First Look @ my ZPacks Arc Blast Backpack

P1020749I put it off as long as I could! I have hiked with 2 others that use the ZPacks Arc Blast backpack, and know a few others that use it too, and all they do is sing praises about it… I tried to hold off though, after all, my Blast 30 is still going strong. Heck, it performed beautifully on my longest hike yet, 7 days in the Olympic NP. But, despite this, the lure of this other beautiful pack pulled me in, and I ordered myself a new 60L Arc Blast…

As in all of my other past experiences, ordering from ZPacks was easy, and timely. Matt, Joe & even Sheryl was super helpful, and met all of my “needs.” When I ordered the pack I made 2 revision request to the stock pack. The first was to leave off the hydration port, which was simple enough. The second was a bit more of a stretch… I asked for the pack to be made in all green, rather than just the front & the sides green, and the back panel gray. Obviously, due to the size of the rolls of the different colors, the gray color works best for the back panel since it leaves less waste material. Despite this though, they were kind enough to grant me this request!

Other than this, I opted for the 60L version and added load lifters and one of the cool new lumbar pads to it. I chose the 60L pack since I plan to use this pack in place of my ULA Circuit, or my Blast 30 pack. The weight increase to go for the 60L pack was minimal when compared to the others (45L = 16 oz; 52L = 16.5 oz; 60L = 17 oz) and in this case, I didn’t mind having a little extra room despite the slight weight increase, just in case… As for the load lifters, I have been a fan of these with my other bigger, framed packs. And I added the extra lumbar pad with the hopes that it will make up for my lack of a butt… I have to cinch down the hip belt pretty tight to get all the weight transferred off my shoulders and onto my hips. I am hoping the lumbar pad will help with that some.

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Besides this, I have also decided to try out one of the shoulder pouches from ZPacks, however, this decision is totally out of curiosity. To be completely honest, I love my DIY method of hanging my water bottles from my shoulder straps, but will also admit, sometimes they do get a little annoying hanging there. Not that this shoulder pouch will alleviate this by any means… it will still be hanging there. But, I am also debating using the shoulder pouch for things other than my water bottle… I dunno though, it is up in the air at this point. For the time though, I have installed some cord on one of the shoulder straps in order to carry one water bottle as usual.

I am also giving the fold-over hip belt pockets another chance. Some may recall in a recent post hike gear talk video I didn’t really express much love for these hip belt pockets. But, to be fair, I feel like if they were positioned more in the front of my body rather than at the sides, they would work better for me. I have found that the pockets do seem to be slightly more towards the front of my body when installed on my new Arc Blast pack than they did with my older Blast 30 pack. So, I will give them another shot.

The cool thing about this pack though, is its external frame, and the mesh back panel. The frame is made of 2 vertical, and 2 horizontal, thin, flat pieces of carbon fiber. Bing of carbon fiber, the material will allow the frame to flex a good deal, while still remaining strong, and of course being light weight. When tightened down, the carbon fiber frame will make the pack arc outwards. This creates a gap between the mesh back panel, and the pack itself, which will allow a least a little bit of air flow, which in turn will (hopefully) help to keep my back from being so sweaty. As well, I imagine that the mesh back panel should be rather comfortable on my back… I shall soon find out…

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Another thing that I personally find is nice about this pack is that it is fully taped. Between this and the roll top closure on the pack, I figure that it is a very water-resistant pack. However, I don’t know if I would call it a 100% “waterproof” backpack. I will still opt to use one of the LiteTrail NyloBarrier Pack Liners inside the backpack to keep my down items in. This may be overkill, but, at only 1 oz for the pack liner, and the fact that when I am using this pack it will be cold outside, I am again ok taking the slight weight penalty to ensure that I have a dry quilt/bag and some clothes to put on once I get to camp, or in case I need them.

All in all, I am pretty excited about this pack. The quality is as expected, which is top-notch. I cannot find any crooked seams, or any loose stitching. The taping on the inside of the pack is all straight and even, and looks to be bonded well. The one thing I might consider changing though is to round the corners on the tape. Rounded corners don’t seem to get caught and start to peel as easily as squared corners, however, I know that this will take a bit more work up front. But, since I plan to use a pack liner inside the pack, this should keep items from rubbing directly against the corners of the tape, so I don’t imagine it will be much of an issue.

