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  1. #1
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    Default DCF vs X-PAC vs Gridstop vs Robic?

    I've been a little out of the loop on developments in gear over the past couple of years and have noticed that there are now "waterproof" backpacks offered in ROBIC as well as X-Pac, in addition to the DCF (Cuben Fiber) packs that have been around for many years.

    I have a ULA Circuit for hikes when I use a bear canister as well as other hikes where I need to carry more than 3 days of food. And I have a ULA CDT for shorter/lighter hikes as well as my European "hut to hut" hikes and Camino trekking.

    I love these packs and their durability (I've had them for many years) but they are obviously not waterproof or even water resistant. They get waterlogged if I don't use a pack cover (of course, I always use a pack liner and dry bags for my down items).

    I've ordered a couple of zPacks DCF packs in the past but returned them. I didn't feel like the durability would be what I am looking for and while the Arc Blast would hold my bear canister, it would only hold it in the top part of the pack (above the crossbar), which made for bad weight distribution.

    I noticed that zPacks now offers a ROBIC option for the Arc Air as well a grid stop Arc Haul, both of which are supposed to be waterproof. Does anyone have opinions regarding the Robin and grid stop material vs. DCF in terms of waterproofness?

    ULA also offers custom packs using X-PAC material. Does anyone have experience with this material from ULA?

    I'm a creature of habit, set in my ways, so an X-PAC Circuit might be the best option for me if this material is truly waterproof.

    Thanks for any insights on this....

  2. #2

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    I've not owned one of ZPack's backpacks, but have their multipack, which I use as a chest pack, in both the hybrid DCF and gridstop. Both have been worn outside my raingear in torrential showers and all day rain, neither has ever gotten any moisture inside.
    The inner layer of DCF in the hybrid material delaminated over time. All of it. The entire inside is covered in a layer of repair tape. Based on that, I would not consider a backpack made of this material.
    The multipack is fine with the repair tape, though. I only have the gridstop one because the zipper started separating on the original version after ~6yrs.
    Don't have any experience Robic or X-PAC, but I'm wanting that Arc Air, so maybe I'll have some with Robic before it's all over with!

  3. #3

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    As an owner of the Arc Haul in gridstop I can inform you it is not waterproof. Water resistant to a point in light showers or a brief storm but definitely not waterproof. It will get wet and while all my gear inside (that was not in the pack liner) wasn't soaked it was definitely damp.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by DuneElliot View Post
    As an owner of the Arc Haul in gridstop I can inform you it is not waterproof. Water resistant to a point in light showers or a brief storm but definitely not waterproof. It will get wet and while all my gear inside (that was not in the pack liner) wasn't soaked it was definitely damp.
    For sure. The inside is PU-coated and is therefore susceptible to abrasion.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  5. #5

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    Although not a write up about waterproofing , this link might offer some insight https://www.hillpeoplegear.com/Forum...pe/posts#10747

  6. #6

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    Although not a write up about waterproofing , this link might offer some insight https://www.hillpeoplegear.com/Forum...pe/posts#10747


    ..oops double post, not sure if i can delete

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by FŽanor View Post
    Although not a write up about waterproofing , this link might offer some insight https://www.hillpeoplegear.com/Forum...pe/posts#10747

    ..oops double post, not sure if i can delete
    Dyneema Gridstop
    3.5 oz/yd^2
    Rip: 8.8/8lbs
    Tear: 140/160lbs
    Abrasion: failure occurred between 6 and 700.
    140d nylon with a dyneema thread every .25Ē in a grid. Dyneema is 5% of fabric weight.

    I would dub this the second most disappointing fabric in the test; with such an awesome fiber as Dyneema in the recipe I was really expecting more. As the pictures illustrate it seems that the Dyneema threads canít really impart their impressive strength to the fabric itself, which merely fails around the dyneema. In the abrasion testing the lone dyneema threads were broken fairly quickly and the base fabric preformed like youíd expect a lighter weight pack cloth to. In all fairness its strength-to-weight ratio isnít out of line of the other fabrics, but the price-to-durability (or hype-to-durability if you prefer) ratio is certainly a disappointment.


    Not surprised, and note that with the Dyneema Gridstop only the white matrix fibers are Dyneema and the main material is ballistic nylon.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  8. #8
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    Default

    All the ULA Robic packs I used in the past none were WP. At that time ULA was not seam sealing packs anyway. Xpac fabric however is WP and ULA is seam sealing it and using WP zips. How ULA is doing there seam sealing on Xpac packs I do not know. That imo makes it highly WR not submerge-able or WP on a paddling excursion or 3 days of heavy east coast or Pacific northwest rain. Xpac ULA offers is vx 07 to vx 51. The only wt I demoed in a pack was vx 07 which is a spinnaker sailcloth with applied c6 DWR(that should say something) with high tear strength and abrasion resistance. However, no personal experience with a ULA Polyant Xpac packs. Same with DCF Hybrid seam taped packs - highly WR but not truly WP. There's plenty of threads on various sites that compare DCF versions and construction, Xpac and Robic. I strongly suggest perusing the BPL wonk posts or maybe Reddit UL discussions.

