View Full Version : G2 Zulu - Initial Report

05-24-2009, 05:59 PM
As I recently got my new G2 Zulu, and it's been pouring rain all day, I may as well do a little field report. I've only had it out a couple of times, but here are my first impressions of the pack. The new features first:

21" Stays - Never had the G1 Zulu, but the new length works much the same as the Express to provide some usable lift as well as pulling the sack closer. Also, helps with fixing the 'gap' problem with the XTL, as the buckles for the lid straps are below the top of the stays.

Torso Pads - Feel much the same as G1 Pointman pads. Nice addition for more comfort.

New Lumbar Pad - Thicker, with better cushion and pack-lock. At first, felt big. But with a load in the pack and waistbelt tightened, VERY comfortable. Also, less slippage.

Taller Bag Extension - Again, not familiar with G1, but I think the 3200 cubes is conservative. I was able to put a 15 deg bag, 3 man tent, and all the accoutrements I'd need for a fall/spring weekend in the main sack without having to use pockets/pods.

Slot Pockets - Never had a pack with them before, man I was missing out. I really liked them for trekking and tent poles. Also works well with pullouts.

ITW QR Buckles - I noticed no strap slippage at all with a 45 pound load. With my G1 Pointman, I had some with loads over 35.

Bladder Pocket/Loop - Easily swallowed my 3L insulated Camelbak Storm.

Overall, the G2 Zulu is a winner so far. With 45 pounds and using a padded pals belt, actually more comfy than my old G1 Pointman, mainly due to lack of shoulder strap slippage and very plush lumbar pad. When stuffed out with the XTL, can get 4000 cubes or so w/o pockets or pods. When compressed down, it is daypack or Express sized. Can be used sans belt for short distance carry/ carry-on also. If I had to choose one word for this pack, it is VERSATILE! Never owned a G1 Zulu, but the new features are a must for me now that I've tried them. Although I'm sure the Zulu could handle a far higher load without 'structural failure', I'd say 50 pounds would be my limit for long distance carry -- more weight and I'd go with the G2 Pointman, if I knew I would not need the extra volume; or the G2 ZXR if I did. (Personally, I prefer top loaders for 2500 ci and larger packs, and zip entry for smaller/day packs).

Basically, if you are looking for a mil grade ruck that can serve as a daypack, overnighter, or 3 season weekender, and is 'vehicle friendly', this is your ruck. I will take some pics soon of my Zulu in various configurations and loads and post them on the mil board.

05-24-2009, 06:46 PM
I thing the G2 is what the Zulu should have started off as.

05-25-2009, 05:23 PM
I would have to agree with Medic17; the G2 version is how the Zulu should have been constructed originally. I have a gen1 Zulu and I love it. I poured over the Kifaru line trying to decide what pack I wanted. I was completely blown away with the concept of a pack with no zippers. In my opinion this is what makes the Zulu such a cool pack. I've routinely hauled close to 60 lbs in a Gen1 Zulu in relative comfort, which is incredible for a pack of this size (of course now my ZXR spoils me). I always felt like the only thing that held this pack back from being a real do it all pack was the stay length. Yes I carried 50 to 60 lbs in this pack but I know my back and shoulders would have benefited from those extra few inches of stay length. The stay length is what kept this pack relegated to 3-day/day hiking use. In this role it performed superbly. But sometimes I felt that the Zulu could run with the big dogs. The top loading lay out, floating top lid and expandable collar screamed "LOAD ME UP". So I did. I wonder if there was a Gen2 Zulu around 2 years ago would I have ever gotten a ZXR? I know that the ZXR offers way more comfort and load carrying ability because I have personally experienced this but damn do I love my little Zulu. I toss and turn at night knowing that there is now a Zulu with a bit more capacity and longer stays out there and I don't have one.

05-25-2009, 06:50 PM
I would have liked the Express frame with the pack. (No Padding but Taller)

The additional padding makes he pack much more comfortable but it adds thickness which may make overhead airline travel a bit of a pain.

I am glad though they ditched the short frame. That was the biggest killer of the original Zulu.

05-25-2009, 07:48 PM
Medic17, the torso pads aren't that thick...only about 1/2 inch. The lumbar pad is also about 1/2 more than G1, but a different foam.

David in OR
05-25-2009, 08:21 PM
Of course I receive my Zulu weeks before the announcement of the Gen 2...

Still, I'm impressed with the older version's design and performance, and having the physique of a dwarf I'm not bothered by the shorter stay length. I find that it works extremely well up to 40 pounds and quite well enough at 50.

05-26-2009, 01:48 AM
Hey guys, I thought I would jump in here and clarify the differences between the G1 and G2 Zulu suspension components. It seems like there might be a little confusion. After reading all the posts, I realized that Steveb has a G2 but never had a G1, Medic17 has had both but not at the same time, one911emergency has a G1 but has never seen a G2, and David in OR also has a G1 but has never seen a G2.

