hanging far off our bodies...WEARING ANY PACK?


Any gear can be handled incorrectly. There is no such thing as fool proof gear, fool proof designs, or a perfect marketplace. That's why Osprey, Gregory, etc, and gear warehouses/Oufitters like Backcountry, Moosejaw, REI, etc also have Customer Service, Repairs and Parts, Returns and Exchanges, and Warranty Depts and/or claim procedures. A backpack buyer of true UL Cuben(Dyneeema Composite) gear from ZPacks should intimately grasp the possible extra TLC the gear possibly(likely) will require. It's been said umpteen times in warnings. ZPacks does a very good job of accurately detailing their gear and recommending how to use it. I don't recognize massive marketing hype from ZP. I recognize a UL company being quite transparent.
"In the wrong hands Zpacks in general and the arc series in particular has a high propensity for user error and several caveats need to be added."

I disagree. Again, stupid is as stupid does. Any gear in incapable hands can lead to issues. There is nothing super difficult about using Zpacks packs.

Rex Clifton
07-18-2018, 18:40
I have an ArcHaul Zip and personally consider it a 30lb max. However, that fits perfectly with my other gear weight, so I never come close to its stated max weight. Could it carry 40? Sure, for a short period. I probably wouldn't find the pack nearly as comfortable as it is below 30 though. Under 25lbs and it is amazing.

I think ZPacks is suffering from growing so fast. They moved from their original market to more mainstream, and that has hurt them. I do believe a significant percentage of their negative press is from people who probably shouldn't have bought UL gear, but saw it on Youtube/Facebook/Instagram from another hiker and thought it was the best pack for everyone. It is not. I buy all my UL gear knowing it is less durable, more likely to break or rip, and that I need to be mindful of how I treat it. I see some hikers being rough on UL gear, and they probably complain later about how it is junk for not lasting long. I would NEVER drop any of my Arc packs on the ground, especially with the frame arced, but I see people do it all the time. No wonder it snaps. (Granted, I do know that ZPacks had a frame design flaw/issue at one time, and any of them can break even with the utmost care.)I don't agree with your statement that all ultralight light gear needs to be babyed. I think it is better said that, when it comes to UL packs, Zpacks Arc series packs need to be. I personally have experience with both ULA and Gossamer Gear packs and have found they hold up extremely well. With regard to cuben packs, the Section Hiker rated the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest pack as one of the toughest he has ever used (Outdoorgearlab confirms this).

Sent from my SM-G955U1 using Tapatalk

soumodeler
07-18-2018, 19:46
I don't agree with your statement that all ultralight light gear needs to be babyed. I think it is better said that, when it comes to UL packs, Zpacks Arc series packs need to be. I personally have experience with both ULA and Gossamer Gear packs and have found they hold up extremely well. With regard to cuben packs, the Section Hiker rated the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest pack as one of the toughest he has ever used (Outdoorgearlab confirms this).

Sent from my SM-G955U1 using Tapatalk

Easily summarized by stating that the lighter the equipment, the more care needs to be taken.

globetruck
07-18-2018, 20:49
Used my Arc Haul on several 1-4 day hikes and a 2 week AT section hike. Probably around 350 trail miles. Not sure what my official base weight was, but Iím a light weight hiker and average pack weight including food, fuel, water was about 25 lbs, maxed out around 32-35 lbs after a resupply or when doing Sherpa dad duty.

It was comfortable the whole time. At heavier weights I noticed the flat hip belt carbon fiber stay, but it didnít really bug me although it was noticeable. I also used the additional hip pad which helps.

Overall I love this pack. I prefer the thinner shoulder straps - after a few hot days on the trail, they molded right to me and feel like a custom molded/made pack. I also like their hip beltís thinner material in the front (buckle ends) and sides since they easily form to my body and transfer weight well. The hip beltís 2 straps on each side also enable me to snug the hip belt right on my hips. My only gripe is that Iíd like to have more padding around the sides of the straight/flat bottom stay. Itís not as comfortable as an Osprey Atmos, but it doesnít slip down my waist like the Atmos did.

Arc Haul has been a great pack for me. I tried the Exos, Atmos, and ULA Circuit prior to settling on the Zpacks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

KDogg
07-18-2018, 22:48
I used an Arc Blast on my thru. There were some design problems that were being addressed that resulted in my pack being replaced half-way through. However, I never had any problem putting my pack on the ground. The bottom of the pack seems to be reinforced and it held up well. I have never seen an Arc Zip but do have a comment on it. If you are thru hiking then you will have your gear very streamlined, if not at the start then definitely shortly after. At the end of the day, when I got to camp, there wasn't a single thing that didn't come out of my pack. I emptied the entire thing because I used most everything in it every day. I almost never needed to access anything in my pack during the day because everything I needed was in the mesh pocket or at the very top inside my pack. Because of this I have never been able to figure out what the advantage of the zip would be on the Arc Zip. Just my opinion but keep in mind the only thing on my pack that ever failed was the zippers on both of my belt pouches. I was told that this was expected wear and was not covered under warranty.

Starchild
07-18-2018, 23:10
With the weights you are considering (22lbs base weight), I would never consider such a flimsy frame pack. On my thru hike, during the summer I was down to 11-17 lbs total weight, and those are the numbers I may consider ditching a solid frame, and perhaps 2 lbs in the process. Yes it may be less weight, but having a solid frame makes a huge difference in comfort, even at the expense of weight. Going over 30 lbs total weight I like to go external frame, as I am already carrying a lot, may as well be as comfy as I can be doing it.

As said above, put the savings into some other gear - I love my z-pack Heximid. And cuban for a tent makes a lot more sense then a pack (less abrasion and receptive stress then packs, and excellent shedding of water)

Water Rat
07-19-2018, 08:03
I have been considering the ZPacks Arc Haul Zip, and curious to hear from others about their own experience and assessment of how well it carries. According to ZPacks, it has a 40lb max limit, but I know full well that there is a big difference between how much a pack *can* carry and how much you can *comfortably* carry in it.*


My current shoulder-season base weight (which can take me down as low as mid-teen night temps) is just under 22lbs. Once I add a couple of liters of water, that jumps up to nearly 27lbs...then adding food and other consumables, it's possible my total pack weight could end up as high as 35lbs (or more?! <gasp!> )


While I understand that there is a certain amount of subjectivity here, my question is, in your experience, can the Arc Haul Zip still be comfortable carrying 35lbs?


Thanks for any info or insights.

I can't comment specifically on the Arc Haul Zip, but this is my 3rd season of using an Arc Haul. I have a little over 2500 miles on mine and it appears to be going strong. (I may have just jinxed myself with that last statement...)

