In order to lighten up their ice climbing/alpine packs for Spring 2019 without skimping on durability, Arc’teryx turned to a brand new fabric technology. Incorporating Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP) into nylon fabric, the resulting material is the lightest and toughest the brand has used to date.
Liquid Crystal Polymers are a unique class of partially crystalline aromatic polyesters that have high mechanical strength at high temperatures, extreme chemical resistance, inherent flame retardancy, and good weatherability. LCPs are not new — Kevlar is an LCP — but only recently have Arc’teryx and its textile partners been able to fine tune the weaving process to combine the LCP with high tenacity nylon.
The new Alpha AR 35 climbing pack is made from this new fabric that utilizes the LCP as an engineered ripstop grid incorporated into a high tenacity nylon (N315r) fabric. It grants the material extraordinary tear and abrasion resistance in addition to its strength, and the new fabric can withstand higher performance coatings for better weather protection.
“I’ve been trying to find ways and means to create this fabric for over a decade, but it’s only been recently that all the stars aligned. The limited supply and textile manufactures who could work with it were few and far between, until one of our key yarn and fabric partners had access and was willing to work with us on creating it,” remarked Gord Rose, Senior Industrial Designer, R&D at Arc’teryx. “The weave process is very difficult and has taken over 2 years to fine tune, but I see this new fabric as a fundamental building block for Arc’teryx pack textiles in the future.”
The Alpha AR 35 backpack uses custom androgynous hooks instead of traditional buckles to secure its components. These hooks are lightweight, reliable, and allow more adjustability and versatility.
Other features include an easily accessible pull-to-open / pull-to-close drawcord on the 35 liter (2136 cu in) main compartment, custom webbing daisy chains for lashing items, and an ice tool capture webbing that accommodates a range of angles.
The ice climbing pack gives you a security pocket under the lid for small items, and a removable frame sheet for more flexibility and packability. The Alpha AR 35 features a new conical padded hipbelt that transfers the load more evenly and comfortably for a variety of hip types.
The Alpha AR 35 weighs in at 1170 grams or 41.3 ounces. If you remove the framesheet, the packs weighs just 825 grams. The Alpha AR alpine pack will also be available in a 20 liter version.