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Luggage Transfer Correos

Z-Packs Question

Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
Do any of you own the Z-Packs Arc Blast? If so, now that you've used it for awhile do you think that it's worth paying almost twice as much for it as any other backpack? I am intrigued by the lightweight aspect as well as it being waterproof. What input do you have for someone like me who is considering buying one? I realize that how it fits me will be a big deciding factor but am curious about how convenient (or not) you think it is for day-to-day living on the Camino.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to reply.
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
I know a guy who has one. He loves it tor AT hiking.

IMHO, I do not think it is worth it or viable for use on the Camino(s).

Bang for the buck, or Euro, I feel a Osprey pack (i.e. 35L size or other size) would be better value. Tough. Does not weigh that much.
Ideal for Camino hiking.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
I was hired by zPacks to gear test the Arc Blast when it first was introduced, and then again a year later.

While I never 'hated' the pack, I could never get used to it --- unlike other packs I've used and really liked, the Arc Blast never went unnoticed on my back. It would never fade to the background and was just a bit annoying in how it felt. it was sorta like a backpacking companion who would never shut up when all you want to do is enjoy your surroundings and the walk itself. :)

A lot of folks have felt the same way. A lot of folks love the pack. This is a situation where it is most likely someone will either like or be annoyed or even hate the pack. There seems to be little middle ground.

During that same time period of testing, I also worked with the ULA Catalyst and Circuit backpacks, and the Gossamer Gear Mariposa (which is my current favorite) and Gorilla packs. The zPacks Arc Blast was my least favorite of those four other packs.

The Arc Blast is pretty well made, but it is a finicky process to change out the hip belt and do a major adjustment to the shoulder harness. Although the Cuben Fiber (Dyneema) is fairly tough, I developed very small holes in the bag during my 5 months of use. These holes, however, were easily repaired, and on a Camino-style walk -- rather than wilderness backpacking -- it will undergo a lot less abrasive and 'pokey' forces so it will not have as much wear and tear to it.

There are a number of other backpacks which, while not quite as light as the Arc Blast, are in that neighborhood. For example, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa is just under 2 pounds in total weight (it is actually less in weight than the product description shows. Gossamer Gear tends to cite their specs on the very conservative side :) )

I tend not to spend a lot of time worrying about the cost of good gear that will last me a long time and really suit my needs. I would say, however, that the Arc Blast is -- when measured by dollars per ounce -- not the best bargain among ultralight and lightweight gear.

Keep in mind that evaluating and replacing a few items of heavier gear with lighter weight versions, slimming down the amount of clothing and gear one takes, or even carrying a bit less water and refilling more often, are some of the strategies which will offset the slightly higher weight of a different model pack. :)

If you want to try the Arc Blast, please allow enough time to really get the feel of it and still have enough time to return it should you decide to do so.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
I've recently seen a lot of reviews for them on YouTube and I think they were all positive. But these reviews were all given by American long distance backpackers going through the mountains. They have to carry more equipment than pilgrims (tents, food, more water, stoves, cooking gear. etc.) and for up to five months longer. That means that the weight savings is worth the extra cost. My general recommendation for pilgrims would be that it isn't worth the extra cost for them. Though if we had a discussion about it and I knew more about your circumstance maybe I would say to go for it.
 

Havnen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino, St. Frances (October, 2016)
I posted some of this on another thread, but since it specifically answers the question, I’ll post here as well. I did not find the Zpack Arc Blast an annoyance at all. My goal was to have the lightest pack possible that was also a good fit. Had an Osprey for the first Camino leg in October, 2016. Then last summer, anticipating intense elevation gains and losses on the TMB and a having a bit of an injury, I sprung for the ultra lightweight Zpack Arc Blast (http://www.zpacks.com/backpacks/arc_blast.shtml) and LOVE IT! Only 21 ounces...and the arc in the back really helps ventilate on hot days. Fits great and the shoulder straps (weirdly) barely touch the shoulders so there is never that heavy feeling of weight. Side note: The TMB was challenging and had truly spectacular views. But I missed the energy and community feel of the Camino and will be back on the The Way in late September. Can’t wait!
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
zPacks Arc Blast . . . 1 Lbs 5 oz. . . $15.50 / ounce

ULA Circuit . . . . 2 Lbs 2 oz . . . $ 6.18 / ounce

Both are good packs and are highly rated by many thru-hikers on the PCT and Appalachian Trails. The zPacks is 13 ounces lighter than the ULA. The ULA is $ 9.32 / ounce less than the zPacks.

