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.

[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