Gear Review: Zpacks Arc Haul | High Sierra Topix  

Gear Review: Zpacks Arc Haul

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
User avatar

Gear Review: Zpacks Arc Haul

Postby Bluewater » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:33 pm

Joe Velasko at Zpacks has been progressively designing slightly heavier packs over the years and the Arc Haul is the latest version of a "load hauler" that is still lightweight. I bought one last year and it was done just in time for the HST Meetup trip in July. I haven't had time to do an 'official' style review (whatever that is:), so I figured this letter might provide some insight. Alpine Mike has since bought a blue dyneema Arc Haul, but this letter is from last year when he was considering buying one;

I finally broke down and bought a commercially available pack. It's a Zpacks Arc Haul. I had it made with two smaller rear pockets instead of the usual single large mesh pocket. The lower pocket is made using the same dyneema as the rest of the pack and the upper is a mesh pocket. There is already a hole in the mesh from my maps, so I wouldn't recommend that material. It weighs 26.2 ozs for just the pack. I added two hipbelt pockets (@0.75 oz each). I don't like their hipbelt pocket design for a few reasons; they are two big and stick out too far (hitting my arms while walking) and it is not possible to zip them open or closed with just one hand. I'm going to alter them myself but I wouldn't recommend them. Chris Zimmer looks like he makes a better design.

The dyneema is the heavier 210D and weighs 4.8 oz/sqyd according to Zpacks (it is usually referred to as 4.2 oz/sqyd on the Thru-Hiker website). It's the black color with small white x pattern dyneema threads at a 90 degree and 45 degree angles. I have used this material in my own packs and it is tough. I slid down a very steep 20 foot granite wall while wearing one of my own packs that has the dyneema material on the bottom 6 inches. The pack broke my fall and protected my back etc. There were only a few small holes in the material as a result of the fall/slide, and only where there were pointy items on the inside. The slide happened on the first day of a 9 day trip, full of food and gear.

I have only used the Zpacks Arc Haul on a single 9 day trip so far. It was mostly cross country via Pterodactyl Pass, Horn Col, Coppermine Pass, Colby Pass, Picket Creek Pass, Pyra Queen Col and Kawea Gap. I only climbed Coppermine Peak (12,345) due to crazy weather the first half of the trip (it was late July).

The pack is durable with no wear on the dyneema. The bottom of the pack where the frame attaches is made using much heavier material and is only showing slight wear and tear from being dropped/dragged/placed on the ground. Gazelle had an older model Arc Blast made with the lighter weight material at the HST meetup. The long vertical carbon fiber frame sheets on either side had both failed/bent on her pack but were still holding together. I think he has since started using a more sturdy type of carbon fiber that is round instead of flat. I haven't had a problems with mine.

The way this pack carries is very comfortable and seriously adjustable. The hipbelt is attached directly to the frame at the bottom and the load is carried directly to the hips. There are two straps on either side of the belt which makes it easy to get a good/perfect fit.

The shoulder straps are attached to the pack in a way that is adjustable within a 5"+- range (up or down the frame) and I was able to get a very good/comfortable fit after just a few miles. I was carrying about 30 lbs on day one including a Bearikade Weekender. This was the reason for buying a heavier pack with a frame (to carry a bear canister or snow shoes in the winter).

The frame itself is adjustable in that you can tension either side and make an air gap between the mesh and your back to your preference. There are three horizontal carbon fiber sections to the frame. By placing the bear canister next to the middle horizontal frame section I was able to protect my back from ever feeling it while hiking. Nice!

The pack is rated to 40lbs. I will probably never carry that much weight, but I would not recommend carrying a load over this rating. Hobbes sent me a link to a PCT hikers blog who had some serious problems while trying to carry heavy water loads over 45 lbs through the dry desert sections with this pack. For that kind of weight I would probably use an Osprey Aether with the heat molded hipbelt. They weigh over 5 lbs empty but are comfortable load haulers.

I hope this helps anyone who might be interested in ordering a Zpacks Arc Haul. I have since ordered a second one with two small back pockets but this time they are both made using dyneema. This new pack is very durable and I'm sure it will hold up for many years.

I will upload some photos asap.

Thanks, Andy.