This is not a criticism of either pack; each pack has its unique strengths and weaknesses. This is an example of how the consumer is faced with a variety of considerations, based on individual priorities, when selecting specific types of gear. :)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I posted some of this on another thread, but since it specifically answers the question, I’ll post here as well. I did not find the Zpack Arc Blast an annoyance at all. My goal was to have the lightest pack possible that was also a good fit. Had an Osprey for the first Camino leg in October, 2016. Then last summer, anticipating intense elevation gains and losses on the TMB and a having a bit of an injury, I sprung for the ultra lightweight Zpack Arc Blast (http://www.zpacks.com/backpacks/arc_blast.shtml) and LOVE IT! Only 21 ounces...and the arc in the back really helps ventilate on hot days. Fits great and the shoulder straps (weirdly) barely touch the shoulders so there is never that heavy feeling of weight. Side note: The TMB was challenging and had truly spectacular views. But I missed the energy and community feel of the Camino and will be back on the The Way in late September. Can’t wait!
What's the TMB?
 

padre eric

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
Havnen said it well. I walked the Camino in 2016 with my wife and daughter. We all used the Zpack. My pack is now making its second Camino on the back of a good friend. He needed to carry a CPAP...his Osprey was roughly two pounds heavier, he ditched it in favor of taking my Zpack...weight does matter for some. My family greatly enjoyed the Zpack. None of us carried over 15 pounds and like already mentioned, the unique design somehow keeps the weight completely off the shoulders. I will offer that none of us had ever hiked or carried a pack before that morning in SJPP, so we have nothing to compare our experience to, we can only say our packs were NOT the burden that many others complained about. My wife did have a bit of an issue getting hers to fit properly. We forwarded pictures of how the back was sitting on her and within 24 hours the good folks at Zpack had reviewed the pictures and gave us exact directions of what we needed to do to the pack so it would fit properly - all while we were somewhere on the Camino. Expensive...yes. Worth it? For us, yes! I will say I had a bit of pack envy seeing others with all their pockets and webbing and attachments, and sewn on emblems...but I got over it, and never had reason to curse my pack.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
I bought a Zpack Arc Blast for my 2016 Camino. And I've used it as a daypack for many hiking expeditions.

I love it -- I never felt like I was wearing a pack. It fit beautifully. Never any discomfort -- and I've had several uncomfortable packs that were fitted at REI.

It is waterproof (except for the time I packed a water bottle inside that was not tightly capped). I've walked in lots of rain.

If I needed a new pack, I would definitely buy this one again.

Hope this helps. Blessings.
 

BucketBabe

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances planned for October 3-mid November (2018)
zPacks Arc Blast . . . 1 Lbs 5 oz. . . $15.50 / ounce

ULA Circuit . . . . 2 Lbs 2 oz . . . $ 6.18 / ounce

Both are good packs and are highly rated by many thru-hikers on the PCT and Appalachian Trails. The zPacks is 13 ounces lighter than the ULA. The ULA is $ 9.32 / ounce less than the zPacks.
:)
I ADORE my ULA Circuit - just got it 10 days ago shaving 3 pounds from previous pack and its been great on five LD training hikes/walks. Very functional and someone said the material is "same as" their z pack. I always line my pack with a compactor bag and i've had no problem with water even in light rain. Haven't experienced any heavy rain as of yet.
 

