Video Review: Zpacks Blast 30 Backpack

Posted: November 23, 2011 in Gear Reviews


Yeah you’re not seeing things. Water Monkey breaking it down with 2 gear reviews today. Since my last adventure I had to dispute a youtube video so you peeps can hear the last song on my part 4 video…. well it appears I’m being reprimanded by the Youtube punks which restrict my movies back to 15 minutes. What evs:

Stay Gangsta,

Water Monkey

  1. Daren (aka blueblaze) says:

    again, good stuff.

  2. Bigdumbman says:

    Does the Cuben Fiber bag crinkle when you walk? The only reason i’m hesitating with the cuben fiber bags is the crinkle factor….it would drive me crazy to hear it on every step.

    • No it didn’t. I was surprised that it didnt. It just crinkles when you stuff it but when it’s loaded and on your back I didnt hear it. If you take a look at my “Tale of the Blue Kilt” video series I wore the pack the whole time as I talked. The only thing that made noise was the leaves I was trudging through.

  3. Stick says:


    I am about to pull the trigger on one of these bad boys myself…Friday!

    I have been lucky enough to get my hands on one though to try it out before purchasing, and I am glad I did. It has brought my attention to a few things that I wouldn’t have thought of…I think…

    But, the pack that I have and the pack that you have are a bit different. I like the look of the hip belt length on yours better than this older style one because it will cover my hips better. But I would like to see the entire belt made from the same cuben as the pack is made from rather than some other type of material. I am curious if the outer material on the shoulder straps and the hip belt and even the side pockets are the newer cuben nylon hybrid. I am going to see about getting the straps/belts and side pockets done in the same cuben as the rest of the pack, and hopefully save a hair of weight since the cuben is lighter weight than the cuben nylon hybrid material. I can’t see how it would make a big difference as far as abrasion is concerned…

    How do you like the holes in the bottom of the side pockets? This pack I have has grommets and they look smaller than those in yours, which I think I like better. Smaller items won’t pass through the grommet, but that hole looked to be big enough to pass a finger through. Is this the case?

    I am going with as few features as possible on this pack. In fact, all I am adding is the 2 middle side compression straps. I am however going to go with the Multipack to wear on the front of me. It has a huge amount of space, and is way easier to access and find whatever I am looking for than my hip belt pockets ever were. Plus, it will counterbalance some of the weight, and keep just about everything off the outside of my pack, other than a few items in the large front mesh pocket.

    I am planning to use this as my “winter” (that is my area specific winter, and most everyone else’s 3 season) pack and will compress the pack down to use as my summer pack for a while. However, I will probably get a size small zero pack to use for summer gear eventually. There again, with pretty much no extra features.

    Anyway, thanks for the videos. If you get a chance look at the videos I recently posted on the one that I am checking out for now and let me know what you think.


  4. Stick says:

    Oh yeah…forgot to ask you…

    Do you use dry sacks for your clothes and bag/quilt inside the Blast pack? Or a liner? Rain cover? I am just curious as I am going back and forth on what to go with. The pack is not waterproof obviously with all those sewn seams, and I don’t think that seam sealing the pack is worth the effort. I am looking at going with 2 separate cuben dry sacks (probably from Lawson Kline), 1 for my sleeping bag and the other for my clothes. I am considering using these over a smaller sized pack liner. Also, I think that I will ditch the rain cover. What do you think?

    Thanks again,


    • Stick-ity Stick Stick Charoo…… how the hell do you do…. Gangsta!

      ok lets see…. the grommet holes arent that big at all in the new pack. I gave it a close up because they are small. If you plan on keeping like a guardian angel pin loosely in the side pocket than you may lose that. But as far as that I dont think you will lose anything to that hole. Besides I think you keep everything small in a ditty bag anyway like I do. No worries!!!

      No idea what the other material is but it’s only used on certain parts of the pack and I dont think it adds more than maybe 2oz. I never contacted Joe on that part and its not listed on the website either.

      I have a 2 part water-proofing system:

      1) I use a cuben pack cover because I keep things on the outside mesh pocket that could become useless when wet (pack towel, phone, etc). I like to keep those things handy (my packing preference) and HATE looking for those things in the pack.

      2) if water gets through the pack cover I use cuben dry bags for the important down stuff and clothes and a turkey sized oven bag for my hammock.

      I dont think it’s worth seam sealing the pack IMHO.

      Hope this helps,

      Water Monkey

      • Stick says:

        Thanks for getting back. And of course thanks for the info. Anyway, I will be placing the order tomorrow for the Blast 30 and joe says that he can have it too me by the 10th of January since I leave for a trip the next day! Woohoo…

        Thanks for the clarification on the drain holes. I was planning to stay with the grommets but he said that some were coming loose so I will go with the sewn drain hole.

        As far as material I am requesting straight up cuben…everywhere… And from what I understand, that material is some of the cuben nylon hybrid material.

        I am really going back and forth on a roll top vs cinch top. I like the cinch top for its simplicity, but I like the roll top for its security. Although, I know I can roll the top down with the cinch top and it will essentially be the same in most situations. Also, since I am not going to seam seal the pack, the pack will never be fully waterproof anyway so I am wondering if I want to waste $5 and add an extra 0.4 oz for just a little extra protection… I will be going back and forth with this all night and it my final decision will probably be on a whim at the moment before I hit the submit button…

        I believe that I am going to get some dry sacks from Lawson to keep my sleeping bag and my clothes in, but whether or not I take my rain cover will be decided upon the trip probably. Just curious, do you have one of Joe’s cuben pack covers? I cannot remember. And if so, which size? I feel sure that my size large is too big for this pack…

        Anyway…keep it real


    • oh I saw your new post just havent had a chance to check it out yet. Fiance has been uber cranky lately LMAO. Happy wife = happy life or something like that 🙂

  5. michael says:

    I live in AZ and want to get a ula-airx due to the dryness of the land but like the cuban Idea. I might have to carry as much as 8L of water so would this pack be a waste of time to consider.
    Or do they mod the pack to fit the need?

    • Depends on your base weight and total pack weight with the 8L of water. You would probably want something with a frame. Check out the EXO from Z packs it can hold a total pack weight of 30lbs (probably more like 35lbs):

      • michael says:

        Thank you….
        I also want to know about the sweat factor on your hip and shoulder straps when summer season
        hits. Out west in a breeze seems ok due to evaporation but back east with humid conditions will that need to be addressed? Seems like it would slip around and become a issue??? Might go with breathable Cuben he just started selling????
        Thanks again

    • I cant comment on the sweat factor yet. I have only used this pack in 50-60*F temps in November 2011.

      I will be using this pack during my 100 mile hike in June so I will give it a good testing then.

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