The ZPacks Arc Blast 55 is the proud winner of our Top Pick for Ultralight Enthusiasts award. Experienced thru-hikers drool over this pack for its class-leading lightweight design - just 21.3 ounces. An intricate five-piece carbon frame allows it to carry more weight than you expect given its weight, and the main pack plus exterior pockets provide just enough space for long adventures with ultralight loads. Additionally, the hybrid Cuben fiber fabric is both light and practically waterproof. If you are an experienced enthusiast scheming to shave another 8 ounces from your Big Four weight, this is the perfect pack.
The Arc Blast 55 from ZPacks is easily the lightest pack we tested that can carry 25 to 30-pound loads, though we feel it really shines when carrying loads that are 19 pounds or less. Our Editors' Choice winner, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa, is more comfortable (and also more featured) when you commonly carry loads in the mid-20s. We also love the Mariposa and Gorilla for light loads too, even though it's a half pound heavier than the Arc Blast. If it's not uncommon for you to carry 30 pounds on your backpacking adventures, you'll be best served by our Best Buy winner, the Osprey Exos 48. The Exos features every pocket and strap you could possibly want and it carries 30 pounds better than any other. That said, it's a full pound heavier than the Arc Blast.
ZPacks has made some changes to the new version of this pack, now known as the Arc Blast 55 and pictured above. It was formally the Arc Blast 52. We got the details from ZPacks, so keep reading to find out how this model differs from the original.