'Excellent, refined, ventilated walking daypack with an effective back system, myriad pockets and comprehensive features. The Zulu 30 is up there with the very best in its class'
Outdoors Magic: Comfortable, stable, cool, brilliantly specced, plenty of pockets, sleek looks, tough, big zip-openings access to main compartment. Sun-glasses holder...
Outdoors Tragic: Nothing much unless you're into more minimalist packs.
Outdoors Grabbit? As top-spec ventilated packs go, the Zulu 30's hard to fault. The excellent back system gives just the right mix of ventilation and excellent support with a small gap to minimise leverage. There are pockets everywhere, good access, general design and build quality are both decent and while it won't completely eliminate sweaty back syndrome, it definitely does make an appreciable difference in our experience. Fabrics are tough, though we suspect the stretch mesh pockets won't last as long as the rest of the pack - that's common to most packs of this type though. A really impressive all-round walking, hiking and trekking pack.
Ventilated hill and mountain walking daypack / Hybrid top-loading / zippered main compartment opening / front and side stash pockets / 'lid' pocket / twin axe/pole holders / hydration sleeve / two hip-belt pockets / ventilated Crossflow back system / available in medium and long back lengths / sun-glasses holder
Full Review Below
Gregory Zulu 30 Pack | Performance
The Zulu 30 is longstanding US brand Gregory's smallest entry into the bear pit that is the world of vented packs and the good news is that it's excellent and well capable of standing its ground against the big beasts of trampoline back systems.
The Crossflow back mixes a shallow suspended mesh with twin crossed alloy rods to give support and together with carefully specced foam and well shaped straps gives an excellent, stable and appreciably cooler carry.
Gregory says that 'the Dynamic Yoke design stiffens the suspension as weight increases' and we never had any issues with the sorts of loads you'd expect to be carrying in a walking-orientated daypack, even with a full 3-litre reservoir and a bunch of clothing and equipment. There are medium and long sizes to suit your back length and a women's-specific range labelled 'Jade' in various capacities.
You don't lose out with the rest of the pack either. One neat touch is that the big top-opening zip is backed up with a sizeable 'lid-pocket' - there is no lid of course, but it does the same useful job. And if that's not enough, you also get three stretch mesh stash pockets for easy stowage of fast-moving kit.
Hell, there's even a stretch loop on the shoulder strap designated to hold your surplus sunglasses out of harm's way. Just about the only thing it doesn't have is one of those chest-strap buckles that doubles as an emergency whistle.
Ice-axe / trekking pole loops use glove-friendly shock-cord top loops and zip-pulls are mahoosively unmissable, which is a good thing in our book. Compression straps? Tick. Waist-belt pockets? Tick. Hydration system compatibility with central exit port and plastic hose-clip? Check. Rain cover in external pocket? You got it.
And last but not least, overall build feels good and the fabrics seems reassuringly solid with sturdy construction and solid seams throughout plus svelte good looks.
Gregory Zulu 30 Pack | Verdict
Gregory has always made decent packs, but the latest version of the Zulu 30 is right up there with the very best available in a super competitive area. It mixes an excellent back system with a thoroughly well-designed and made pack body that never leaves you at a loss for somewhere to stash, well, anything really.
It gives a decent cooling effect in hot conditions, but without compromising the stable, comfortable carry even when you load it up. Small details like the zip-pulls, ice-axe and pole stowage, and yes, that sunglasses loop are all good too.
General build feels spot on too, our only doubt is over the long-term durability of the stretch mesh pockets, but that's an issue with other similar packs too and less of an issue if you stay clear of abrasive rock and bears.
Overall, simply an excellent all-round day-pack of just the right capacity that's right up there with the likes of Osprey and the other usual suspects. Recommended.