As I mentioned in the previous post, I found a second-hand ZPacks Arc Blast 52L pack. It arrived safely this week. My instant reaction was “this is a bit Heath Robinson”. However, on closer inspection, it is well made and there aren’t any flaws other than a couple of marks from usage.
This is the older version of the Arc Blast. The new version has an extra horizontal bar at the top of the frame and uses cord for the compression straps at the side and the bedding roll straps at the base of the pack. The only other difference is that the top strap is not removable.
In some ways I prefer grosgrain to cord for the compression straps. The total weight is an insane 404g, which for a proper framed rucksack is astonishing. The material is cuben with a polyester facing. It feels like thick paper and crackles. It also has a distressed look. The colour was advertised as grey, but it looks more like a light khaki.
I loaded it up with a sleeping bag to bulk it out. It’s medium size, which is perfect for me. The straps and hip belt feel good and are in the right position. I’ll need to test it with a proper load, but first impressions are good.
Although this is a 52L pack, the main body is 39L (according to ZPacks). It seems slimmer and taller than the GG Mariposa. My first thought was that it will be too small for the Challenge, but it might be possible to use it with a change in packing strategy. I hope I can use it. It’s half the weight of the Mariposa.
I’ve already done a couple of tweaks, which I’ll do a separate post on. I wasn’t sure about the Arc Blast, which was one reason for buying a second-hand pack. Looking at it close up, I’d have confidence to buy a new one, although with accessories and tax/duty, it would be more than double the price of this second-hand one. If I really like it over the next twelve months, I may opt to buy a new one. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to using this for real.