Below is what Arc’teryx has to say about their new Khard Pack. It’s been referred to as a Load Carrying Solution and it is, but it’s a pack. And a very good one.
Named after a high mountain pass in the Himalayas, Arc’teryx LEAF draws on its alpine roots of efficient high performance equipment with the distinctive Khard Pack.
A streamlined communications specialist, medic or breacher’s bag, the Khard is a fully padded single compartment pack. Full U-zip closure opens from the top, side or unzips completely to reveal interior composite panels lined with Velcro loops and daisy chains that allow versatile pouch/radio configurations or camera equipment storage.
Available in 30L and 45L sizes, the Khard design includes side pockets with hydration ports that have the capacity to carry 3L of bottled water, in addition to an extended top lid compartment for extra volume items accessible during direct action.
Radically light in weight C2 composite construction suspension system holds load tight and close to the body, avoiding shifts in weight to conserve energy. Velcro One-Wrap cable/hose management system keeps bag streamlined.
Clean form, minimalist technical construction and details are applied with intelligence to the bag’s field applications as an assault pack. Support stays are removable and can be shaped for custom fitting over gear. Available in solid colour premium quality low reflective air-textured 500D Cordura or MultiCam 500D Cordura 6,6 balanced weave textiles that are hard wearing and weatherproof.
Providing a gateway to transfer an Arc’teryx heritage of alpinism, the Khard Pack simplifies storage, protects equipment and introduces a low profile, comfortable weight carry suspension into the field.
I’ve been using a Khard 30 for a couple of months now and here are the things I really like about it. First off, it’s very comfortable. It’s essentially a small mountaineering pack and the two aluminum staves can be curved to the shape of your back if needed. My fit was great right out of the box. Additionally, the shoulder straps are an ergonomic cut yet low profile so you don’t notice them.
Recognizing its mountain roots, as you can see, it’s a very streamlined design. There aren’t a bunch of outside pockets are PALS webbing all over the thing. Instead there a couple of runs of simple daisy chain webbing running vertically down the pack which can be used to lash on additional gear when needed.
While they don’t cream at you, the Khard integrates four additional pockets. Two long zippered pockets sit along each side of the pack along with two pockets in the lid. The side pockets will accept 3l water reservoirs and feature hydration ports at the top.
The Khard features a zipper with dual slides that reaches around 90% of the long, beavertail flap which allows it to open fully in order to use the bag as a panel loader. This feature, combined with the internal pile attachment sections allows you to configure the Khard for a wide variety of tasks such as recce, comms, medical, and breaching. Interestingly, they added an ingenious compression strap feature that will stop you from opening the zipper completely. This allows you to use the Khard as a top loader for most transient tasks.
The pack is lightweight (49.3 oz for the Khard 30) yet features more body than most packs. This is due to the foam construction which has an interesting side effect. Not only does it protect the contents of the pack but it also gives the Khard enough body that it will stand upright without being propped.
It is a mountaineering pack so it is narrow along the back (making it great for use in confined spaces) and has an overall low profile. You don’t want to carry a lot on the mountains. Yet, I was also amazed at how much I could stuff into the Khard. I would have it filled up and then try to stuff a jacket into it and it would take it, so long as I let the side compression straps out.
I found one final design feature most welcome. There are three haul straps located at the top and one per side on the Khard which greatly increase the versatility of this pack. Say for instance, you want to alter your appearance. You take off the pack and carry it suitcase style. It also makes it much easier to travel with.
If there’s one thing I’m not in love with it’s the simple seatbelt style waist strap. The pack wears so well on the back that the waist strap just seemed to get in the way when I first wore it. But, it’s easily stowed out of the way or removed completely for the more hardcore who are counting ounces. On the Khard 45 above you may notice removable hip pods. These can alos be added to the 30L.
The Wolf Grey looks great and allowed me to move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea. The design is most definitely complemented by this color which makes for an ultra low profile EDC option. Sleek and mild mannered on the outside. Yet, once you open it up, it can be configured for virtually any task at hand thanks to the pile fields which accept the hook-backed pouches of your choice.
Available in 30 and 45 liter options, the Khard is offered in Arc’teryx standard colors of Crocodile and Wolf Grey as well as MultiCam.