My average total pack weight is 22lbs. My max carry weight has been 30lbs with this pack. It still felt ok (for me) at that weight. I am not sure I would want to push it much past that weight on a consistent basis. I use the optional belt pad, but would most likely not be comfortable with the frame bar digging into my back at 35lbs. Some people seem to notice the frame bar more than others. Adding weight to the pack makes that bar more noticeable. Based on my experiences, I wouldn't recommend this pack for a consistent pack weight of 35lbs or more. Others might disagree. It does matter what you are packing, how you load your pack, and how the pack fits your body. This pack really isn't the right fit for heavier pack loads.

As for the overall construction of my Arc Haul, while I am mindful of how I treat my gear, I haven't exactly babied it. I do set it on the ground, but I don't tend to go off-trail with it. I check it periodically to make sure I am not incorrectly packing items that might cause rub spots to the pack. That seems to have served me well, as the pack is still looking pretty decent. No holes, tears, or failures to date. I don't feel like I can call my pack "flimsy" in any way. It has served me well and I have been quite happy with my purchase. As with any gear, gear failures happen. Some batches of materials prove to be lesser than others, stitching issues can occur, etc.

TwoSpirits
07-19-2018, 09:24
Thank you all for your info, anecdotes, opinions, and advice. Exactly what I asked for and what I wanted -- needed -- to hear.*I am going to go back to looking at Osprey (the ventilation on the back is the common denominator and a big selling point for me.)

Re-reading my own post and thinking honestly about it, I guess I had been hoping that I would be able to skate by with a lighter pack if it was just my *heaviest* base weight (i.e., for the coldest weather) that was heavy (does that make sense?) But since by far the most hiking that I do is during the shoulder seasons, it would be stupid to spend the money for a pack that would A) be overpacked and likely uncomfortable most of the time, and B) a set up for wear, tear, failure, and frustration even when I use it with my summer weight. (I have purchased various UL and cuben items and understand the inherent limitations.)*

I'm comfortable and frankly very happy with the pack load I have now and doubt I would go much lower -- certainly not just for the sake of getting a lightweight pack.*

Thanks everyone.

TwoSpirits
07-19-2018, 09:27
Please disregard the random *'s.... I guess I'm seeing stars.

George
07-19-2018, 09:58
I reworked the archaul hip belt with an old mountain smith precurved belt - added 3 oz - big difference for day after day comfort

still consider it to be practical with a (short time) max 27

question is - what is the the next logical step up for weight, real suspension without a great weight penalty

IMO the ULA's are out - they have great durability (modern version of gregory) but start out on the heavy side

hyper lite has crazy pricing, and the hip belts look minimal

ospreys are the popular compromise but are not doing the weight vs comfort as well as zpack

George
07-19-2018, 10:02
Thank you all for your info, anecdotes, opinions, and advice. Exactly what I asked for and what I wanted -- needed -- to hear.*I am going to go back to looking at Osprey (the ventilation on the back is the common denominator and a big selling point for me.)

Re-reading my own post and thinking honestly about it, I guess I had been hoping that I would be able to skate by with a lighter pack if it was just my *heaviest* base weight (i.e., for the coldest weather) that was heavy (does that make sense?) But since by far the most hiking that I do is during the shoulder seasons, it would be stupid to spend the money for a pack that would A) be overpacked and likely uncomfortable most of the time, and B) a set up for wear, tear, failure, and frustration even when I use it with my summer weight. (I have purchased various UL and cuben items and understand the inherent limitations.)*

I'm comfortable and frankly very happy with the pack load I have now and doubt I would go much lower -- certainly not just for the sake of getting a lightweight pack.*

Thanks everyone.

so now the question is what alternative?

TwoSpirits
07-19-2018, 10:16
Good question, and I agree with your previous statement about Osprey being a compromise. I'm wanting some good back ventilation, but I'm not sure it will save me any weight.

TwoSpirits
07-19-2018, 10:18
My current pack weighs 61.6oz. (3lb, 13.6oz)

Just Bill
07-19-2018, 10:26
I think ZPacks is suffering from growing so fast. They moved from their original market to more mainstream, and that has hurt them. I do believe a significant percentage of their negative press is from people who probably shouldn't have bought UL gear, but saw it on Youtube/Facebook/Instagram from another hiker and thought it was the best pack for everyone. It is not. I buy all my UL gear knowing it is less durable, more likely to break or rip, and that I need to be mindful of how I treat it. I see some hikers being rough on UL gear, and they probably complain later about how it is junk for not lasting long. I would NEVER drop any of my Arc packs on the ground, especially with the frame arced, but I see people do it all the time. No wonder it snaps. (Granted, I do know that ZPacks had a frame design flaw/issue at one time, and any of them can break even with the utmost care.)


"It's hard enough teaching someone how to pack a traditional pack or communicating the importance of how to carry that load as is."
"Add in the fancy turtle shell tricks and that problem compounds."
If we can find and watch youTube vids and read and write WB posts and threads about everything else including our long winded ones, of people applauding and complaining about gear, how great our kits, how light our kits, "how to hike the AT" , FKT's, stove comparisons, etc etc etc ad nauseam we can access general Tips On Packing A Backpack on youTube or directly from pack manufacturer's sites. I dont buy it's all that hard to access this info or tersely teach it. OMG REI Backpacking Associates are overheard on how to pack a backpack in 2-3 short sentences. We're talking about backpacking. We should learn how to pack backpacks, our backpacks our kits. We should learn how to to care for and adjust our packs...NO matter the category of purchase. Be a student of what you're involved. Right? Am I being overly forward assuming it doesn't take a Einstein IQ to comprehend we don't want excessive wt hanging far off our bodies...WEARING ANY PACK?


Any gear can be handled incorrectly. There is no such thing as fool proof gear, fool proof designs, or a perfect marketplace. That's why Osprey, Gregory, etc, and gear warehouses/Oufitters like Backcountry, Moosejaw, REI, etc also have Customer Service, Repairs and Parts, Returns and Exchanges, and Warranty Depts and/or claim procedures. A backpack buyer of true UL Cuben(Dyneeema Composite) gear from ZPacks should intimately grasp the possible extra TLC the gear possibly(likely) will require. It's been said umpteen times in warnings. ZPacks does a very good job of accurately detailing their gear and recommending how to use it. I don't recognize massive marketing hype from ZP. I recognize a UL company being quite transparent.
"In the wrong hands Zpacks in general and the arc series in particular has a high propensity for user error and several caveats need to be added."

I disagree. Again, stupid is as stupid does. Any gear in incapable hands can lead to issues. There is nothing super difficult about using Zpacks packs.
Regarding Zpacks quality control and product overall- I'll agree with Soulmodeler and leave it at that.
I'm not hating on zpacks or Joe... I greatly admire what he's done but understand a few things as a person who makes a little gear that gives me a slightly different perspective.
Generally speaking-
Zpacks makes specialty high end gear. Specifically long distance hiking on established trails gear.
Probably best for moderate to expert level experience users. Einstein level IQ, no. But a few seasons and a few hundred nights on trail makes sense.
I agree with you that Zpacks isn't chasing these folks down or marketing to them. I agree they are not trying to lure anyone away.

