Straight off the bat (and I know I have been praising Zpacks quite a bit and no I don’t work for them), but my Arc Blast Backpack is the best backpack I have owned and I rate this as a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The only comment I have: the Australian scrub is hard on the mesh panel. After the first backpacking trip I had two holes in it.
I saw in an earlier video review that someone else had the same issue and Zpacks modified the netting and put on a closed pocket, but when I ordered they weren’t doing customisations at that time – was disappointed but definitely wasn’t a deal breaker and as you can see from the photos, a bit of cotton repair works well. 👍🏼
Again as mentioned in other Zpacks gear talks, due to the ability to pick and choose sizes and additions, weight is subjective.
I got the 55 Litre Arc Blast, torso height medium, and belt length large, I also got the stick on key zip pouch, V-top strap and trekking pole holders.
Advertised Weight: 638 g
Actual Weight 640 g
Cost: $488.88 AUD
This backpack is exceptionally light, yet feels really strong and tuff. I was sold on this backpacked mainly for one reason-that it comes as a base backpack that you then build on. What I mean by this is, all pouches, straps and extra padding do not come as standard features, rather they are optional extras that help you control the look and weight of the backpack.
Zpacks patented ‘Flexed Arc’ frame creates an air gap against your back for a super comfortable fit has come in very handy and not just to keep my back cool.
I was along a track that came to a hand over hand rocky ascent to the summit, the winds picked up to 25km an hour – I braced myself waiting for that feeling of being pushed off the side of the mountain (because of the solid block like nature of the backpack, but the gap created by the curve of the frame was fantastic! The wind went right through the gap and I felt totally safe and secure.
However when it comes to having the Berikade Expedition bear canister in the backpack, I have to be careful to make sure it is well centred, otherwise it hampers the effectiveness of the flexed arc. In the picture below the canister is sitting on my sleeping bag and clothes which I have in a Sea to Summit compression sack. I don’t have anything else that goes inside the pack – so works well.
Being able to adjust the flexed arc and the shoulder straps vertical position on the backpack along with the dual belt webbing gives me full control over weight distribution. Another feature that sold me was the ability to swap out the waist belt should I lose or gain weight.
This video by Joe Valesko of Zpacks demonstrates all these features https://youtu.be/PDkTvpeDL4I
I ordered the key pouch which is an excellent size to store my passport, cards etc in. I ended up buying another one that I attached to the chest strap as it is a perfect size to hold my iPhone 7 Plus.
As I mentioned I have the Berikade Expedition bear canister, which I had intended on carrying on the outside of the pack, hence the added V-top strap. This did not work for me at all! Worked okay empty but when full, the weight threw off the balance. So I carry it standing up in the backpack and am still able to roll down the top sufficiently to keep water out.
The two side pockets are generous and fit my 1 L platypus bottles along with other bits and pieces perfectly. The angle of the pockets make it very easy to get the water in and out of without having to take the backpack off.
So all in all another Zpacks product I would highly recommend as a great gear investment. 😊