Let me break down the suspension components. First off, the torso padding of both the G1 and G2 is the same at 1/2" thickness. The difference is that the padding is under the fabric on the G1 and over the fabric on the G2. The padding on both is between the stays and your back. The shape of the padding is different, but the overall thickness to the pack is the same on both packs. The lumbar padding on the G1 is the 1/2" closed cell foam padding that runs down the full length of the stays, along with the padding or thickness of the Omni belt. The lumbar padding on the G2 is all in the lumbar pad itself, and is the same 1/2" closed cell foam padding along with 3/4" open cell foam padding, and again with the padding and thickness of the Omni belt. The only overall difference in thickness of the lumbar pad area between the G1 and G2 is the 3/4" thickness of the open cell foam, which compresses down nicely onto the closed cell foam padding of the lumbar pad. There is almost no difference at all in the overall thickness of the G1 and G2 pack. The fit of the G2 in the overhead bins on the airlines because of what some might perceive as additional padding, is a NON ISSUE, trust me! Now if you got it loaded up like in Steveb's first pics, you will definately have some problems with the overall length in the overhead.

This might sound a little confusing and cause some of your to wonder what makes the G2 pack more comfortable. In the torso area, it would be the shape of the 1/2" padding, which are now wide/contoured torso pads compared to the narrower padding that just runs straight down the stays on the G1. The lumbar area of the G2 now has all of the padding in the lumbar pad itself, instead of two strips going down the stays behind the unpadded lumbar flap like on the G1. This allows the padding to be distributed evenly across the lumbar area against your back. Add in the open cell foam padding for even more comfort, the Packlock material on the lumbar pad, and the aforementioned torso pads, and the overall comfort level of the G2 is raised significantly over the G1. Hope this helped you all to understand the differences in the suspension components of the G1 and G2 packs.


05-26-2009, 06:06 AM
Thanks Mel I think I get it. The padding could all be the same as the G1 but it's the longer stay length (in my opinion) that makes the G2 the do all pack that it is.

05-26-2009, 08:21 AM
If the overall thickness is the same and the G2 Zulu can fit in a overhead, you have created the perfect pack.

I love the added comfort but as stated earlier I have not had an opportunity to fly with the pack.
(The thickness in the overhead bins was my only concern; I am running a streamlined Zulu when I am FAA traveling.)

The Zulu is capable of carrying heavier loads and the original G1 frame was not doing the pack justice.


IMHO The Zulu should have started off with a longer frame in the first place.

05-26-2009, 11:59 AM
Hey guys, I want to comment on the statements that the G1 Zulu should have been like the G2 in the first place. This really is all hindsight now, but 6 years ago when we developed the first Zulu, more guys were still using belt gear and buttpacks. The shorter stay length made it easier to use the Zulu without the waistbelt when worn over belt rigs. The 2" longer stays on the G2 Zulu do help with shoulder lift now, but it is the new suspension components that contribute the most to the new comfort level. The G2 Marauder has the same stay length (19") as the G1 Marauder and G1 Zulu, yet it is much more comfortable than the G1 versions. The extra shoulder lift available from the 2" longer stays on the G2 Zulu really is dependent on user height. Guys much over 6 feet tall will still not get true shoulder lift out of any 21" frame pack, but they will still feel the improved comfort level of a G2 Zulu over a G1 Zulu, because of the new suspension components. Hope this helps..


05-26-2009, 04:30 PM
I see what you're saying about the comfort associated with the longer stay length. It's all relative to your height. I am 5'11", and I know that I would benefit from the extra 2 inches.

I also see what you're saying about the shorter stay lengths. That's why I think that the G1 Zulu made an exceptional 3-day pack. The problem is that I am not in the military. I don't wear a belt kit that would get in the way of the Zulus hip belt. The general public is probably going to be more attracted to a Zulu with longer stays. Not to mention the Zulu has plenty of room to expand (via the expanding collar, floating lid, generous amount of PALS and side compression straps). It just begs to be overloaded.

I think everything that Kifaru does is intentional and is backed by sound reasoning and in-depth research. Offering the Zulu with shorter stays wasn't a mistake it just fulfilled a different role (a role that may be better suited for someone in the military that's why it's marketed as a military pack right). I don't plan on getting rid of my G1 Zulu anytime soon.

05-26-2009, 05:49 PM
Went out for another hike today with the Zulu in order to dial it in just right. I shortened the shoulder straps just a little. I have found (at least for me), for almost any pack, if I make the distance between where the padding ends at the top of the shoulder strap and the bottom of the lumbar pad equal to torso length ( about 19 inches in my case), I'll have a perfect fit. Sure enough, it puts the 'strap keeper thing' right over my collar bone. I'm about 5' 9" and the longer stays help. If I were over 6' and carried enough weight to need shoulder lift, I'd get a pack with taller stays, like ZXR/MMR. Next week, I'll take the G2 TailGunner-1 out, and do a report.

06-08-2009, 09:24 AM
I knew the G2 Zulu had more capacity than spec, but I didn't know exactly how much. So, I dug up an Osprey Aether 70 (70 litre or 4200 ci) out of storage, and filled it with clothes. I then transfered the same stuff to the Zulu and to my surprise, it all fit. It didn't even go over the top of the cordura, and the opening was smaller than fist sized! The Osprey also has a top lid, about the same capacity as the XTL (10 L or 600 ci). So, with this result, I'd rate the G2 Zulu conservatively at 3600 cubes (60L) without the XTL and 4200 ci (70L) with it. Even more can be stuffed into it if using the XTL, since the PCS will secure the load. You can overstuff it to an incredible 4800 cubes (80 L) when using the XTL, without anything spilling over or using pockets!

Couple of conclusions for me. First, the G2 Zulu (w XTL) really has about twice the capacity as the MollExpress...so they really are not that similar in capacity. Also, seeing how much stuff I can put into the Zulu, I will go for the EMR or MMR frame w AG2 bag for my large expedition pack someday, not ZXR or regular MMR.