Perhaps better than skill or experience is simply style.
Not everyone:
Likes packing a streamlined single main compartment pack.
Is willing to portion out snacks or other items for the day.
Moves with minimal stopping.
Carries water in the same way or location.
Has the discipline or packing style to keep everything in the main body all day.
Carries SUL water treatment, camp shoes, ditty bag, or the dozens of other little odds and ends that can be found in brains, stuffed in mesh pouches or found clipped on the sides or rear of a pack.


By design... any arc style frame pushes the load (regardless if properly loaded or sized) away from your body and onto the frame itself.
The frame then attaches to your hip belt to transfer that load to your hips.
If all is going well; little if any load is on the shoulders and the shoulder straps are there to prevent the load from spilling backwards.

The common complaint is regarding the 'frame' digging into the lumbar area.
That's part design, part material selection, and part customer issue.
The arc dumps the load there by design, it's likely only a 1/4" CC foam piece to catch it, and likely customers over load or mis-load the pack from time to time which causes the arc to enter at a bad angle.

The additional lumbar pad accessory would likely help this quite a bit.

Since I see Joe is also making shoulder strap pads to add on... I can see that Joe is addressing a CUSTOMER issue, not a design one.
Namely that some customers are not packing in a manner that keeps the load in line and transferring smoothly into the hipbelt.
They may be packing too many 'during the day' heavy items in a handy spot or doing what worked in the past with other packs.
They may have crocs on the back, or a full shelter in the mesh panel, or even a bladder tucked in the very top so it's easy to get to.
They may not be storing water up front as a counter balance, or using a hip belt pouch or front pack to carry ditty bag and food items.

Common packing advise (heavy= high, and tight) may not apply well to any arc style pack, but this pack in particular.
That standard REI speech would steer you down the wrong road. https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/loading-backpack.html

An arc style frame functions better with weight in the bottom half to 1/3. (by height) And in the near 1/3 to half (by depth)
For a standard LD hiker that is typically a food bag sitting on top of a sleeping pad or shelter. Maybe sleep clothes or spare socks. At best a few inches.
That's opposed to filling the bottom 1/3 by building a base of sleeping bag and clothes and building up. Typically the bottom 10" of a 30" pack.

If carried- a cook kit or ditty bag goes on the food bag and starts to creep into the shoulder area of the pack and ideally your 'column' of heavy stuff is spanning roughly 16-20" high to about 2/3 of the pack's height.

Sleep clothes, spare clothing, and sleeping bag are then packed around that column to stabilize and fill volume.

If used... Shelter typically occupies the upper third along with a puffy or stop piece... your first items out.

A quick deploy tarp, damp ground sheet, or other item may go in the mesh pocket or be transferred there after your first day out of town when the food bag volume is too great. Though many LD hikers simply store these items outside the trash compactor liner rather than load them outside.

On a typical day a wind or rain shell, bandana, or minor items may reside in that mesh panel pocket.

More and more LD hikers are moving water bottles to the front, and daily food/navigation/ditty bag items to a front pouch too.
Functionally this acts as both counter balance and in the same manner as load lifters in a more traditional pack.
It reduces the chance the Arc frame can tip back and dig in as well.
It can also be handy to have everything you need upfront and visually accessible in a style that involves little to no stops... but realize it or not it is also doing quite a bit to increase the comfort of the pack.
One could also go so far as to say that without this particular style of packing a lightly framed and padded pack like the arc series will struggle to function as designed; especially as you exceed 1/2-2/3rds of the maximum load capacity (20-27 pounds for the haul).

IF you have shoulder pain or the frame digging into your lumbar area- then the arc frame has tipped out of it's intended vertical plane. (or you simply have too much weight).
IF you cannot loosen up the shoulder straps and load lifters and feel the weight transfer cleanly to the hipbelt then you may want to repack or consider adopting some front packing strategies.

When done right... Joe's arc series design does represent one of the most innovative versions of framed packs.
It does require some help from the user to function as designed. Like all UL gear; it does require an educated customer who knowingly accepts the limitations.
For you Dogwood... these 'limitations' already match your style, philosophy, and gear selection so well that they seem very natural and intuitive.
For a Scout, REI customer, weekend warrior, or casual backpacker... these can be pretty large leaps to hurdle in philosophy and style.
In fact words like philosophy and style can sound pretty durn pretentious when talking about carrying **** around and walking in the woods.
General backpacking is overall quite a bit different than typical established trail methods and is not a smooth transition for all.
Simply evolving from 60L+ and 40lbs or more to a 20L/20lb mark can take a lifetime of trips to master.
A level of effort many weekenders just looking to get their once a year vacation accomplished enjoyably may not want to deal with.

The more robust butterfly style frame, backed by the various meshes, trampoline suspensions, custom molded foam, traditional fabrics, and consistent manufacturing from a professional cut&sew contractor are all reasons that the Osprey packs allow more flexibility and user error. Unlike Joe's basic SUL/cottage 10x6x30 rectangle body... osprey packs have a much more rounded and turtle shell style pack body that further reinforces the load transfer of the arc frame. They are not perfect, they are perhaps not ideal for long hour walking, long distance, established trail hiking. But they are pretty sweet for section hikers, weekenders, and those getting going with LD hiking. They won't hurt you.

There are simple, subtle, but significant design choices in each pack.

Without knowing anything about a person... I can fairly comfortably steer them to an Osprey or Gregory if they want this ventilated style pack.
These days... that comes with little or no weight penalty and some advantages in price, customer service, and above all- in person shopping.
Toss in an REI membership and if that medium needed to be a large when you finally get a chance to squeeze in a few weekend tune-ups over a summer... it can be exchanged with no issue.

The simple truth with Zpacks or other highly specialized gear is the same as mentioned above- if you're asking the question the answer is no.
As in... that informed and ideal buyer who should be using the pack, will use it well, and deeply enjoy it... doesn't need any help coming to that conclusion.
Nine times out of ten... they know there is a problem and the answer they actually need is for someone to help them put a finger on what the problem is.

Zpacks has plenty of testimonials and 'street cred' among LD hikers to keep them busy for some time.
In fact I'd probably think that Joe would prefer that folks not casually recommend buying his packs.

His best customers are the ones who select his packs on their own.

While watching a you tube video and buying gear based upon a one and done first time thru-hiker's opinion is common... it isn't wise.

