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Arc Blast 52L vs. 60L: quick question
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David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Arc Blast 52L vs. 60L: quick question on 06/21/2014 10:20:11 MDT Print View

For those who have tried both, what is the main difference in the volume? Is it in the height or in the interior width/depth, or both?

Do you feel that the 52L suffices for most trips? Large enough for thru-hiking?

52l on 06/21/2014 12:47:32 MDT Print View

well, that obviously depends on a person and their gear.

I could comfortably thru hike with the 52L, even with a #$%^ing bear can. Im using mine on the JMT in a couple weeks.

For a deep winter trip, it would likely be too small with any significant amount of food.

Edited by livingontheroad on 06/21/2014 12:49:34 MDT.

Bob Moulder
(bobmny10562) - M

Locale: Westchester County, NY
Re: Arc Blast 52L vs. 60L: quick question on 06/21/2014 13:13:30 MDT Print View

I have not used both, but I have used the 52L in shoulder-season weather (down to freezing) and there was more than enough room for extra clothing, puffies, and food for perhaps 5 days (although I did only 2-night/3-day one time, with plenty of extra room in the pack). YMMV greatly, but I think it can suffice for gear/food/fuel in temps down to about 20, although next winter will be my first chance to test this. For late spring/summer/fall - at least in these parts - I could get by quite easily with a 45L for 4-5 nights.

However, all highly subjective speculation depending upon your personal gear list and selection of consumables, water-carry requirements, etc...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Arc Blast 52L vs. 60L: quick question on 06/21/2014 13:17:55 MDT Print View

"Large enough for thru-hiking?"

That is awfully difficult to answer.

About four days ago, I was leaving a trailhead by car after my backpack trip. This was fairly near the Pacific Crest Trail, so lots of thru-hikers were around. Two of them had their thumbs out for a ride to town. I felt in a good mood, so I picked up these two guys. Geez, their packs were large and heavy! One guy's pack had to weigh fifty pounds, and the other guy's pack must have gone sixty. If my pack was that big, I would have been looking to get off the trail myself.

It seems that the most successful thru-hikers have their base weight down around ten pounds, plus or minus. Then add in the consumables weight, and that will depend on the number of days that you go between resupply stops. By successful, I mean that these people go long distances without injuring themselves, and the total load is low enough that they enjoy the trip. So, you see lots of them out on the trail carrying a total load of twenty to twenty-five pounds.

Personally, I own a 52 liter backpack, and it works for me. I thought that it was perhaps one size too large, but now I am thinking that it is OK. Having that extra 5-10 liters of capacity doesn't seem to bother me at all, and sometimes it becomes handy. Some others take the wrong approach. They can get all of their stuff into 45 liters, but then they keep adding stuff to fill up the 52 liter volume. On the other hand, if you have a 52 liter backpack and you have 60 liters worth of stuff, it makes a problem. You end up with stuff hanging off the back and sides, and that tends to drop off and be lost.

For volume, I don't think in metric liters. I think in cubic inches. My rule of thumb is that every thousand cubic inches of volume equates to ten pounds of load. So, a 3000 cubic inch backpack would add up to 30 pounds.

One liter is about 61 cubic inches of volume.

The math exercise is left to the student.


Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Arc Blast 52L vs. 60L: quick question on 06/21/2014 14:03:26 MDT Print View

"Personally, I own a 52 liter backpack, and it works for me."

I'm kind of coming around to this view, but only in the last few months. Though for any lesser trip (week or less) there would not be an issue, I have 2 packs that are about 42L (one of which is an arcblast), and they fit all my stuff with nothing hanging off the back including a Weekender bear can, but only just, as I feel nervous stuffing an UL pack like a blunderbuss. Anything extra, like more food than can fit in the can, and at the very least the shelter gets hung on the outside. For me the 52L might have been the "one-extra sized" pack I should have gotten. At that price, and for minimal weight difference, this is a lot of avoided playing with the sliding block puzzle that a pack that fits your stuff "perfectly" can become.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Arc Blast 52L vs. 60L: quick question on 06/21/2014 14:24:30 MDT Print View

One complicating factor is that Zpacks lists the volume of the pack based on the main compartment plus the outboard pockets. I can figure out the volume of the main compartment, but the outboard pockets are pretty tricky, especially the mesh pocket.

I still need to fill up my pack with pingpong balls or plastic peanuts to figure out what I really have.

