Bliss ARG 1.0 LD Backpack
Bliss Protection was founded in 2006 with the goal of creating protective apparel and accessories that deviated from the bulky and often ill-fitting armor that was available at the time. Nearly nine years later, the German company's product offerings now include everything from ski helmets to knee and elbow pads. The ARG Vertical backpack is one of the newer additions to the line, a pack that's aimed at the growing enduro race segment or anyone looking for additional back protection. That protection is provided by a removable, CE EN-1621-2 certified insert constructed from Armourgel, a material that's designed to absorb and dissipate the energy created by an impact . A wide hip belt helps keep the pack from shifting, and there's plenty of room for tools and tubes in the front compartment.
Wide hip straps keep the pack snug against a rider's body, helping to ensure that the Armourgel insert is positioned correctly and able to performs its job should the need arise. With a 12L carrying capacity, plus the option to carry a helmet and pads externally, the ARG Vertical has enough room to hold everything necessary for a full day on the bike. The large main compartment has a separate sleeve for a hydration bladder, along with a zippered pocket that's big enough for a phone, wallet, or a few energy bars. A fleece lined pocket is located at the top of the pack to hold glasses, and another zippered compartment is just below it, with pockets and sleeves for tools, a pump, and a tube. The pack is constructed using a 10k waterproof fabric, and waterproof zippers used for the two main compartments, which eliminates the need for a rain cover. Weight: 1275 grams. MSRP: $149.99 w/out bladder. www.blisscamp.comA thick Armourgel insert is designed to harden upon impact, protecting the spine from the brunt of a blow. Other details include a fleece lined glasses pocket and a simple-yet-effective helmet carry system.On the Trail
The ARG Vertical's wide shoulder straps, oversized triangular hip belt, and longer than average back panel length of 20.5" give it a very substantial feel - this certainly isn't a diminutive pipsqueak of a pack. The Vertical is only available in one size, so the amount of back coverage will be height dependent, and shorter riders should make sure to try one on before purchasing it to ensure a proper fit.
Despite the pack's extra length, the hip belt does an excellent job of keeping it from moving too much, and even on rough downhills it stayed securely in place without feeling cumbersome or awkward. There was also enough room to wear a full face without it hitting the top of the pack, even on sustained steep sections of trail. As far as ventilation goes, the ARG Vertical isn't the airiest option out there, and the close fit of the pack combined with the Armourgel insert meant that there was minimal air circulation - even on cooler days I found myself perspiring more than usual. There's also the issue of the pack's weight – at 1275 grams, with 394 of those coming from the Armourgel insert, the Vertical already weighs nearly three pounds even before filling it with tools and water.
When it comes to durability, the pack is very well constructed, and after multiple wet and muddy rides the fabric still isn't any worse for wear. As an added bonus, the waterproof fabric is easy to clean – a damp towel is all it takes to make the pack look as good as new. Tool access is straightforward and well laid out, and the helmet carry system, which relies on an elastic drawstring on each side of the pack, held both full face and half shell helmets without any issues. Pinkbike's Take:
|There's a lot to like about the ARG Vertical, including its waterproof construction, a simple but well configured internal layout, and an extra-wide hip belt, but I'd like to see the pack shed a little bit of weight. As reassuring as it is to have extra back protection, those additional grams make the pack a less appealing choice for lugging around on big, multi-hour rides, especially during the warmer months. If your rides typically involve shuttles or riding the lifts, the weight probably won't be much of an issue, but riders who are earning their turns may want to consider lighter options. - Mike Kazimer|