Though to be fair... more than ever before one's first real trip can be a long distance trail... but no need to pigeonhole yourself into a style before you step on the trail.
Backpacking gear involves an evolution of choices, trips, and personal style.
A bad pair of shoes and a bad pack prevent someone from staying on that path. You can make lots of other mistakes and survive... but those two are not ones most overcome.
That's why I mentioned another 'stepping stone' to the OP. He's closer, but needs another step or two closer so he doesn't have to leap too far.
Eventually the zpacks bag may be ideal, but he needs to stay on the trail long enough to get there on his own.
And if his trail doesn't lead to that very specialized style... he's got a solid general purpose tool to keep him comfortably out in the woods in the meantime.

trailmercury
07-19-2018, 11:16
+1
As always Bill nailed it with this last post
The Arc backpack fits my kit... YMMV

DuneElliot
07-19-2018, 11:27
Regarding Zpacks quality control and product overall- I'll agree with Soulmodeler and leave it at that.
I'm not hating on zpacks or Joe... I greatly admire what he's done but understand a few things as a person who makes a little gear that gives me a slightly different perspective.
Generally speaking-
Zpacks makes specialty high end gear. Specifically long distance hiking on established trails gear.
Probably best for moderate to expert level experience users. Einstein level IQ, no. But a few seasons and a few hundred nights on trail makes sense.
I agree with you that Zpacks isn't chasing these folks down or marketing to them. I agree they are not trying to lure anyone away.

Perhaps better than skill or experience is simply style.
Not everyone:
Likes packing a streamlined single main compartment pack.
Is willing to portion out snacks or other items for the day.
Moves with minimal stopping.
Carries water in the same way or location.
Has the discipline or packing style to keep everything in the main body all day.
Carries SUL water treatment, camp shoes, ditty bag, or the dozens of other little odds and ends that can be found in brains, stuffed in mesh pouches or found clipped on the sides or rear of a pack.


By design... any arc style frame pushes the load (regardless if properly loaded or sized) away from your body and onto the frame itself.
The frame then attaches to your hip belt to transfer that load to your hips.
If all is going well; little if any load is on the shoulders and the shoulder straps are there to prevent the load from spilling backwards.

The common complaint is regarding the 'frame' digging into the lumbar area.
That's part design, part material selection, and part customer issue.
The arc dumps the load there by design, it's likely only a 1/4" CC foam piece to catch it, and likely customers over load or mis-load the pack from time to time which causes the arc to enter at a bad angle.

The additional lumbar pad accessory would likely help this quite a bit.

Since I see Joe is also making shoulder strap pads to add on... I can see that Joe is addressing a CUSTOMER issue, not a design one.
Namely that some customers are not packing in a manner that keeps the load in line and transferring smoothly into the hipbelt.
They may be packing too many 'during the day' heavy items in a handy spot or doing what worked in the past with other packs.
They may have crocs on the back, or a full shelter in the mesh panel, or even a bladder tucked in the very top so it's easy to get to.
They may not be storing water up front as a counter balance, or using a hip belt pouch or front pack to carry ditty bag and food items.

Common packing advise (heavy= high, and tight) may not apply well to any arc style pack, but this pack in particular.
That standard REI speech would steer you down the wrong road. https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/loading-backpack.html

An arc style frame functions better with weight in the bottom half to 1/3. (by height) And in the near 1/3 to half (by depth)
For a standard LD hiker that is typically a food bag sitting on top of a sleeping pad or shelter. Maybe sleep clothes or spare socks. At best a few inches.
That's opposed to filling the bottom 1/3 by building a base of sleeping bag and clothes and building up. Typically the bottom 10" of a 30" pack.

If carried- a cook kit or ditty bag goes on the food bag and starts to creep into the shoulder area of the pack and ideally your 'column' of heavy stuff is spanning roughly 16-20" high to about 2/3 of the pack's height.

Sleep clothes, spare clothing, and sleeping bag are then packed around that column to stabilize and fill volume.

If used... Shelter typically occupies the upper third along with a puffy or stop piece... your first items out.

A quick deploy tarp, damp ground sheet, or other item may go in the mesh pocket or be transferred there after your first day out of town when the food bag volume is too great. Though many LD hikers simply store these items outside the trash compactor liner rather than load them outside.

On a typical day a wind or rain shell, bandana, or minor items may reside in that mesh panel pocket.

More and more LD hikers are moving water bottles to the front, and daily food/navigation/ditty bag items to a front pouch too.
Functionally this acts as both counter balance and in the same manner as load lifters in a more traditional pack.
It reduces the chance the Arc frame can tip back and dig in as well.
It can also be handy to have everything you need upfront and visually accessible in a style that involves little to no stops... but realize it or not it is also doing quite a bit to increase the comfort of the pack.
One could also go so far as to say that without this particular style of packing a lightly framed and padded pack like the arc series will struggle to function as designed; especially as you exceed 1/2-2/3rds of the maximum load capacity (20-27 pounds for the haul).

IF you have shoulder pain or the frame digging into your lumbar area- then the arc frame has tipped out of it's intended vertical plane. (or you simply have too much weight).
IF you cannot loosen up the shoulder straps and load lifters and feel the weight transfer cleanly to the hipbelt then you may want to repack or consider adopting some front packing strategies.

When done right... Joe's arc series design does represent one of the most innovative versions of framed packs.
It does require some help from the user to function as designed. Like all UL gear; it does require an educated customer who knowingly accepts the limitations.
For you Dogwood... these 'limitations' already match your style, philosophy, and gear selection so well that they seem very natural and intuitive.
For a Scout, REI customer, weekend warrior, or casual backpacker... these can be pretty large leaps to hurdle in philosophy and style.
In fact words like philosophy and style can sound pretty durn pretentious when talking about carrying **** around and walking in the woods.
General backpacking is overall quite a bit different than typical established trail methods and is not a smooth transition for all.
Simply evolving from 60L+ and 40lbs or more to a 20L/20lb mark can take a lifetime of trips to master.
A level of effort many weekenders just looking to get their once a year vacation accomplished enjoyably may not want to deal with.

The more robust butterfly style frame, backed by the various meshes, trampoline suspensions, custom molded foam, traditional fabrics, and consistent manufacturing from a professional cut&sew contractor are all reasons that the Osprey packs allow more flexibility and user error. Unlike Joe's basic SUL/cottage 10x6x30 rectangle body... osprey packs have a much more rounded and turtle shell style pack body that further reinforces the load transfer of the arc frame. They are not perfect, they are perhaps not ideal for long hour walking, long distance, established trail hiking. But they are pretty sweet for section hikers, weekenders, and those getting going with LD hiking. They won't hurt you.

There are simple, subtle, but significant design choices in each pack.

Without knowing anything about a person... I can fairly comfortably steer them to an Osprey or Gregory if they want this ventilated style pack.
These days... that comes with little or no weight penalty and some advantages in price, customer service, and above all- in person shopping.
Toss in an REI membership and if that medium needed to be a large when you finally get a chance to squeeze in a few weekend tune-ups over a summer... it can be exchanged with no issue.