Harington

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Do any of you own the Z-Packs Arc Blast? If so, now that you've used it for awhile do you think that it's worth paying almost twice as much for it as any other backpack? I am intrigued by the lightweight aspect as well as it being waterproof. What input do you have for someone like me who is considering buying one? I realize that how it fits me will be a big deciding factor but am curious about how convenient (or not) you think it is for day-to-day living on the Camino.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to reply.
No, actually I don't. It's been mentioned in a thread before, and someone agreed with me that - despite its lightness - it was never comfortable. I'm not inexperienced in rucksacks, but however I configured the straps one shoulder or the other always hurt, and over 2000km on the VF that wasn't fun. Furthermore one of the carbon fibre stays that make up the frame broke through the fabric, thus shoving all the weight onto one shoulder, and the pack had to be sent back to the States for (free) repair. Their customer service is excellent, but no imo it's not worth it. Oh the other plus is that it's waterproof.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
I ADORE my ULA Circuit - just got it 10 days ago shaving 3 pounds from previous pack and its been great on five LD training hikes/walks. Very functional and someone said the material is "same as" their z pack. I always line my pack with a compactor bag and i've had no problem with water even in light rain. Haven't experienced any heavy rain as of yet.
I used the ULA Circuit for part of my PCT thru-hike (4 months out of the 5 months on the trail). The zPacks Arc Blast uses a lightweight composite fabric, formerly labeled as Cuben Fiber. The ULA packs are made using a type of nylon fabric called Robic, which is heavier per yard than Cuben Fiber, but more robust overall.

In fact, ULA has offered their packs with Cuben Fiber as special order, but some of those customers have told ULA that the bag just doesn't last like they thought it would. As I said, their are positives and negatives to pack bag materials. :)

The compacter bag liner is a good trick to use, especially if you don't want to fiddle with a rain cover on the pack if you wear a rain jacket rather than a poncho.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I used the ULA Circuit for part of my PCT thru-hike (4 months out of the 5 months on the trail). The zPacks Arc Blast uses a lightweight composite fabric, formerly labeled as Cuben Fiber. The ULA packs are made using a type of nylon fabric called Robic, which is heavier per yard than Cuben Fiber, but more robust overall.

In fact, ULA has offered their packs with Cuben Fiber as special order, but some of those customers have told ULA that the bag just doesn't last like they thought it would. As I said, their are positives and negatives to pack bag materials. :)

The compacter bag liner is a good trick to use, especially if you don't want to fiddle with a rain cover on the pack if you wear a rain jacket rather than a poncho.
Zpacks also makes backpacks with Robic fabric called Arc Haul, which are 24 ounces http://www.zpacks.com/backpacks/arc_haul.shtml
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
Zpacks also makes backpacks with Robic fabric called Arc Haul, which are 24 ounces http://www.zpacks.com/backpacks/arc_haul.shtml
Good observation. They are less expensive than their Cuben Fiber/Dyneema, too. Because the Arc Haul is a larger capacity pack designed to carry a heavier load, so I think zPacks decided to forgo the Cuben Fiber because it doesn't hold up to heavy loads as well.

For those interested in the Arc Haul because it is less expensive and only a bit heavier than the Arc Blast, but you are unsure about a pack that size for a Camino, keep in mind that you don't need to fill it up. :)
 

Anne Measures

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago - twice
Via Francigena - Canterbury to Rome (2017)
Rome to Jerusalem (2017)
Do any of you own the Z-Packs Arc Blast? If so, now that you've used it for awhile do you think that it's worth paying almost twice as much for it as any other backpack? I am intrigued by the lightweight aspect as well as it being waterproof. What input do you have for someone like me who is considering buying one? I realize that how it fits me will be a big deciding factor but am curious about how convenient (or not) you think it is for day-to-day living on the Camino.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to reply.
I own a zpacks arc blast. Highly recommend. The reason I bought one was I wanted to have light equipment. Whilst collecting my kit together everything was bought with that fact in mind, I walked the Camino Frances this year and found it a good choice. I did not book ahead, I walked until I needed to stop carrying everything with me. I hope this is helpful.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
I own a zpacks arc blast. Highly recommend. The reason I bought one was I wanted to have light equipment. Whilst collecting my kit together everything was bought with that fact in mind, I walked the Camino Frances this year and found it a good choice. I did not book ahead, I walked until I needed to stop carrying everything with me. I hope this is helpful.
Hi, Anne...
Out of curiosity, what was your total pack weight? Total pack weight being only the weight of everything carried inside of your pack plus the pack itself.
 

