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  1. #1
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    Default Is Z packs arc haul a durable pack?

    Hello to all,

    I know that with the title this may set off a firestorm, I just have to ask. I'm just trying to gather information

    I have mentioned that I am pretty kind to my gear, but on a trail durability is the last issue I want in a pack. I'm pretty realistic in to get the weight down to 24oz it does have to be treated differently than a 5 pound pack.

    My questions are

    the advertised weight that it can haul is 40lbs.....What is the real weight that it can handle? I know at times manufactures exaggerate this spec.

    How durable is the fiberglass, (carbon?) frame in regards to arcing the pack.

    I think the biggest places to get a tear is in the mesh areas of the back and the large mesh in the front. Is it possible to get this pack with a heavier fabric?

    I am going to trail days in Damascus this weekend to see it and talk to the reps. I hope to try it on, but I wanted to talk to you.... the people who have been using it for years.

    As mentioned before my question is regarding how well it has stood up during normal use.

    Any information is appreciated and very welcome!!!
    Best regards,
    Floyd

  2. #2

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    Is it as durable as a ULA pack? No way. Is it durable enough or a thru hike when used with common sense and some TLC? For sure

  3. #3
    Leonidas
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    Default

    The only question I can address is the heavier fabric, the only option is the Dyneema X that it is constructed with. Zpacks doesn't do any custom work anymore.
    2016 2017 AT: 177.6 mi

    2018 Pinhoti Trail: 107.7 mi

    @leonidasonthetrail

  4. #4

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    Zpacks owner here. The biggest mistake Zpacks did was inflate the load bearing claims of their packs (both the Blast and Haul). Subtract 10lbs from their max load and that would be more accurate. Sure, you could carry 40lbs for a short distance but you’re gonna get sag and you get sag with even lower weights.

    Zpacks is a company based in Ultralight gear. If one needs a pack that can handle 30+ pounds of gear, they need to look for a suspension system that’s designed for that much.

  5. #5

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    I've never carried more than about 25lb TPW with mine, and that was for a 4-night winter trip, and includes the weight of snowshoes. I guess it would be okay up to 30lb, but it is not designed to carry mondo trad loads.

    Every now and then someone logs in to complain that their Arc Blast feels just awful with 35lbs. Well duh.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by capehiker View Post
    Zpacks owner here. The biggest mistake Zpacks did was inflate the load bearing claims of their packs (both the Blast and Haul). Subtract 10lbs from their max load and that would be more accurate. Sure, you could carry 40lbs for a short distance but you’re gonna get sag and you get sag with even lower weights.

    Zpacks is a company based in Ultralight gear. If one needs a pack that can handle 30+ pounds of gear, they need to look for a suspension system that’s designed for that much.
    I'd imagine the mistake is that Joe rates the packs, lol.
    A fit, accomplished, prolific thru-hiker with a very minimalist mindset probably does consider those decent ratings.
    But for mere mortals and average Joe's... probably not realistically rated.

    The sleeping bags tend to fall in that category as well.

    Luckily for Joe his customers have figured out how to adjust.

  7. #7

    Default

    I'd agree that it is comfortable up to 30lbs

    I have a 2" arc in my frame and leave it arced all the time. It has lasted two years so far.

    I have dragged mine through some grabby pine brush and it didn't tear the mesh top pockets which I thought it would. It's pretty touch mesh. I think I have one TINY hole at the bottom of the front mesh pocket but don't think it was from rubbing as I never lay it down on the pocket. The dyneema holds up great and I have zero wear marks on the bottom, but then I do tend to really baby my gear and always set it down in the softest spot I can find.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Thank you all for weighing in.

    I'm beginning to hike again.... and I'm looking for a lighter pack that can handle 35lbs. My current pack is a Atmos 65 (pre AG)

    I will resume hiking on the AT soon, but a great deal of hiking is in the Pisgah, Natahala, and the Linville Gorge, which will chew up the best packs, hence the reason I ask.

    I'm a very realistic person regarding packs, and the "treatment" of such.

    I really wanted to see if that 40lbs is for real, as I know most companies over inflate their estimates. There are just times when leaving a town after a resupply that the pack gets heavier. My summer weight is pretty low, but I have in the past over packed consumables.

    As I stand, right now, my mileage is not what it used to be which means packing more, as it takes more time to get to point A to B.

    I appreciate you all weighing in, and if their are others who may want to, your information is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!
    Best,
    Floyd

  9. #9
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    Default

    Osprey Exos is another good choice if you occasionally need to carry up to 40lb.

  10. #10

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    Just my opinion but if I was usually around 35 pounds I would keep using the Osprey and put the money you would spend on the ZPack towards lightening up everything else first.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burrhead View Post
    Just my opinion but if I was usually around 35 pounds I would keep using the Osprey and put the money you would spend on the ZPack towards lightening up everything else first.
    +1 indeedy!

    If the rest of your load is heavy it isn't going to help to get a pack designed for UL... it'll just make things much worse, in fact.

    When I first got into UL several years ago I was carrying an REI Flash 62. As I gradually acquired truly UL gear (Duplex was first!) and learned about UL techniques, it got to the point that the pack was barely half full when I went out for a trip, at which time I knew I was ready for a by-gawd UL pack.

