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Custom Zpacks Zero - Finally Got the Perfect SUL Pack
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Michael Fleming
Durability on 12/26/2011 09:48:55 MST Print View

The Cuben fiber material is pretty sweet but eventually my Zero pack with 1.5oz cuben fiber started to wear down on the bottom of it.. nothing horrible but there are a few holes.. the rest of the pack is perfect though! If I was to get another cuben pack I would get a stronger material for the rim and bottom, which may add an ounce or two but would increase the life-span of the pack a whole lot.

Of course the more you baby it, the longer it will last.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Zero on 12/29/2011 05:15:28 MST Print View

Dustin: Come to AZ!

I XUL bivy bag at 3-4 oz would be more than warm enough for the summer months here in the desert. If you want to push the barriers you could pretty much just have a pack used for carrying water and food. You could realistically get under 1 lb ;)

It is an impressive list you have and commitment for going bare minimum when feasible.

Even your 3 season list is impressive and more what I envision for longer trips for my 2012 kit, just to increase the margin of error/safety. A great primer of what is possible.

This Zero is really starting to pique my interests, we'll see what the MYOG bug does to me over the winter

Hey Dustin,

Totally hear what you are saying!! I very much want to move out of the Redwoods and back to the desert where I grew up so I can get out of this wet weather environment and reduce my gear list!!

It will be my goal for 2012 to do a three day sub-1-pound BPW hike. I know I can do it I just have to find the right location to make it happen. Of course that is really pushing the extreme so I will want to make sure that I have another hiker with me on that trip as a means of medical support should something go wrong. The greatest threat of XUL hiking is hurting yourself and not having the gear needed to make it back to safety - be it needle and thread or a jacket to fight off going into shock or water/flame to sterilize tools needed to patch yourself up. So very much want to have a hiking buddy with me on any sub 1 pound trip.

To be honest though, as you pointed out, the three season setup is really where the importance is at. To me XUL is very little more than pushing the extremes to learn a small handful of skills which could (but hopefully never will) benefit you as a SUL hiker. For that very reason the most important of the gear lists I have is my three season gear list. It is the setup that provides the best long distance hiking abilities, the greatest amount of reasonable comfort and safety gear (clothing) and so forth. My primary goal for 2012 I think will be seeing how many miles I can get onto a 3-4 pound setup. Somewhere in that range is my 'happy spot' for gear.

I just wrote a new article over at that examines some SUL/XUL enclosed shelter setups. I mention this because in my three season setup I indicate I use a bivy and after my last hike of 2011 back in October I sold all of my bivys. Going to go in another direction with them so I put together a sweet spreadsheet to figure out which route I wanted to go next. I would love some feedback on the article and shelter comparison I put together!

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Killing this old guy on 01/26/2012 21:53:03 MST Print View

You guys are killing me with your low volume, light gear. Trying to spend my 11% bonus are ya? I'm resisting, but its hard to hold out.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Killing this old guy on 01/26/2012 22:14:16 MST Print View

Just 10% of your bonus.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
hmmmm.... on 01/26/2012 23:02:55 MST Print View

What are bonus' for? After all, they are a bonus.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
staying busy on 01/27/2012 11:30:03 MST Print View

We met and exceeded our goals in my department by quite a bit, so instead of a 6% bonus, we qualified for only 11% this year. I wish I received a multi-million $$$ bonus, I could get what I wanted and help buy down prices for others.:) Last year it was a 12% bonus, spent that on old camping and bping stoves, gotta save this for a newer pickup. And new shoes, scheduled maintenance on the Civic, etc.


michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
its not that expensive on 08/29/2012 21:23:57 MDT Print View

These packs especialy the Zeros are actually about or the same or even cheaper than a mumur hyperlight or something, not to mention they weigh 2x as less.

I realyyyy am considering getting a medium zero, is there ANY pictures of this on someones back floating around on the web?

Angelo Radano

Locale: New England
Re: its not that expensive on 08/30/2012 15:38:06 MDT Print View

Shoot Joe at ZPacks an email, I am sure he can hook you up with a photo or two.

Steve Scarborough
(zehnmm) - F

Locale: southern New Mexico
Zpacks Zero as possible SAR pack on 08/31/2012 11:15:34 MDT Print View

This is a very helpful thread for me. I am a volunteer in mountain search and rescue. For me, at age 65, being light is important. My days of 45+ lb. packs are over!

The Zpacks solution is very appealing to me. Right now, I have a super minimum hasty pack solution that uses just a Ribz front pack with the very basic SAR essentials that include GPS, radio, extra batteries, compass, signal mirror, whistle, GoLite poncho tarp, small FAK, trail marking tape, and other items. For water, I use small nylon water holders on my belt. I have a next level that also uses the Ribz, but adds a fanny pack with holders for 2x 32 oz. water bottles. This option allows me to add more essentials. (By the way, I really like the Ribz front pack....)