Nanc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
I used the Arc Zip ( a bit heavier than the Blast) on my CF
once adjusted it carried light without annoyance and transferred weight well with good back ventilation
Having a larger capacity never interfered and I was never " tempted to over fill"
in the environment of the Camino it suffered no wear or holes
I have used this pack for 3 years and currently for most of my longer day hikes - 13 miles + (and the Gorilla for shorter ones). I like how it handles loads and the organization provided by zip access
I enjoyed its almost water proof nature ( I did use a pack liner but nothing ever penetrated inside )
and I prefer not to have dangling things outside my pack
just MHO
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I used the Arc Zip ( a bit heavier than the Blast) on my CF
once adjusted it carried light without annoyance and transferred weight well with good back ventilation
Having a larger capacity never interfered and I was never " tempted to over fill"
in the environment of the Camino it suffered no wear or holes
I have used this pack for 3 years and currently for most of my longer day hikes - 13 miles + (and the Gorilla for shorter ones). I like how it handles loads and the organization provided by zip access
I enjoyed its almost water proof nature ( I did use a pack liner but nothing ever penetrated inside )
and I prefer not to have dangling things outside my pack
just MHO
The Arc Zip or Arc Haul Zip are the Zpacks that I would be interested in. I really like the zip access.
 

Nanc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
@Nanc , @Anne Measures , @Priscilla NC , @padre eric & @Havnen - did you have any problem taking your Z-packs backpack as carry on luggage?
I did end up Buying Zpacks carry on bag with the handle. It protected the pack very well
Instead of using it as a bag etc in the pack I shipped it on with some miscellaneous UN necessities
I needed to pack my poles and knife
With tension released from stays, its length is an inch or so longer than some airlines allow and I was afraid of damaging the stays if left I an arch in
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
Thank you all for your input. Still weighing the plusses and minuses.
 

Havnen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino, St. Frances (October, 2016)
Expensive...yes. Worth it? For us, yes! I will say I had a bit of pack envy seeing others with all their pockets and webbing and attachments, and sewn on emblems...but I got over it, and never had reason to curse my pack.
About the pocket/webbing/attachment envy, I have two side pouches on the hip belt, one on each side for grab and go stuff, two large outside pockets (one holds an umbrella and my indespensible Therm-a-Rest sit pad and the other a large water bottle and trekking poles when not in use), a huge back mesh pocket, and an attachable mesh pocket thingy. Inside I keep it pretty simple: a bag with my sleeping bag, silk liner, and Therm-a-Rest pillow (luxury item!), a bag with clothes, a Chico reusable shopping bag that holds shower stuff/toiletries/flip flops/meds. I liked the Osprey’s pockets, etc. but didn’t really miss them with the Zpack Arc Blast. I managed to put TMB and Camino emblems on with super glue but you could also use embroidery floss to sew them to the mesh back pouch. There are several great packs out there! Hope those looking find the perfect fit! Buen Camino!
 

Havnen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino, St. Frances (October, 2016)
What's the TMB?
Tour du Mont Blanc. We walked from France to Italy to Switzerland and back to France. Spectacular scenery. Challenging. Sucked a lot of wind. Nice places to stay, good food, nice peeps, but it just isn’t the Camino.
 
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Havnen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino, St. Frances (October, 2016)
@Nanc , @Anne Measures , @Priscilla NC , @padre eric & @Havnen - did you have any problem taking your Z-packs backpack as carry on luggage?
Not at all. I most worry that the airlines will take my trekking poles, having heard such stories, so I pack them at the bottom. Have heard the biggest risk is flying out of Spain, which I have not done. After the Camino in October we are making our way to London by train (to see Hamilton!) so won’t be tempting fate one more time with losing the poles!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
The Correos now has an office at the Santiago airport. It is located in a kiosk just outside the entry doors after you get off the bus. They specialize in sending your hiking poles home through the post. The only caveat to this is that sending the poles outside Europe or the UK will likely cost more than the poles are worth.

One result of this is that security at Santiago has gotten even more strict about having these metal tipped 'spears' in the cabin. Sure, your results may vary, and I am certain folks will weigh in here about how they managed to get their poles on board flight x or y.

But, what I am trying to explain is that, as there are at least two viable options to carrying said "expedient weapons" onto a flight, the security folks would seriously prefer that you either: (A) check them with your carrier, or (B) post them from the conveniently located Correos office.