The simple truth with Zpacks or other highly specialized gear is the same as mentioned above- if you're asking the question the answer is no.
As in... that informed and ideal buyer who should be using the pack, will use it well, and deeply enjoy it... doesn't need any help coming to that conclusion.
Nine times out of ten... they know there is a problem and the answer they actually need is for someone to help them put a finger on what the problem is.

Zpacks has plenty of testimonials and 'street cred' among LD hikers to keep them busy for some time.
In fact I'd probably think that Joe would prefer that folks not casually recommend buying his packs.

His best customers are the ones who select his packs on their own.

While watching a you tube video and buying gear based upon a one and done first time thru-hiker's opinion is common... it isn't wise.

Though to be fair... more than ever before one's first real trip can be a long distance trail... but no need to pigeonhole yourself into a style before you step on the trail.
Backpacking gear involves an evolution of choices, trips, and personal style.
A bad pair of shoes and a bad pack prevent someone from staying on that path. You can make lots of other mistakes and survive... but those two are not ones most overcome.
That's why I mentioned another 'stepping stone' to the OP. He's closer, but needs another step or two closer so he doesn't have to leap too far.
Eventually the zpacks bag may be ideal, but he needs to stay on the trail long enough to get there on his own.
And if his trail doesn't lead to that very specialized style... he's got a solid general purpose tool to keep him comfortably out in the woods in the meantime.

The Arc Haul was my first backpack when I got into backpacking. I had no experience but didn't go into it blind either....I read, and read and read some more (I research almost TOO much when buying stuff). I spent a LONG time deciding on which pack would be right for me BUT I also bought other high-end, light-weight gear to go along with the pack because I knew what the pack was capable of because I'd done my research...A SMD Lunar Solo and then a Duplex, an EE down quilt, a Klymit sleeping pad etc...you see where I'm going. Sure, it took me a few trips to get the pack fit dialed in but my base weight then and now is right at 13lbs.

I am one of those who feels the bottom bar of the frame even with under 20lbs in it and built my own lumbar pad as the add-on one wasn't sufficient FOR ME (I am pretty tiny and there just isn't any natural padding where the pack sits).

Despite all this (and sending my Arc Haul pack in for repair this week) I will still keep the Osprey even if it isn't needed much. It's a good all-round pack that I can use as a loaner pack if someone wants to come with me in the future and doesn't have gear (I already have friends wanting to go). It also seems like a better pack for cavorting around Europe (not hiking-backpacking) which I will be doing in the future with my move back to the UK and is a good size to use as a carry-on on the plane. I am at the point where I do think I need to let at least one of the four I will now have go though...really don't need them all.

George
07-19-2018, 11:44
My current pack weighs 61.6oz. (3lb, 13.6oz)

yeah that is kind of the jump - from around 2 lbs to well over 3

what I aim seeing in the mid 2's has neither the capacity or comfort of my modified arc haul

obviously the problem is a limited market (so high price, which further limits the market)

my concept: beefed up arc haul suspension, stronger stays, more padding and a precurve belt - about 65liters, dyneema x body, life expectancy of 7500 miles - under 3 lbs - hopefully still under 500$

Just Bill
07-19-2018, 11:56
so now the question is what alternative?


My current pack weighs 61.6oz. (3lb, 13.6oz)
https://sectionhiker.com/sectionhiker-gear-guide/10-best-ventilated-backpacks-0f-2018/

A quick summary of current mainstream options.

A few thoughts-
How important is the ventilation?
In high summer, could be a big deal. In shoulder seasons, maybe not.
Are you sweating buckets or strolling along pretty casually?
Ventilation is a 'feature'. All features cost weight, but not always.

An osprey Talon 44 weighs the same as the Exos 48- 2lbs 7 ounces roughly- pretty much the same pack body.
https://www.rei.com/product/111240/osprey-talon-44-pack
https://www.rei.com/product/864597/osprey-exos-48-pack

Which brings up the second issue:
Most of us own more than one pack. You may find you have the same need.


The third issue is volume, as in why you might need more than one pack.
For many LD hikers... this is basically insulation and clothing (perhaps food/fuel) changes from summer to shoulder. The rest of the gear doesn't change much.
A pack like the Osprey Exos or Gregory Optic clocks in around the 2.75lb mark. However they both have removable brains... which allow you to both add volume seasonally or reduce weight seasonally.
That may be a compromise of sorts to budget... but it may provide a better 'one pack' solution.

Overall though... perhaps the better challenge to tackle is volume.
Right now you have a 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' problem with your current pack.
But you have a too much stuff (weight/volume) problem with upgrading... which is driving you to attempt meeting in the middle.

An air pad vs a foamy or self inflator.
An older sleeping bag vs a better fill or quilt.
A shelter vs a tarp system.
Upgrading and refining your clothing system.
Or just the pile of 'other' from cook kit to ditty bag that could be tuned up.

If you're talking dropping $200-$300 to save a pound (compromise pack); it sounds to me like money is better spent elsewhere. Contents before container.

So the overall the question is, 'What problem are you trying to solve?'

Maybe the Arc Haul is an ideal pack for you. And the problem is your contents, not the pack.
So maybe this season could/should be spent on working towards solving that problem and next season is the Arc Haul upgrade.

Maybe you're perfectly happy with your contents. And the problem is simply that the ventilated packs look neat and you'd like to try one.If so, then accept that in order to gain that feature, you need to accept that you need a mid range pack to work with your current contents.
Hey.. if that is what you want... and you still shave a pound then why is that a compromise? You get the feature you want without reworking your whole kit.

I would also caution you to shop by main body volume. Many of the cottage guys get a bit optimistic on volume of other pockets.
For the Arc Haul- "Volume: 49L main body, 2.5L each side pocket, 8L center pocket, 62 Liters Total"

So this leads many to then compare it to a 58L pack.. but really it's comparable to a 48L pack in practice. With the main body stuffed to the gills you don't fit much in those outer pockets. And as mentioned above; cramming too much into those pockets is a good way to cause the pack to function poorly. Ideally those areas are for 'in a pinch'... not for your base load to occupy.

Granted... a 58l vs a 48L may not generate a whopping savings... generally you will save 2-6 ounces in most packs and we're generally niggling over ounces. But this may also give you a cleaner apples to apples comparison too.

That said... a 60L main body pack like the Levity or Exos stripped of brain... may present a good 'training' pack to help you get used to carrying all your gear in the main body and give you space to work out loading issues or packing if you feel it's needed as you work on that style of packing.

On the flipside... the nice thing about commercial packs is they go on sale. So you can often own a small quiver easily enough.
I have a talon 22 and a talon 33 for quick summer weekends.
An Exos 38 (2017) for shoulder or winter weekends.
Most of the winter stuff I do is quick overnighters with hammock groups so I can make those packs work fine.
I also have several homemade packs for various things and a kid carrier pack for that thing.

