Zpacks Arc Haul
My thoughts on this pack are the complete opposite of one of the previous reviewers. I love this pack. Great waist belt and weight transfer, very comfortable, highly water resistant.
- Adjustable arc frame allows for excellent weight transfer
- Highly water resistant
- Durable Dyneema Gridstop fabric
I ordered this pack from Z-Packs on a Wednesday and received it 10 days later. I live in Canada and for an international shipment this was very fast. So far I have taken the pack fully loaded with approximately 35 lbs on some overnight and weekend hiking trips and multiple day hikes.
The waist belt has two tightening straps one high and one low as well as an adjustable arc frame made with carbon fiber stays that keep any pointy objects off you back and allow air flow keeping you cooler. The frame and hip belt with it's high and low straps also ensure the weight is transferred to your hips.
The shoulder straps are also completely adjustable for different torso lengths and are equipped with load lifters. There are compression straps on each side to secure your gear. In my experience I found the pack super comfortable and the load extremely stable. There are load straps on the bottom and top for securing extra gear or a sleep pad.
The main body of the pack is 49 L with a Velcro and a roll top closure that keeps the rain at bay, side water bottle pockets are 2.5 L each and will accommodate two 1 L smart water bottles each, the back mesh pocket is 8 L and large enough for my rain gear, sit pad, tyvek ground sheet, fuel bottle, with room to spare for any wet clothing or my tarp. I ordered the optional hip belt pockets, they are 1 liter each, and able to hold quite a bit, including my camera, snacks, compass and phone.
The pack is completely seam sealed and is highly water resistant but not waterproof. I was caught in a torrential downpour that lasted over three hours with rain coming at me from all angles with wind gusts of 25 mph and found approximately two dozen drops of water in the bottom of the pack after unloading and no water penetration in the hip belt pockets. I always keep my down and anything I want to keep dry in a compactor bag just in case.
The Arc Haul is made from Dyneema Gridstop fabric that is slightly heavier and much more durable than its Cuben Fiber cousin; all seams are taped. The hip belt and shoulder straps are made with 3/8 closed cell foam and 3D mesh making them very comfortable. With tons of options like, shoulder strap pouches, bottle holders, top side pockets, bear canister strap, key pouch, multi pack, ice axe loops, trekking pole holders, lumbar support pad and shoulder strap pads, it is highly customizable.
I would recommend this pack to anyone that is looking for a roomy, lightweight pack that is able to comfortably carry heavier loads than other light and ultra light packs.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $345 USD
Lightweight and very comfortable. Side pockets are ideal for water carry and large "front" net pocket is extremely convenient. Carries 10 days food (plus base weight gear) no problem. The Arc airflow makes for a very comfortable back.
- A pleasure to use
- Zpacks should draw attention to and recommend the optional lumbar pad. For heavy loads (ie 12+ kg) the bottom of the pack becomes apparent. Although not particularly uncomfortable, it is noticeable. With the lumbar pad in place there is no problem at all.
Medium torso, lumbar pad, and large belt. I have a 38-inch waist. I find the pack to be exceptionally comfortable. The adjustable height shoulder straps, loadlifters, and interchangeable padded belt with the "waist hugging" twin straps makes for a perfect fit.
I also ordered extras such as two belt pockets, two shoulder strap pockets, V strap, and hiking pole "holsters". Plus lumbar pad. As I need reading glasses and carry a camera the shoulder strap pockets are both very useful. The belt pockets are very large. You don't really need two.
The pack side pockets are ideally placed for water carry and large front net pocket is extremely convenient. I have carried 10-12 days food (plus base weight gear ) no problem. The Arc airflow makes for a very comfortable back and I believe has preserved my breathable rain jacket. Getting soaked in sweat is not good for breathable fabrics.
I also own the Arc Blast. The Arc Haul appears to be the Mark II version of the Blast, being larger, more wear resistant, and more carry weight. It is 70 grams heavier for 7 additional liters volume and 2kg additional carry weight (18kg total). The Haul is a better pack I think. In practice, much larger than the numbers indicate, and easier to use. I just throw everything in and make use of the side cinch cords.
What could be better?—Not much.
The front net pocket could have just a little more volume, a larger pleat, or two, at the bottom, and the main compartment would not be harmed by an extra inch or two of rolldown of the top. Cordlocks with shockcord on the top of the water side pockets might be better than sewn in elastic. I have taped over the hydration port as I don't use it and doing this improves water resistance.
Issues?—One of my side struts (carbonfibre or S glass) had a rough cut end. This might have caused wear in the strut pocket. I sanded it smooth. The other side strut had a manufacturing fault. It had two random notchs cut in it. Zpacks sent me two new struts, gratis.
Overland Track, Central Highlands Tassie, various. Grampians Peaks Trail many times, Wilsons Prom many times, various state parks, up in the hills north of Melbourne many times. Between 4-10 days most months. I also have the Zpacks Arc Blast and Nero.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $475, $299 base price
Load capacity caused weak belt design to sag and rash on lower back on first day while the weight begged to be on lower back and shoulders no matter what I tried. Bear canister was at top.
- Very lightweight
- Load capacity causes belt to sag and rash
- 6 weeks order wait
- Belt pockets cost extra
This style is stated to have a 40-lb load capacity. I took it for 35 miles in three days holding 33 lbs. On day ONE I felt a rash forming on my lower back. All the weight was pushing down resting on my lower back and I tried everything to get it to my waist....and YES...I know how to pack, dress, and adjust straps properly.
Upon my return I had a rash the full length of where the belt is sewn into the backpack. Bad design for heavy loads. Also, the flat rods running vertical along the sides for support cause a sharp thick razor-like edge at the bottom, which sliced my thigh when resting it and then bringing it around to my back.
Unfortunately I didn't hike within 30 days of receiving my pack because it was winter for me...so...I'm only eligible for store credit which is useless for me. Keep this in mind when buying. Plan a long day hike fully packed within 30 days of receiving.
UPDATE: I just brought it into my local reputable sports shop because I'd really like to use my investment. We loaded it up to 35 lbs and a few of us with similar torso lengths tried it on and no one could get the weight to their hips. So, case closed as far as I'm concerned. I tried.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $300
The Arc Haul is a super light, nice pack, however it is a little fragile.
- Super light
- Very comfortable carrying weights up to 25, my max
- Rods could break, requiring vendor replacement
The pack is light, super light, and the overall layout is really great, love the side pockets, upper pockets...heck the pack is pretty cool...
However, on my last hike one of the rods that arc broke, and with a long hike the following weekend I'm out of luck, no chance I can get a replacement in time for the trip.
I think there is a reason other manufacturers haven't gone with the arc design
Source: bought it new
Used it for the CDT this past year. Worked like a champ. If you overload it, which I did many times, with long food carries then the top metal bar will jut into your back.
- Arc allows for ventilation on your back
- Great customer service
- After 1500 miles of arcing the frame, the top bar juts into your back
- Rash on my back but was fixed with the belt pad
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $345
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Reviewers Paid: $300.00-$475.00
22.6 oz / 642 g
8 x 12.5 x 30 in / 20 x 31.8 x 76 cm
62L (49L main body, 2.5L each side pocket, 8L center pocket)
|Frame Height||Short 19 in / 48.3 cm||Medium 21.5 in / 54.6 cm||Tall 24 in / 61 cm|