Friday, November 30, 2012

Gear - Oct, 2012; Dec, 2012 - zPacks Blast 30 backpack

October 22, 2012
I recently obtained a used zPacks Blast 30 cuben fiber backpack.  This pack is made of 1.43 oz/sqyd Cuben Fiber fabric.  The version I have includes some optional extra features which I like.  The extra features will really help in extending the use of this pack.  The extras are: roll top, load lifters, hip belt pockets, and carbon fiber stays.

The basic statistics of the pack as shown on are
Blast 30 - 3,000 cu in (50 Liters), 9.0 oz (255 grams),
12" wide x 6" deep x 29" tall  (30.5 cm x 15 cm x  74 cm)
Main body (2,200 ci) + Mesh center pocket (550 ci) + Side pockets (250 ci) = 3,000 cu in (50 Liters) total

The pack I have weighs a total of 12.25 oz. with the frame and 11.25 oz. without the frame.

The one issue I might have with this pack would be that my back might get sweaty in hot weather.  Because the cuben fiber rides right on your back, and it doesn't breathe at all, there may be sweat issues.  I haven't used this pack in hot weather so I can't really say how it fares under those conditions.  I do see that zPacks now offers the Arc line of packs that have more ventilation on the back panel, so I would guess the company has responded to feedback on that issue.  But since the load with this pack is so light, I think I could probably deal pretty easily with whatever sweat issues may arise.

So, here is my review of the zPacks Blast 30.  Enjoy!  Also, if you have any questions, comments, tips, tricks, or ideas, please post a comment.  Thanks.

UPDATE December 1, 2012
 Today I hiked in 2 state parks and did a total of about six miles, 3.3 of which were reasonably strenuous up and down hiking.  I had my winter load packed fully into the Blast 30.  I was carrying about 23 lbs, including two days of food, 2 liters of water, and 4 oz. of fuel and my camera setup.  I am excited that I have been able to keep my winter pack weight down below 25 lbs.  When the really cold weather hits in January, I think I will be able to keep the pack weight below or just at 25 lbs overall.  The pack carried very well and the carbon stays helped transfer the weight to my hips pretty efficiently.  This was the first time I had used the stays and I am favorably impressed.

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