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.
Zpacks has released their Flex, free-standing pole system, previously only available on their Duplex shelter, for their solo ‘Solplex’ shelter, and is being called the Zpacks Solplex Flex Tent Upgrade.
For a bit of background, the Zpacks Solplex was released on November 12, 2014, if my records are correct.
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).
It seems it is time for the hiking blogosphere to start posting their “Christmas Lists” – I have already seen three or four just in the last week.
I had an article about 95% of the way written, and decided to delete it and do something different. The idea pop’ed into my brain to write up ‘my favorite piece of gear from my sponsors‘, but the more I thought about that, the more I realized I just could not decide on a single piece of gear from a couple of my sponsors. For instance, I have over 2000 days of use with the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants and my absolute love for the Montbell U.L. Thermawrap Jacket would make it impossible for me to pick between the two. (opps, guess I just gave away that companies two favorites, doh!). The same could be said of companies like Six Moon Designs and ZPacks. So I figured the only way I could make this happen is if I picked two pieces of gear from each company that sponsors me!
It is not very often that we get a new tent on the market that is worth talking about.
Rumors have been floating around for a few weeks that Gossamer Gear was bring back ‘The One”, which I think most folks that have been in the hiking world for any length of time should remember… it was one of the original ultra light solo shelters from a cottage maker that really had a major market impact – it was highly loved by many, and there are a fair number of shelters on the market right now that are based on The One design!
I had my doubts about the rumors, and I am so very glad to hear that I was wrong.
I have a rather long history of writing about wind shirts and have been a huge advocate of them over the years – even in times when big name hikers were saying they have no place in a hiker’s backpack – yet through it all, when I hit the trail, be it for a long hike, a day hike, trail running, or just a speed walk through my neighborhood, a wind jacket is something that goes with me. Really, why not. They are stupid light, pack down crazy small, and perform the job which they are designed to do.
The wind jacket that has been going along with me, for almost a year as of the time of this article (May 2016), has been the ZPacks ‘Ventum‘ Wind Shell Jacket. On my calibrated scale the wind jacket from ZPacks is an amazing 54 grams (1.9 ounces) and that is with a hood and a full zipper!