Having a small pile to reach for lets you practice a few different styles as well. Bought on clearance and with coupons that pile of Osprey's cost me less than a single full price pack.
The 22L might sound insane, but a summer overnighter with a neo-air, summer quilt, and no cook food fits fine.
A 33L lets you round it into a weekend, carry more shelter or even sneak in a fast winter trip.
And on...and on. Those experiments though can inform your other gear choices and pack styles for longer trips.
With SUL packs... having a full pack is also a form of 'frame'. So higher to mid volume, half filled packs can also carry very poorly... making small volume packs more useful for small duration trips.


Finally- I'm throwing out Osprey because most of us are familiar with them.
I was not impressed with the 2018 line up... but it is what it is.
Old standby's like Gossamer Gear and ULA have shifted a bit with the market and feature creep leaves them on par with commercial packs IMO. Hyperlight are good packs with a great reputation... but I'll take my pile of packs for the money vs a bomber cuben pack.


And most important of all- I love Altra Shoes. But hate Brooks. A guy with different feet than me says the opposite.
Osprey fits most, but not all. Gregory may fit you better... and that would make it the better pack.
Neither may fit, making XYZ brand the greatest pack on the planet.


Shoes and packs.
If it doesn't fit- it's the crappiest product on the planet no matter what the specs, reviews, or a long haired jackhole has to say.

Just Bill
07-19-2018, 12:12
The Arc Haul was my first backpack when I got into backpacking. I had no experience but didn't go into it blind either....I read, and read and read some more (I research almost TOO much when buying stuff). I spent a LONG time deciding on which pack would be right for me BUT I also bought other high-end, light-weight gear to go along with the pack because I knew what the pack was capable of because I'd done my research...A SMD Lunar Solo and then a Duplex, an EE down quilt, a Klymit sleeping pad etc...you see where I'm going. Sure, it took me a few trips to get the pack fit dialed in but my base weight then and now is right at 13lbs.

I am one of those who feels the bottom bar of the frame even with under 20lbs in it and built my own lumbar pad as the add-on one wasn't sufficient FOR ME (I am pretty tiny and there just isn't any natural padding where the pack sits).

Despite all this (and sending my Arc Haul pack in for repair this week) I will still keep the Osprey even if it isn't needed much. It's a good all-round pack that I can use as a loaner pack if someone wants to come with me in the future and doesn't have gear (I already have friends wanting to go). It also seems like a better pack for cavorting around Europe (not hiking-backpacking) which I will be doing in the future with my move back to the UK and is a good size to use as a carry-on on the plane. I am at the point where I do think I need to let at least one of the four I will now have go though...really don't need them all.
Quick thought... I've never built an Arc clone but a trick I have used for something similar is some pieces of milk jug or pop bottle (thin plastic). A dollar store cutting board can be ideal. So long as it stays flexible and not too rigid.

If you layer some 1/8" or 1/16" skin foam with the thin sheets of plastic you can create a much better pad to deflect sharp objects. A glue up of plastic/thin foam/plastic then 1/4 or 3/8" CCF can do it.
This may be a good way to assemble a custom lumbar pad for you when the pack goes back into rotation. Make two... you can drill out one for a lighter version if you want to try it.

It's very hard finding good foams to work with as a small vendor... this is a good trick to create a mixed density foam capable of doing the job.


And yar... one of the cool (and mildly perplexing things to me) is that people can start as a UL long distance hiker now.
I'm a family camper/scout so that's my background originally.
I sell gear to scouts, hunters, bushcrafters, weekend warriors, casual backpackers, family car campers, birders, anglers... and LD hikers, ounce counters and the occasional FKT minded gram weenie.

The lines are getting blurrier... but there are still some very hardwired design ideas and choices that may preclude one user group from reaping all the benefits discovered by another user group.

Dogwood might debate how to pack a pack with me as violently as a lifetime scoutmaster would at a camporee... and they would both be right.:D

capehiker
07-19-2018, 12:50
If the OP is at a 22lb baseweight, they need a pack that can handle heavy loads. This elImnates 95% of the cottage companies. I have an Arc Blast and I never exceed 25lbs and it is a great riding pack. The biggest problem Zpacks went and did was overstating their max load limits. They are a UL company and buyers should be approaching the companyís gear with that mindset. By overstating their max loads, they are setting up a lot of newbies for failure. As for the packs themselves, the bag fabric is never the issue that the majority of people complain about. Itís the frame and stay system, the hipbelt, the twisting shoulder straps...everything but the bag fabric (DCF or gridstop).

DuneElliot
07-19-2018, 12:50
https://sectionhiker.com/sectionhiker-gear-guide/10-best-ventilated-backpacks-0f-2018/

A quick summary of current mainstream options.

A few thoughts-
How important is the ventilation?
In high summer, could be a big deal. In shoulder seasons, maybe not.
Are you sweating buckets or strolling along pretty casually?
Ventilation is a 'feature'. All features cost weight, but not always.

Overall though... perhaps the better challenge to tackle is volume.
Right now you have a 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' problem with your current pack.
But you have a too much stuff (weight/volume) problem with upgrading... which is driving you to attempt meeting in the middle.

I would also caution you to shop by main body volume. Many of the cottage guys get a bit optimistic on volume of other pockets.
For the Arc Haul- "Volume: 49L main body, 2.5L each side pocket, 8L center pocket, 62 Liters Total"

So this leads many to then compare it to a 58L pack.. but really it's comparable to a 48L pack in practice. With the main body stuffed to the gills you don't fit much in those outer pockets. And as mentioned above; cramming too much into those pockets is a good way to cause the pack to function poorly. Ideally those areas are for 'in a pinch'... not for your base load to occupy.

Granted... a 58l vs a 48L may not generate a whopping savings... generally you will save 2-6 ounces in most packs and we're generally niggling over ounces. But this may also give you a cleaner apples to apples comparison too.

That said... a 60L main body pack like the Levity or Exos stripped of brain... may present a good 'training' pack to help you get used to carrying all your gear in the main body and give you space to work out loading issues or packing if you feel it's needed as you work on that style of packing.

Having a small pile to reach for lets you practice a few different styles as well. Bought on clearance and with coupons that pile of Osprey's cost me less than a single full price pack.
The 22L might sound insane, but a summer overnighter with a neo-air, summer quilt, and no cook food fits fine.
A 33L lets you round it into a weekend, carry more shelter or even sneak in a fast winter trip.
Finally- I'm throwing out Osprey because most of us are familiar with them.
I was not impressed with the 2018 line up... but it is what it is.
Old standby's like Gossamer Gear and ULA have shifted a bit with the market and feature creep leaves them on par with commercial packs IMO. Hyperlight are good packs with a great reputation... but I'll take my pile of packs for the money vs a bomber cuben pack.
And most important of all- I love Altra Shoes. But hate Brooks. A guy with different feet than me says the opposite.
Osprey fits most, but not all. Gregory may fit you better... and that would make it the better pack.
Neither may fit, making XYZ brand the greatest pack on the planet.

