ALPS Mountaineering Zion 65
4 lb 15 oz
3900 cu in
17 in to 24 in
This is a good first pack for a beginner. It is easy…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: less than $100
This is a good first pack for a beginner. It is easy to adjust and holds plenty of gear for a week on the trail.
- Adjustable frame
- Good volume
- Good customer support
- Weak lumbar support webbing
- Clevis pin split rings catch on clothing
I bought the ALPS Zion pack in 2015. I used it on a one-week trek of about 30 miles in 2016 and plan to use it on a two-week trek of over 50 miles in 2017, plus shorter work up treks. Since I bought it on sale for under $100 I consider it a good pack for the money.
It holds plenty of gear and I like strapping my tent on top and my sleeping bag to the bottom. The external pouches work well for the gear I need to reach while hiking. I like how adjustable the frame is and have moved the straps around until I found a good fit.
- The lumbar support webbing ripped the first time I adjusted the pack. ALPS replaced it immediately, but the replacement looks just as delicate.
- The split rings for the clevis pins have caught on my shirt multiple times and have been pulled out of shape. I'm working on a better replacement for the rings.
- There are lashing loops on top of the lid. They are in a perfect location to strap my tent, but are sewn 90 degrees off from what would be most useful. (As in the loops work for lashing left to right versus front to back.) I added small loops to make it work better, but it's a lousy hack. I also wish there were loops attached to the upper frame to assist with securing my tent on top.
Overall I think it is still a good pack for a beginner like myself and the customer support at ALPS was great.
After wanting to get back into backpacking after many…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $97
- Poor construction
After wanting to get back into backpacking after many years, I bought myself and my son a ALPS Mountaineering Zion Pack. They looked roomy and the price was right for an entry level pack. My initial reaction to the pack was favorable, it looked solid and the material for the pack and frame looked sturdy.
Initially, it seemed to easily hold 30-45 lbs of gear and the load felt stable. The pockets on the pack are plentiful and the zippers have proven to be dependable and sturdy.
After about 4 hours of hiking time, I had a clevis pin that holds the pack to the frame give out, no biggy, but glad that I carried an extra.
My son and I are both pretty average, about 5'8" and found the pack was uncomfortable to carry under load on the trail. The webbing in the back of the pack that holds it away from your back loosens quickly and a bar on the frame tends to dig in at low shoulder level. My son gave up on the pack after about 30 hours of trail time (approx 5 hikes) while I put some foam around the bar and have soldiered on.
After about 70 hours of trail time both grommets that held the shoulder straps to the pack frame ripped out of the webbing on the straps. With gentle usage I was able to continue to use the pack. I used by son's pack after this and the same thing occurred after about 6 or 7 hikes.
While the problems with the packs didn't render them unserviceable, I wouldn't want to rely on this pack for anything longer than a weekender.