Sunday, December 7, 2014

Alps Mountaineering Zion External Frame Backpack Review

When I go outdoors, I tend to like to bring my gadgets with me. And I want them to be protected. I also like lots of pockets. So a quality backpacking bag is important to me. Up for review today is the Alps Mountaineering Zion backpacking external frame backpack.


  • Hydration Compatible
  • Top Loading
  • Sleeping Bag Compartment
  • Lower Door - #10 Zipper
  • Hold-open bar
  • Large Front Pocket
  • Multiple Zippered Side Pockets
  • Mesh Pocket on Lower Side Pockets
  • Large Mesh Water Bottle Pocket
  • Spindrift Collar with Draw Cord
  • Top Lid Lash Tabs
  • Ice-axe Loop
  • Daisy Chain with Carry Handle
  • Multiple Shoulder Strap Positions
  • Padded Mesh Waist Belt
  • Padded Shoulder Straps
  • Vented Lumbar Support


Color: Olive
Fabric: Polyester Ripstop
Capacity: 3900 cubic inches
Weight: 4 lbs. 15 oz.
Torso Range: 17" to 24"
Waist Belt Range: 28" to 40"

The Alps Mountaineering Zion came in a standard box, wrapped in plastic. Materials used was mostly what appeared to be nylon for the fabric, and aluminum for the external frame. For the fabric and aluminum for the external frame, the fabric appeared fairly strong and lightweight, with large quality zippers. The aluminum in the external frame was also very good. Fit and finish and build quality was also very good.  It seemed to be able to take years of outdoor use, as it should.

I really liked the design of the Alps Mountaineering Zion. The frame was easy to adjust for your height and size. I loved all the external pockets. There was also a separate sleeping bag compartment at the bottom. The main pocket had an internal aluminum hinge, so to speak, to hold open the main compartment for easy access, making it easy to put in or take out gear.

Then it came time to put it to the test. Packing all my gear was very easy. All of the pockets really came in handy. I really liked the handle on the middle of the large outer pocket, and the one on the top of the shoulder straps, which gave extra carrying options without having to put the pack on your back. The frame, being external, can also be removed and you can use it as luggage so to speak. Thanks to it's adjustability, using it for it's primary design: backpacking was sufficiently comfortable. The large padded hip strap was easy to adjust, kept it's length/size, and was comfortable for long treks. There are only a few improvements I would like to see it to be able to extend out further to be able to secure larger items on top I would have also liked to have seen a small pocket on each side on the large waist/hips pads.  Being hydration pack compatible, as well as having a large mesh water bottle pocket, really came in handy!

The Alps Mountaineering Zion proved to be a great backpack that was designed with use in mind. The quality of the materials and construction were good enough to give years of use. And at an MSRP of only $169.99, it's also a good value. Alps Mountaineering Zion is one that deserves to be on your short list. And it is from a company that stands behind it's products. Based on it's design, features, quality and performance, the Alps Mountaineering Zion has earned our Recommended Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at