Oct 25, 2011 at 8:40 pm #1281129
A couple weeks ago I took delivery of my second Zpacks Zero (I sold the first one to get this one) and I think this one is perfect so I wanted to share.
This Zero has the same slim shape as the 'small' size (10" x 6") but it's as tall as the medium size (29"), so it holds a lot of stuff if I need it to, but if not I just erase that space because it has the roll top. Looking at it in real life, it looks very well proportioned. I previously had the size small without the roll top or taller height, and it was a real stretch to fit more than 1 days worth of food in there with my 6.5 lbs baseweight. With this new pack I can easily fit my stuff and 4-5 days of food if need be, yet it rolls down super small if desired. Sorry for the terrible photos….just using the camera in my laptop.
Joe @ Zpacks is constantly tweaking his pack designs, which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I got my first Zero a year ago and noticed that a bunch of the details were more refined that older Zero's I had seen pictures of online. Now with my new Zero, Joe has taken things to another level. I'm not sure when Joe has implemented the new changes, but I imagine his packs are just constantly evolving. Joe is now using that cuben/nylon hybrid fabric a little bit inside the pack to reinforce where the shoulder straps attach (see pic which shows this area flipped inside out to reveal this). This design change looks awesome to me, as the shoulder strap attachment points are often one of the weakest areas of any pack. Also, Joe has changed how the actual straps attach, so there is now a short section of grosgrain between the padded shoulder straps and the packbag, which you can sorta see in the first photo. This works well to let the straps angle to match your shoulders.
My Zero has the following options:
– mesh rear pocket
– dual side pockets
– sternum strap
– roll top
– side strap (only on one side…it's to hold my fishing rod)
– +1" torso (not that it really matters without a hipbelt, but I figure it would be a good idea since I've asked for 29" tall).
IMO, a sternum strap is necessary on a cuben pack like this. Even with great shoulder straps, cuben is slippery stuff and I found my first Zero had a real tendancy to gradually slip off of shoulders. For 0.3oz, you can totally solve this problem, plus add more pack stability. If you don't like it you can easily remove it, so do yourself a favor and order the sternum strap. I think you'll keep it on there. On my first Zero I had a webbing hipbelt (for stability) and no sternum strap, but I much prefer this setup of no hipbelt but with a sternum strap. I didn't order daisy chains on my pack but it sorta came with them. I'm not sure if these are considered part of the sternum strap option, or if Joe just put them on by mistake. In any case, the grosgrain used is very light stuff and the daisy chains are probably 0.1oz and they look spiffy so I'm happy with them.
I don't have my scale, but this pack should weigh in around 5oz (EDIT: It's 5.17oz)
I'm also really pleased with the color. My first Zero was 'olive drab' as well, but this batch of olive drab is an even nicer color. It's almost grey with an olive tint, where as the first olive drab had a lot more green in it (ie. brighter). The terrible photo's probably don't do it justice.
One last nice touch that really impressed me is the tabs to open the velcro roll top. I always found the velcro roll top of my wife's HMG Windrider to be a little bit of a pain to open. Joe's idea to add little tabs makes opening a pack of this design a breeze. HMG should copy this idea.
In closing, here's a few 'ordering tips' that I feel pretty strongly about:
1) Get the sternum strap. You can always take it off if you feel it's not needed
2) Don't get a hipbelt, the sternum strap takes care of stability and at SUL (or 6-7 lbs) you shouldn't need one.
3) The olive drab looks awesome in real life. Much classier than the leaf green or bright blue.
4) The 10" x 6" x 29" shape is awesome for almost anyone. A few XUL'ers might find it too big.
5) Get the roll top. Joe's regular enclosure is a little awkward IMO and the roll top is a beauty.Oct 25, 2011 at 9:20 pm #1795081
USA Duane HallParticipant
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
I've looked at the Z Packs a few years ago, but felt I have too much gear. Sure would be nice to have a pack this light. I have to get a much lighter shelter (floorless original TarpTent Squall) and another item or two to get down there. Thanks for the info though.