And while I haven’t loaded it up and took it out for a spin just yet, I have worn it around the house with everything loaded up inside it… and it feels great. The weight really does seem to transfer to my hips rather well, and the mesh back panel is comfortable against my back. However, I will see how this does better once I take it out for a hike later…

So, weight… as I said, the 60L pack is listed at 17 oz. The hip belt pockets are listed at 0.75 oz each, the shoulder pouch is listed at 0.5 oz, the load lifter straps are listed at 0.2 oz and the lumbar pad is listed at 0.6 oz. This comes to a total listed weight of 19.8 oz. I have also added the short pieces of cord to attach my water bottles to my shoulder straps, which I would imagine is an additional 0.1 oz. This should put the total weight up to about 19.9 oz. However, when I set the pack on my scales, the total weight with all of the above comes to 20.6 oz (or 584 g). This makes this pack my heaviest pack by far (aside from my Circuit), however, for the volume, and the fact that it should carry “loads up to 30 lbs” (comfortably, I would imagine), then I am ok with it. To be honest though, I don’t know if I will ever load it up with 30 lbs though… even in the cold and with my wife or son since those trips won’t be more than 5 days at the most…

So, I think that wraps it up for now. For those of you that would rather watch what I have just said, you can check out the video below:

Also, here is another video I shot that shows what a typical load (for me) might look like in this pack:

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to comment or ask questions below.

~Stick~

Disclaimer: I paid the full price for this backpack with my own money. I am not affiliated with ZPacks, nor am I required to write about this backpack. The opinions expressed within this article (written & spoken) are based on my own personal opinion, after having handled this pack myself. As well, this is an out-of-the-box review, and not meant to reflect any actual long-term experience with the pack.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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59 Responses to First Look @ my ZPacks Arc Blast Backpack

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  5. David richardson says:

    Looking for some new water bottle holders for shoulder straps, are you still using the Zpacks bottle holders on your shoulder straps?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      David,

      I have still been using the water bottle holders that I got from ZPacks. I have actually only been using one to hold a 20 oz Gatorade bottle and using the other to hold my camera, and then some Carmex and my SAK knife in the mesh pocket. It’s not perfect for my camera, but it works ok. I do keep an eye out for something different though… If you are just wanting to put your water bottles on your shoulder straps, the post I have on DIY Water Bottle Holders is a great, inexpensive, as light as it gets way to do so.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. Stick,
    Nice review.
    Don’t forget to feed the cats.
    ~ Fozzie

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Fozzie,

      Haha… I think most of the cats have moved on for the winter now… I am sure that at least some of them will be back once it starts warming back up though… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  7. Hey Chad,

    I’m thinking of getting a Arc Blast 60 liter as well for a JMT thru attempt new year. I think one fo the biggest unknowns, at least for me with this pack is if it will fit a Bearvault, be it the 450 you just used on your lates AT section hike videos or the slightly larger 500 version. Do you have any pictures or a video up of bear canisters in this pack? I’m so close to pulling the trigger on this pack since the weight 17oz for the 60 is ideal. Also, since your a cook kit afficiaonado, what do you think of the Evernew 700 small pasta and a Caldera cone? I notice you’ve been using the JetBoil a bit more on your hikes lately, I know the new JetBoil MiniMo is an REI exclusive at the moment, at 14oz, do you think it’s worth it? I’m going back and forth between my Evernew 1.3 with a Caldera TiTri Sidewinder for my JMT hike, JetBoil, or an Evernew 900 TiTri Sidewinder…your thoughts?

    Thanks for all the videos, it’s certainly an inspiration to get out and hike more, and during times when I can’t, I still can live vicariously through your adventures.

    Thanks,

    Chris

    Like

    • Nick says:

      Hey Chris,

      Saw your comment on the ArcBlast. I completed the JMT this summer using an ArcBlast 60L. It worked flawlessly! I used a Bearikade weekender, not sure what the specs are on the Bearvault, although I had no problems getting my Bearikade in and out (I stacked it vertically on top of my bag/shelter at the bottom of the pack. Even if the Bearvault is wider than the Bearikade, I’m sure it would fit. Can’t recommend the Z-Packs Arcblast enough, it is an awesome pack. I went for the option of the lumbar pad which was nice after the heavy resupplies. Also nice to have at least one of the waist pouches (wish I would have got one for each side). For reference my base weight was ~ 12 lbs including the Bearikade. Good luck on the hike!!!

