Bliss ARG Vertical LD Backpack - Review

Dec 16, 2014
by Mike Kazimer  
Bliss ARG 1.0 LD backpack review

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 .

Bliss ARG 1.0 LD backpack review
Bliss ARG 1.0 LD backpack review
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.com

Bliss ARG 1.0 LD backpack review
Bliss ARG 1.0 LD backpack review

Bliss ARG 1.0 LD backpack review
Bliss ARG 1.0 LD backpack review
A 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:
bigquotesThere'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





30 Comments

  • + 17
 I still don't understand how the pack carries fullface helmet and knee/elbow guards. PB you should make some pictures of these things as I think it might be helpful. Now I can only imagine and I imagine that Dakine fullface carry system is better being easy and fast to use and secure.
  • + 10
 PB is testing our imagination.
  • + 6
 Cheers Mentalhead, please drop me a message and I will send you some detail pictures including helmet and knee pad mount.
  • + 32
 how to fix your helmet:
www.pinkbike.com/photo/11153784

how to fix your knee pads:
www.pinkbike.com/photo/11149555
  • + 13
 They mightconsider some carbon parts and titanium zip to shred the weight.
  • + 9
 Looks good, but I wouldn't trade my Evoc for one
  • + 1
 I'd trade mine.
  • + 5
 Wasted space on the hips by not adding hip pockets... The hip pockets on my Camelback Octane XCT are the most useful to access while riding for snacks, etc.
  • + 4
 My back protection is a camelback half-full of water. 3 pounds empty, gezz.
  • + 5
 $149 without the bladder! Holy smokes.
  • + 3
 £110 in the UK. Why would anyone buy one? Have you seen the FF helmet carrying design?
  • + 3
 they replied with pics of how it attaches in another comment. NO WAY JOSE
  • + 1
 And I think that Dakine heli pack is the Best, it's a universal backpack which U can use on a bike, while snowboarding, skiing or just in the city. U can carry everything U need in one of these particular situation, tested last time while snowboarding, besides U actually dont feel that U have it on your back. Happy with it, would't change it 4 anything else.
  • + 1
 I have a vango raptide. It's not designed for biking but it can carry my full face and knee pads easily and securely. And the 2L bladder I ride with serves as back protection.
  • + 1
 I really liked it till i saw the price, would need some good discount before i get one. Struggling to find a 10l'ish pack, the evoc is good but getting a bit common and the colours are w@nk.
  • + 3
 Look you get a big blue volume spacer sheet for you cane creek DBINLINE )
  • + 2
 looks nice. heavy duty, the way it should be for these kinds of things.
  • + 0
 It's hardly fair to praise the pack for being waterproof and then slag off on the weight. That's just one of many compelling reasons why most packs aren't waterproof.
  • + 1
 Erm, waterproof treatment or materials don't weight that much more than decent non waterproof materials. As clarified, almost a 3rd of the weight is the back protector, but the super wide hip and shoulder straps.
  • + 1
 *straps don't help
  • + 4
 You are totally right. The ARG pad is a slightly heavier than a foam based pad.
But the ARG pad offers you the great benefit of "multi impact". So even after several hard crashes you don´t have to replace the back protector.
A hard crash won´t destroy the structure of the ARG pad. A crash with an ordinary foam based pad normally leads into a loss of protection.
  • + 2
 @inked-up-metalhead Without compromising on durability, waterproof materials will be heavier than non waterproof by a noticeable amount every time. Packs are notoriously difficult to fully waterproof and it requires heavy seam taping, heavier zippers and either a heavier fabric to begin with or a whole second fabric layer.

The spine pad and wide straps serve a discernible purpose, but the weight of the water that could be absorbed by a 12 litre pack even if you went fully swimming in it is less than the added weight of fully waterproofing it. That kinf of begs the question - what's the point? Unless you live in a place where it rains literally all the time, then I can see the appeal.
  • + 1
 Sorry, again I don't know where to get Bliss products in the US
  • + 1
 Th Fox Low Pro is all you really need.
  • + 1
 I don't we can get Bliss here is the US
  • + 1
 For sure we do have a US distribution.
Please drop the guys at the US office an e-mail: usoffice@blisscamp.com

They will try their very best to find a shop around your place!
  • + 1
 looks like (exactly)cube fr pack
  • + 4
 The guys at Cube use our ARG pads.
The back pad in our ARG Vertical 12l Backpack differs from the Cub´s FRS20 Backpack and we are also using other materials and shapes.
  • + 0
 Looks like an Evoc.
  • + 4
 I think evoc is quite a lot better than this.

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