Vargo Outdoors - Ti-Arc Backpack
A streamlined 36 Liter “Arc” bag holds plenty of gear while leaving room for attaching bulky items to the frame. Ventilated mesh shoulder harness is fully adjustable for various torso lengths and dialing in fit. Additional pockets and options allow for greater organization and carry.
Technical specifications & features
|Weight||2 lbs. 13 oz.|
|Gender||Men's & Unisex|
|Color||Grey / Yellow|
|Mfg Sku/Part Number||T-443|
|Cubic Inches||2196 cu. in.|
|Other Features||Titanium alloy external frame
Ergonomic lumbar support plate
Streamlined "Arc" suspension bar
Adjustable mesh shoulder harness
Elastic compression straps
Hip belt pockets
Water bottle pockets
- Design not really thought out.
This pack has considerable potential but the designers could have done much better.
First off the pack is of a good size and easily carries all that I would expect for a pack in this volume.
Having said that EVERYTHING on the pack is cut at right angles almost as if the pattern had just been drawn in 2D and then assembled in the same way. There is almost no accommodation for the human form. As the other reviewer has already stated the hip belt has virtually no angle to allow proper sitting on the hips without extreme tightening on the belt. This same tightening brings to the forefront that the belt has almost no padding either, something it shares with the shoulder straps, even though in the case of the shoulder straps there is considerably less load on them so the problem of padding is less pronounced.
The frame could stand a redesign that has more form, (Again it is just 2D flat) to enable it to follow the S curve of the human back better. I also think that almost any adult who buys this pack will end up with the harness adjustment at the full height position, even most teens will find that there is little or no useable adjustment range in this pack, it's at the top or nothing. On the other hand it appears that the hip belt is designed for overly large people, as it will not go down all that far for people with more average waistlines. I am not dainty by any means and I end up with the belt tightened almost as far as it will go with these LONG tails of excess strap hanging down. This forces me to use bands on the excess strap material. None of the adjustable straps on this pack have built-in means for excess strap control. I must admit though hat this problem is not unique to this pack. There is also no webbing on the shoulder straps that would assist in running a hydration hose, but as there are no hydration bladder attachment provisions either I suppose this is somewhat understandable. There is also no way to attach small pouches such as you might use for a GPS or multi-tool, first aid or whatever. A couple of loops, D rings or some webbing would have been simple inexpensive additions.
There are virtually no external tie down points on this pack. I have never seen an external pack with so few places to attach extra "Stuff" to use the exposed frame as extra "carry space". This is especially true on the top where there is a full "D" shaped titanium support that forms a perfect place for all kinds of gear but has no points for attachment. I was able to cobble together a way to attach a bear canister to the top but it took considerable effort to design a way that did not allow the can to just flop around as I walked, or hit me in the back of the head if I need to bend forward.
I would have preferred to have the side "bottle pockets" made from the same nylon as the main pack body or even better some kind of elastic material, but hopefully the net material used will hold up over time. They are wide enough to hold the wide Vargo BOT and a U.S. military style canteen but that is pretty much as far as they will go without over stretching the netting. They of course will fit the narrower Nalgenes and Kleen Kanteen style bottles with more ease.
I do think this pack has enough going for it that I am going to invest additional time and money addressing the hip belt and shoulder strap issues that will make them both more comfortable and functional, but it is a shame that the designers felt they would rather put out a partly designed/finished/refined product and charge almost top dollar for that size item. It would have been a much better reflection on Vargo if they had spent more thought on the items that make an external frame pack desirable in the first place.
So for those people who can get past the price, this is a well made, (Not refined) pack with plenty of potential to be a reasonably light external frame pack that will do all that external frame packs do in this size range, and even better if you are willing to do some customizing and refining yourself.
- Hipbelt does not hold the weight
The hipbelt on this pack has a serious design flaw. I bought it in winter and when I received it I tried it on with no weight in it and thought wow, this is really comfortable. And put it in my gear closet. Just over 90 days later I began looking forward to getting out on the trail so I pulled it out, loaded it up to see how everything would fit, put it on - and quickly realized that I could not get the hipbelt to hold the weight on my hips, it slowly slides down and doesn't stop until 100% of the weight is on the shoulder straps. There are really two problems with the hipbelt. First, it is very flexible (almost floppy) and does not have any cup or structure to it. Second, the hipbelt is covered with a smooth (almost slippery) fabric so there is no friction to help offset the force of gravity. I tried different clothing and tightening it until I couldn't breath but for me it absolutely would not hold on my hips.
I gave 3 stars for price, quality and value because if Vargo would redesign the hipbelt this has the potential to be a great pack. I give Backcountry Gear 10 stars out of 5 because they allowed me to exchange it for another pack even though I was a bit beyond 90 days from purchase. Fortunately I had not actually used the pack and had the tags still hanging on it.
If you want to try this pack I recommend you immediately load it with the maximum gear you would possibly carry and walk around the house for a few minutes. If you can get it to stay on your hips you figured out something that I just couldn't. I do plan to keep a watch out and if Varge does redesign the hipbelt I would consider giving it another try.
Questions & Answers
Thank you for your question.
The Ti-Arc Backpack best fits a torso size of 20" to 24". The pack comes in a single size design, and can be adjusted to fit a longer or shorter torso between these two lengths. To measure your torso, you want to measure the distance between your c7 bone (topmost protruding bone on your spine, easily identifiable by feeling the back of your neck) and the top of your hips.
One thing to also keep in mind is that the bag comes with a single size waistbelt. The minimum size waist suited for this belt would be 30".
Let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.
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