DuaneOct 26, 2011 at 6:23 am #1795137
@hamericaLocale: Northern Virginia
Nice pack Dan… Want to trade back for the old one I got from you? ;)Oct 26, 2011 at 7:57 pm #1795406
I'll have to mull that swap over :)
If you want a sternum strap, send it in to Joe and I'm sure he could easily add one for a few bucks. He could probably make other changes too discreetly like snipping the hipbelt if you wanted….heck he might even be able to convert it to a roll top.Oct 27, 2011 at 8:03 am #1795544
Thanx for posting the pxts of your new Zero. Very nice! I like the new shoulder strap attachment he is doing, and the roll top seems like a much better way to go.Oct 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm #1795769
Now why would you go and post such a sweet pack. Now i want one.
Ive just started going on sul-ish trips and use a 20 liter daypack thats as heavy as my Jam and a little too small for anything over an overnight.
Would you be able to post some pics of you wearing the pack for reference?Oct 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm #1795798
Glad I finally stumbled across this thread. I've thought about this pack of some variation of Joe's for a while. But as a day pack, not as an over nighter pack. Anyway, I'd also be interested in more picks showing how it fits and of course your trail comments on how it works in use. As I mentioned before, I think this would be a great place for me to get my feet wet in the Cuben lake. Thanks for sharing.Oct 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm #1795851
Here's a few more grainy computer camera pics to show the rough size of this pack.
1) If the pack didn't have the rear pocket you could roll it down quite a bit more still
2) The roll top does have a tendency to stick up when the pack is rolled down to about shoulder level. If you just roll it a few times the roll top lays down (see pic #3), but if you roll it down to about where the shoulder straps attach then it likes to pop up. I think what I'm going to do is steal the idea MLD had for their 3.7 pack. MLD basically uses a clip and a short bit of shockcord tied to the top of the rear pocket, so you can clip this to the roll top and hold the loop down. As a bonus, it also secures your stuff in the rear pocket, so stuff like a shovel blade can't fall out.
Side view of the pack with the roll top rolled most of the way down to an average volume:
Back view of the pack @ average volume:
Side view of the pack at max volume (roll top with just 2 rolls to secure it):Oct 28, 2011 at 7:03 am #1795900
Looks very nice. And my Blast is now a little big for most of my trips. Can you tell me which size Zero you are showing there? It looks like the size I need.Oct 28, 2011 at 11:43 am #1796012
I ordered the 'small' size (10" x 6" x 24") but asked Joe to make it as tall as the medium size (12" x 6" x 29"), so this pack is actually 10" x 6" x 29".
My first Zero was a small and with my 6-7 lbs baseweight, I could really only fit 1 day of food in there. With this one I can definately fit 3-4 days of food….maybe more, and then I can roll it down smaller as I go. I really like these dimensions because it perserves the slim shape (which works well for packing a lot of SUL stuff like down quilts) with the roll top I can roll it down to whatever volume is needed. Stuff like my sleeping quilt, Echo I shelter and food sack all fit very nicely into a 10" x 6" packbody, so a wider medium size (12" x 6") would be a bit tougher for me to utilize well.
Another option would be to order the extra-small pack (9" x 6" x 19") but ask for it much taller than the normal 19"…maybe 9" x 6" x 25" would be a nice size for the true SUL folk.
IMO, the only people who would want a smaller pack than my 10" x 6" x 29" are:
1) Use a tarp (as opposed to a tent) and have a <6.5 lbs base
2) Use a tent, but legitamately hike at 4-5 lbs base often and don't exceed 3 days.
3) Have a 6-7 lbs base like me, but only do one-nighters.Oct 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm #1796152
Nice pics and excellent info. Thanks!
