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Jason Byers
(JasonB) - F

Locale: Western NC
Murmur vs Zero on 06/17/2012 16:58:36 MDT Print View

I've replaced some gear with much lighter versions for this summer and I've dropped my base from 7.2 lbs to 5.1 lbs. This includes my GG Mariposa Plus (19.2oz with a sit pad). I love this pack. I know there are much lighter packs out there, even at the large volume the Mariposa has, but it fits me so well. I've put off on buying another pack for a while but the gear I have for this summer isn't filling out the pack at all and causing it to carry weird. I'm down to choosing the Murmur or a modified Zero with a center and side pockets, a sternum strap and a pad holster. The Murmur sounds good because of the in stock status but I could have half the weight with the Zero. I'm leaning towards the Murmur but I figured I'd ask here first to see if the Zero would be worth the wait. Thanks

Jason

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
M vs. Z on 06/17/2012 19:08:42 MDT Print View

The new Murmurs are really nice but so is the option to customize a Zero to exactly your style. I'd try to decide based on which pack you think is truly better, not based on getting one pack quicker than the other because you might have this thing for years and what's another trip or two with the 19oz pack you have now. Plus Joe will rush items (ie. 2-3 weeks) if you specifically ask.

Jason Byers
(JasonB) - F

Locale: Western NC
Thanks on 06/17/2012 19:23:47 MDT Print View

Yeah the Murmur being in stock really got me. I have a trip next weekend planned but your right whats a couple more trips. I think the Zero will probably be it. I've wanted one for a while now and I'm sure I'd end up with one sooner or later anyway. Thanks again.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Murmur vs Zero on 06/17/2012 19:47:44 MDT Print View

The older Murmurs were really nice for light loads. Pretty easy to live out of too, which is important to me. But they were somewhat fragile. Too bad they quit making them. The new ones look much sturdier, which means heavier.

The Zero is very similar to the old Murmur, only made with Cuben and extremely light. I have a small Zero with only 2 water pockets and the pad holder. I use some light guy line cord as a sternum strap sometimes to keep the straps from moving around -- the Cuben can be slippery. I did not get any other options, because they defeat it's purpose as a minimal pack.

If the original Murmur was still available I would say get the pack that fits your budget. But you can get a Cuben Zero for close to what the new Murmur costs. I hate mesh pockets and would skip that. YMMV.

BTW, after several years of SUL and XUL hiking, I am pretty much switched over to an internal frame pack. Much happier and willing to have a base weight of 7 or 8 lbs versus 4 or 5 lbs.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Murmur vs Zero on 06/18/2012 05:06:53 MDT Print View

I'm down to choosing the Murmur or a modified Zero with a center and side pockets, a sternum strap and a pad holster. The Murmur sounds good because of the in stock status but I could have half the weight with the Zero. I'm leaning towards the Murmur but I figured I'd ask here first to see if the Zero would be worth the wait. Thanks Jason


Hello Jason,

Great to hear that you are working your way down the scale!!

I have owned the ZPacks Blast 26 (now called a 30), a ZPacks Zero (X-Small) and the ZPacks Zero (Small) and the new 2012 Gossamer Gear Murmur.

The GG Murmur is my most recent backpack and you can read my 'first hike' review of it here.

I now have over 250 miles on the new murmur and my thoughts have not changed at all since I wrote the initial review (~200 miles since I wrote the review).

As I am a SUL long distance hiker 90% of the year and a XUL hiker for the other 10% of the year, the Murmur is way overkill for my needs. I typically need no more than 900 cubic inches of room for all of my gear (that includes me stripping down to base layer clothing). The ZPacks Zero X-Small has proven perfect for my XUL hikes but it cannot hold enough food for much more than around three days, including all of my gear. The ZPacks Small holds all of my gear plus around 6 days of food (which is my usual distance between resupplies) at my standard 1.4 pounds of food per day.

The ZPacks is a bit narrower than the murmur so if you like a narrow backpack like I do than this is a plus. If you have a wide sleeping bag or a wide sleeping pad, than the Murmur might be a better option.

The Murmur has a lid system that is very much unlike anything else I have ever countered, and I personally I do not like it. I much prefer the very simple closure system that ZPacks uses. If you prefer a roll top closure you will have to go with the ZPacks and have that added.

The shoulder pads on the Murmur are a bit wider than you might expect. I have actual found this to be nice. The Murmur has a daisy chain (Zero does too), a sternum straps (custom addition on the Zero) and hip belts (custom addition on the Zero), side pouches (custom addition on the Zero) and a front pouch (custom addition on the Zero). So all of the things you are probably looking for are default/standard features of the Murmur and will be additions that you will have to add to the Zero.

Durability is something I cannot comment on. I treat all of my gear with the utmost care. I have one of the lightest backpacks in the world (I ordered my zpacks zero xsmall with lighter weight cuben fiber than what it sells with by default) and I have put at least 2000 miles on it and have not had a single puncture. So I am the wrong guy to address durability. I will say that the Murmur material is pretty amazing tough - but it comes with a weight penalty.

