You know that feeling when you buy a piece of gear and it meets all expectations and you feel really good about your decision? That’s the feeling I’m experiencing a few months in with my One Planet Zipless 25L day pack. Made in Melbourne, just like our merino products, One Planet’s products are made for rugged Australian conditions, and to withstand the test of time and hardcore use.
Here's our One Planet Zipless backpack review.
I bought the Zipless as my old Mountain Designs day pack was finally at the end of its life. The zips were broken, the mesh side and front pockets were full of holes and functionless. It stunk to high heaven from a good life—read: my back. It was well and truly stuffed. I had used it for a good 12 or so years so I didn’t feel too bad finally retiring it.
I’ve always admired One Planet for their commitment to Aussie manufacturing and environmental sustainability. In addition to their generous warranties they provide full repair, cleaning, and maintenance services for their gear. And, I have had one of their great Sac sleeping bags for over a decade and it’s never missed a beat. So, when evaluating day pack options I checked out their in-store range in Melbourne and was really pleased with the ruggedness and comfort of the Zipless.
What I was looking for was a day pack that I could use for day hikes, but also travel, grocery runs, trips to the beach, and even the odd overnight or short multi-day hike.
So far, I have taken the Zipless on numerous day hikes in Victoria, as well as all the way to Spain!
It’s done 30 odd kilometres of the Warburton Rail Train in the Yarra Valley. It’s puttered around the Dandenongs. It’s trekked up to Ermita de Sant Joan in Montserrat, and along sections of the Cami de Fonda on the Costa Dorada in Catalunya.
It’s been used as my carry on when flying to Europe, and domestically in Australia. (As my trusty carry on during a time when checking in your bags with airlines is certain to end in despair.) It’s weathered planes, trains, automobiles, and security conveyor belts in airports and train stations aplenty.
It’s country count so far is 4, with many more to come.
It’s carried towels, sunscreen, and many cans of beer to the beach. It’s been stuffed with groceries and then lugged through the old towns of Spanish cities. It’s been worn in the cold of the Aussie winter, and in the searing heat of the North Hemisphere summer.
It’s certainly got some ks on it, and that's just the start.
One Planet is renowned for their harness systems. In their bigger packs they incorporate their EXACT FIT® technology that makes for some of the best load-carrying capability and comfort, and is endorsed by Australian Chiropractic Association.
Their smaller packs like the Zipless don’t need anything so fancy as you’re carrying lighter loads, but still you’re met with a really comfortable design and quality straps and fixtures, dual-density foam that feels good against your back and stops anything poking through, and a handy whistle built into the waist strap buckle so you’re not screaming your guts out if you, heaven forbid, need help on the track.
I’ve worn the Zipless pretty much non-stop for up to 2-3 hours with loads up to 6-7kg and have no complaints about the harness. It distributes the load nicely and sits how it should.
My only grievance is that when you hoist the pack on your back, the shoulder strap tends to twist the wrong way around, and you need to twirl it around a couple of times to get it right. Small grievance and it's due to the relatively lightweight, narrow straps used for the shoulder straps.
Available in blue/black and red/black, the Zipless is probably not going to win many fashion contests. The thing has been designed to be functional not to compliment your wardrobe. One Planet actually makes some pretty ‘urban’ looking bags like the Little Bourke* and Rock if you’re after something a bit more ‘commuter’ clic.
I quite like the rugged looks of the Zipless. I have the ‘Pacific’ blue/black, and admire its ‘seriousness’. It looks like the sort of pack a serious day hiker would wear—which is just as well as most of my hikes are relatively short day hikes but often take me to some pretty scrubby places.
It doesn't look like a flimsy toy because it's definitely not.
* Named after the street the One Planet store is on. Melbourne's premier outdoor gear street, which many quality retailers call home.
One Planet use a WATERLOC® canvas for this pack, which is thick, heavy duty, and water proof. The seams are also "bound with ... four-fold, 227-gsm canvas binding, increasing both water resistance and durability" according to their website.
The components exude quantity and the buckles are a 'non-crack' variety that will bend rather than break.
Best of all, if something does bust with this pack it's easy to repair or swap out.
This is the sort of pack that can happily be dragged over rocks and through prickly scrub without protest.
I like top-loading packs. I also like packs that don’t have a lot of pockets and straps and things hanging off them. The simplicity of the Zipless is one of the things I like the most.
The Zipless feels like a big 25 litres. Being a top-loader with a single main compartment, there’s loads of room for a well-equipped day hike (why not throw in a picnic blanket and bottle of wine) but you could also use this thing for an overnighter or short multi-day hike if your gear is compact enough.
On the back of the main compartment there is a flap of velcro onto which you can clip a range of pack inserts. A basic zip pocket is included—perfect for wallet, keys, passports. Or, you can buy a range of hydration sleeves, a tablet sleeve, or a laptop sleeve with extra pockets for things like power cables.
I'm going to buy the laptop sleeve to turn this into an everyday on and off track pack. That said, my laptop kicks around in the main compartment just fine, but a little extra protection wouldn't go astray.
On the outside of the back is a smaller pocket, ideal for keys (there's a key clip in there), phones, sunscreen, snacks, GPS, PLB, that kind of stuff. It closes with an easy to operate and serious looking metal C-Clip.
A couple of side pockets for drink bottles wouldn't be such a bad idea, but I can live without them.
The Zipless retails for $219. This price represents tremendous value for money for a pack that’s going to last a lifetime, that can be repaired and maintained, and that’s made in Australia. You can easily pay this or more for a day pack from the other well-known and quality pack brands like Osprey and Deuter. And, you’re getting a much better product than you would from some of the outdoor gear chain stores, who I shan’t name in this review.
As the saying goes: buy well, buy once.
There’s not a lot to not like about the Zipless. Sure, ultralight hikers are going to moan about the weight. At 800grams, it’s a good deal heavier than a lot of the ultralight options on the market. That’s on account of the tough-as-nails canvas construction, the dual-density foam, and the heavy duty fittings. But, it’s a day pack. We tend to carry relatively light loads on day hikes so it doesn’t really matter.
Also, a couple of side water bottle pockets wouldn't go astray and would also increase the usefulness of the pack in terms of carrying things like walking poles (when not in use) or skis or crampons. Minor minor niggle.
I love the Zipless as I know it’s going to continue to adventure with me for decades. That’s what I like in my gear: longevity. And it’s made in Australia by a great company that’s really trying to send a positive environmental message around buying quality in the first place, but then maintaining it to get the longest life possible out of it. At a time where planned obsolescence is the norm, it's great that there are brands out there making quality gear that they only want you to have to buy once.
Disclosure: This review is my true and honest opinion about the Zipless backpack. I bought it with my own cash money. I did receive a small 'pro deal' discount for being in the industry. If I didn't like the pack I probably would have just sulked for a bit having spent $219.00 and wouldn't have bothered with a review. Alas, love it and wish to sing the praises of a great Aussie brand.