But, the Zpacks looks like it could work for me as an intermediate solution --- between the Ribz+fanny and my ULA CDT. I consider the ULA CDT to be useful up to 25 lbs. After that I have an older Gregory internal frame pack that can handle up to about 45 lbs.

I thank all of you that have posted here with these most intelligent and useful comments. I may just have to spring for a Zpacks Zero.



michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Question on 09/13/2012 11:23:13 MDT Print View

So I ordered a small hybrid with a roll top, right now I have two pads. A synmat ul7 and a short ridgerest. I am wondering if getting the top strap would be a good idea. I kind of want the pack to be minimal but a top strap might be convenient.

My question to Dan is, do you find that you wish you could compress the contents in the top of the pack better? Hence with a top strap.

Also taking my ridgerest is kind of a last resort now that I have this new pad.

Edited by M.L on 09/13/2012 13:23:33 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Roll top on 09/27/2012 18:28:27 MDT Print View

The roll top works really nice for volume reduction. I don't think you'd need a top strap for this. However, a Ridgerest (even a short one) eats up quite a bit of volume, so you may need to store it externally on some trips. So perhaps get a top strap for this.

I've got a Ridgerest (cut to about a small size) and a UL7 as well. I usually take the UL7, but I take the Ridgerest for solo use when I can count on finding a nice stealth spot that I can landscape a bit. Even cut down, the Ridgerest really eats in the volume of the pack, so I store on top for all but the shortest trips.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Re: Perfect .... I have to agree on 09/28/2012 15:55:08 MDT Print View

I just got a zero in the mail (well on Monday I did). I hope to get at least a training hike in this weekend. But so far, I'm blown away. Serious bang for the buck and Zpacks went above and beyond what I requested.

My size small zero is three inches taller than the standard adding just a little more food room and it all rolls down when out of the way. I also got a 3/4 inch webbing belt that's removeable, and two side water bottle pockets. All of this came out great, but there's more.

It's hard to find Zero options that are not on Zpacks lenghty list of check boxes, but I wanted side compression done with webbing loops that I could threat some cord through if/when needed. useful when the pack's half full or when I'm carrying a hiking pole or fishing rod. Finally I added the mesh back pocket and asked for four webbing loops on each side with a line lock on the top, because I wanted to run a z-shaped compression line up the pack. I also wanted to have the two loops on each side closest to my back for elastic line to attach a GG sit light pad. So Zpacks added the loops and line locks and at the back (wearer's) side of the pack made double loops to keep the compression line and back pad straps separate. They also went ahead and put in grey Z line for the compression and super thin bungee line for the back pad, adding two additional loops at the top and bottom of the back panel to make triangular pad holder compartments and wired it all up for me complete with sit light pad.

Such a great buying experience on my first piece of custom BP gear (I have custom knives and music equipment, but nothing for hiking until now. Won't be my last. Thinking hard about getting a Hexamid tent with sewn in cuben floor. Hat's off to Zpacks.

Edited by bcutlerj on 09/28/2012 15:56:29 MDT.

Scott Pickard

Locale: Southern California
New Zero on 10/16/2012 19:14:51 MDT Print View

Brian can you post the weight of your new Zero with the removeable waist belt and without if if possible.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
New Zero on 10/17/2012 15:19:02 MDT Print View

Sure. It weighs 7.5 oz. without the Gossamer Gear Sit-lite pad. This is a zero with removable 3/4 inch webbing belt, sternum strap (now standard), webbing loops (10) and two line loc III's for side compression and to hold bungee cord for sit pad (bungee cord included in weight, as I've never removed it. Also included is rear mesh pocket, 3-4 inches taller (Blast 22 height), and side WB pockets. IIRC, it was actually 7.4 and change. Hope this helps. Can snap a pic tonight if you like. It's the olive color. Looks a lot like Dan D's.

Scott Pickard

Locale: Southern California
New Zero on 10/17/2012 20:24:04 MDT Print View

Thank you Brian for the details and the weight. Now as if I have not asked enough when do plan to post some pics? :) Also thank you Dan for the original post and the photos of your Zero. I am really enjoying this thread.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Pics forthcoming ... on 10/17/2012 23:01:59 MDT Print View

I owe you an answer in belt weight. That's in the Zpacks site. I don't plan to remove the belt. There is little room in the d-rings/buckles with the belt attached, so I am going to leave it as is. Pics I can take now, but probably won't upload until I get back on a PC at the office tomorrow. So, stay tuned.