Hope this helps.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
I've posted on ours a few times. I love mine, my wife likes hers, but never got a perfect fit. The straps can be sweaty. They are indeed light and waterproof, and look like new after a Stevenson Trail and a Nepal trek. Here's some of my posts:
#12
I got it in indigo.
I wore it on a hike today, where the November drizzle turned into a ghastly driving cold rain. Water got in through my raingear, and my wife's pack was a soggy mess, but everything in the zpack was dry as can be. The fabric is a bit crackly sounding, but it is totally waterproof. You have to let air out like a dry sack when closing it.

Here's a picture of the pack in use:



#32
We have the Zpack arc blast. They have some pretty good fitting instructions, and make adjustments for virtually no charge. When a cat at a gite ate through my mesh pocket to get some jambon bayonne, they fixed that for free too. Contact them before ordering and they'll really try to get it right the first time.


#52
You have a 43.5 oz pack. A zpack arc blast weighs 16 oz. and is waterproof without a pack cover. We just finished a 16 day trip with ours and they were wonderful. Comfortable, tough, convenient pockets......not cheap, but serious weight savings.

Here's a 45 liter pack, 16 oz with full frame, and a 5.5 oz waterproof breathable jacket on the trail.

http://www.zpacks.com/

 

KYBirdman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(Sept 2018)
I have an Arc Blast. It is not my favorite pack. I love the weight (lack thereof) but I have found Hyperlight Mountain Gear. Their pack (dyneema like Zpacks) is better made and even with the few extra ounces (weighs in at 32 oz or .907 kg) it is much more comfortable for my body. The pricing is the same for both packs. Occasionally I will use the Zpacks for a few day hike but I much prefer the Hyperlite. My husband will be hiking with the Gossamer Gear starting in a couple of weeks and me the Hyperlite.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
I have an Arc Blast. It is not my favorite pack. I love the weight (lack thereof) but I have found Hyperlight Mountain Gear. Their pack (dyneema like Zpacks) is better made and even with the few extra ounces (weighs in at 32 oz or .907 kg) it is much more comfortable for my body. The pricing is the same for both packs. Occasionally I will use the Zpacks for a few day hike but I much prefer the Hyperlite. My husband will be hiking with the Gossamer Gear starting in a couple of weeks and me the Hyperlite.
Hyperlight is a great cottage manufacturer of gear, and their packs are darned good. :)

Which Gossamer Gear pack is he using?
 

Anne Measures

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago - twice
Via Francigena - Canterbury to Rome (2017)
Rome to Jerusalem (2017)
I never really weighed it, though I did take things out before I went. Initially I was going to walk the Via Francigena got to Quines France from Canterbury Cathedral and decided to walk Camino Frances. Sent tent home and odd safety gadgets. I suppose approx 6kg
Xxx

Hi, Anne...
Out of curiosity, what was your total pack weight? Total pack weight being only the weight of everything carried inside of your pack plus the pack itself.
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
1) Do any of you own the Z-Packs Arc Blast?
2) If so, now that you've used it for awhile do you think that it's worth paying almost twice as much for it as any other backpack?
@intrepidtraveler , thanks for the question.

Addressing the second part of your question first. From my part of the world production runs or imports tend to be not huge. So the shop can make enough to pay fir the import, rent and wages etc mark-ups tend to be on the high side. So the difference in cost to me of my importing a zPack Arc Blast and buying an equivalent product was not great. But the real issue for me is this - there was / is no equivalent product for me.

I sought a pack that had a frame that would keep the body substantially away from my back as well as be light weight. At the time I was buying (early 2015) I could not find an externally framed pack. As for lightweight, all that was available to me locally of a similar size at that time tended to be close to 2 kg. That was 33 % of a nominal total weight (including water, tablet etc) of 6 kg compared to the zPack's 0.650 kg or just over 10% of my nominal maximum weight.

With the three outside pockets I carry:
right side - 1 litre water bottle and Blue Dessert drinking tube system
left side - washing liquid and sunscreen and 0.5 litre water bottle
back - all the clothes I am not wearing, trowel and toilet paper.