Shoes and packs.
If it doesn't fit- it's the crappiest product on the planet no matter what the specs, reviews, or a long haired jackhole has to say.

Sage advice for anyone ^^^

I went with the Osprey Aura 50 because it correlated with the amount of gear I carry in my Arc Haul...similar main body volume sizes and I knew exactly how my gear fit in the Arc Haul...and the Aura fits the gear the same (both around 48l). Even the hipbelt pockets on the Aura are big enough for my camera on one side and my lunch/snacks on the other (a problem other Osprey packs seem to have). I even managed to figure out how to add my Arc Haul mesh pockets to the Aura to add some of the space I use the most on the Haul.

But as Just Bill mentioned...fit and comfort is paramount. Most backpacks in almost every line-up hurt my lower back with the pressure of where the hip belt wings attach or slide through a sleeve...there always feels like a bulge there and it puts pressure on my spine and pelvis and makes me miserable. Only ZPacks Arc belts (with padding) that wrap around my waist and the Aura (and older Exos, not the new one) that put zero padding but lots of mesh there feel comfortable to me. I tried a ULA Circuit because everyone raved about them...I hated it and just couldn't find a comfortable carry and was so glad to go back to my Arc Haul which felt like heaven.

As far as the carry goes I find that I prefer to get the pack slightly off my back with the ventilation panels. The ULA Circuit felt awkward and TOO close to me and I felt unbalanced. This is an oxymoron, as JB mentions above, because packs with an Arc or mesh ventilation actually push the pack away from your center of mass...but it works for me. I also had an REI employee point out that I wear my pack "too low" but again I wear it where it is comfortable...and as a woman that is having the pack sit directly on and the belt wrap over my hip bones (that's what they're there for right?)

Packs (and shoes) can make or break a trip. I love my Salomons but I have narrow feet...they certainly aren't suitable for everyone.

Just Bill
07-19-2018, 13:19
Like many long distance hikers- you got no ass. That long lean body type is a bit of nightmare to fit overall really.

My ass is real purdy and quite voluminous with just the right amount of mass to form a sweet shelf for my pack.
For me- the butt bumper (lumbar pad) works great when worn a little lower than REI would like you to wear it and I don't need much of a hip belt as my ass does most of the work.

For those of you with no ass- you hit the nail on the head... what you need is less contoured/bulky padding and more lightly padded surface area. More like an ace bandage than a belt.
Primarily that's why folks are not liking the minimal little wings on something like the Levity... there isn't enough surface area to provide a solid connection of hip belt to non-existent hips and ass common among LD hikers of both sexes.



By contrast though... that oversized/overpadded hip belt can create enough surface area when worn a size too big and cranked down slightly.

Something I learned in scouts as the quartermaster trying to fit gear for young lads; don't be afraid to try on packs made for the other sex.
The days of 'pink washing' mens gear are over and the women's gear is truly different, hell half the time the women's gear has better colors when the mens line up shifts towards 'extreme' reds or greens the women's tend to be more subdued and better toned for my woodland tastes.

That fact is handy for members of both sexes.
Don't look at the Exos/Eja or Atmos/Aura as mens or womens S/M/L.
Look at them as the same pack in six different sizes.
What matters most is fit, and being willing to look at the full line up of a given pack can be very handy if you're hard to fit.
And if you're hard to fit you should probably shop in person regardless.

And for those on a budget; women's gear is more readily found on clearance. I have used a dozen different women's sleeping bags and products over the years.
In fact the women's neo-air is better than the unisex for many applications.
So long as you are not compressing the fill- bags tend to be overfilled and cut well in women's models... which gets you more bang for your buck as a male on top of it.
Craftsmanship may be better at times too as women in general pay better attention and the bag design itself is more complicated (requiring better seamsters to sew it).

DuneElliot
07-19-2018, 13:44
Like many long distance hikers- you got no ass. That long lean body type is a bit of nightmare to fit overall really.

My ass is real purdy and quite voluminous with just the right amount of mass to form a sweet shelf for my pack.
For me- the butt bumper (lumbar pad) works great when worn a little lower than REI would like you to wear it and I don't need much of a hip belt as my ass does most of the work.
For those of you with no ass- you hit the nail on the head... what you need is less contoured/bulky padding and more lightly padded surface area. More like an ace bandage than a belt.
Primarily that's why folks are not liking the minimal little wings on something like the Levity... there isn't enough surface area to provide a solid connection of hip belt to non-existent hips and ass common among LD hikers of both sexes.
By contrast though... that oversized/overpadded hip belt can create enough surface area when worn a size too big and cranked down slightly.


I assume you are talking to me here...lol. Decent ass for my frame, but yeah, not much to me in general. Thank God I'm a woman as without the hips I'd have nothing for the pack rest on! How do guys do it?

The Aura in medium frame is perfect for me...right up until the hip belt doesn't fit. I have to move the adjustable wings in all the way until the buckles are almost hidden. I'm an awkward fit, like you said...long and lean with a torso that is long compared to my height (19" and 5'5 and 115#). I much prefer the longer belt that gives me more padding further around my waist which is why I wear a medium belt on my Arc Haul vs the small which technically should fit....again, also because I wear it lower than the "correct" place.

The wings on the Levity and the new Exos were not fun, especially when the Exos is still supposed to be capable of carrying 30lbs. I thought the belt on the new Exos had less support than the Arc Haul and just was NOT comfortable...plus whose bright (read idiotic) idea was it to remove the hip belt pockets?

Just Bill
07-19-2018, 14:22
I assume you are talking to me here...lol. Decent ass for my frame, but yeah, not much to me in general. Thank God I'm a woman as without the hips I'd have nothing for the pack rest on! How do guys do it?

The Aura in medium frame is perfect for me...right up until the hip belt doesn't fit. I have to move the adjustable wings in all the way until the buckles are almost hidden. I'm an awkward fit, like you said...long and lean with a torso that is long compared to my height (19" and 5'5 and 115#). I much prefer the longer belt that gives me more padding further around my waist which is why I wear a medium belt on my Arc Haul vs the small which technically should fit....again, also because I wear it lower than the "correct" place.

The wings on the Levity and the new Exos were not fun, especially when the Exos is still supposed to be capable of carrying 30lbs. I thought the belt on the new Exos had less support than the Arc Haul and just was NOT comfortable...plus whose bright (read idiotic) idea was it to remove the hip belt pockets?
Joe makes the perfect no hip or ass LD hiker posterboy... one reason I think so many like his pack fit.
The other thing Joe and a few others get right too is selling separate hip belts... while there are some roughly standard proportions torso length and hip belt are not really two measurements that work together well in a standard s/m/l format.

Young men fit well in women's packs because of the short torso.
Tall women with lean builds fit well in men's packs...so worth a try when you get a chance just to see.

