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zpacks Arc Blast vs Blast? New packs?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
zpacks Arc Blast vs Blast? New packs? on 06/03/2013 16:07:14 MDT Print View

So I'm considering geting an Arc Blast zpack and noticed they recently changed their website.

I had wrote down that the Zpack Blast was 244g ..but now they have the Blast at 369g. I mean it's only 120g more but what happened?

Since all the packs are hand made they're probably just adding some more default options.

There's also the Arc Blast which comes in at 465g. this pack has a frame to keep the pack off your back.

I sleep in a hammock so I don't have any padding I can use to line the inside of the pack. I was *thinking* of getting the pack with the frame but then again my entire pack is only 13-15lbs with food for a week.

So should I get the one with the frame and suck up the extra weight to prevent my back from getting poked by stuff or should I go with the lighter weight one and risk it...

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: zpacks Arc Blast vs Blast? New packs? on 06/03/2013 16:14:57 MDT Print View

Looking at the site more... it seems they bumped up strength (and weight) of the material. Hm..

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: zpacks Arc Blast vs Blast? New packs? on 06/03/2013 16:20:34 MDT Print View

You will see on the webpage for the Arc Blast this sentence:

"New! The frame now has two horizontal support bars instead of one, for more stability."

And on this photo:

The top horizontal cross bar is new an was not on the previous version, which only has one at the middle of your back. I have the previous version without this top horizontal bar. I have not seen the need for it, as there seems to be adequate lateral stability without it. But I am sure that Joe tested this and found that the added structural rigidity was worth the weight. I am guessing that with heavier loads it helps. It might also help load lifter straps actually do something. But I am just guessing. As usual, the Joe will surely be happy to answer any questions with care and timeliness. If you do get a response from him, please post it here, as I am sure many, including me, are curious as to the origins of the design change.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Re: zpacks Arc Blast vs Blast? New packs? on 06/03/2013 16:23:18 MDT Print View

and it looks like you can make the Zero into the old blast by adding in the options you want:

I got it down to 228g... I think I could hit a 6.5lb pack this year :)

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
... on 06/03/2013 16:28:07 MDT Print View

The biggest weight difference is that the 2.92oz hybrid fabric is now the default for the Blast.

I tried a Blast vs my Arc Blast at 15lbs. The Blast was comfortable but I vastly preferred the feel and carry of the Arc Blast. It felt considerably lighter on the back, well worth the few extra ounces. I use my Zero in 10-12 pound range and the Arc past that.

If I were you I would probably be choosing between a modified Zero and an Arc Blast.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
new on 06/03/2013 19:12:12 MDT Print View

I'm not a fan of Joe's website changes, or the pictures and the price increases.

op I would definitely get the arc blast, it's a very sweet pack.if I didn't have a small hybrid zero already and I wanted more space for longer hikes and more weight I wouldn't hesitate getting the arc.

Edited by M.L on 06/03/2013 19:27:45 MDT.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Love the Orange Cuban on 06/03/2013 19:23:24 MDT Print View

I love the Orange Hybrid Cuban. I keep lusting after this pack as a replacement for my circuit which is really too big for my needs. But I keep telling myself I should spend $300 on plane tickets instead of a pack that won't really change how I experience wilderness. Gear Lust might win out.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Heavier fabric on 06/03/2013 19:26:46 MDT Print View

Based on the cuben zpack packs that I saw on the PCT, I would suggest that Joe probably did the right thing in beefing them up. Unless you really view gear as being disposable and are willing to carry duct tape.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Heavier fabric on 06/03/2013 19:48:51 MDT Print View

It's SO hard to make these decisions. On one hand the light weight is appealing but if you go TOO light you feel pain.

I'm actually going with a full length under quilt now (more weight from my 3/4 length) as I tend to run cold in my feet.

This should be a BIG upgrade for me and I think I will feel much better.

This is going to be a TOUGH decisions. Of course I love my REI Flash 45 and the Arc Blast seems more on par with it.

It's DEF going to be nice to have a >45L pack. The 36L in my GG Kumo is just too small.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Love the Orange Cuban on 06/04/2013 02:03:12 MDT Print View

Hey, just going to jump in on this real quick...

I have bought probably well over a dozen zpacks backpacks the last few years ranging in all sizes and material.

I have purchased two of the Arc Blast backpacks and I would say that they are probably the best mid-weight backpack on the market right now.

There was a slight increase in weight due to structural changes of the backpack. This change was made on May 27 2013. Along with the structural change came the announcement that they were changing the compression system, and producing the Arc Blast in new colors of the Hybrid Cuben Fiber being produced by Cuben Tech. Check out my post on facebook for further details.

One of the comments on that post is regarding the structural change and indicates the possibility that the secondary horizontal support bar was added to reduce "incidental twisting of the arc frame, which may occur when the top is pulled in and closed up at times when the pack is not fully loaded". I have not confirmed this with ZPacks. I have spent a bit of time with my backpack trying to reproduce this and I am just not seeing what that issue is, but that is not to discount that other hikers may be having that problem.

