The time has come…yet again…to try and find another pack that will work for my smaller collection of gear. Over the past few months I have been eyeballing the ZPack’s Blasts packs, but have been waiting on the $$$ to get one. Then, just as the time is drawing near, John Abela from Redwood Outdoors sent me his to check out! And boy am I glad he did! Now I can actually put my hands on a Blast pack and get a feel for what it is all about (as well as what I want in it) before I decide to drop my hard-earned $$$ on this sweet little pack.
Rewind just a bit…
Quite a few months ago I had decided that my gear was not filling the void of my ULA Circuit, so I purchased another pack that would be more appropriately sized. The pack I picked up was the Six Moon Design Swift. However, with this pack I was a bit disappointed…at a stripped down weight of 15 oz I managed to save almost a pound and a half off of the weight of my ULA Circuit, but the kicker is that the Swift is almost the same size as my Circuit! Now don’t get me wrong, the SMD Swift is a great pack, but considering the size, it intruded upon my (already loved) Circuit’s turf.
So, since then I have been putting more thought into the next pack that I get so that I don’t make the same mistake again. I knew that I was going to order one of the ZPacks Blast packs sometime after the new year, but (happily) my wife is letting me get it just a little sooner. So, this was perfect timing on John’s part when he sent his Blast pack. Since I received this pack I have loaded it down multiple times. I have tried different packing strategies and I finally feel like I have one down that works for me with this pack. Also, I have been able to check out the sizing of the shoulder straps and hip belts and can make a more educated guess on what I will need in the pack I order, rather than ordering blindly!
Probably the best outcome from John sending me this pack is that I realized what size pack I needed to go with. I think that when I bought the Swift, I got scared that most “UL” (or frame-less packs are going to be rather huge, or quite tiny. Before John sent this pack, I was sold on the ZPacks Blast 22 because I wanted the smallest size Blast pack. After loading up his 30 (previously the 26) I realized that the 30 may be what I need rather than the 22…
I can get all of my “winter” gear in the Blast 30 and still have room for plenty of food. Loading it up last night with items that I would take on a solo hike I came to 14.5 pounds with everything except food so I feel like I am in the acceptable weight range for this pack as well. All else that would be added would be extra (alcohol) fuel, and whatever food I carried. (For a detailed list of what I consider “winter” gear in my neck of the woods, complete with weights, click here: Gear List)
I made 2 videos last night in which I talk/question a lot about the features of this pack and how they will/may work with my particular body as well as gear choices. So, check them out and let me know what you think…
As can be seen in these videos, there are quite a few things that I am questioning, especially concerning fit. So, if you have any comments or concerns about the way this particular pack fits me, please comment. I am using this pack to determine if I need to change anything about the pack I will be getting. Namely the torso height and the hip belt measurement.
But of course, there are a few other things that I am delving into, such as not going with hip belt pockets, and the extra top side pockets (which has been a feature I always knew I would get once I got one of these packs) in favor of the multipack, which I would use on my front side, like in my videos. This pouch would hold pretty much all of my gear that I would normally keep in the side/outer pockets on the pack. And why do you ask? It is all about balance. (Thanks John, and I am working on it… 🙂 )
So, at this very moment, here is what I am going with:
- ZPacks Blast 30 Cuben Fiber Backpack ~ White
- 50″ Hip Belt
- Middle Side Straps (Just in case)
- Roll top closure
- Multipack (Black ~ 1.24 cuben fiber ~ only 2 attachment points on top)
And that is it. I would like this pack to be as water tight as possible, so no hydration ports (thanks again John) and as few outside additions as necessary. I am debating seam sealing the pack, or just using dry sacks for my clothing items. I will have to mull that over throughout this week…
So, thanks for watching. And like I said, if you have any comments, concerns, or questions please post them.