Gregory Zulu 65L Pack review: Shockingly nimble, remarkable capacity

Photo Credit: Gregory Packs

Whether you love backcountry adventures or a simple weekend get-away, having a pack that is both comfortable and can carry all your gear is a must. The Gregory Zulu 65L pack combines immense storage with supportive comfort for easy hiking. The streamline design and patented features make for a nimble pack without sacrificing capacity.

Hiking:

As I get ready for my first hike I wonder if the FreeFloat suspension is actually noticeable. When I clip the waist belt and adjust the shoulder straps I don’t have any doubts. I can feel the cushioned hipbelt conform to my lower back and hips. The pack moves like it is an extension of myself, moving freely with my hiking motion. I can feel it supporting the weight in my pack while I move. Every step feels smooth rather than lugging my gear and feeling like the pack is pulling and jostling against me.

I’m also keen on the ease in which I can adjust the hipbelt and shoulder straps on the go for all day comfort. The hipbelt even has large accessible pockets for storing and grabbing my cell phone and other essentials with ease. A bonus feature is the built-in hydration sleeve with SpeedClip hydration hanger that is compatible with Gregory’s 3D Hydro reservoirs (not included).

The backpanel uses a tensioned mesh to create an open space between my back and the pack which helps to keep me cool. My only wish is that this was slightly larger for additional airflow and ventilation (but I do tend to run hot and sweat like an O-lineman). Overall, the Zulu 65L Pack is comfortable and carries light even though it packs like a freighter.

Packing:

When it comes to packing there is seemingly no end to the options and accessibility. I easily fit my sleeping pad and bag, stove system, and other gear. I have peace of mind that it can withstand my most extreme needs with its alloy steel frame and 65 liters of volume and up to 50 pounds of carrying weight. The 30 by 13.75 by 13.5 (inches) packing dimensions gives me plenty of room to stow all my gear. I love the many access points including the traditional lid top opening with a drawstring cinch and additional front access with a U-Zip opening to the main compartment. It also has a zippered bottom with removable divider (great for a sleeping bag).

The Zulu 65L pack is versatile and enhanced with a front mesh and dual side stretch pockets that come equipped with secure buckle closures. This keeps my gear in place whether it is bulky and under compression or undersized and buckled down. Additionally, the custom ComfortGrip molded zipper pulls make packing and accessing my gear a breeze.

Photo Credit: Gregory Packs

Special Features:

The Zulu 65L pack is brimming with features. It comes with an adjustable torso of up to 3.5 inches for a customizable fit (without compromising support). The patented FreeFloat dynamic hipbelt allows the pack to move with your body since the hipbelt is linked to the frame with a panel. Additionally, it has a built-in hydration sleeve and SpeedClip hanger for hydration on the go. Not to mention the six external pockets.

The Zulu 65L is also designed around the architectural principles of tension and compression. Therefore, the perimeter frame provides a stable, but flexible support system to carry the pack load comfortably. It also has reflective attachment points, key clip, and the floating top zippered compartment pocket comes with an underside zippered pocket as well. Yet, the most remarkable feature just might be the perforated shoulder harnesses which maximize airflow for comfort. Impressively, they are constructed from Lifespan foam so this pack can be a legacy and provide generations worth of comfort and use.

Summary:

The Gregory Zulu 65L pack is a plethora of features and innovative designs. Highlighted by the patented FreeFloat system for comfort and the inspiring Lifespan foam shoulder straps for longevity of use, this pack is sure to please. Gregory’s boast that “the Zulu 65L is a load hauler that feels like a sportscar” seem more like a statement of fact than bravado. The streamline design, eco-friendly materials, and features make this a pack that allows you to do it all.

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