Oh, and I placed an order the other day for an all orange ZPacks Zero X-Small. Going to be so freaking fun to have a 1,000 cu in (16L) backpack in all orange!! I actually think that this orange cuben fiber could be a very viable option for those of you who do S&R or those who do a lot of winter time hiking. Me... I just like the idea of having some crazy orange backpack LOL

+John Abela

Troy Hawkins
(ollyisk) - F - MLife

Locale: Germany
re: on 06/04/2013 09:51:14 MDT Print View


Of course only a few weeks after I order the Arc Blast, a prettier, newer version is released. Have to think about what to do...I actually paid more for my bag, all things equal, than the new bag because I had the seams taped, which is now standard.

Anyone interested in an older version? ;)

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: re: on 06/04/2013 10:29:13 MDT Print View

Troy, if your order is still pending just send an email to them and ask if you can make the swap up to the newer version. My guess is that they would actually prefer to do so, as it means their backpack builders do not have to break out the older template.

Troy Hawkins
(ollyisk) - F - MLife

Locale: Germany
re on 06/04/2013 14:59:59 MDT Print View

I actually just received shipping confirmation yesterday!

I guess I could always return it. I'll check it out first, maybe it's just fine the way it is :)

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: re: on 06/04/2013 15:49:49 MDT Print View

Does anyone think it would be worth sending an older version back to have its seems taped? I know, everyone will respond saying, "it depends on the conditions you will be hiking in." I live in PNW, so chance of some hiking in the rain is high.

I'm assuming ZPacks will do this for a reasonable fee and that the weight penalty will be small (less than an ounce?)

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: re: on 06/04/2013 16:12:36 MDT Print View

"Does anyone think it would be worth sending an older version back to have its seems taped? I know, everyone will respond saying, "it depends on the conditions you will be hiking in." I live in PNW, so chance of some hiking in the rain is high."

Or just tape them yourself. It's super easy and zpacks has the single sided tape.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Re: Re: re: on 06/04/2013 16:25:58 MDT Print View

Agree, but I am lazy when it comes to experimenting with my more expensive gear, having no experience using this tape. Could I do it. Yes. Would it be pretty. Probably not.

I am designing a new homemade wood fired stove, but failure there has no real cost, as I am making it from completely from materials from the hardware store.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Positive comment on 06/04/2013 18:22:49 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input John. I've only used my Arc Blast a couple times with o/n loads on the light side. Loving the compactness (smallest pack I've ever had) and light weight, making me use lighter gear all around. I'm tempted now to get a smaller pack for even lighter trips where I will bring more bp oriented stoves instead of oldies from my collection. I already have to roll the top down quite a bit, proving a canister will fit with a weeks worth of food on vacation trips.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Love the Orange Cuban on 06/06/2013 02:55:52 MDT Print View

I wanted a new pack in the 45-50L range for longer hikes that would be lighter than my current GoLite 50L 2011 Women's Pinnacle. I really love this pack, but it weighs 2 lbs.

I saw the new Arc Blast at the PCT Kick-off. I had been eyeing it for awhile, but i knew I would need custom changes to get the fit right so I waited until Kick-off to check it out. Joe and Matt helped me fit the pack, which was good to get the size right for the pack, torso length and hip belt as well as decrease the shoulder strap width and adjust the amount of "S" curve. They also showed me how to adjust the frame to have more or less "arc." I like that it's adjustible to help arrange pack contents and even fit a small bear can in the lower section.

This is what I like about ZPacks that personally works well for my needs. They are still small enough to do custom work as opposed to other "cottage" guys that are really now small manufacturers and who can't do anything custom.

I also ordered the new cuben orange. I am generally partial to black or dark colors, but my former SAR experience won out and I figured one "international orange" piece of gear would be useful.

Even with load lifters, my new Arc Blast will still be less than 1 lb for about 46L. So I'm happy. I think it would be hard to get this size pack weigh any less and still be able to comfortably carry up to 30 lbs. I have done a good job of getting my base weight down, but there will always be those times when fresh resupply and long waterless stretches will bump my pack weight up over 25 lbs. The Blast is advertised to carry comfortably at 20lbs. For short hikes, that may be okay, but I already have lighter, smaller packs for that.

I am scheduled to get it at the end of June. I'll post a review when I get to use it.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Love the Orange Cuban on 06/06/2013 06:12:53 MDT Print View

"Even with load lifters, my new Arc Blast will still be less than 1 lb for about 46L. So I'm happy. I think it would be hard to get this size pack weigh any less and still be able to comfortably carry up to 30 lbs."

Well said Susan! There is little reason for anyone subscribing to ultralight principles to be carrying more pack then they need. One pound is THE magic number for an ultrlight hiker.

bayden cline
(pyro_) - F

Locale: Ontario Canada
Ordered mine on 06/06/2013 07:17:09 MDT Print View

Just ordered mine last night with some customizations. Joe was great to work with and fast to respond. Can't wait to get it and try it out