User avatar
Bluewater
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:33 pm
Location: Laguna Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Gear Review: Zpacks Arc Haul

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:08 pm

Thank you for posting this review BW, hopefully I will be get a chance to use mine next month. :nod:
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8039
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Gear Review: Zpacks Arc Haul

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:37 pm

Were you able to pack the Bearikade horizontally? If so, at the top or down lower? If not and you carried the Bearikade vertically, how much room remained on the sides? More simply, how did it handle the bear can?
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2608
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Gear Review: Zpacks Arc Haul

Postby Hobbes » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:41 am

Didn't Gazelle have one as well? I remember the two of you comparing gear. Kristine, are you out there?

Edit: oops, just saw your mention of Gazelle's pack. Still, Kristine, are you still using the same pack?
User avatar
Hobbes
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 680
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:09 am
Location: The OC
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Gear Review: Zpacks Arc Haul

Postby Gazelle » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:04 am

I did use the older arc blast on the meet up last year and it carried very well, but both of the frame stays cracked, still it carried well! I have since bought the arc haul I think it will carry the weight of a week long trip better (hopefully as I have not used it yet) and like the idea of a more durable fabric as I am often off trail/scrambling sliding my butt/pack down granite. All of this for minimal weight penalty especially between the new blast Vs haul my arc blast will be used for shorter trips 's it weighs 17 Oz or as a friend pack if I can ever get anyone to go with me! The arc haul will be tested fully on this year's meet up, hopefully many peaks climbs and probably 80% off trail. I will write a review after the trip. I will say that zpacks promptly sent me 2 new stays free of charge after I got back. I really liked the arc haul fit and this was before any adjustability I find it very comfortable with little to no shoulder/hip pain and I have some bony hips, like the capacity and it fit my Bearikade scout very well I could get it past the middle support vertically (maybe this is why the stays broke? But they didn't until day 7) with some room on the sides for neo air and extra clothing, believe it would fit a weekender or even expedition the same way but I will shove a week plus amount of food into the scout if possible.
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein
User avatar
Gazelle
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:01 am
Location: Donner Summit CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Gear Review: Zpacks Arc Haul

Postby Bluewater » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:49 am

A few photos are usually better than anything I can describe in writing:).

Image
(This is a 60 L Arc Haul with a large torso and large hipbelt)

Image
(This is a small Bearboxer Contender bear canister. It fits with plenty of room to spare)

Image
(The Bearikade Weekender fits vertically with room on the sides in the 60 L)

Image
(The Weekender also fits in the smaller 52 L size with room on the sides)

Image
(It will fit horizontally in the 60 L but not the 52 L. Although it doesn't look like it in this photo it starts to stretch the material and would probably damage it if used while carrying a load for a while. I had to force it to fit.)

Image
(It usually comes with one large mesh pocket on the back. I had it 'custom ordered' with two small pockets to make it easier to access stuff, this is how I make my own packs. The mesh did not hold up and even my maps put a small hole in the mesh. I ordered another with two dyneema pockets and like that much better).

Image

Image
(I found the adjustable straps, load lifters and hipbelt better than anything I've tried in the past).

Image

Image
(Hipbelt attachment reinforcement detail)

Image
(Hipbelt attachment reinforcement detail)

Image
(This is the old style vertical carbon fiber frame piece that had a tendency to bend/break)

Image
(This is the new version of the same frame piece that is much stronger)

Image
(52 L size with medium torso/large hipbelt. All of the previous were a 60 L w/ large torso/large hipbelt)

Image
(60 L w/ large torso/large hipbelt on the left, 52 L w/ medium torso/large hipbelt on right)

Image
(60 L w/ large torso/large hipbelt on the RIGHT, 52 L w/ medium torso/large hipbelt on LEFT)

Image
(I added the top piece of grossgrain/ribon and some internal padding for a camera. It is not possible to open or close the hipbelt pouch with one hand, on the fly while hiking. It takes two hands. The hipbelt pocket design is too large, in my opinion, and it hits my arm while hiking).

Image
(Hipbelt mod for camera case use)

Image
(hipbelt from the bottom)
User avatar
Bluewater
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:33 pm
Location: Laguna Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Gear Review: Zpacks Arc Haul

Postby Bluewater » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:54 am

Wandering Daisy, I hope the photos help regarding the bear canister fit. I also tried putting the Weekender all the way on the bottom of the 60 L and it fits vertically with no problem. It actually sits on the bottom with the edges of the canister resting right on the lower and middle horizontal frame pieces. I've never tried this in the past but the fit is very nice.

Andy.
User avatar
Bluewater
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:33 pm
Location: Laguna Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer


Return to Outdoor Gear Topix



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest