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View Full Version : ZXR: Owners Opinions



steveb
07-09-2009, 03:00 PM
I'm seeking ZXR users inputs on the pack. Good and not so good. Comparisons to Zulu, MMR, EMR welcome. What is the shortest and longest duration the pack is 'meant' for? (i.e. 3 to 7 days). I have an Express and Zulu, (day and weekend - all purpose), and was looking at a Duplex or ZXR a dedicated 'backpacking' ruck.

Thommo
07-09-2009, 07:30 PM
I have posted many posts/opinions on the ZXR (G1).
I believe all the small issues I have raised about the ZXR have been addressed with the G2. (now I am just jealous of any one with a G2)

ZXR is fine for a week long pack in moderate/cool weather conditions over difficult terrain hauling 60 -80 lbs maybe even more. The slot pockets are ideal for me to carry additional water bladders, a primary item in my environment. As much as I am trying to find an excuse to upgrade to a G2 the G1 is still a good piece of kit.

I would recommend a ZXR unless you need to carry bulky cold weather kit or other additional (other than personal) food/equipment.

Uncle Jake
07-09-2009, 09:15 PM
+1 on Mr. Thommo

Conrad
07-09-2009, 11:03 PM
I'll have a G2 ZXR in foliage in about 5-6 weeks...I'll let you know then.

Steel314
07-10-2009, 12:23 AM
I got one of the first G2s in Multicam. I love it so far. It is my first kifaru pack and I'm already looking at an AG1.

one911emergency
07-10-2009, 06:40 AM
I have ZXR and I like the pack a lot. I think itís capable of easily carrying all that you need for a week trip in comfort. Even it was pressed into being used to carry a lot of high bulk winter items the simple addition of a pod or two could easily solve that problem. Iíve used my ZXR for winter trips in temperatures hovering around zero. I was able to fit three changes of clothing an extra insulating layer, a summer sleeping bag (to be used as an over bag), a winter sleeping bag, nearly a weeks worth the food, a nalgene bottle, camelbak bladder and a Jetboil stove in a ZXR. That storm collar was completely maxed out but there was no problem because I had an XTL (all the stuff mentioned above was in the main compartment none of it was in the XTL). The perimeter cinch system of the XTL protected the contents of the main compartment. I have a G1 but buckle slippage is less of an issue due to its excellent belt and suspension. Overall itís one of the best packs Kifaru makes. I like mine and I have no desire to upgrade to the G2. Though I am getting a G2 Zulu as soon as I can. Very good pack; get it. Iíve never seen or used an MMR so I canít compare the two packs. Though I can compare the pack to a G1 Zulu because I have used one extensively. There is no comparison between the ZXR and the Zulu when it comes to carrying heavy loads (50lbs plus). The G2 Zulu might be better because of the longer stays but I imagine I would still rather have a ZXR, G1 or G2.

steveb
07-10-2009, 12:05 PM
Thanks for the informative reply 911. The winter capability is what I really wanted to know about. My G2 Zulu is fine for 3 season trips, but I want a pack that can handle 'old-man-winter'. Looks like 85L is plenty for most situations. Add an E&E and I'd hit 100L. I guess the ZXR isn't too similar to Zulu so as to rule it out. I probably will not use long pockets, as they add weight and 'get in the way'. The other option is to go real big. If I go for a DuPlex pack, I'll look at the EMR or AG2, so I have some extra volume for the additional 2.5 pound pack weight.

Brotzie
07-11-2009, 06:53 AM
If I go for a DuPlex pack, I'll look at the EMR or AG2, so I have some extra volume for the additional 2.5 pound pack weight.

If you're going for real big with no external pockets, don't forget the hunting packs - the LongHunter Guide is a bit ighter and cheaper than the EMR with comparable capacity, and gives you the detachable top lid lumbar pack as standard. And the G2 version comes in Foliage Green if uniform regs are an issue.

ToySldr
07-12-2009, 11:07 AM
I took my ZXR backpacking and thought it was the greatest thing ever, had maybe 60 pounds in it, lived out of it for 4 days. I couldn't have been happier.

On the flip side, I used it for work/military and took it to a school and spent a week in the field with it carrying 100+ pounds in it. I wasn't wearing body armor, just my LCE underneath the pack. I was constantly putting it on and taking it off, the quick releases on the shoulder straps popped open a couple of times. Another time I felt like a turtle on his back and kept flopping around trying to get up but the shoulder straps somehow kept loosening up when I was putting it on.

In the end I guess it depends on how you will use it.

I think I will have an OD ZXR for trade/sale I need a multicam one. Sounds like OD isn't allowed at my new unit.

one911emergency
07-13-2009, 06:02 AM
With a G1 ZXR with 100lbs in it you're going to experience some buckle slippage. I can imagine that it would get quite annoying having to tighten the shoulder straps a lot, especially if you're in the military and you have other things to worry about. I thought that they fixed that problem with the G2 models. I think if you get rid of your OD ZXR and get a G2 multicam one you should be cool. I never really exceed 70lbs with my ZXR. I routinely hike it 3 miles and don't find myself tightening the straps all that often. In the shape I'm in now I can't imagine carrying 100lbs. That's an insane load (not for the military). If I was in the military I wouldn't buy a ZXR I would probably get an MMR or an EMR. A military ruck is a whole different animal than a BOB/hiking/camping pack. Yes they share some commonalities but if was in the military I would want a bit more room and excellent suspension (not to say that the ZXR doesn't have excellent suspension). You may be carrying the MSS, bulky ECWCS/PCU clothing, ammo and a radio. You're clothing and sleep gear might be carried in an uncompressed state (if you have to load up fast and move). You need something huge, comfortable and absolutely bombproof like an EMR or MMR.

One of the reasons I like the ZXR is that the main compartment isn't so huge that it swallows more gear than you could ever fill it with. I don't like to have everything in the main compartment of my pack. Examples of things that I like to carry on the outside of my bag include my medical kit (because if you're injured the last thing you want to do is go digging through the contents of your ruck with blood covered hands), tent (because tents often times become very wet and muddy things and you want to have that segregated from the rest of your gear), pack cover (because these things can be muddy and wet as well and you want to get to it in hurry when it's raining) and maybe an extra sleeping bag or pad. The ZXR (and all Kifaru packs) are highly modular; why would you get a pack that has the extra weight of MOLLE webbing and not utilize it (you might as well buy one of the hunting packs)? I keep most of my gear in the main compartment but sometimes I like to have things on the outside of my bag. The ZXR allows this sort of compartmentalization by not having such a huge main compartment. You can throw an E&E on it and carry your survival essentials, I carry my medical supplies in a FireLand Shelter Pocket (which Kifaru doesn't seem to sell anymore?? Too bad). Throw an XTL for even more organization.

steveb
07-14-2009, 07:24 PM
Although I was looking at the EMR/AG2 as my 'big' ruck, I am starting to lean toward the ZXR now. I have the TG1, MollEx and Zulu, which cover most of my activities. With the addition of the ZXR, I'd be '99%' covered. Question for those out there with the experience, when would an EMR/AG2 type ruck be highly recommended over a ZXR, for civilian applications that is? (mainly backpacking)

ToySldr
07-15-2009, 12:14 PM
My ZXR was top notch for backpacking!!!

Exploriment
07-15-2009, 12:31 PM
...when would an EMR/AG2 type ruck be highly recommended over a ZXR, for civilian applications that is? (mainly backpacking)

I got an EMR for a few reasons.
Winter Camping - bulkier sleeping bags, thicker pads, more clothing, more food, more fuel.

Long hiking trips - personally, I find that when you start heading out for longer than a week, a ZXR starts to max out. That ability to carry more food is appreciated.

Long canoe trips - For me, canoe trips afford me the luxury of bringing some extra stuff. Some more clothes, an extra bit of gear I want to test out or photograph, etc. On a few canoe trips I've been on, I've (either for myself, or to help people I'm with) schlepped camera and video gear, climbing gear, wet suits and affiliated swimming and diving stuff. Stuff I wouldn't bring if I had to walk all day, day after day, but tolerable for a portage or two per day.

Camping with my nephew - It will be a year or two yet, but at some point he will come out with me and his dad. I can't realistically expect that an 8 year old boy will be able to carry that much, so the ability to carry some of his stuff in addition to my own is good.

The ability to to transform it into a cargo hauler - I know I can attach the Cargo Chair to any of the packs, but that's only feasible up to a point. I've had to carry some awkward, oddly shaped things in my life - I know I will again. Knowing that I have a pack that I can use to haul barrels, boxes, chunks of animals, injured people, is great.

steveb
07-15-2009, 01:12 PM
Some good points, also echoed by Mel. I had a chat with him and he mentioned that since I already have medium sized packs, I might be best served by one of the larger packs (AG2/EMR). This way, I'll be ready for any scenario/season. Also, I could put my assortment of pockets to good use with the frame. I think the AG2bag/MMRplatform will be a good combo, giving me plenty of volume and flexibility for other bag use (AG1/MMR).

one911emergency
07-15-2009, 07:40 PM
Any Kifaru pack is going to be a good choice. I guess I wasnít thinking about the fact that you have a Zulu. The Zulu can easily fill the role of a day pack or even a three day pack with the addition of some pockets. Melís probably got a point about getting a larger pack. I contemplated getting an MMR but again I like the compartmentalization available to me with the ZXR. I would heavily consider getting the MMR. I too have a Zulu. I like the Zulu as a day or three day pack, and I use the ZXR for anything more than that. I carry relatively small and light gear. I have a Down mat 7, a titanium pot, Jetboil and it all takes up comparatively little room in my main compartment. I also use compression stuff sacks to get my sleeping bag and clothing into a very small package. All these things are probably available to most backpackers; that being said I can get most if not all of what I need to survive in the ZXRís main compartment. I have to ask myself do sincerely need more than that? Thatís why I havenít really felt the need to step up to the MMR.

BiggerStick47
07-15-2009, 08:44 PM
I have gone through the Zulu, Pointman, and used a buddy's MMR. Then I picked up a used G1 ZXR and have found it to be the perfect blend of all the above.

BiggerStick47
07-15-2009, 08:45 PM
I also want to add, if you are only going to use it as a large, heavy haul pack then the MMR or EMR would best serve you.

steveb
07-15-2009, 10:11 PM
Big Stick, I've owned the MMR. It's a great pack, but the ZXR has the same volume for 2.5# less weight. And because the ZXR is a 'big tube', it's probably easier to stuff bulky gear in. If I decide on a DuPlex pack, I'll get either the EMR or AG2. The extra width and depth are better for winter bulk. I guess I really have to decide if the freighter-frame capability and extra volume is something that will be useful to me. It's a tough call, when you can't take your kit down to the shop and try them out in person. I may have to order both and try them out at home.

CreationBear
07-16-2009, 06:45 AM
I don't have one (yet) but one thing I really like about the ZXR's design are those slot pockets--I wish more Kifaru models besides the "Zulu's" incorporated them.

BuckarooMedic
07-16-2009, 07:33 AM
Steveb,

This is what I've done; I've got a Marauder, a Zulu and a MMR. I figure I've got all my bases covered this way. Small, medium and large. I just recently bought my MMR, but haven't had the chance to put it to good use yet. I've done a few hikes in the woods near my house. An amazing pack, very comfortable. I put all the gear, that I usually carry in my Zulu, into the MMR and there was an amazing amount of room left over. Felt like I was carrying an empty pack, seriously.

I was recently at Kifaru and got to ff their new line-up. I think, if I had to do it all over again, I would get packs from the hunting line in either OD or FG. I got one of the top pockets from a Longhunter for my MMR and it works great. Integrates perfectly. I've always been a: gear-on-the-inside-with-minimal-pockets-on-the-outside, kind of guy (I like to get off the trail and go bush-whacking). External pockets can still be D&L'd to the hunting line though. Lighter and cheaper is always GTG in my book.

So, what I was trying to say is; get one of the large Kifaru packs. That way you'll never have any regrets. You know; "should-a, would-a, could-a".

Let us know what you ultimately decide upon.

steveb
07-16-2009, 07:51 AM
Buckaroo, I was also contemplating a Long Hunter Guide. I'm still not ruling it out, but I really want to be able to use some of my smaller pouches on the pack. I don't like large external pockets either, unless distance is short and on trail. I really like my MollEx and Zulu, so I will probably stick with the mil line.

Exploriment
07-16-2009, 11:02 AM
I don't have one (yet) but one thing I really like about the ZXR's design are those slot pockets--I wish more Kifaru models besides the "Zulu's" incorporated them.

Yes! I really wish that option existed on my EMR.

andyoz
07-22-2009, 09:30 AM
One of the reasons I like the ZXR is that the main compartment isn't so huge that it swallows more gear than you could ever fill it with. I don't like to have everything in the main compartment of my pack. Examples of things that I like to carry on the outside of my bag include my medical kit (because if you're injured the last thing you want to do is go digging through the contents of your ruck with blood covered hands), tent (because tents often times become very wet and muddy things and you want to have that segregated from the rest of your gear), pack cover (because these things can be muddy and wet as well and you want to get to it in hurry when it's raining) and maybe an extra sleeping bag or pad. The ZXR (and all Kifaru packs) are highly modular; why would you get a pack that has the extra weight of MOLLE webbing and not utilize it (you might as well buy one of the hunting packs)? I keep most of my gear in the main compartment but sometimes I like to have things on the outside of my bag. The ZXR allows this sort of compartmentalization by not having such a huge main compartment. You can throw an E&E on it and carry your survival essentials, I carry my medical supplies in a FireLand Shelter Pocket (which Kifaru doesn't seem to sell anymore?? Too bad). Throw an XTL for even more organization.

I absolutely agree with this post. I have been lusting after an AG2 or hauler for specific loads but for personal use in the winter my ZXR G1 has volume enough for all the kit I need in Cairngorms - I find weighing my packs a bit to discourageing to bother with anymore...
It's a "good carry" and fit's easible to take onto trains and buses without too much hassle. Most of my kit is in the main compartment, comphrensive medical kit in the XTL so it's accessable and if I do ditch my pack it's something I'd want to grab. E&E's as side pockets for cooking gear and emergency kit. This also makes it simple to have a day's hike away from a base camp without re-organising stuff.

I was wondering about the fireland pouch myself...

steveb
07-23-2009, 02:47 PM
The die has been cast, ZXR it is. A few reasons for my selection:

1. Capacity - At 4200 to 5200 ci slick, on par with most typical backpacking designs. The 6000 ci plus class (AG2/EMR) is probably more suited to expedition use, which for me will be a very rare event (if at all, unfortunately). With the XTL and E&E, I can have 6000 ci if I really need it. When used with standard lid, a compact enough package for overnights.

2. Design - I really like the design of the Zulu slot pockets. With the wrap-tech plus and lower zip access, the ZXR is even better. As my load will never exceed 70# (the top of my personal 'operating envelope'), and rarely be above 55#, the suspension will be plenty adequate and allow for some 'flex'. As nice as the G2 DuPlex system is, I just don't have a need for it now. Maybe next time ;)

3. Cost - $130 cheaper than EMR/AG2. Maybe even much less if I decide to sell my Zulu (which I wouldn't do if got the AG2/EMR). I will have to wait until I get to use the ZXR a little, before I decide if there will be too much 'overlap' between my Zulu and the ZXR.

one911emergency
07-23-2009, 05:39 PM
I talked to Mel personally, and he said that they are no longer making the Fireland Shelter Pocket. He said that it was the idea of a former employee that was a fireman, and they apparently only sold a handful. I don't think that this was the result of the pocket being inferior in any way I just think that the pocket could have been marketed different. I think everyone looked at the pocket like it was a pocket for a very narrow, select purpose but it really wasn't. I have one and love it. I am not a fireman nor have I ever considered a career in the profession. The large Outdoor Research Backcountry Organizer bits into the pocket like it was made for it. It contains all my medical supplies. There's no zipper (one of the only, if not the only Kifaru pocket without a zipper designed for immediate access); just rip the thing open and pull the OR BCO out and treat whatever is wrong with you. I carry two Isreali bandages in it, some QuikClot sponges or Celox for real emergencies. I don't have to search through my bag for my medical supplies while I bleed out. It's on the side of my ZXR and it will stay there. It also is great on the back of an E&E.

wolfmen
07-24-2009, 09:55 AM
Hello guys, I have ZXR with medium belt.

Does it fit 31" wasit?

thank you

steveb
07-26-2009, 07:41 PM
Wolfmen, I think the medium belt is designed for 32 to 38 inch waist. With 31 waist, a small may be a better fit, as you don't want to 'bottom out', or belt won't be tight enough. You may want to talk with Mel about this.

Cameron
07-26-2009, 09:39 PM
I've owned a lot of the Kifaru line up since I found out about them, and I think there are two distinct packs that offer the most utility for me. They are the MOLLE Express and the ZXR. When these two packs were enhanced with the G2 improvements they became absolutely exceptional packs.

Personally I prefer the:
MOLLE Express for weights up to 40lbs (Omni Suspension)
ZXR for weights between 40-70lbs (WrapTech Suspension)
MMR or EMR for 70+lbs (Duplex Suspension) but my knees and ankles can't handle 70lbs so I am sticking with the ZXR.


I think I will be changing my ZXR for a G2 ZXR in the near future.... I wonder what colour I should get...

Congrats on the new kit Steve make sure you show us what you get.

Cameron

steveb
07-27-2009, 11:01 AM
I'm expecting in early September, Foliage is my color of choice.

evanhill
07-27-2009, 11:38 AM
The fireland shelter pocket, particularly on the bottom of a pack, is a very handy place to stow a pistol. It works even better if you can get one of the hard plastic shelter containers to put inside of it.

redstarcluster
07-27-2009, 10:28 PM
I bought my Dad a ZXR for his birthday last year. I've only taken it once, and I liked it a lot. Matter of fact I'm trying to get him to give it back to me... but he wants my FT-857 and I'm not down with that.

andyoz
07-28-2009, 08:27 AM
I talked to Mel personally, and he said that they are no longer making the Fireland Shelter Pocket.

Thanks for the info on the fireland, I might have to sew myself something similar. :)

wolfmen
07-28-2009, 11:10 AM
thank you steveb.

As you said, i think standard belt is too big for 31" wasit.

thank you for ur information.