    Also, I've hiked Pisgah and Nantahala and I don't recall any particular reason those areas should "chew up the best packs." I wouldn't hesitate to use an Arc Blast there, and that material (cuben/poly hybrid) is admittedly more delicate than Dyneema X. The only reason I got the Arc Haul is for a bit more volume in winter and a bit more durability when shimmying thru spruce tunnels and up the occasional rock/ice chute. Winter snow frequently elevates the trails 4-5 feet or more, so this can be a problem.

  12. #12
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    Default

    no. the webbing that the arced rods attach to breaks thru fairly easily

  13. #13
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    Default

    I have an Arc Haul and have no complaints. Typically, the pack has a good 30-35+lbs on day one (drinks, steak, brauts, and cheese all add up). But have had it to 45lbs with no real difference in comfort(on trips I take my kids with). For those of you that just want bag meals, or granola, enjoy (don’t need your he’s no UL comments…). I save bag meals for days 3+ and enjoy great food the first couple days. Normal pack weight without all the goodies is usually around 17lbs. OK, back to the topic on hand…

    Is it as durable as a ULA- I’d say so as the entire body is X-Grid, unlike the ULAs. To me more importantly is the comfort and my sweat free back, thanks to the ARC’s mesh back. Sure, you could rip the mesh back if not careful when the pack is off, but while on it is completely protected.

    As for the sagging mentioned – YES, it does sag(seems it does depend on how you pack your gear), but no worse than most packs I have used. However, I added the two over the top straps and they greatly reduce the sag as they lift the front of the pack up, connecting to the top support bar of the frame.

    Don’t get me wrong, not the most comfortable at 35+ pounds, but the pack is more than capable of handling the weight. Also, don’t get me wrong, the ULA packs are also top notch. The main selling point was the mesh back on the ARC Haul for me. Just so much more comfortable than any other pack I have worn. Oh and the lightest!

  14. #14
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    Default

    I agree with what you are saying.
    Concentrated on the big three.
    one pound quilt
    24 oz SMD trekking tent
    I do not use any electronics, and my alcky stove and pot comes in at one ounce heavier than titanium.

    Everything else is light. Thought I would start with the big three first. Got to get better with consumables, and always hated resupplying very often. I think the heaviest my pack was 35 ish pounds, but that was with 7 days of food. Just wanted something that could deal with that weight well just in case.

    I looked at the new exos and did not care much for it.......IMHO I think they went backward in "updating" the pack.
    Sorry for the misinformation I meant the Gorge chewing up packs.

    Thank you all!!!!
    Floyd

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by robby View Post
    no. the webbing that the arced rods attach to breaks thru fairly easily
    That was a problem very early on. I have not read any reports of this in a couple of years. But maybe I just missed them.

  16. #16

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    Also, I should mention that I immediately experienced lumbar pain from the bottom cross bar, even with very light loads. Completely "cured" with the optional lumbar pad.

    Some people report no problems and some do.

  17. #17
    North Georgia Wanderer soumodeler's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robby View Post
    no. the webbing that the arced rods attach to breaks thru fairly easily
    That was redesigned and corrected. No longer an issue from what I have heard.

  18. #18
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Default

    Does a rugged suspension system negate alot of your load? In other words, is 25# in my Arc Blast the equivalent feel/load of say 40# in a heavier beefier suspended pack? Or is 40# still 40#. I've only ever had UL packs so I don't know any better. Coming out of MTR with 9 days food at 43# in my Crown VC was not the most pleasant experience, but would it still have sucked with an Osprey?
    "In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks"....John Muir

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    Does a rugged suspension system negate alot of your load? In other words, is 25# in my Arc Blast the equivalent feel/load of say 40# in a heavier beefier suspended pack? Or is 40# still 40#. I've only ever had UL packs so I don't know any better. Coming out of MTR with 9 days food at 43# in my Crown VC was not the most pleasant experience, but would it still have sucked with an Osprey?
    Ask Tipi Walter.

    The simple answer is yes.

    The slightly more complicated answer may still be yes, though at some point in the context of hours walked per day is where the difference will materialize.
    8 hour day with a decent pack...and decent shape hiker... probably about even.
    Start pushing back to back to back 12 hour days and the weight of the pack will catch up with most and result in general fatigue.

    Though glossed over... The only real benefit to UL backpacking is that your natural gait and overall stamina remain relatively unchanged... bringing you closer and closer to moving like you have no pack on at all. That specific strategy is very helpful on established long distance trails with clear destinations, goals, and relatively fixed, generally short, resupply points.

    When you go on a more open ended trip for a week or more... the philosophy still applies... but when you are carrying a week or more worth of food you can start crossing that line where how the pack rides on you cuts into your time on trail. Bit like a bad pair of shoes or crotch rot can ruin even a slackpack or dayhike. Whatever piece of the system 'fails' needs to be fixed.

    80% rule applies...
    You dealt with that odd way overloaded and very rare circumstance in favor of the right pack for 80% or more of your walking.
    if 80% of your walking involved carrying heavy loads... you'd greatly enjoy an improved suspension system. You may even require it.

    If you had loaded up and couldn't cover more than a few miles because your pack carried that badly... you'd call it a bust.
    But since you got by... and it was once in a blue moon... still a winner.

    Also worth considering during a bad climb out... is if the agony of the climb causes you to curse and spit at your gear or if the gear is really a problem, lol.
    If it's better the next day... it was probably the climb.

  20. #20

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    40# is 40# on your hips and and knees. The rating is just how well the pack carries it and transfers the weight to the support system.

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