Gear editor Chris Townsend reviews the lightest rucksacks between 45 litres and 60 litres designed for backpacking. On test Nigor Zero G backpack

Although it resembles the popular Jam pack from GoLite, now sadly defunct, the Zero G is capable of carrying a heavier load as it has a stiff frame and a thicker padded hipbelt. The stiff frame transfers the weight to the hipbelt and I’ve found the pack fine with 15kg. It’s close-fitting but not too sweaty as there’s a thick mesh covering the foam back pad that allows some airflow. Stability is excellent.

Rather than a mesh pocket the Zero G has a huge zipped pocket on the rear (this, along with the Dyneema fabric, is what makes it look like the Jam). This pocket does have drain holes but wet items won’t dry as well as in a mesh pocket. Against that they are better protected. As with any rear pocket I wouldn’t put heavy gear in it as this could pull the pack away from the body making it less comfortable and less stable. I suspect there’s more temptation to put heavier gear in an enclosed zipped pocket than in a mesh one as it looks stronger and more secure. The angled side mesh pockets are roomy enough for litre size water bottles and can be accessed when wearing the pack. The hipbelt pockets are roomy two and have two compartments.

When I tested the original Zero G last year I had one small complaint, which was that the lid flopped down if the pack wasn’t full and the strap buckles were set so high on the pack that tightening them was impossible. This has been remedied on the current model and the buckles are much lower down. Oddly it’s not mentioned in Nigor’s rather sparse literature and pictures of the pack, including the one supplied for this feature, still show the old buckle positions.

The capacity is said to be 53 litres for the Large size I tested. I reckon that’s just the main compartment with the pockets adding at least another 5. This is quite a roomy pack.

Amongst the many excellent packs tested the Zero G is my Best Buy, just, due to the combination of weight, features, carrying comfort and price.

Reviewed in March 2014 issue