Good idea to go with 29" so it will do more days.Oct 29, 2011 at 9:23 am #1796358
i have a small zero with the back pocket and side pockets. i used it during a 5 day/4 night trip this summer. 5 days of food was really pressing the limits of the pack. i don't have the sternum option or hip belt and don't really miss either. in fact, i find myself unbuckling my hipbelt on my bigger pack from time-to-time now. i use the zero every chance i get now b/c it is exactly what i want. light and simple…
joe's stuff is really great. he's quite the innovative guy…Oct 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm #1796477
For posting up some more photos. They did and do help. I'm thinking about one of these in a pretty small size for use as a day pack. It looks like it'd work great for me. And that green colors pretty cool too. Looks like you are in a bunk room up north where you are working?Oct 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm #1796500
Yeah I share a cabin with one other guy, but he's night shift and I'm day shift so always have the cabin to myself when I'm off work (12 hour shifts).Oct 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm #1796769
My experience wit the zero:
I am going to have Dan McHale build me a very small pack because my gear has gotten so small my LPB 36 is too big for weekend trips. Because of the amount of water I normally need to carry in the desert, I want one of his packs with the superior hip belt and aluminum stays. Dan suggested I consider cuben. I have several pieces of equipment made out of cuben, but just don't feel comfortable with it as a pack material.
So I purchased a ZPack Zero small to experiment with. I had Joe include two water bottle pockets and an exterior pad holder. Total weight is 113 grams (3.99 oz). No belt, and it has a roll top. Sternum strap is only needed when wearing a slippery top such as a Houdini wind shirt. For this I use very light guyline and a mini-biner. I can easily fit 5 days of food and 2 liters of water in the pack and not have to use the extension for added volume. The gear I carried for the first try at the bottom of the post. Down items were stuffed into a itty bitty cuben sack. I took my iPhone as a watch, GPS, camera and map as an experiment.
Total base weight is 3 lbs 7 oz. The gear is good for most of my 3 season trips. The pack is agony with a gallon of water, but wonderful when water gets down to a single liter. So far the pack is holding up well, but I worry if I slip on a cross country hike it might tear the material.Oct 30, 2011 at 5:04 pm #1796789
@oystersLocale: South Australia
Impressive gear list Nick…you've got a few of my dream items on there! I've got a few questions…
How do you go with condensation under the cuben quilt? Does it affect your down vest or wet it? Do you often use the venting options in the epiphany foot box (i.e. open the drawcord and/or zipper)? I was wondering if I'd get Tim to just sew it right up or not.
How do you get your Leukotape down to 4 grams…do you cut off a strip and wrap it on a pole or something? I've found it doesn't hold its stickiness all that well after its been removed so I'm hesitant to do that, and always end up carrying most of a roll (can't get myself to remove most of it from a new roll).
What cuben fibre does Dan McHale use? Does he have some of the nylon faced stuff like zpacks?Oct 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm #1796795
Quilt – I just open the vent at the bottom and vent it at the top. The cuben acts like a vapor barrier, so when you would normally need a vest, you can do without… or take it off after you warm up.
Leukotape – I just cut off a section and rolled it up. I have had it for a couple years, but have never needed it. I rarely get blister. Mike Clelland cuts pieces off and sticks them to a sheet of that non-sticky stuff that are used on mailing envelopes. That is my next task, when I get to it.
McHale packs – Dan has been playing around with cuben for years but has not brought anything to market except for a pack he made last year for someone who planned a Himalayan trek. He told me he is now ready to start offering them, but it will be a hybrid… pack bottoms and other key wear points will use another type of material.Oct 30, 2011 at 6:24 pm #1796826
So, I'll ask my own question. Nick, you say its murder with a gallon of water but fine with a liter. I'm thinking about one of these packs as a day pack. I carry anywhere between a liter and three liters depending on the conditions. Do you think with a bladder sleeve that it'd work good with three liters of water in it? If I get one of these, I'll get a hip belt too. I'm not thinking of this for overnighters, just for day trips. So the pack would have to support around three pounds of gear plus water and snacks and hopefully the water and snacks are gone when I get back to the car.Oct 30, 2011 at 8:55 pm #1796889
FWIW, Joe is now making the Zero's in both 1.5oz cuben and the 2.92oz Cuben/Nylon hybrid fabric that is also used my HMG in their packs and on the new Zpacks Exos pack. For anyone who's not comfortable with 1.5oz this would be great. I personally think I'm going to get years out of my 1.5oz cuben Zero though. The cuben/nylon stuff is sexier though.Oct 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm #1796897
I have the 1.5 oz cuben. Looks and feels pretty bomber.Oct 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm #1796902
I find any frameless pack to be uncomfortable when the weight goes beyond 10 lbs for any period of time, probably more than 25%. If you look at the gear list of 3lbs 7 oz, add 8.33 lbs of water and 5 lbs of food for 3 days. That is close to 15 lbs for a 3 day trip.