Neither one is going to keep your gear dry. These are not waterproof backpacks. Depend upon a dry bag or a plastic liner of some kind for that.

Here are what I would say are a few of the items to consider:

Weight/Wait. Do you feel having an additional 5 ounces is worth the features and ability to have a backpack at your door within a week? If so, go with the Murmur. If you are a gram counter, 5 ounces is massive, so suck it up and place the order for the ZPacks and wait until the 6+ weeks until it shows up.

Capacity: You did not mention which size of the Zero you are looking at. The Murmur is 2200 cubic inches. That is comparable to the Zero Medium. If that is more than what you need than the Murmur could be a problem for you (like it is for me when I use it) and thus you will want to go with ZPacks Zero Small, which is 700 ci smaller.

Thrasher: If you treat your gear with little regard than the ZPacks Zero is probably not the best option. The 1.43 cuben fiber can take a pretty good beating but it has nothing on the 210D that makes up part of the Murmur (those places that receive the most abuse). But again this is a major factor of those 5 extra ounces.

Honestly Jason, nobody here can really say "dude, go with 'this one'" because your backpack is probably the second most important piece of gear that you buy (next to your sleeping bag) and only you should be the person that makes this choice. Between the comments above by others and mine, hopefully we can give you some insight into what is different between these two different backpacks. I am not sure there are many folks out there at this point with both the ZPacks Zero and the new GG Murmur. The Murmur is a pretty new backpack and most guys with Zero's are not exactly going to heavier backpacks. I only bought mine because I got it on an amazing deal and I wanted to see what was so special about it that had the entire outdoor blogosphere raving about it. Perhaps the best way to describe the difference in the two is that the Murmur is refined and the Zero is custom built. Which of those appeals the most to you should probably play a major part in your decision.

-Abela
HikeLighter.Com

Jason Byers
(JasonB) - F

Locale: Western NC
Awesome reply! on 06/18/2012 15:57:11 MDT Print View

Thank you John for taking the time to give such an informative reply! I went with a small Zero with center and side pockets, a pad holster (probably not gonna use it but it's removable so what the heck), and a roll top closure. Joe is a great guy to work with too. He answered emails within the hour and was very friendly. Thanks again to all.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Re: Murmur vs Zero on 06/18/2012 16:46:12 MDT Print View

Hey Jason,

You are very much welcome. Just glad I had both of them so I could give you some first-hand feedback on both of them.

Did you go with the 1.43 cf or did you bounce up to the hybrid material?

I think there are some real advantages to having the ability to use a pad as a quasi-frame support. For the last few years I have used the GG 18th pad rolled inside of my Zero X-Small and while it has done its job keeping the backpack firm, having used the Murmur with the SitLight pad inside of the pad holder, even though it causes my back to sweat a lot, the way it helps provide support was very much unexpected and a lot better than just rolling up the other pad I have been using. So good call going with it. Did you go with the triangle one that is listed as an option or did you go with using shock cord to hold the pad in place? I have seen a few people use that method over the last few months with the zpacks backpacks.

Anyway, hope you totally enjoy that Zero!!

Jason Byers
(JasonB) - F

Locale: Western NC
M vs Z on 06/18/2012 18:36:30 MDT Print View

I went with the 1.43. I take very good care of my gear so I thought the lighter version would be just fine with me. I was actually thinking about buying the 1/8 pad. I see it is about the same weight as the SitLight(mine weighed 2.1oz). So far I don't use a ground cloth with my summer shelter which is a poncho tarp and bug tent so the extra protection for my neoair would be nice. With my Mariposa I use a thinner much firmer/stiffer pad I found at work that I cut to fit. It's heavier at 3.4oz but gives the pack a lot more support than the softer SitLight. I preferred that pad over using the SitLight and aluminum frame. I got the triangle type holster but I'm hoping that when the triangles are removed I can use shock cord attached to triangle mounts to try both ways. Really what I hoping to be able to do is not use any back pad at all. With my gear just stuffed without sacks in my Mariposa I fill out a little less than half the packs volume. I'm really hoping that stuffing the same gear plus food in the Zpacks will give it enough stiffness with the smaller volume I won't need a pad for pack support...we'll see.

Edited by JasonB on 06/18/2012 18:41:48 MDT.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: M vs Z on 06/18/2012 19:37:10 MDT Print View

Hey Jason,

The 1/8th is pretty much nill when it comes to r-value and any level of comfort. I have carried it as far as I have just for the protection of my bathtub (when I have one) and my sleeping bag, and for the structural support of the backpack.

Here is my insane setup right now:

ZPacks 0.34 Cuben Fiber 9x6 Tarp
ZPacks 1.00 Cuben Fiber Plus Ground Sheet (only use this when it is wet outside)
Gossamer Gear 1/8th pad

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/50366/gear/zpacks_034_tarp_003.jpg


I very much would love to hear back if you are able to remove the triangles from the Zero and than attach shock cord to keep a pad in place. If that does work, that would be a sweet option for others to consider.


(edited this post to change photograph from src to href as it blew apart the design of the BPL website... hey BPL... you should apply this to your CSS: max-width:500px;width:expression(this.width>500?500:true) so you can fix this on YOUR end!!)

