Update, replacement pack received and tested, rating changed
Backcountry.com was able to get me a replacement pack in time for Mexico (their customer service was excellent, the customer service from Arc'teryx not so much) But am just now getting around to changing this review because as soon as I got back from south of the border an opportunity arose to go to northern Greenland. So having had the opportunity to put it to good use:
The replacement pack is great. Comfortable, bombproof, and elegantly simple.
I wish it was shipped with two more webbing lash on straps. There are six webbing attachment points on the pack (besides the tool loops) but only 4 straps included, for the price of this pack Arc'teryx should toss in enough straps for all attachment points.
Some people may like it, but I think they should get rid of the hydration port. It has a waterproof zipper, but there is still a little hole even when zipped shut, which means this is not a drybag if you are going to be on or crossing water. (I don't like water in the main compartment, and put bottle holsters on the shoulder straps of this bag). However neither rain nor snow is going to get in.
The shoulder straps are comfortable but stiff, they make the pack difficult to shove in the luggage rack of Mexican buses (aforementioned holsters add to this but that is my own fault).
I recommend it. If you are going to buy a pack, get a Gregory (love my Makalu Pro) or an Arc'teryx (despite my frustrations having to return the first one and the negatives [especially the manufacturer trying to increase the margin on this pack by 2 dollars by including 4 lash on straps instead of six]).
I am currently working with backcountry.com and Arc'Teryx to resolve a manufacturing defect. I had read about some others having the same problem before I purchased the pack but figured it was isolated and wouldn't affect me (maybe it is isolated and I am one of the unlucky few).
The Arrakis 40 Blackbird Tall that I received has a defective pivoting load transfer disc. The disc is glued in place rotated relative to true. The result being that I can't rotate the hipbelt right at all without the hipbelt disengaging from the pack. I should be able to lean equally right or left.
I would have expected quality control at Arc'Teryx to check this.
Backcountry.com graciously offered to refund my money and cover return shipping, however I do want the pack and would prefer an exchange but they are now out of stock. I have contacted Arc'Tyrex for a warranty exchange that they are happy to do but shipping is on me. I have contacted them requesting that they pay for the shipping since the pack is brand new with a QC failure on their part and am waiting to hear from them.
Depending on resolution to the problem rating might change.
Flying to the Yucatan on Dec. 16th want to resolve it before then.
Contacted Backcountry.com again as after submitting this review I noticed that they had six size tall in stock. They gave me a shipping label and are sending me another. If the new one is in good shape I will change the rating.