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Gear Review: The North Face Zealot 70

Rain, mud, rocks, snow, crampons. Some packs need to be coddled when faced with the wet, rough, and sharp. Not the Zealot.
The North Face Zealot 70 (BP Photo Department)

[tough and weatherproof]
Rain, mud, rocks, snow, crampons. Some packs need to be coddled when faced with the wet, rough, and sharp. Not the Zealot. Its heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction is for hikers who routinely subject their gear to the worst abuse. The pack’s front and lid are crafted from 315-denier nylon, which withstood a 50-foot haul up slickrock in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park, and repelled rain thanks to a two-sided coating of polyurethane* and sealed seams.

The unique aluminum frame—shaped like a cursive “l” and filled in with plastic—centers weight mid-back to provide a stable ride with loads under 50 pounds (above that, the dual-pivot hipbelt felt a little overmatched). The Zealot isn’t light, but you get that impervious packbag and dialed features, like a shove-it pocket with zippered stash and an easy-access water-bottle holder. $289; 5 lbs. 4 oz.; 70 liters

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backpack reviews from the 2011 Gear Guide

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