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Mountainsmith Zerk 40 Review (Backpack)


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Mountainsmith Zerk 40 Review (Backpack)

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  • #3613695
    Andrew Marshall
    BPL Member

    @andrewsmarshall

    Locale: Tahoe basin by way of the southern Appalachians

    Companion forum thread to: Mountainsmith Zerk 40 Review (Backpack)

    This Mountainsmith Zerk 40 review discusses the long term performance of a functional and durable backpack targeted to thru-hikers.

    #3613744
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    Andrew, have you tried carrying a bear can inside of the pack? Can you share any experiences of how it carried specific bear can models inside rather than on top of the pack?

    #3614005
    Andrew Marshall
    BPL Member

    @andrewsmarshall

    Locale: Tahoe basin by way of the southern Appalachians

    Hey Matthew! I don’t own a bear canister – my primary hiking areas only require an UrSack or food hanging. I can tell you that the pack seems designed to carry a bear canister on top rather than inside. I think you could probably squeeze a small one in, but I’m fairly confident it wouldn’t be a comfortable experience. I think you’d probably feel it through the foam back panel.

    #3614080
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    That’s a bummer. Thanks for responding.

    #3618423
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    Zerk acquired.

    I’ve only worn it for ten minutes in the house but I’m quite impressed. The foam back panel is rather stiff, compared to what GG or ULA puts in their packs or improvised Ridgerest/ZLite, CCF, Evazote or relfectix options I’ve tried in the past.

    I’m cautiously optimistic that the stiffness of the back in combination with larger shoulder straps might be a solution that works for me when my total pack weight creeps up to around 22 pounds. Normally I’m comfortable to around 18ish pounds in a frameless pack and I’ve been looking for a solution for slightly heavier trips without going to a full framed pack with a big hipbelt. This might be what I’ve been looking for.

    Fingers crossed!

    #3618427
    J-L
    BPL Member

    @johnnyh88

    Now that you have the pack, how does a bear can fit?

    #3618461
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    The overall volume seems comparable to a MLD Prophet. I slipped my WI Scout into it and it fits quite easily. I don’t think I’ll have any problem carrying it with a mid, a couple items of extra clothing, quilt, etc for a 3 season trip.

    #3618464
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    I gave the pack another detailed look last night and saw something that I really don’t like. It’s not a dealbreaker for me if the pack works but I’m guessing this will be a failure point and it’s an area I’ll be careful with and check frequently:

    This is the junction between the side pocket and the front of the pack. The purple line marks a panel consisting solely  of stretch mesh connecting the Spectra side pocket to the Spectra of the main body. I suspect the bottom of the stretch mesh on the side pocket will be the first thing to rip and need repair. The area highlighted yellow is where I think it’s most prone to ripping. I rely heavily on side pockets and I’m not thrilled about the inclusion of stretch mesh as part of its construction.

     

    #3618478
    J-L
    BPL Member

    @johnnyh88

    Glad to hear a bear can will fit inside. Strapping it on top looks like it would be unstable.

    #3681960
    Paul Kilroy
    BPL Member

    @punchcard

    Any longer term reviews of this?

    Very curious about others thoughts on max comfortable load.

    #3685166
    Kent W
    BPL Member

    @kentw

    I am considering getting a Zerk. Any additional feedback now that some folks have been wearing them for a while now?

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