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.