Back in July, in Mammoth Lakes, CA, I shelled out $325 for an Arc’Teryx Altra 65 backpack . It appeared to be just right for me, with enough features to earn it Backpacking Magazine’s 2010 Pack of the Year award. What sold me on it was watching a Backpacking Magazine video where it was reported to have the best waist belt ever. I loved the fit and comfort, but even on the first day wearing it, I had problems with that waist belt. It was repeatedly slipping through the large Fastex buckle snapping it in place. No matter how tightly I snugged it up, within 5 minutes it was slipping loose, and shifting the load to my shoulders. In desperation, I was tying the extra material from the waist belt into a knot each time I carried the pack , which sometimes was tight enough, but then I’d have to untie that knot each time I had to take the pack off.
To make a long story short, the manager of warrantee/returns verified that the much ballyhooed waist belt was defective, with inadequate ( too thin) material used as well as a snap buckle system that was not right for that application. The good news is that he informed me that both problems would be addressed in the next production run, when I’d have one of those packs. On the positive side, Arc’teryx sent me an upgraded pack to replace it, but after hauling around the 7 plus pound Bora on the PCT, I also sent that back. It was just too damn heavy for my liking.
So here it is almost three months later . I have yet to receive my replacement for the $325 I spent on an Altra 65 with a bogus belt.
I called the company yesterday, using the exact same 800 number, extension, and Return Authorization number that used to work for me. The recording would not forward the extension number to the agent, saying” I don’t recognize that number”. So I eventually left 2 messages for ” the next available agent” and we eventually talked after I received a message on my machine, informing me to ” Go to the website, and use the online form that will set you up for a return authorization”. I eventually actually spoke to an agent, who appeared to have no idea about the prior number that I had left with my message.
The agent informed me that the pack was still not in production. When I told him that the pack was listed on the Web as ” in stock” from several vendors, he replied that the policy is that a warrantee return has to be issued from the main office and not involve any store. I declined to have him send me an orange replacement sometime in November, because in my use of the pack, the light “Copper” color showed dirt immediately, so I requested it in the “Raven”( dark) color. He told me that Raven color Altra 65’s will not be available until sometime in January. He requested me to contact Arc’teryx again in December so that he would process the replacement.