Edited by JohnAbela on 06/18/2012 19:39:38 MDT.

Jason Byers
(JasonB) - F

Locale: Western NC
Nice setup on 06/18/2012 21:59:18 MDT Print View

Wow that's a very cool setup. Cuben Tarp is next on my list. I bet with the .34 it's crazy light. I'll post back when I get my pack in to let you know about the pad holster. Thanks again for the help. I've glanced over your website too but haven't had a chance to really check it out yet. Looks like it's full of good info though.

ruben orellana
(eli672)

Locale: los angeles
Re: Re: M vs Z on 06/25/2012 07:36:30 MDT Print View

John,

I like the set up you have w/ the lighter version tarp from Zpacks...
What was your reasoning for having the ground sheet sown up like that, was it to reduce splash???
Doesn't that reduce your floor space??
and finally: is your c.fiber g.sheet lighter that cutting a small piece of Polycryo???

thanks,
Ruben

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: M vs Z on 06/25/2012 08:02:11 MDT Print View

Heyya Ruben,

Yeah that 0.34 tarp is crazy. Pretty much everybody that see's it in person laughs at it, and than laughs at me. And I am usually laughing along with them.

The use of 0.34 as a tarp is just about the most high-risk tarp that exists. I am just waiting for the day that it goes flying off all shredded up.

I really really really do not recommend anybody buy a 0.34 cf tarp. I bought it for the express purpose of doing durability testing so that the hiking community can have some solid and viable data for a future whitepaper on why 0.34 should not be used. It has already suffered to rips that I have had to apply CF tape onto. It has also suffered some thread pulling. None of this is because zpacks did a bad job creating it - they made me exactly what I asked for. I ordered it with the knowledge that *I* waved a warranty on it.

I hope by the end of the 2012 hiking season to be able to put together an initial whitepaper for the cottage manufacturers to have access too. I started using it in October of 2011 and except for a month when I was using the Six Moon Designs Skyscape X (my review) it has gone with me on every hike I have taken. It should have around 800 - 1000 miles of trail by the time I get done with the 2012 hiking season. I figure that should be more than enough data and abuse to provide data for those who have been needing it.

Anyway, to answer your questions:

What was your reasoning for having the ground sheet sown up like that, was it to reduce splash???


The zpacks cf ground sheet in my photograph above is the standard zpacks groundsheet, designed for the Hexamid Solo-Plus.

To be honest, I had no intentions of using it with the 0.34 cf tarp. I bought it when I was doing some T&E of the Hexamid Solo-Plus and it just ended up in my house afterwards. One day I just grabbed it and decided to see how well it fit under the tarp. It took a fair amount more cordage than I expected it too. lol, I think I had to go back into my house twice to grab more cordage. I used a combination of 1.25mm spectracord and 1/16 shock cord, and than attached mitten hooks on the ends.

What it ended up doing was giving me a rather unique "bathtube" that has proven to be better than any other bathtub I have ever used.

So anyway, it just all sort of worked out one day when I was playing around with different setups.



Doesn't that reduce your floor space??


Hmm, maybe by about 5% of what I would call "usable space" is lost, and that would be at the ends. But that actually works out good for this tarp otherwise when it rains the water would fill up the bathtub. I would say that I do not loose any usable space width-wise.


is your c.fiber g.sheet lighter that cutting a small piece of Polycryo???


Nope. My Gossamer Gear Polycryo Ground Cloth (which I use when it is not raining) is 46 grams (1.622 oz) and the ZPacks Groundsheet Solo+Plus (Light) is 94 grams (3.31 ounces), so it is significantly heavier.

But sometimes it is fun to take, just because it is such a unique setup that I giggle when I get it all setup and look at it ;)

-Abela
HikeLighter.Com

ruben orellana
(eli672)

Locale: los angeles
Re: Re: Re: Re: M vs Z on 06/25/2012 09:01:48 MDT Print View

Right on John...
Thanks for the knowledge...
I follow your website, great info.

Justin Nelson
(jnelson871) - MLife

Locale: CA Bay Area
Re: Murmur vs Zero on 06/25/2012 16:21:31 MDT Print View

I bought both packs this year and ended up keeping the Murmur. The Zero is nice but the material was a little uncomfortable to carry. The new Murmur is much more rugged then the previous model and has served me well on several trips so far.

Jason Byers
(JasonB) - F

Locale: Western NC
follow up on 07/13/2012 07:46:49 MDT Print View

"I very much would love to hear back if you are able to remove the triangles from the Zero and then attach shock cord to keep a pad in place. If that does work, that would be a sweet option for others to consider."


I wanted to update this thread to verify that you can do this. I received my new pack in the mail yesterday and even though I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet it fits even my 3 season setup very well and I'm still able to not have to use stuff sacks for my gear. I should be able to carry enough food for a 3 day trip in there no problem too. For summer use I could easily go for a week. My new summer base weight with a comfortable tarp/bug bivy setup is well into the 4's now so I'm tickled about that too. Thanks again for the help deciding to go with this pack.