      Like

    • Stick says:

      I echo Chris’s recommendation on the Arc Blast… as well as for the lumbar pad and the hip belt pockets too! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Chris,

      Of course, it depends on the rest of your gear, but it is no problem whatsoever for me to get a BV450 in my 60L Arc Blast, and that is with a lot of “extra’s.” In light of this, the BV500 would also fit *with my load* with no problems at all.

      For an idea of how it fits, you can check out the video in one of my most recent blog post. In the video I show everything in the pack by unpacking it, and I do lean the pack over and try to show the BV450 in the pack…

      As for the Jetboil, yeah, I don’t really use that much… I have used it on 2, maybe 3 trips in the past 2.5+ years I have had it. In fact, once my review period was done with it, it sat in my closet unused for quite a long time… Saying that, I will admit (despite the issues with the titanium version of the Sol), this is my favorite canister stove. It is not the lightest (by any means) but it is the lightest that is this fast, and this fuel efficient. Also, I rarely cook in my pot, so the Jetboil has suited me just fine.

      Again though, saying all of this, I would like to try a MiniMo… Unfortunately, it is a bit heavier, but it does have a slightly larger pot volume (1000 ml vs 800ml) and the pot is short and squat, as opposed to tall and narrow, which would allow “real” cooking to be a bit easier. Also, the real beauty of the MiniMo is that it is said that the flame control is much better on the low end, which will again, make it easier to actually cook with.

      But, I am not interested in dropping more $$ on another canister stove at the moment, so that will have to wait…

      If you want to go alcohol, or Esbit for that matter, it is my opinion that the Caldera Cones will be one of the best options. Very stable, and the cone blocks more wind than other windscreens likely would. It is easy to use, and is quite fuel efficient, which makes it a winner in my book. I have 3 of the sidewinder cones for 3 different pots, and love them all. I would suggest though to go with the Starlyte stove, simply because the insulation inside the stove makes the stove much, much, safer than other alcohol stoves, plus it is great that I can blow out the flame when my water boils, and then simply put the top back on the stove. Any remaining fuel can be transported inside the stove.

      And for me, solo, with your options, I would likely go with the 0.9L size Evernew. IME, it is big enough to actually cook a meal in, and of course it is a little lighter and smaller than the 1.3L set up. I really only carry my 1.3L set-up if my wife or kids go with me…

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  8. Nick says:

    Hey Stick,

    Love your blog, first time commenting. I’ll be receiving my Arc Blast within a couple of weeks. I’m planning on using a pack liner (LiteTrail or Gossamer Gear or the like), and was wondering your thoughts of the overall waterproof-ness of that set up. Would it be wise to additionally put my down bag and jacket in a waterproof stuff sack or do you think that would be overkill based on your experience with the Arc Blast?

    I appreciate any feedback, keep up the excellent writing and videos.

    Thanks,

    Nick

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Nick,

      I think the Arc Blast, with either a liner from GG or LiteTrail (which is my favorite) will do well at keeping the inner contents dry. However, I would suggest that if you are expecting a lot of rain, even something like a cuben drysack would be reassuring, and at a pretty minimal weight. I have been carrying my umbrella when I expect rain, and between it and my pack cover, the rain never even has a chance to try to get through my pack, or my pack liner… I will also admit, this is one place I don’t mind a bit of redundancy… having dry clothes/sleeping bag when one needs it is worth it to me. Besides, my pack liner, and my pack cover are only 2.2 oz together, which is as light (if not lighter) than most trash compactor bags, and definitely a bit lighter than almost all pack covers…

      Anyway, congrats on the new pack, and hope that you enjoy it as much as I have… it really is an awesome pack! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Nick says:

      Awesome, thanks for the detailed reply Stick. Just ordered a LiteTrail pack liner. While most of my trips are 2-3 days I upgraded some gear (long overdue, especially to get ultralight) for a thru-hike of the JMT this August. From what I’ve read about the trail, the weather in summer is spectacular with few rain showers… but I agree, the small weight penalty to keep my bag and down jacket totally dry is probably worth the weight of a dry bag. I’m gonna look into one of those from Z-Packs. Thanks again 🙂

      – Nick

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Sounds great Nick. If you have any more questions feel free to shoot them my way. I don’t have much experience with the JMT, but I would suggest to check out Walkingwomad’s blog for that… she has a ton of great stuff about the trail!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  9. CMD says:

    Thanks for this article. I am about to buy the same pack — size and features.

