Zpacks just did a product refresh on their Nero Backpack to fix what I have always felt where some much needed changes.
Without a doubt the biggest change is them doing away with the annoying cordage system on the roll-top closure system. It was a serious PITA and I am not really sure anybody liked it. They now have a traditional buckle system for securing the roll-top closure.
Check out the attached video for a complete overview on the changes.
You can see my original thoughts on the Nero in this post from back in April of 2017.
Recently a patron of mine sent me his new Pa’lante ‘V2‘ Backpack to check out, so thought I would do a brief write-up and video on this cool new backpack from Pa’lante.
The ‘V2’ is a 2018 backpack from Pa’lante and, IIRC, their fourth(?) iteration of a backpack. First was the Simple, then the Simple Cuben, then the Dx version, and now the V2 – maybe I missed one in there, but I think that is right. With each generation, Pa’lante has been refining the design of their backpack. In some ways, they have gotten away from their initial core idea of a backpack (a simple backpack) in order to meet the mass demands they never expected, but at the same time, that drive has caused them to really put in the effort to bring to market a more refined backpack, while staying as true to their dream of a simple pack as possible.
I have had the chance to use all of their backpacks with the exception of the Dx version, so getting a chance to try out this newest V2 has been a special treat for me.
A couple months ago I was up at the Six Moon Designs offices, just South of Portland Oregon. While I was there I had a chance to check out their latest backpack, the ‘Minimalist‘ – and they even allowed me to share a picture of it on my Instagram page.
They asked me if I would like to try one out when they got in stock and I said sure, of course, testing out new packs on the market is something that I love to do. So a few weeks later one showed up at my house. Free of charge, which is always cool. It is super rare for me to accept free gear, but at the same time, there are just so many new packs on the market right now that buying all of them has gotten to be too blasted expensive. Thankfully a few friends have sent me a few backpacks to do some testing with (such as when I did the initial-look of the Pa’lante Simple Pack, and another buddy is sending me his Pa’lante V2 to do the same, woot!) but anyway, yeah, full disclaimer, Six Moon Designs sent me the Minimalist free of charge, and with any obligations beyond reporting directly back to them my thoughts on what I like and did not like.
So onto my insights into the backpack, and down at the bottom of this article will be a video that I did while out on the packs maiden voyage.
Back in February of 2016 I ordered a Mountain Laurel Designs ‘Core 22L’ backpack for use as my primary summer backpack – it was my first backpack from MLD and it will not be my last – quickly fell in love with this backpack!
The MLD Core is offered in two different volumes, a 22L(1300ci) and a 28L(1700ci) volume – I went with the 22L knowing that I could get all of my gear into it and about three days worth of food. YMMV.
One really has to ask themselves what the targeted market is for a backpack as simple as the MLD Core. Let me try to share my thoughts on that.
Update: September 2019: Zpacks has updated the Nero with a new buckle system for the roll-top and other minor issues. See this post for further information.
The sub 2268 hiking world went a little berserk back in January (2017) when they noticed that the Zpacks Zero and XS-Zero backpacks were no longer being offered.
Today, Zpacks has unveiled the reason: the brand new Zpacks Nero backpack!
In the words of Zpacks:
If you can’t take a Zero take a Nero! The Nero is an ultralight frameless backpack stripped down to only the most popular features. This compact backpack has no frame aside from a closed cell foam sit-pad for cushioning. It is best suited for hardcore long distance hikers with base weights around 5-6 lbs (2.5 kg) and maximum loads up to 20 lbs (9 kg).