Here's some stuff I found.
"I recently completed the Sierra High Route using the Arc Blast. Here are my impressions of the pack.
This was the updated pack with 2 horizontal stays & taped seams.
I added 2 hip pockets and the total weight came in just under 18oz. My starting pack weight was about 24lbs without water - I generally carry very little water in the Sierra since there is good water readily available everywhere. This was with 6 days of food to make it to the resupply at Reds Meadow. I tend to be pretty weak in the core and upper body, so wanted to distribute as much weight as possible to the hips/legs. The pack did this extremely well, and I had no problems with the weight, even on the 6000' climb the first day with the heavy pack. As pack weight dropped it became so comfortable that I barely noticed it. This was extremely important for efficient travel on the SHR where there is TONS of rock hopping. You want a light pack that carries exceptionally well and doesn't throw off your balance, and the Arc Blast was just that.
The "arc" feature never worked for me.
[THIS WAS A DEFECT IN DESIGN, NOW SUPPOSEDLY FIXED.]
Tensioning the arc with those tiny cords is hard, and once I got it tensioned as per spec the cord locks would invariably pop loose after a short time. Also, I noticed that when it was in "arc" mode there were uncomfortable pressure points where the stays pressed into my hips. Fortunately, I found that the arc was entirely unnecessary and the pack was completely comfortable without it. I added a thin, 0.5oz piece of foam between my bear can and my back to ensure a comfortable carry, but I'm not sure if this was really needed.
Hip and shoulder belts are very comfortable. I'd prefer if Joe used a wider (2") webbing to connect the shoulder strap to the pack, as the thinner (1.5") webbing would invariable twist when pulling on the second should strap. Not a big deal, but I think easily fixed without adding hardly any weight. With my old pack I would always get some chafing on top of my shoulders in the first couple days of a long hike, but that didn't happen with this pack, thankfully.
The hip pockets are huge, which I like. I carried all food for the day in one pocket, and my camera & other ditties in the other pocket.
The closures are a bit awkward and hard to close with one hand, which constantly annoyed me, but isn't really a big deal.
I love that the pack is completely waterproof (with taped seams). Means that I don't have to mess with a pack cover or liner. It didn't rain on the SHR, but I did use the pack in rain in Colo prior to this trip.
The material seems quite durable. The SHR is brutal on gear (and skin), but I had no problems there.
That's pretty much it. I love this pack & hope to get many trips with it.
It is so much more comfortable (and lighter) than my old, frameless Jam2. If anyone has questions I'd be happy to try to answer from my experience. I hope to put up an SHR TR later this month.
So, I've spent approximately 8 nights/9 days worth of hiking with my Arc Blast now.
I find it very comfortable. I actually feel the pack sitting better on my hips, and there is nothing like a bit of breeze wafting through and over the mesh panel, cooling off my back....yep...I can feel it.
I treat the mesh kindly, as with all of my gear, and find it more than durable for my uses. –
I have my shell gear, Steripen setup, fuel and PLB in the front mesh pocket...and that is it.
I don't notice any discomfort or imbalance from the spacing/mesh panel. I also have an Osprey Talon and another locally made trampoline style pack, so am used to this feeling anyways.
The hybrid material is ace too....very durable, and nice to work with.
I have found myself being more attentive to my packing style though...which is a good thing. I have reduced the number of
dry bags down to 3..
using the zpacks pack liner for my s/bag (zpacks -7 bag), spare clothes, mat (NeoAir) & pillow (OR UL Pillow).
The top dry bag is Joe's large rectangular cuben fiber dry bag (still to arrive), however similar sized dry bag test runs allows me to put my ditty bag, food and condiments (zip locked), Eddie Bauer down jacket , and Evernew 600 with Starlyte set up quite easily...
my Hexamid Solo stays in its own cuben dry bag for the sake of avoiding moisture getting through the rest of the bag. After all of this I still have some room to cinch up the side straps.
The reason why I thought it necessary to paint this picture is because
the arched poles have a slight tendency to pull inwards at the top if I pack the bottom out and neglect to pack out the top.....causing the top to collapse in.
This is expected though, and happens on packs...it's just more accentuated with the arched poles. This is easily remedied however, simply by packing my bag correctly in the first place!!
As for the load lifters...I have them on my pack, and find them a waste of time. I use them a lot on other packs that I have, but the UL nature of this pack and subsequent contents kinda renders the use of load lifters useless...for me that is.
I also grabbed a pair of both the shoulder pouches and hipbelt pouches...and I must say they finish the pack off really well.
The shoulder pouches hold my GPS and sunnies etc.,
with the hipbelt pouches looking after snacks, gloves etc.
Really happy with this set up.
Although, I do reaaaally like the white. If anyone wants to swap for an Olive Drab (or work out a deal etc.) for a white let me know!! I know that is superficial, but hey, the white is sexy ;-)
Edited by jase on 11/01/2012 04:35:55 MDT.