    I’d appreciate feedback on the load lifters. I was surprised that the base design of the pack does not have them. I was also surprised that the site describes them as being useful to “pull the pack toward you”. Normally, load lifters are not there for that. Rather, they lift the shoulder strap off the shoulder and thereby have a significant effect of shifting load to the waistbelt via the frame. If given enough height, they allow you to release the shoulder straps somewhat to actually increase, not decrease, the space between you and the pack, giving more ease instead of the pack glued on your back. For these reasons, for me they are a critical design element.

    On the ArcBlast, however, they are an afterthought. To function properly, they should be attached to the frame. Instead, they are stitched on the bag, which moves their position (and in particular, their height) depending on how it’s filled. Unfortunately, it looks like the frame does not go quite high enough to afford the proper attachment point. Perhaps their tallest frame would work, but that depends on the user’s height. I’m 6’2″…

    All that to say that it is, for me, the one weak point in the design, the one that is holding me back from purchasing. So, given that you have them, do you find they work?? I would tend to think that, unless the pack is fully loaded (probably rare), they could only suck the pack toward you, and not do what I described above. The other variable, though, is the pack weight. Perhaps they are more necessary for a heavier load (and are anchored in my consciousness from that heavier past), and with ultralight mojo, perhaps they are less of an issue.

    Anyway, your thoughts on this would be most appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Chris

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Chris,

      As for the load lifters, before I started packing light, I used them… on my HUGE Kelty Red Cloud 5600 backpack, and even the ULA Circuit, I used them… and they were great. They gave me another option to shift all of that weight on my back from my shoulders to my hips, or vice-versa (however, I will admit, when tightening the load adjusters, to me, it felt like they were shifting the weight to my shoulders more than my hips… when I would loosen them I noticed the weight at my hips again…)

      Anyway, I have been using frameless packs for the last couple of years, so no need in having load lifters… but when I ordered the Arc Blast, I figured since I was going back to a pack with a frame on it, I would add them back on… but, now that I have used the pack, even fully loaded with near 25 lbs in it, I have never needed them. Maybe it is a weight thing, but I have got to say that this pack fits me, and rides like a dream. I don’t even find myself making adjustments throughout the day like I did with other packs, sometimes including my frameless packs. Considering this, if I were to order this pack again, I would leave them off… And of course I could cut them off of this pack, but I will just leave them on… really the weight is so minimal, there is no point in it.

      Hope this helps some!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  10. Jeff W says:

    Hi Stick. I’m curious as to whether or not you’ve put some miles on the Arc Blast yet. Going back to the comparison with the ULA Circuit, how do compare the way the two packs carry say a 20 lb load? Do you feel good weight transfer to the hips with the Arc Blast? Also, how do the hip belts compare…I think ULA has one of the more comfortable hip belts in the industry. Finally, are you glad that you got the lumbar pad with the Arc Blast? Thanks.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jeff,

      I only have about 60 or 70 ish miles on my Arc Blast so far, but wow, it’s awesome!

      As for carrying 20 lbs, for me, the Arc Blast is the winner (not that the Circuit didn’t do a good job though). I think the most I have carried in the Arc Blast was around 24 or so lbs, and I have nothing but great things to say about it… Even while hiking throughout the day, I didn’t find myself making adjustments here or there like I have on other packs…. it just worked. The frame does an excellent job at transferring the weight to the hips, and I find that it is more than substantial to distribute the load evenly on my hips. As well, I think the lumbar pad was a good move for me personally… I don’t really have much of a butt, so it has done a good job at filling the gap…

      Hope this helps some.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  11. Dan says:

    I am very close to ordering an Arc Blast. Funny…I was intending to purchase an exos like you mentioned…until I started reading about the Arc Blast. Rarely have I run across a product with such happy users! Anyhow I am really confounded by the torso measurement. I am 6 ft with a 31-32″ inseam and in most packs like REI/Osprey/etc I wear a medium. I believe my “conventional” measurement is 19″. The shoulder straps have always wrapped up and over my shoulder as conventional wisdom has recommended (no gap between back and pack). It sounds like you purchased the “Tall 22 inch”…is that correct? Can you tell me your measurements and how the shoulder strap fits for you? The zpacks explanation is a bit confusing to me because it says that their measurement is from the bottom of the strap to the top of the shoulder…and in the picture the strap is almost horizontal. I always enjoy reading your reviews…down to earth and real! Thanks in advance for any help or advice on sizing!