Inside I have a sleeping bag and a kitchen sink (I kid you not) in which are medical, cosmetic and electrical stuff (memory back up, charger and cables),
and, for the trip I completed a week ago, my tent (which added about 0.9 kg)

None of this convenience, for me, was possible with what was available in 2015. And, not that I've looked hard since the, does not seem to be available now.

As with @Nanc , I bought the slightly oversized pack liner with a carry handle that converts everything into a carry bag for travel, checking in etc.

This is my fourth year with it. Apart from some internal fraying (which is not significant) I expect a few more years service.

@intrepidtraveler , if I have not adequately addressed your questions, please let me know.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
@Nanc @Anne Measures & @Priscilla NC - I don't know if I have asked this question about the Zpacks before - how do you like the shoulder straps? I have found the women's specific shoulder straps to be much more comfortable for me, so I don't know if I'd like a unisex version.
 

Nanc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
Very comfortable I do use the sternum strap under heavy loads to pull it closer to the middle
Or it rubs a little on collar bone
But only at full loads
And as said the weight can be primarily laid onto the hips with this pack
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
the shoulder straps do not rest on my shoulders. That's one of the reasons I love this pack, I rarely know I'm wearing a pack.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
It's not so much how the straps rest on my shoulders, it's how they cut across my chest. (which isn't large, but...)
 

KYBirdman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(Sept 2018)
The straps work well for me with no rubbing. I am quite busty and always use the sternum strap.
 

Nanc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
"Why do I always see someone telling how much weight they saved...then I see them get a book, or books, NB PC, etc out of their bag. Makes no sense."
you may not understand a similar thought process some of us women go through: drink diet coke so you can get the french fries (or dessert or ...)
This is- save weight where ever you can in order to take that personal luxury item like a book
 

Ricardo Moretti

Rick Camino April-May 2018
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2018
Do any of you own the Z-Packs Arc Blast? If so, now that you've used it for awhile do you think that it's worth paying almost twice as much for it as any other backpack? I am intrigued by the lightweight aspect as well as it being waterproof. What input do you have for someone like me who is considering buying one? I realize that how it fits me will be a big deciding factor but am curious about how convenient (or not) you think it is for day-to-day living on the Camino.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to reply.
First, what is the total weight that you plan to carry? Some reviews of the ZPack claim them to be uncomfortable with carrying weights above 12lbs and others with weights above 15lbs. Look at the design, a zpack carries the weight away from your back affecting the center of gravity....when most specialist will want you to place the heaviest elements closest to your back. So unless you an ultralight packer, it is NOT reccomended for the Camino. I personally reccomend something else like an Fjallraven, Gregory, Deuter, Osprey... I did the Camino Frances this year and researched a year prior, and NOT ONE Person on the camino that I met or the vlogs and blogs that I had came across used a zpack. Why some people even used suitcases! Yes suitcases, they would have them sent forward (several services available for just 2-3 euros) to their next walking to destination and either use a daypack or no pack at all!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
First the weight of what you carry. Some reviews of the ZPack claims them to be uncomfortable with carrying weights of above 12lbs and other with weight above 15lbs. Look at the design, a zpack carries the weight away from your back affecting the center of gravity....when most specialist will want you to place the heaviest elements closest to your back. So unless you an ultralight packer, it is NOT reccomended for the Camino. I personally reccomend something else like an Osprey. I did the Camino Frances this year and researched a year prior, and NOT ONE Person on the vlogs, blogs or in real life used a zpack.
I totally agree with your point about keeping the heaviest elements close to your back. My personal trainer has a fit anytime I talk about getting a pack with a trampoline back because of ergonomics.

Just because other people don't do something (i.e., carry a z-packs pack) doesn't mean it's a bad idea. The distribution of the z-packs compared to Osprey and other big names is nil, which will impact how many people know about it or use it. If we only ever do things that other people have done, how would anything new ever come into being?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Both of my backpacks have the trampoline style back, and I find it quite comfortable. I feel most of the weight of my pack on my hips - where it should be. I don't think that I'd like a pack against my back making me sweatier.
I have met three people on the Camino that used Zpacks, and they all loved them. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to try any of their packs on. One guy had done the entire Appalachian Trail with his, and plans to do the PCT with his Zpack.
 

