Product review

08 Jan, 2020

Zpacks Nero

Tested by: Russ





Miles used:


Times replaced:


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Compare to my HMG


Day pack or fully-fledged thru-hike pack? The Zpacks Nero is an insanely light, frameless backpack and although I haven’t crushed thousands of miles in it, I did use it on a number of day hikes around the country.


Would you take it on a proper thru?

The Zpacks Nero is one of those packs which I know folks have smashed thousands of miles of hiking in, but still, I struggle to understand how. While I’m totally game with the Ultralight movement and have dabbled in gram counting myself, hikers using the Nero to take on the Triple Crown trails will be super fast, experienced and have their gear really dialled in. They’ll walk faster, meaning they’ll likely carry less food and water and time between resupply would be much shorter. They’ll hike in the late spring/summer meaning they’ll need to carry less insulation. For me, I still need flexibility and I have yet to complete the PCT. In a few years, maybe I’ll give it a go, but not yet. For now, I’ll stick to my Atom Packs Atom+ and ULA Circuit.


Build and quality

Very well-made and well-stitched, they’ve done a good job sewing together such a low-weight DCF and still maintaining its strength. I’d have preferred to have a single side-release buckle clip and a minimal top strap instead of the side compression cord which I found quite fiddly.


How did it carry?

While carrying my drone, water, a layering system and a small amount of food, the shoulder straps were very comfy. The back panel, however, was strange with the slippy sit pad tucked between the back panel and the shock cord, it didn’t sit well on the back.


What are the best bits?

Having many features and materials found in fully-fledged packs in such a small and light package makes the Zpacks Nero a good design for first-time buyers of a DCF seam-sealed backpack. You’ll get to try out many of the attributes without bursting the bank and make a more educated decision. The front pocket and roll-top enclosure are features I look for in most packs these days, high-tech laminate materials also make fully-featured packs very expensive.


How waterproof is it?

While Dyneema Composite Fabric is incredibly waterproof and the taped seams work well, I’d still recommend using a liner for longer trips and if you’re carrying expensive down insulated equipment and clothing. Seam tape doesn’t last forever, but brand new it’s very waterproof.


Value for money

Being at the lower price point for a pack made of these materials, the Zpacks Nero is a good choice if you’re looking to try it out as your first DCF seam-sealed pack. You’ll have a chance to test the water and dip your feet into the high-tech laminate pond without being too out of pocket. The postage and customs charges we face paying this side of the Atlantic, however, may put you off. But, if you’re one of those who’re confident and experienced enough to take this on an extended trip and smash 2,000 miles at lightning speed, you’re getting your money’s worth. For a day pack though, it might be a little pricy for me.


I made Thrunotes

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  • Durability 60% 60%
  • Comfort 30% 30%
  • Capability 60% 60%
  • Value for money 85% 85%


  • Ultra lightweight
  • Good weight to durability ratio
  • Great features and specs


  • Low load capacity
  • Not very comfortable



£157 / $199 on


331g (11.7oz)



Load limit:

9kg (20lbs)

Torso length range:

18″ to 22″

Hip belt range:

Up to 50″


Dyneema Composite Fabric, Spacer mesh, Regular mesh


2 year (manufacturing defects)


  • Dual daisy chains
  • Adjustable hip belt height
  • Dual shoulder pockets
  • Roll top enclosure
  • Closed cell foam sit pad in back
  • Shock cord on back
  • Seam sealed
  • Extra thick shoulder straps
  • Dual side pockets
  • Large front pocket
  • Sternum strap

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