Before we jump into this follow up report on the Zpacks Zero, I want to let you know that I previously did a post on the Zpacks Zero which was a spec piece. This is how it performed for me after real world use.
So, I just recently returned from a 3-day backpacking trip on the Fiery Gizzard trail in Tennessee. This is where I had my first chance to try out the Zpacks Zero. Before giving you my final thoughts on it, I want to say that I definitely want to break this puppy in properly and put some proper miles on it. So, I’m just going to give you my initial impression on it.
The Zpacks Zero is designed with the minimalist in mind – frameless, small, and lightweight. It feels like your holding a feather in your hands but also like you are holding a new born baby and being afraid you’re going to drop it, as if you might break it.
That thought quickly goes away as you realize this baby is as tough as nails! Now, I’m not saying you can’t run a blade through it. I’m just saying it’s not the delicate virgin you might think it is.
I ordered the 27.5 liter pack with a few accessories and no hip belt. That’s right no hip belt.
At first I though I might feel like I was missing my best friend but after loading up the pack with 9.5 pounds, I realized with this light of weight there is absolutely no need for a hip belt. The pack with nothing in it and all the accessories I added, the pack still weighed under 9 ounces. 8.4 ounces to be exact. Before you add any accessories you can expect the pack to way about half that.
Now, as if you couldn’t tell already, this pack is totally customizable to your hiking needs. The additions that were added to my pack were side straps, netting and shock cord, side pockets, haul loop, top straps, and bottom straps. The pack comes standard with a sternum strap and daisy chain. They offer this pack in 3 different sizes.
The small, 27 and half liters. The medium, 36 liters and the large 44 liters. Keep in mind that if you order and add pockets or netting to it this will increase the volume of the pack.
You also have the choice of the cuben material. It’s offered in the 1.43 oz/sqyd Cuban Fiber offered only in Olive Drab and the 2.92 oz/sq yd cuben hybrid offered in Army green or gray. The 2.92 oz is the same material used to make their Arc Blast. (I ordered the 1.43 oz version). The shoulder straps are reinforced and around 3/8” thick x 2.5” wide.
I can tell you that on my hike I never felt any discomfort whatsoever. Zpacks claims that the 1.43 oz version can last for a full 2,500+ mile thru hike with some care and probably some repair tape.
Under Zpacks guidelines they say that in general a frameless pack can carry up to 20 pounds before it’s starts getting uncomfortable on the shoulders. My recent hike to the Fiery Gizzard I was loaded to 14 lbs, including consumables, and I was quite comfortable. I will leave a list of all things carried in my pack at the end of this post.
I thought packing the pack would be a challenge, but really I found ditching stuff sacks and lining my down inside the pack so that it filled voids was the way to go.
All and all I’m impressed with the pack. Tomorrow may be a little more telling as I have a 20+ miler day planned in the Sipsey Wilderness….
I never finished writing the blog post before I set out to do our 22 mile hike for Veterans and truthfully we ended up doing 23.6 miles in one day. Hiking from 6:30 am to 5 pm. Let’s just say the pack performed outstanding.
My feet, however did not but that’s another blog post.
I never felt the slightest amount of discomfort and most of the time I felt like the pack was not there at all. Stay tuned for another update on the pack after I’ve put a few more miles on it.
Until then get out and hike a trail. Do IT!!
TOAKS Ultralight Titanium Cook System
Foam sit pad
Dirty Girl Gaiters
Light My fire Cup
Sawyer mini plus the bags
Bright medic Headlamp
Buff– They do not make the print anymore 🙁
Evernew water hydration bladder
Drip Drop Hydration powder
Smart Wool 3/4 pants
Stoic wool shirt
Darn Tough Strip socks
Darn Tough Poka Dot socks
Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket
Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket
Hammock Gear Top Quilt
Warbonnet Under Quilt
Columbia Hiking Pants
Altra Men’s Superior 2 Running Shoe
Here is a video of me unpacking all the items from my pack.