The ZPacks Multi-Pack has been, for over four years, one of my most beloved pieces of gear – I have used my original one for well over 5,000 miles of hiking – and have bought and use others for use around town, as a BOB that stays in my truck, and on vacations to keep all kinds of stuff in. It has been, without a doubt, the most versatile and used piece of gear that I have used in my years of hiking.
The very first Multi-Pack was made way back in February of 2011. After sending Joe Valesko a little sketch of what I was after – what I called, looking back in my emails, a “chest bag for water bottles” – and asking if he would be willing to make me one, he ran with the idea, and as memory serves, his wife got involved and offered the idea to include three clips on each side (I only thought of having one, having three was a brilliant idea!) so it could be used in a much broader and more versatile manner. A short time later the first “Multi-Pack” was made and shipped my way. It soon thereafter made it onto the ZPacks website and has remained pretty much the same ever since – proof that our original design was a pretty dang good one, eh!
My original idea for this pouch, or pack, was to hold three bottles of water, and attach onto a backpack’s front shoulder straps, which it succeeded in doing. Eventually I got to the point where I did not like having the weight of water pulling down on my shoulders so I started wearing it around the waist (yes, as a fanny pack) and it has pretty much stayed there ever since.
Check out this photo below of what is inside of my main Multi-Pack at this very moment:
Pretty much everything you see in the above photo, to one degree or another – or manufacture – has been in there for a few thousand miles of my hiking over the last few years. The SunPrecautions Kiwi Shade Scarf is the newest addition, which I have only been using for the last six months – I use it for head protection and pretty much anything else I need a huge 34″ square piece of fabric for. When I do not have my camera (which is most of my hikes) the camera accessories are obviously not in there. During the winter season a pair of warm gloves also get placed into the Multi-Pack. And until recently, instead of the ZPacks Ventum Wind Shell Jacket, it was a Montbell Tachyon Wind Jacket, and for a brief period of time the Inov-8 Race Ultra Shell HZ. Anyway, you get the jist of things.
In the above photo, although you cannot see the Multi-Pack (you can see the around-the-waist strap), you can see what has become my favorite setup for hiking throughout most of the summer. It is a combination of the ZPacks Multi-Pack and my first generation UD PB Vest. On my thru-hike of the Bigfoot Trail earlier this year I used this setup. I did 400 miles in 12 days. I did have to attach my sleeping quilt to the outside of the UDPB, but that is easy enough to do. I got the idea from this picture from Justin Simoni. On my thru-hike of the BFT I had to rearrange things a bit – the Multi-Pack ended up being used for food.
Recently, as I have been trying to put some miles on the Vargo Ti-Arc CF Backpack, I have placed it on the very top of the pack, mostly because the design of the Vargo’s hipbelt interfere with the Multi-Pack when wearing it fanny-pack style – and, the top of the pack ends up being a really good spot for the Multi-Pack
Normally, this would be the spot where I would list some things I would like to see changed about a given product, but the honest fact of the matter is that, even after four years of being pretty much the same design, there is nothing that needs to be changed. Time has proven this design.
Perhaps the only thing that I have thought about talking with ZPacks about, was making one that had the 3D mesh padding inside of it – such an option could make for a great pouch for those carrying camera equipment, or other electronic or such that need extra protection.
In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that at the time this article is published that I am a sponsored hiker of Black Rock Gear, Montbell US, Suluk46, Sun Precautions.