4 Jun 2013

Zpack Blast 22

Just complete 3 day tramp of the Lake Waikaremoana circuit  testing my new Zpacks Blast 22 - A great pack for up to 3 to 5 day trips - light, tough and carried well on the hips.

My only negative comment - and an important one - was the stays. These are not part of the original Blast 22 design, but are optional extras. I have a MLD Burn in Dyneema, but decided to change for the Blast cuben hybrid fabric and get the stays, not for load support (only carrying around 5.5 Kgs), but to keep the bag ridged when packing/unpacking.

This concept works great, but I found occasionally the stays would "knock" on my shoulder blades. I think this is because the Blast 22 has a narrow back panel profile (say compared to the Blast 30+), this puts the stays closer together on a larger male back like mine.

Maybe the pack, not being totally full, pulls the stays in at the top causing them to touch the shoulder blades when swinging the arms when using 2 walking poles? Note the first photo below how close the stay is to the shoulder blade.

I am going to talk to Joe (Zpacks) about whether a spreader at the top would elevate this. Failing that, take out the stays. The pack will still work well, just not "stand-up" when packing. unpacking - Lightweight is full of compromises!

Here are some photos - I note Zpacks website now label this as the "Zero" with options.  I opted also for the 2.92oz Cuben Hybrid with side pockets. I added the old hip pockets from my Arc Blast pack, now using the new hip pocket design from Zpacks. 



  1. Great write-up! Looks like you should be able to get another 3-5 days worth of food into it, or a full winter setup!

    I had the stays added to my original Blast and they seemed to be a bit more on the side of the bag than what it looks like on yours. Not sure. Nice thing about them is they are super easy to pull out when you do not need them!

  2. Yeah - John I think if the pack was full there would be no problem, but not always the case. On this trip I was minus Hexamid tent, ground sheet and pad as we had huts both nights - a unique feature of tramping in NZ. You gotta get down here sometime

  3. Hi Rob,

    Great update and the pack looks fantastic...How do you find the cuben against your back? ...rgds garth

  4. Garth - The back was no problem - In fact when I think about it, the Dyneena on my MLD Blast held sweat in (damp back at end of day) where as the cuben was totally waterproof - dry. However I did notice a lot of sweat beads (dampness) on the back of my wind jacket (Golite Whisp). In short no major issues.

  5. Hi there, not sure if you monitor this post still but I'll try it out. I'm a Waitakere local too and I'm considering getting a Zpack with the hip pockets. On the pics the hip pockets to seem to sit just where your arms would go though, it looks like swinging arms would keep banging into them... Did you find that a problem at all?

  6. Hi Romain - No problems with hi pockets re arm swing - The pockets on the Blast pack are the old style - Joe has made them totally waterproof now with a fold down top flap.
    As you read in my blog the stays on the small blast tend to sometimes hit my shoulder blade on arm swing - intermittent, but annoying. Using the same rig this w/e on Rotorua tramp. I'll post my thoughts on Monday night. Romain, you are most welcome to drop on over (Milford on North Shore) to check out the pack on your back.

  7. Thanks for the info. I'd love to check the pack out before I order one, it would be great to see the size of the hip pockets too. Thanks a lot for the offer. I'll be in touch to arrange a time in the coming weeks :)


Hey, thanks for you contribution - I monitor my blog weekly. I will reply with comments, ideas and suggestions ASAP - In the meantime, remember, hiking is an outdoors experience to enjoy, not an army boot camp training exercise!!