Best pack for back problems: direct comparison between Zpack Arc and GG Mariposa

Discussion in 'Packs & Accessories' started by Autumn Flower, May 27, 2019.

  1. Autumn Flower

    Autumn Flower Trail Blazer

    I am prone to odd occasions of back problems, generally a weak back and shoulders that tense and tire easily.

    I feel A framed backpack is an absolute must for someone like me.

    The only backpacks I ever tried are Osprey Ariel and my beloved GG Mariposa (very happy with it).

    I have had my heart set on a zpack Arc as next pack (when the Mariposa gives up life)

    I am now tempted to aquire one sooner due to the excuse of having the benefit of waterproof cuben Fibre and a little weight saving.

    What attracted me to the Arc in the first place is what looks like excellent back support, carrying the weight on the hip.

    Has anyone experience of directly comparing the new mariposa to a zpack Arc scout or blast?

    I wonder which one can carry weight better and is better for back problems?

    I would assume the zpack looking at it.

    Interested to hear comparisons, insights, personal experiences and any advice on packs best suited for back problems :)

    Thank you
  2. oreocereus

    oreocereus Section Hiker

    No direct experience but I owned an arc haul. The frame is badly designed and doesn’t work well at weights it claims to. It’s more comfortable than a frameless at 10kg (as it should be). Going above 13kg the frame would continuously pop out of its stays, Or if i bumped something too hard or fell over it would pop out.
    which forced me to unpack my pack in Which to have enough play to get the frame back in place.

    Theoretically they have a more secure stay system now. But in generally it’s made of very light and borderline flimsy materials.

    Aarn backpacks are talked about as the pack for people with serious back problems. Interesting design. Not particularly lightweight nor cheap, however.
    Autumn Flower likes this.
  3. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    I’ve got an arc scout and I find it carries very well, although it’s actually a little short for me which means it sits too close to the small of my back but if it was a little longer so that the belt sat properly on the hips I’d be a very happy bunny. The shoulder strap adjustment system is brilliant and means the straps actually curve over and sit properly on my shoulders. I’ve never carried more than about 8kg in it though so can’t comment on @oreocereus experiénce above.
    Autumn Flower likes this.
  4. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    I own both but I'd hesitate to make a general statement. We all have different priorities and body shapes. I had the Mariposa as my main pack for 2 or 3 years and liked it and really only changed to reduce the unneccesary bulk on my back (the lack of bottom end compression is the biggest down side IMO - particularly in exposed high alpine sections where a sleek pack is also a safety issue).

    In comparison, the arcblast (old 52lt) is my almost perfect pack for that size (a tat smaller would make it perfect) as it fits my body shape really well - I don't think I've used the sternum strap even once in several years. More generally, the adjustable back lenght puts the arcblast in a class of its own: with the hip belt in the ideal position, it doesn't require over tightening to effectively take the majority of weight on a climb. The option to adjust the frame is another plus.

    I don't have back problems but IMO, the range of possible adjustments should support back problems but shoulder shape etc will also be a factor ...

    EDIT - not had any problems with the frame ever. My average thru-hike weight is 8-9 kg but it does get loaded up to 13kg occasionally after resupplies and carries that kind of weight better than a mariposa or other packs I tried.
    Autumn Flower and oreocereus like this.
  5. Lamont-Cranston

    Lamont-Cranston Section Hiker

    For what it's worth, I have heard the same thing as Oreo (location?) about the Aarns. Some people with back issues swear by them, and yes I concur -heavy and expensive though.
    Autumn Flower likes this.
  6. oreocereus

    oreocereus Section Hiker

    For what it’s worth zpacks said it must be a sewing mistake (although didnt allude to where exactly it must’ve happened) but were pretty terrible in dealing with fixing the issue.

    As Tom said fit is very personal
    Autumn Flower likes this.
  7. Robin

    Robin Thru Hiker

    Not as light, but the most comfortable pack I own is the Lightwave Ultrahike. The split hipbelt is the best I’ve used. If it’s too big, they do smaller volume rucksacks with a similar design.
    Autumn Flower likes this.
  8. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Got the early version of the Arcblast (620g) and the later version of the Archaul (855g)

    Not had any problems with the frame on either

    I use the Arcblast, the extra weight and frame complexity of the Archaul doesn't add anything comfort wise, plus it's heavier
    Archaul was a bandwagon bag :bag:
    Autumn Flower likes this.
  9. DuneElliot

    DuneElliot Section Hiker

    I have an Arc Haul. I have upper and lower back issues. I added a home-made (extra-thick) lumbar pad to mine as I am particularly skinny and the ZPacks one was not enough for me. However, I do love it and have carried up to 30lbs in it comfortably (my legs didn't think so, but my back was fine). I wouldn't go above 30lbs with it for any length of time though, despite the claims.

    I have never had any issues with stays popping out of anything and my experience with ZPacks CS has been all very positive. I do realize they have had some QC issues in the past few months so it might be worth emailing them to see if those have beem sorted yet (I think it was due to new, inexperienced staff).
    Autumn Flower likes this.
  10. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    Bozena and I have 9,500km (yes, I keep a record :redface:) walked with Arc Blasts and Arc Haul, both the flat stay type and the round stay version, and never had a stay pop out of it's pocket, though I think there were problems reported for the early version of the round stay type.
    I really like the old, non-adjustable version but I find the newer adjustable back feels unbalanced if you have a heavy water bottle in one of the side pockets. One each side is fine, though. If you hike with readily available water it's probably a non-issue but it's one of the reasons I use the Arc Blast much less these days (Bozena is still using the old style - over 3,400km and still going strong with just a little seam grip added on the edge of the shoulder straps where the cuben hybrid is fraying).

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