    I treat maintenance of seam taped packs as a seam taped WP Jacket. ie; dont wash in hot water, dont get bug juice, sun screen or hygiene products on the interior, dont let the pack get so filthy grimy or drenched in sweat before safely cleaning.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the responses and links. I corresponded with ULA today on their plans and they say that an Xpac Circuit will be offered starting on February 1. This is part of their response to my question: "We made an investment to permanently seal the seams on them and the newest version is gonna be sweet." So it will be interesting to see what the specs are when it is released.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    ULA also offers custom packs using X-PAC material. Does anyone have experience with this material from ULA? I'm a creature of habit, set in my ways, so an X-PAC Circuit might be the best option for me if this material is truly waterproof. Thanks for any insights on this....
    XPac comes in 3 weights. X-42, X-33, and X-21. I have two Seek Outside packs. The Gila in X-21 and the Fortress in X-42. The X-21 is the thinnest of the three and weighs the least. All are waterproof.

    The X-42 can handle whatever you throw at it. So far, the X-21 is working out just fine and I don't baby my packs at all. I'm think of getting a custom bag from Seek Outside in either the X-33 or SpectraGridXT they offer. You remove the Gila bag, put on the new bag, and, voila, you're ready to go.

    I love XPac. Never have to stop to put on a rain cover or take it off. Cleans up like a dream.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    I've been a little out of the loop on developments in gear over the past couple of years and have noticed that there are now "waterproof" backpacks offered in ROBIC as well as X-Pac, in addition to the DCF (Cuben Fiber) packs that have been around for many years.

    I have a ULA Circuit for hikes when I use a bear canister as well as other hikes where I need to carry more than 3 days of food. And I have a ULA CDT for shorter/lighter hikes as well as my European "hut to hut" hikes and Camino trekking.

    I love these packs and their durability (I've had them for many years) but they are obviously not waterproof or even water resistant. They get waterlogged if I don't use a pack cover (of course, I always use a pack liner and dry bags for my down items).

    I've ordered a couple of zPacks DCF packs in the past but returned them. I didn't feel like the durability would be what I am looking for and while the Arc Blast would hold my bear canister, it would only hold it in the top part of the pack (above the crossbar), which made for bad weight distribution.

    I noticed that zPacks now offers a ROBIC option for the Arc Air as well a grid stop Arc Haul, both of which are supposed to be waterproof. Does anyone have opinions regarding the Robin and grid stop material vs. DCF in terms of waterproofness?

    ULA also offers custom packs using X-PAC material. Does anyone have experience with this material from ULA?

    I'm a creature of habit, set in my ways, so an X-PAC Circuit might be the best option for me if this material is truly waterproof.

    Thanks for any insights on this....
    Coffee is the belt for the CDT different than waist belt of the Circuit. Its sewn on? I trying to picture this cause I am moving on getting a CDT. Thank you..
    My love for life is quit simple .i get uo in the moring and then i go to bed at night. What I do inbween is to occupy my time. Cary Grant

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobbs View Post
    Coffee is the belt for the CDT different than waist belt of the Circuit. Its sewn on? I trying to picture this cause I am moving on getting a CDT. Thank you..
    The belt on my CDT is sewn on and the hip belt pockets are smaller than on the Circuit which has a removable belt.
    The hip belt on the Circuit also attaches to two points on each side of the pack compared to a much simpler single point attachment on the CDT. I think that the design difference on the CDT is meant to save weight and has been sufficient for me given the lighter loads I carry in it vs the Circuit.

  13. #13
    Registered User hobbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    The belt on my CDT is sewn on and the hip belt pockets are smaller than on the Circuit which has a removable belt.
    The hip belt on the Circuit also attaches to two points on each side of the pack compared to a much simpler single point attachment on the CDT. I think that the design difference on the CDT is meant to save weight and has been sufficient for me given the lighter loads I carry in it vs the Circuit.
    Thank you coffee so its a one size hipbelt then? You just have a longer webbing to buckle...I have the circuit and catylist..I was wondering
    My love for life is quit simple .i get uo in the moring and then i go to bed at night. What I do inbween is to occupy my time. Cary Grant

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobbs View Post
    Thank you coffee so its a one size hipbelt then? You just have a longer webbing to buckle...I have the circuit and catylist..I was wondering
    You can specify the hip belt size when ordering a cdt. But unlike the packs with removable hip belt, the cdt hip belt is sewn in. So if you lose or gain enough weight, I suppose you’d have to get a new cdt rather than just a new hip belt like on the circuit/catalyst.

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