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Stay Cool and Comfortable with the ventilated Gregory Zulu 24 LT


The Gregory Zulu 24 LT is a ventilated men’s daypack with a suspended mesh back panel and hipbelt that cups your hips and torso, helping to dry perspiration faster in hot and humid weather. It has a fully featured hip belt with pockets and a wire perimeter frame with a lively and springy carry, allowing you to carry heavier loads on longer hikes comfortably. The main compartment and contents are easily accessible through a U-shaped panel opening, while handy external pockets help keep you organized when on the move.

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  • Volume: 24L
  • Weight: 2 lb 5.2 oz
  • Gender: Men’s (the women’s model is the Jade 24 LT)
  • Type: Internal frame
  • Ventilation: Yes
  • External pockets: 6 + main
  • Torso sizing: one size: 16-21 inches
  • Waist sizing: 28-48 inches
  • Max recommended load: 20-25 lbs
  • Pack body: Recycled 400D Polyester Ripstop with C0 DWR: Designed without PFAS
  • Pack bottom: 420D Nylon with C0 DWR: Designed without PFAS
  • Pros: Ventilation keeps you cooler, comfortable fit
  • Cons: No front mesh pocket for carrying wet items, no rain cover

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The Zulu 24 LT’s ventilated suspension system makes this daypack super comfortable for summer and warm-weather hiking. The back panel consists of suspended mesh that is fully integrated with the hipbelt to eliminate hot spots. The added airflow helps keep me cooler and helps dry my perspiration more quickly. I can even feel the air circulating behind my back and drying the thin, long-sleeved fishing shirts I like to wear for hiking.

The Zulu 24 LT is ventilated with a suspended mesh back panel
The Zulu 24 LT is ventilated with a suspended mesh back panel

But the thing I like the most about this pack is how lively it feels. The hipbelt provides a great wrap around my hips, and the pack’s wireframe keeps the pack from collapsing in on itself. Suspended mesh backpacks have what is called a trampoline suspension, and I like the slight bounce that the pack conveys to me as I walk. Because of this, the pack feels lighter, even when packed full of gear, water, and food. It’s a delightful feeling.

Backpack Storage and Organization

The Zulu 24 LT is a panel-style daypack with a clamshell-style top zipper that provides easy access to the main compartment’s contents. It easily holds all the gear I need for a day hike, including my first aid & emergency gear, and a couple of clothing layers and rain gear. I’ve reviewed a few daypacks with roll tops recently, and I far prefer daypacks with the U-shaped top zipper and panel access that the Zulu 24 LT has. Unzipping and accessing the gear I want is much easier and faster than unfurling with a long roll-top or detaching a top lid.

The large U-shaped top zipper provide easy panel access to contents.
The large U-shaped top zipper provide easy panel access to contents.

The Zulu’s main compartment has a hydration sleeve and hook. To keep the hydration hose from flopping around, you can run it down the front of the shoulder straps (under the padding). There is a small pocket on the outside of the pack, on top, with a key clip. I use it to hold my glasses case, a head net, and my car keys. Below that, on the front of the pack, is a vertical zippered pocket that I use to carry my map and rain jacket when hiking. The side water bottle pockets are made with sturdy mesh and are large enough to hold a 1L Nalgenes. I can even reach back to grab a bottle and replace it without having to stop hiking.

The smaller upper pocket is good for carrying your keys and other essentials.
The smaller upper pocket is good for carrying your keys and other essentials.

External Attachment Points

The Zulu 24 LT has a system for attaching trekking poles on the left side of the backpack. It consists of an ice axe loop at the base of the pack and an elastic shaft holder behind the left shoulder. However, if you want to stash your trekking poles, you have to stop and take off your pack first, unlike most Osprey daypacks, where you can stow them on the go while walking. There are also small webbing loops around the perimeter of the front of the pack where you could rig up some elastic cord to carry additional gear, like a foam pad.

Comparable Men’s Daypacks

Recommendation

The side pockets can hold even large bottles with ease.
The side pockets can hold even large bottles with ease.

The Gregory Zulu 24 LT is a great men’s daypack for hiking. The ventilated suspension is comfortable and effective for keeping you cool and drier on the trail. Plenty of pockets keep you organized, and the main compartment has plenty of room for gear and clothing. The construction is very durable and the pack has a lively feel that makes it a joy to carry, even on long day hikes.

 

Disclosure: Gregory donated a backpack for review.

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