I number of updates to the Paradox system/line have gone live since I wrote the article.
I got my hands on the improved harness last week. It addresses all the concerns I had. The inner face is lined with lighter 3D mesh, and the foam is more flexible.
An UL frame made of lighter tubing is available in all configurations. I have not used this. Kevin Timm with Paradox says it can be 3+ ounces lighter (30% or so) and doesn't really give up any functional durability.
They've also been doing custom bags in a variety of configurations and fabrics, including hybrid cuben.
Paradox also just came out with a version they're calling the Unaweep. It integrates the frame into the bag, making the whole deal simpler and saves quite a bit of weight. As the weight breakdown table in the article shows, this is the one obvious area to do so. According to Kevin, a 4800 Unaweep with the UL 26 inch tall frame, done in VX-07, is a hair over 2.5 pounds.
Conversations with Kevin got me thinking about the possibilities of this integrated frame, and this past week I built one for myself. It's not perfect, but it is quite a bit smaller and tighter than the pack I tested for the article. In 1000 denier cordura (what I had on hand), the 24 inch full strength frame, and the stock harness and hipbelt in comes in under 3 pounds. This for a ~4000 cubic inch pack. I'll be taking it to the Grand Canyon next week.
What drove that decision was the hipbelt. It only took a half mile of a training hike to be reminded how, for me, the Paradox belt absolutely blows everything else out of the water. For light loads (sub 35 pounds) I can get a traditional internal belt, stay, and lumbar pad rig to work just fine. Just fine meaning I can carry it 10 hours a day for a week and never think about my pack. For weights above that, the Paradox is just way better than anything else. Which makes taking it on this upcoming trip an easy choice.