KYBirdman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(Sept 2018)
My zPacks has carried 25 pounds (11 kg) comfortably many times. Packing methodology enters into to that but, mostly, it needs to fit. Having said that I hiked the Camino with my Hyperlite Gear pack.
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
The posts above have caused me to examine the Hyperlite and Gossamer ranges to see if I have missed something.

At odds with the view that the heaviest items should be close to your back is the view the heaviest items should be at the bottom of your pack. The ratioanle is the same: keeping the centre of gravity in an optimum place.

My highest preference was for a frame that kept stuff away from my back. Ocassionally I forgotten to keep the frame on my Arc Blast fully arced. I realised, when my back started to heat up and my top soaked through, why I need a properly framed pack. From what I can see on their websites both Gossamer and Hyperlite sit against the back.

And high on my preferences was light weight. I can see both Hyperlite and Gossamer are 2/3 to 1/2 the weight of most back packs sold retail in my part of the world. And the Arc Blast was around 1/3 the weight of those retail offereings.

There is no science here. Its just like footwear (and socks and hose) in particular and layers (merino v cotton v polyester chips aka polar fleece) - you pays your money and take your choice.

So, @intrepidtraveler , you have a range of views to sift through.

I wish you well.
 

Ricardo Moretti

Rick Camino April-May 2018
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2018
There are several sites dedicated to how one should keep the weight distributed in the backpack to maintain a center of gravity closest to and keep it all balance. It is simple physics.

There are many reviews on youtube and other sites on the merits of Z-Packs. Some of the ultralight packers like the Z-Pack but many of them review that the pack is NOT comfortable with a load beyond 15 pounds. Again because of the center of gravity, if you are prone to bad or sore backs then I would NOT reccomend a Z-Pack unless you are going to carry a very, very light load. I would only reccomend an ultralight pack if you are fit and like to carry absurdedly small amounts of stuff. I believe that there is a trade off between humping insanely heavy and lunatic light.

Many professionals reccomend trying one in a STORE with weight and that is what I did for several hours over several visits to various stores before I found one that was most comfortable comparatively speaking - oh wait, I don't think you can do that with mail order.....Humph! I tried everything from light to ultralight to regular to heavy. There is a definite tradeoff in the light packs and thats comfort: thinner straps. So while there is a lot of hype about backpacks out there....the hype dissapates quickly when you can comparatively try on several packs.

I am going on my second Camino one year after I completed my first one and I will not be bringing an ultralight pack and thats my experience talking.
 
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davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
There are several sites dedicated to how one should keep the weight distributed in the backpack to maintain a center of gravity closest to and keep it all balance. It is simple physics.

There are many reviews on youtube and other sites on the merits of Z-Packs. Some of the ultralight packers like the Z-Pack but many of them review that the pack is NOT comfortable with a load beyond 15 pounds. Again because of the center of gravity, if you are prone to bad or sore backs then I would NOT reccomend a Z-Pack unless you are going to carry a very, very light load. I would only reccomend an ultralight pack if you are fit and like to carry absurdedly small amounts of stuff. I believe that there is a trade off between humping insanely heavy and lunatic light.

Many professionals reccomend trying one in a STORE with weight and that is what I did for several hours over several visits to various stores before I found one that was most comfortable comparatively speaking - oh wait, I don't think you can do that with mail order.....Humph! I tried everything from light to ultralight to regular to heavy. There is a definite tradeoff in the light packs and thats comfort: thinner straps. So while there is a lot of hype about backpacks out there....the hype dissapates quickly when you can comparatively try on several packs.

I am going on my second Camino one year after I completed my first one and I will not be bringing an ultralight pack and thats my experience talking.
Hi, Ricardo; I appreciate your perspective on what you have found to be essential in your choice of backpacks. That will be of help to some who are considering just where to start looking for their first backpack purchase. You bring up some things that folks should think about.

I'd like to add a few of my thoughts and insights. I appreciate your consideration.

Before I comment on packs, I want to make sure that there are common definitions in use.

'Ultralight' in a backpack describes a 'base load' being no more than 10 pounds, which is all of the gear and equipment which is non consumable. The 'total load' with all consumables included will be under 15 pounds. This is for a hike of 5 to 8 days without a re-supply.