Dan says his base if 6.5lbs with one day of food. Add a liter of water and it is right around 10 lbs, which for me is the upper limit of comfort.
I have many, many miles with a Murmur with total starting weights from 17-20 lbs, and the belt helped a little, but not enough to make a difference. By the time I get my pack weight down to 10 lbs, my shoulders are sore and remain so for the rest of the hike. Tanking up with water at the end of each day is painful. But then I am an old fart :)
Joe makes some nice stuff. I have several cuben sacks, a Hexamid, a cuben poncho/ground sheet, and a rain skirt. Like anything else, you need the right tool for the right job. For what Dan is looking for, it is a really nice solution.Oct 30, 2011 at 9:56 pm #1796919
For me (27 yr old), 10 lbs in a pack like this is sweet and I'm skipping down the trail. 15 lbs is fine and by 20 lbs I'm not in agony but I would prefer my ULA Ohm. I'd definitely have sore shoulders after a few hours of 25 lbs. The deciding point between this pack and my Ohm would likely occur at a starting weight around 17-18 lbs. If I didn't have the Ohm and my other option was a 5 lbs pack then I'd push the Zero a bit higher….not higher than 20 lbs starting weight.
A 'normal' hike for me with this pack would involve a 6.5 lbs base, up to 1 liter of water and then 2-3 days of food, so that's a normal starting weight around 11-13 lbs, but I could and will go up to 5 days. I'm almost always hiking in quite wet areas, so my usual water strategy is just to carry one 1 liter bottle and then whenever it's empty I'll refill it at the next stream and drop a 30 min pill in. Almost never do I go more than a hour without water, but you need to really know both the locale (ie. PNW vs. Utah) and the actual route because you can easily get into trouble with stuff like ridgewalks even in wet areas.Oct 31, 2011 at 6:10 pm #1797220
You guys always (nearly always in your case Nick! – refering to the "A Close Shave" thread) share very useful info that helps me in my decisions.
That being said, I will use this pack for DAY use only. With 3-4 lbs. of gear max and 1-3 liters of water. I will just carry whatever water is needed; so if its hot here in sunny SoCal where I'm at, sometimes it takes three liters. But mostly I take two liters or less. And I don't carry much food. Usually less than half a pound. I eat well before I go.
So, I would be carrying 4 lbs gear max and 6.6 pounds water max and another half pound or so of food or around 11 pounds max. And usually more like 7-8 pounds of gear/food/water.
So based on your comments, a Zero should work fine. Again, I'll have a padded belt to deal with the weight/stability. And that should help. Sound reasonable?Oct 31, 2011 at 8:40 pm #1797289
Yup…that sounds pretty reasonable to me. Since most of your weight is water, you might want to think about how you'll pack that. Throwing 1 liter water bottles in the side pockets doesn't work so well if the pack is empty….the pack sorta collapses. I think I recall you saying you'd use a bladder. Maybe ask joe to toss in a bladder sleeve so you can keep the heavy bladder secure and close to your back instead of floating in the bottom of the pack like a dead fish.Oct 31, 2011 at 9:11 pm #1797300
Dan, that's exactly what I was thinking. Hydration sleeve when I'm carrying that much water. If I'm local, I usually just carry one one-liter bottle with me and depending on conditions, it may only be a little over half full, so its not a problem then.
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