Don't quote me as there were many 2018 changes that didn't make a ton of sense... but often men's hipbelts don't wrap as far forward as women's styles.

So you may have luck on that front as well (or find a better fit in the men's small hipbelt while maintaining the longer torso you need).

FWIW- my wife is basically your size with a shorter torso but a bit hippy (she's 119lbs so guess there's the extra 4lbs, lol).
Despite my UL desires I couldn't get her to go for anything but the Aura (AG style).
Course she has separated abs (DR) from bearing my filthy spawn... so wasn't worth messing around with anything less when you got no abs to support your core.


A tip for fellas with a belly too ;)
Having your own internal frame (ab muscles) is often a key component to frameless or UL frame pack working well for you.

DuneElliot
07-19-2018, 14:33
Joe makes the perfect no hip or ass LD hiker posterboy... one reason I think so many like his pack fit.
The other thing Joe and a few others get right too is selling separate hip belts... while there are some roughly standard proportions torso length and hip belt are not really two measurements that work together well in a standard s/m/l format.

Young men fit well in women's packs because of the short torso.
Tall women with lean builds fit well in men's packs...so worth a try when you get a chance just to see.

Don't quote me as there were many 2018 changes that didn't make a ton of sense... but often men's hipbelts don't wrap as far forward as women's styles.

So you may have luck on that front as well (or find a better fit in the men's small hipbelt while maintaining the longer torso you need).

FWIW- my wife is basically your size with a shorter torso but a bit hippy (she's 119lbs so guess there's the extra 4lbs, lol).
Despite my UL desires I couldn't get her to go for anything but the Aura (AG style).
Course she has separated abs (DR) from bearing my filthy spawn... so wasn't worth messing around with anything less when you got no abs to support your core.

A tip for fellas with a belly too ;)
Having your own internal frame (ab muscles) is often a key component to frameless or UL frame pack working well for you.

I tried the men's version...no joy as the belt was actually longer. My Exos in the unisex medium fits great though. I made the women's version work fine...just have to bury the buckles. I thought about adding some yoga mat padding in between the mesh and the pockets if I can wiggle my hand in there but haven't needed to do that yet...might need to rethink it if I lose any more weight (which I am apt to do on any multi-day hike).

Just Bill
07-19-2018, 14:54
Well so much fer that theory then... been a year since we fitted my wife.
Sounds like the 2018 series is nobodies friend and they don ruint em all.

QuietStorm
07-19-2018, 16:55
Just sold my arc haul zip after a few hundred miles on it. I usually carried between 20-25 lbs over 2-5 days at a time. The short torso was a tad too small, even with the adjustments I could make, causing discomfort after about 8-10 hours hiking. The pack is also a bit fussy. I canít speak to its longevity since I only owned it for 4 months. Nothing broke, snapped or tore. It was in excellent condition. Iíve gone back to a Granite Gear X60, which I snagged from Massdrop.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

cmoulder
07-20-2018, 06:03
Visual analogy of an Arc Haul loaded with 40 lbs:

https://static2.3birdsmarketing.com/Clients/LEITHVOLKSWAGEN/blog_tow-a-trailer.jpg

Sure, you can do it, but they ain't really made for it. :-?

George
07-20-2018, 09:18
they must not have 19.95 home depot truck rentals

soumodeler
07-20-2018, 10:49
Visual analogy of an Arc Haul loaded with 40 lbs:

https://static2.3birdsmarketing.com/Clients/LEITHVOLKSWAGEN/blog_tow-a-trailer.jpg

Sure, you can do it, but they ain't really made for it. :-?

You have won the internet for today.

That is perfect!

capehiker
07-20-2018, 11:02
That pic is perfect and spot on. Lol.

DuneElliot
07-20-2018, 11:26
I'm in love with that car!

Dogwood
07-20-2018, 15:32
Getting into myself. JB actually the ZP Arc Blast or Arc Haul don't fit well into my hiking style, hiking numbers, diversity of hikes(off trail routes), and durability, wt, and budget goals 85-90% of the time. I've only had two Arc Blasts(one current design). With the $375 price tag(the way I set mine up w/ added on hip belts) with the volume being similar the wt is actually more than the ULA CDT(the way I strip mine) which is used 50% of my hikes. Even if adding in a pack liner that only adds under 2 oz so I'm now at or very slightly less wt than an Arc Blast pack wt....and I'm not dropping anywhere near $375 do re mi. I get 5000 sometimes a bit more off and on trail miles on one ULA CDT. That includes abrasive canyoneering which I wouldn't regularly do with a ZP or even HMG pack in their standard DC wts. I DO NOT get that diversity and amount of usage from a ZP Arc Blast. Pack failure on remote non highly maintained single track is not acceptable. The $375 cha change comes around too often for my tastes. At those pack prices I curtail usage of ZP packs for my goals. Like you said, I roll my savings into funding hikes NOT buying the currently most popular "UL" gear! Most times I don't desire a frame. That's just something else that can go wrong(especially a ZP pack) and add wt. The MLD Burn being used about 25-30% of the time. IMHO if the ULA CDT at only $145 fits your style and abilities it's one of the best UL pack purchases available considering the stratospheric price tags of Dyneema Composite sacks like HMG and ZP. I'd say the same for several other non DC UL packs from GG, etc. I dont see either of those companies(ZP or HMG) packs all that ultra light for maintained single track like the AT or PCT anyhow in how I or most others trick them out. What I like most about the Arc Blast and Haul is the airflow on the back and the ability to have a frame if your kit wt and volume and personal physicality demand it. The highly WR seam taped quality is nice but there are ways to tweak that in with a pack made of Robic or DX with no appreciable wt gain. SO where are the great advantages? ZP Logo? DC? Pushing a ULer' hubris? Showing how much you can shop, spend, or follow the "UL" online crowd chitchatting it up?


As said earlier by Starchild base wts of 22 lbs can lead into trouble eventually overtaxing the wt specs and intended design of the Arc Blast and Haul if one is not accustomed to reducing consumable wts on 5day + trips which is HIGHLY likely considering the OP is sharing a 22 lb base wt. Is that a customary base wt for the OP? Most PCT and CDT Thrus using a Arc Blast have base wts much lower. AND, are more UL evolved. I would be careful in considering load limits for either pack. i'd take ZP's specs to read the Arc Blast CAN haul UP TO 35 lbs. The Arc Haul specs to be read as CAN haul UP TO 40 lbs. Just because a UL manufacturer says something can be done doesnt mean it should be done all the time by all people. AS JB said earlier, and to which I'd say is a sound rec, dont max out the wt specs of the Blast or Haul 80% of the time. It'll be tougher on the pack and most folks bods if you do!


Now, can the Arc haul handle 35-40 lbs? Sure. For how long? I dont know. For each person maxing out the specs? I dont know.