    Like

  12. John Keefe says:

    Chad, With this new pack you are using side pouches. Have you stopped using the front pouch? I DIY the pouch on my Gossamar pack and it works well. I don’t like side pouches and I carry every thing i need for the day in the front.

    John Keefe ( Battleax)

    Like

    • Stick says:

      John,

      I assume that by front pouch you mean the Multipack?

      If so, I do still use it, when I need it. However, with this Arc Blast, there is so much room in/on it, I don’t think that I will need anything else…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  13. Stevie Hikes says:

    Nice write up, recently got my Arc Blast as well, it seems to be an excellent pack. I’ll be using mine on the PCT next year.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Stevie,

      Sounds great! Should work well for that. What size did you get?

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Stevie Hikes says:

      I got the 52 liter. After I opened the box, I was worried that it might not be enough volume. But, I loaded it up for an overnighter last weekend and packed as much extra stuff as I could, even another quilt. Looks like it’ll be perfect, and I didn’t even use the the outside pocket. Just wish I had a canister to toss in there to see how that works out with the current way I’m loading my pack, but I’ve still got about 5 months until the kickoff. Should have plenty of time to play with it. 🙂

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Stevie,

      I was set on the 52L, but then decided to go with the 60L simply so I could actually replace my Circuit with it. On the (rare) occasion that my wife or son does go with me, I like to carry as much of the shared gear as I can (which is usually all of it) so that there packs stay as light as possible. And wow, it is huge! Swallowed everything right up… 🙂

      Anyway, hope it works well for you on your hike, and good luck!

      Happy hiking…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  14. Daniel Leasure says:

    Chad long time follower of your utube . I would love to have that pack thats light for being so big. Well I finally got a chance to test my new pack I have had for 4 months I went last Sunday and Friday as well I got the Osprey exco 34 l and Friday I packed it up good for possible freezing and raining weather . I am in need of a good wide short bag I have a Casper by Eureka 15 deg this bag is to small of with for me to zip up in but I use it like a quilt works okfor me that way if I ever get the money I want a enlightened equipment quilt. So I really put the bag to a test weight was close to 30 lbs I think I had 4 ltrs of water with me and my tent as well as a 10 x12 sil tarp . The pack worked great. I can’t believe I got it all in there I did have a bag on top with the tarp in it I also took my thermarest tech blanket I find I like using it as a pillow and to lay out when I get to camp to sit on and lay out my gear on to set up camp.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Daniel,

      Wow, it sounds like you had quite a load in that 34L pack! And those 4L of water was a third of your weight, so that is not too bad at all!

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Happy hiking!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  15. Warren Stanford says:

    Thanks for the initial review Chad, pack looks ideal as a winter pack for those extra bulky sleeping bags and duvet clothing required when the thermometer hits 0ͦc. Hope you have happy trails testing the pack, and look forward to you impressions of the mesh back.

    Like

  16. Garth says:

    Hi Chad, What is your impression of the load lifters now that you have put a load in the pack? do they actually help bring the load towards you? In hindsight would you get them? i have been meaning to get an ARC blast and you video has prompted into action….each time i go to order i balk at the measuring as it is very specific and no one is around at that time to help me measure exactly…how did you find the fitting…true to size? i am typically a medium in most packs.

    thx

    Garth

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Garth,

      It is hard to say since I haven’t really used the pack. For me with my other bigger packs, as the day progressed (while hiking) I would let them in or out, adjusting it on occasion throughout the day. After this hike coming up, I should have a better idea about them.

      As for fitting, I have ordered the same size in all 5 of my ZPacks packs, and they work for me. I never actually measured myself like Joe does on the site, so I can’t really say about that. Also, maybe I am wrong, but it seems like he has them listed a little different now than before… or maybe I just looked at it wrong. If you have questions about fit though, I would suggest contacting them and asking them about it.

      Good luck in your decision! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Garth says:

      Thx Chad, i appreciate your advice.