One week ago, I had my 52 liter pack, and it would have been more than roomy enough for my trip. Then I had to fit in a monster sleeping bag that had not been planned, and it filled up half of the volume. So, suddenly I needed every bit of the 52 liters plus a little more.


pack weights on 06/21/2014 16:08:29 MDT Print View

Id say the average thru hiker on the AT carries about 15 lbs baseweight, and a 55-65L pack, but thats only the main bag.

After a few months, they carry A LOT of food, 2+ lb per day because they are wasting away, so food volume for 3-5 days at a time is needed.

Very few are UL. I can count the other UL hikers I encountered personally on the AT on one hand. Without raising any fingers. I heard of some, I know there are there, but there really are not common.

Edited by livingontheroad on 06/21/2014 16:09:19 MDT.

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

All of the above on 06/21/2014 17:52:12 MDT Print View

I pretty much agree with all that has been said.

Ultimately it's up to you to decide based on how packable your gear is, and how much food / bear can etc. type stuff you plan on wanting to take.

I used an MLD Burn (2,300ci) for my AT thru-hike carrying around 18 lbs or less on average, and I used a 1st gen Arc Blast 52L for my PCT thru-hike carrying at most 34 lbs during my Kennedy Meadows to Kearsage Pass portion of the Sierra's. It barely fit my Bearikade weekender (rubbed through the backpack and required me to send it out to Zpacks mid-hike to have it fixed), the rest of the hike, some 2,400 miles the 52Liter volume was plenty (even with 4-6 days of food on a regular basis.

I'd say if in doubt about the 45 or 52L Arc Blast -- I'd get the 52L.

If in doubt about the 52L or the 60L Arc Blast -- get the 60L. It really won't weight much, and you'll be have a little wiggle room for that unexpected box of wine, or subway sandwich !

(JRinGeorgia) - F
re: Arc Blast 52L vs. 60L on 06/21/2014 18:25:53 MDT Print View

To your first question, the difference is in the front-to-back depth. As per the Zpacks website the two models are the same height and width:

52L = 6.5" x 12.5" x 30" (16.5 cm x 31.8 cm x 76 cm)

60L = 7.5" x 12.5" x 30" (19 cm x 31.8 cm x 76 cm)

alan genser
(alan) - F

Locale: NE
easier to pack on 06/21/2014 19:21:05 MDT Print View

my next pack is likely to be an arc blast, and i was thinking 52l.

but, on the trip i just came back from, it occurred to me how much easier to pack a larger bag would be. it'd be nice to not have to worry about getting everything fit just right when breaking camp in the morning, for a pretty measly weight penalty with the larger arc blast.

Bob Moulder
(bobmny10562) - M

Locale: Westchester County, NY
Re: easier to pack on 06/21/2014 19:30:16 MDT Print View

When the difference is 14 grams, it isn't such an agonizing decision.

tom lakner
(lakneremu) - MLife

Locale: midwest
Re: easier to pack on 06/21/2014 21:42:18 MDT Print View

Right on Bob
Such strange agonizing. The 60 cinches down nicely as it the food goes.I forget that you're dealing with bear canisters also. But why wouldn't you get the larger with such minimal weight difference?

Brian Mix
(Aggro) - MLife

Locale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
Arc 52 on 06/21/2014 22:10:14 MDT Print View

I've been using the 52L Arc Blast exclusively for a while now. It will haul my winter load, It will haul my summer load with ample room leftover and miraculously I am able to fit every thing necessary for my JMT hike into it as well, albeit with zero room left over. My longest stretch planned without resupply will be 7 days from MTR to WP which for me is over 15 lbs of food. The day I leave MTR won't be fun but I require alot of food/calories.

ed hyatt
(edhyatt) - MLife

Locale: The North
Arc Slim on 06/22/2014 00:31:11 MDT Print View

Interesting... I was considering the above for the PCT next season.

Hiked the CT last year with a 33 litre Talon, carrying 6 days food at one point. So the Slim seems about right capacity-wise..?

Bob Moulder
(bobmny10562) - M

Locale: Westchester County, NY
Re: Re: easier to pack on 06/22/2014 04:56:10 MDT Print View

Tom, I already have and am happy with the 52 thus far, although I have never had it packed with 7 days' worth of food. Some day I am going to load 25 lbs into the pack just to see how it carries. Right now, my carried weight is about 14 lbs, including consumables, camera, tripod, 20 oz water and bear spray (yes, we have black bears, and they're roaming around the mountain laurel and rhododendron patches).

The OP is the one making the decision and based upon your input it seems you're quite happy with the 60 for volume when thru-hiking.

But I agree, the way the top rolls down you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a 45, 52 and 60 when carrying a smaller load.