The Zenith has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best expedition packs for 2020.
Historic Range: $49.98-$59.99
Reviewers Paid: $49.99-$54.00
I assume if you're looking at this review then you need a decent light- to medium-duty backpack at a decent price. You're not a hard core hiker because then you'd be looking at Ospreys or Gregorys and plunking down at least $150.
If so, then I can recommend this backpack. I bought it for a two-week trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in the Sangre de Christo mountains and will continue to use it for occasional family camping trips. Our Philmont crew did 68 miles over 11 days with an average 1500' elevation change per day.
This pack is tough and solidly built. All hardware except the cincher on the top strap came through the trip just fine and I expect it to last many more years. The cincher broke on day six, but is easily replaceable for a buck or two. I can't really hold that against OP since they didn't make the cincher. All zippers are top quality as far as I can tell.
The pack is quite light and well-designed. Waist and shoulder pads fill comfortably and securely and were multi-adjustable. My 3-liter Camelbak hydration reservoir fit just fine in the dedicated reservoir holder. I didn't think I'd use the compression panel much, but it came in very handy for crew gear I had to carry beyond my personal gear. The daisy chain strip was also a useful and welcome addition. The mesh back was well-padded and had reasonable cooling ability.
The drawbacks in order of severity are:
- the fit is not adjustable. I don't know my torso measure, but I'm a 5'9", 170 lb male and this pack fit me well. I was able to keep the weight concentrated on my hips quite well. I believe this pack would work well for anyone 5'6" to 5'10".
- the top compartment is attached to the main compartment so it doesn't cover the pack well if the pack is really loaded up. It would be better if it attached with compression straps on both sides.
- the waist strap could use more padding, but it didn't give me sores or anything.
All in all, I feel this is a good, inexpensive choice for a woman or man under 5'10" for occasional weekend to week-long trips. Hard core hikers will want more flexibility and functionality.
I bought this at Campmor and they did an awesome job invoicing and shipping all the gear I bought from them. No disappointments there.
Design: top and side loading internal frame backpack
Size: About 5500 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 1 main compartment, 1 sleeping bag compartment, 2 mesh pockets, 1 top compartment for raingear, 1 compression cover
Max. Load Carried: 60 lbs
Height of Owner: 5' 9"
Price Paid: $54
I've been very happy with Outdoor Products. The last pack I will ever buy. This pack is huge, 5,900 ci for only $50 at Campmor. I saw it for 2x the price at a major sporting goods store. Versatile, light weight, sturdy.
Hydration-compatible multi-day hiking pack.
Top loading with drawstring closure.
Full length vertical zipper for easy access to all your gear.
Two oversized mesh side pockets hold water bottle, maps, etc.
Two removable aluminum stays ensure a perfect fit.
Extra sleeping bag compartment.
Ultra-padded back and removable hip belt is pre-curved to fit your hip.
Reinforced adjustable front compressor panel holds a shovel, tent, or other bulky items.
Multiple lashing straps and daisy chain loops for additional attachments.
Size: 27 in. x 17.5 in x 10.7 in.
Weight: 4.5 lbs
Capacity: 5900 cu. in.
Material: 420 denier nylon with 750 denier Kodra on heavy wear areas
Stay Length 23 in.
Torso Length 13 in. - 18 in.
Additional Features: Multiple lashing straps and daisy chain loops for additional attachments.
Size: 5900 ci, 27 in. x 17.5 in x 10.7 in.
Number of Pockets: 4
Max. Load Carried: 45 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'-9"
Price Paid: $49.99