      Like

    • dracobushcraft says:

      My two cents for what it is worth is now my summer pack is so light that I hardly know I am wearing one so I never felt the need to change that load position. Even my last trip where I took my zero bag which is a pretty heavy one I did not feel the need to change the position of the load. As for size I followed the directions on the zpacks web site and got a perfect fit.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Draco,

      Don’t you love those packs in which you start hiking down the trail and look back quickly because you thought you forgot to put your pack on?! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • dracobushcraft says:

      Stick,

      Going ultralight was the best thing I did. I had no idea how much better I would feel at the end of the long day.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      I agree. I feel so much better even after a 20+ mile day with my lightweight packs. And despite what some may think, still have all I need to be comfy once I get to camp too. Good stuff!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  17. David in NC says:

    Awesome “real user” review. Glad to hear the Southern accent too (Western NC here!) Really liking your YouTube channel also… I find your progression in hiking similar (but much quicker than my 30 year journey through regular, lightweight, ultralightweight… superultralightweight… well…I’m not there yet!)

    Like

    • Stick says:

      David,

      Great to hear that you have found my blog & videos helpful! I appreciate your support, and that you stopped by and commented.

      As for lightening up, congrats on lightening up so far, and good luck continuing to do so. It is definitely a learning experience along the way… and fun! 🙂

      Happy hiking,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  18. Pat C says:

    Nice video Stick. I really like the looks of it. I picked up the 45 Liter in orange and tan. I really dig it! There is a lot of room in the 45 L. I might pick up the upper mesh side pockets for long hikes, when I need more real estate inside the pack. This is my first pack from Z-packs. Joe was great to work with. I am a short torso, 17 inches. Joe even offered to cut down the stays if I needed him to, but I decided the stock stay length would be fine. The 17 inch torso length on the pack works very well and the pack does not tower over my head. The nice part about the Arc blast is that all the pack sizes are the same width and height, only the depth is different. This would make ordering larger, or in your case, a smaller size, very easy. You can order the same torso length and be on the mark. I have not had mine out for more than a walk in the woods; so it will be great to hear how yours performs on a real hike.

    Like

  19. Jan Pieters, The Netherlands says:

    Nice blog and video. Do you think that the ZPAcks can be used in a multi day trailrunning trip? Say the smallest version of the Arc Blast Pack?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Thanks Jan for the kind words. As for your question, I have never done any real trail running, so I can’t really answer that for you. I know that there are different needs when it comes to trail running as far as a pack is concerned, but I just don’t know what those are… Sorry I can’t help with your question.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  20. Welcome to the club Stick 🙂
    ~ Fozzie

    Like

    • Stick says:

      I know! And being the huge ZPacks fan that I am, can you believe it took me this long! 🙂

      I think that once they offered them in colors other than the tan I couldn’t contain myself any longer… love this green!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  21. David Byrge says:

    Excellent review/video Stick. I’m going to put this on my list. I’ve been thinking about getting rid of the REI Flash 65 that I currently use and this looks like a good replacement plus a good weight reduction. The Flash 65 weighs in at 50 ounces.

    Like

  22. Cesar says:

    Nice first impressions video and article, Stick. I think it really shows in the ultimate outcome of his products that Joe from Zpacks is an avid and veteran backpacker. The Arc Blasts are simple yet don’t skimp on good options, and are one of the most pragmatic and functional backpacks around–especially when you consider the crazy low weight for a framed pack! I have taken mine out on one trip and will take it out again next week and can’t wait. But what I daydream about pretty much everyday is taking it out on a big section hike next spring, which I think this pack is best for (along with thru-hikes of course). Take care and enjoy the pack. Looking forward to writing a long term review, which I bet you are too. 🙂

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Cesar,

      I agree with everything you said. It is obvious that Joe has put a lot of time into creating this pack. And not only that, the fine folks at ZPacks manage to execute that design over and over well. I am super happy with the pack I have, and while I haven’t used it yet, I can’t think of anything I would want different.

      And yeah, my plans for this pack will only be in my winter months when I carry along my bigger, Helium sleeping bag, and some insulated clothing, etc… Also, this should work well when my wife or son come with me (which honestly, is not near as often as I would like…) and I can carry a little of their stuff too so that I make sure to keep their packs as light as possible.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  23. P.S. I totally agree what google did to youtube is a nightmare. I hate the constant “Suggested videos” they show on the page now. My favorites are hard to find now as well as getting to my inbox should not take 3 clicks on a page in my upload area to even get to them. Thats plane silly. The worst thing I dont like is that your gmail email account has to be associated with your youtube page. Google seemed to take youtube over and really made a mess of it.

