The first surprise of the day came first thing in the morning and it was not a pleasant one. I discovered that my backpack was falling apart.
I’ve been carrying a Zpacks Arc Blast since the beginning of my hike, but in the last few weeks I’ve started to have little problems with it. It was becoming less comfortable as the back mesh panel began to tear.
When I had to carry more weight than normal, the shoulder straps began to dig into my shoulders.
The problems I discovered today, though, were more severe. The pack uses two carbon fiber stays, which are bent and held in tension with a cord and webbing. The stays had poked through the webbing. Now it was impossible to keep them in the arc, which provides rigidity and air flow.
I knew I would not be comfortable if I didn’t fix this problem. My first attempt was to try to blunt the end of the stays with some duct tape, but this immediately failed. The force exerted on the stays pushed them through the tape.
The solution required something that would withstand the pressure put on the stays. The only thing I had on hand that I could cut to size was an old plastic water bottle, which I had been using with the top cut off to scoop water from shallow creeks and springs. I was able to cut small pieces and position those between the webbing and the stays.