'Lightweight' is the definition of a backpack that has a 'base weight' of less than 15 pounds.

Five years ago, ultralight meant under 15 pounds and lightweight meant under 20 pounds. Time has changed both manufacturing processes and technology in materials.

Today, a pack for ultralight use would likely be a frameless pack, while one for 'lightweight' backpacking -- which in some models might not weigh much more than a frameless pack -- will most likely have a frame, either external or internal, while itself still staying within a 1.5 to 3 pound weight range.

Personally, I have not had some of the objections that you are concerned about. I have personally purchased and used many ultralight backpacks and the more 'standard' backpacks as well. I have also been hired by backpack manufacturers to extensively test their products -- which amounts to many different brands and models of ultralight and 'standard' backpacks. This has given me decades and thousands of miles of experience with backpacks.

I also follow the surveys of users. For example, although large numbers ( if not most), thru-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail and the Colorado Trail will use one of the brands of ultralight or lightweight packs, the typical and average load weight between resupply points is 15 to 25 pounds, and users still report good results and comfort of use from their packs.

With my ULA Catalyst and Circuit which I used on my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, and my Gossamer Gear Mariposa which I used on my Colorado Trail thru-hike and on both Caminos on the Frances, I find them to be quite comfortable with a wide range of load weights. They have some of the best shoulder harnesses and hip belts that I have seen on any backpack, even though they are used by both those who go 'ultralight' and 'light weight'. I have found the same with Six Moons Design, Granite Gear, Zpacks, Osprey Levity, and others.

When I was gear testing the Zpacks Arc framed packs, I found them to be comfortable out to 36 pounds of weight carrying.

When testing for a manufacturer, I will test with load weights beginning at 12 pounds, and then over the weeks or months of testing, that load will get increased to the point of discomfort. In order to be as consistent as possible between all of the brands and models of backpacks I test, I have identified for myself several parameters defining discomfort in order to make my impression as objective as possible for something that is highly subjective. This is not something that is 'objective' to what everyone would experience, but just to give me a similar guideline to use for all packs that I am hired to test.

The manufacturers will use the information from all testers to help determine, from a broad base, their estimate of comfort ratings.

I do not personally care for the Zpacks arc frames, but not because of a deficiency in straps or waistbelts or padding to the back of the pack, but because I just couldn't tweak the darned things enough to make it feel 'normal'.... or more accurately, so that it didn't feel 'odd'. I could haul it around all day in comfort, but i never could quite forget I was wearing it. I always felt the urge to tweak the harness or adjust the waistbelt just to try and get past that 'odd' feeling.

The most comfortable pack I have ever worn was a Dana Designs (now evolved into Mystery Ranch) Astral Plane. It weighed-in empty at a bit over 6 pounds. It is the bar by which I judge how comfortable other packs are and their adjustability. By comparison, my Gossamer Gear Mariposa is just under two pounds and is just as comfortable carrying a similar weight load. Considering that the Dana Designs pack weighs a bit more than 4 pounds heavier than my Gossamer Gear pack, that means that instead of the 9.8 pounds of total weight I carried on Camino would have increased to 14.2 pounds using the Dana Designs pack.

Just as a point of information, when using the Zpacks, even at max weight loaded weight in the pack, I never had an issue with center of gravity. No more so, for comparison, to an Osprey backpack with a trampoline mesh back. The small gap of the arc with either brand of pack is more than offset by the superb shoulder harness and hipbelt systems.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
A long long time ago, I stumbled across a Tatonka Zefir 30. It initially attracted me because it would go into the cabin of the plane and I was done with checking bags on my journeys. Years later, it went with me on my first camino and then on my third, and then my sister commandeered it for her two caminos. It has a mesh suspension backing and it holds the bag away from your back, which makes it perfect in summer. The thing weighs 1400 grams and it fits like a dream. I forget I have it on. It's still in great shape. We're pretty frugal packers so it does not carry a heavy load.

I use a Deuter bag for colder weather caminos, but its squeaking is irritating and I prefer the fit of the other.

I'm in the market for a new bag, so thanks everyone for your posts.
 

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