Recently my fishing buddies have discussed some possible future fishing trips involving some backpacking so I decided to get myself a new one. This is the Arc'teryx Arrakis 50. This is not my first experience with Arc'teryx packs (or products). Years ago Joel and I both decided to buy an Arc'teryx pack (model I have now long forgotten) for a weekend fly fishing trip to Sespe Creek. The trip ended up being a bust as we hiked in 5-7 miles, in the middle of the night, only to wake up the next morning to a beautiful piece of water devoid of any fish. We both ended up returning those packs for reasons I don't recall but I think it had to do something with proper fit.
This pack however seems to fit me quite nicely and is lightweight and appears to be very durable. Made with the revolutionary 420 Advanced Composite Textile VaporTight™ nylon material, this pack is weather resistant. There are two side pockets that allow access to the two compartments. I intend on using the outer compartment, as it is separated from the main, for wet waders or my light rain wear.
Like most packs on the main now the shoulder strap has a place for your water tube. Like my North Face Pivotal, the hip belt pivots allowing more larger range of motion. I've been long away from the backpacking scene so this feature may not be unique but when I got my North Face there were no other manufactures making such a belt. It makes quite a difference.
The shoulder straps are worth mentioning as they are adjustable for a personal fit both vertically and horizontally with a gridlock system. They are also made from one piece of material.
Unlike most packs, this pack is has a roll top. This allows for some compression or allows for extra 10 liters of storage. As mentioned before this pack is weather resistant and has a coating on the exterior and a membrane in the interior. The seams are sealed and taped. Zippers are watertight. I would think the coating would wash out nicely if I were to use this pack on a hunt to haul big game meat.
On each side and on the front there is removable straps for everything from ice picks, skis, poles to fly rod tubes.
I was not necessarily looking for a new pack but when I saw this pack and all its possibilities I became very interested in it. What tipped the scales and made me buy it was the fact that unlike most of Arc'teyx's line, this pack was still made in Canada. Figuring that this pack's production will eventually be moved to an emerging nation like most things in the outdoor industry I decided to jump on it before that happens. And with the 20% coupon from REI, it was a no-brainer. Though with the discount, the pack still is not cheap but like all things of quality they never are.