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  24. Chad great review and glad you choose the “Army” Green “Their name” not a military green. Military green is O.D. Green and this is a different color than OD. Its close but a bit different. Good color choice. I agree the bladder thing is a nightmare filling it cleaning it and its down right weird in my pack. Only time I would use this would have been when in the military and I had load out vest and could not “Take” my pack off or did not want the canteen swing going on. To me I enjoy my trail pack with the waist pockets that I put my plastic gatoraid bottles in. On a side note do you think you could do a “Food” pack list of how you do your food on the trail and how many days it is used for as well as how you pack it up in your backpack?

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks for the correction on the color… it had been a while since I looked and couldn’t remember the technical name… I just remembered it was green and was associated with the military one way or another… 🙂

      Anyway, as for food videos, as well as videos on how I pack my packs, I already have a few of those out there. My packing is essentially the same each time, but the contents may vary, dependent upon the trip I am on. Food is about the same. You can click on “Food” and “Packing” under the categories section over on the right hand side of my blog to get started with a few…

      Hope this helps, and thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  25. RN says:

    I’ve been considering selling my Circuit (which was great on the JMT and other hikes this summer) and replacing it with the ArcBlast to save over a pound … I’ll be very interested in how you think they compare. Thanks for your great gear reviews and videos. I’ve found them very helpful!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      RN,

      Glad to hear that you like my videos! I appreciate you stopping by.

      As for the packs, being that being sub 30 lbs is very doable, I feel like the Arc Blast will be a very suitable replacement. However, if I was constantly packing 30, or maybe a little more, then the Circuit may be a bit better… Although, I don’t know for sure since I haven’t used it yet. But, I plan to change that… 🙂

      Good luck in your decision!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • RN says:

      I think being sub 30 is definitely possible although my gear isn’t quite as lightweight as what I have seen of yours. With the weight savings from moving from the CIrcuit to the ArcBlast plus a few other tweaks, I would probably be right at 30 pounds with a 7-8 day resupply and including a bear canister for the Sierra Nevada. Locally (Virginia), I’m always more in the 22-23 pound range even with the Circuit. Anyway, it would be great to get your impressions of how the Circuit and ArcBlast compare once you’ve take the ArcBlast on a trip!

      Like

    • Stick says:

      If you are at a 22-23 lb range total, with the Circuit, then the Arc Blast will be fine for you. If you are constantly at 30 lbs, or a little more, that may be a little different. However, according to the ZPacks site, the Arc Blast can handle loads of 30 lbs… so that will be a tough call…

      This may be one of those situations where you will just have to get one and try it out to see what you think. The good thing is if it doesn’t, you can likely turn it over pretty quickly on BPL…

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • dracobushcraft says:

      For what it is worth I went from a ULA Circuit to the Arc Blast as well. I always had extra room in my Circuit during the summer so I knew the Blast would be no problem at that time of year. I went out recently for a weekend in the colder weather and the Blast was a little tight. I found the top strap very helpful when carrying more layers to add at night.

      With that said the Blast is my favorite pack of all time. I did a section of the Superior Hiking trail a couple of months back and it performed flawlessly. I love the fit and feel. The quality of the workmanship is excellent. I give it two thumbs up.

      I still have my Circuit and am considering keeping it for those winter time hikes as the extra room is nice with my larger sleeping bag and more gear. But if I could have only one the Blast would be it.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Draco,

      I am actually going from my Blast 30 to my Arc Blast, however, in the process, I opted for the larger 60L Arc Blast so that I could also use it in place of my Circuit. It has been over a year since I have used my Circuit…

      Anyway, the Circuit is about 600 cu in larger than the Circuit, which might make a difference if trying to squeeze in more food. I gotta say though, for me, this thing is huge and easily swallows all I would need to put in it… especially with the hip belt pockets, the side pockets and even the little shoulder pouch… Crazy how much room this thing has! I actually feel like it is the same volume, if not more, than my Circuit…

      Anyway, it’s great to hear that you are enjoying yours! I look forward to using mine soon…

      ~Stick~

      Like

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