Osprey Zealot 30 Review 2023

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A well featured pack suitable for activities from your daily commute to climbing and hiking.

Pros

  • Useful features
  • Robust and durable
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Not so useful for trad climbing
  • Will need to pack carefully for outdoor activities

Osprey make some great packs, we’ve featured several on the site and I still enjoy and use the Archeon 30 I reviewed back in early 2020. The Zealot 30 is the new climbing specific and the first since the iconic Mutant pack. The Osprey Zealot 30 does differ from the Mutant however, it’s designed for modern climbers who want a pack that is versatile enough for the commute and the climbing gym or crag. It’s ideally suited for those WFG (work from gym) days where I cycle to the climbing wall so that I can climb, write and drink coffee. 

More than enough space in the Zealot 30 for working and climbing at the gym.

The Zealot 30 has two main compartments that keep your office and climbing kit separate. The rear compartment has a laptop sleeve big enough to fit a 15” laptop and notebook. This doubles up as a bladder pocket for hiking and there is a hose exit at the top and double hose tidy’s on each shoulder strap. There is also a large, zipped security pocket with a key clip. This is easily big enough for wallet, phone and any other stuff you may need to take for those days at the office. For hiking I have been able to stash head torch, glasses, toilet paper, compass and car keys.

The Zealot 30 worked well for hiking but you would need to be organised with your kit choices.

The front pocket has a full length zip and is designed for some basic climbing kit such as shoes, chalk bag and harness with belay device. This only works well if the kit in the rear pocket is flat, so it’s fine if you have a laptop and other flat stuff. If you start putting in jackets or other bulky items then this does begin to affect how the pack loads. This isn’t a problem if you are heading to the bouldering centre after work but for outdoor climbing then I think the Zealot 45 would work better. At base of the zip there is a loop for attaching a bike light. It also has reflective logos in strategic points on at the back.

The Zealot 30 has two final pockets situated on the outside, one open which I have been using for drinks bottles, flasks and hiking poles for when I’ve been using it for hiking. You could use it for climbing shoes (especially if you have smelly ones) as it is easily big enough for that. The right hand pocket is zipped so you can stash smaller items in it such as finger tape, nail clippers and all the other paraphernalia you need for climbing. These pockets offer great storage options and versatility for a whole variety of activities.

A stable carry for scrambling and technical approaches.

Style wise the Zealot 30 has a modern feel about it. It is sleek in looks and exterior pockets help with the look. The lid is fold over in style and is held with an aluminium hook that has enough adjustment for bulky carries. The Zealot 30 carries on from the Archeon series in that it uses recycled ballistic nylon that has blue sign certification. This is super robust as I can testify from the years of use of my trusty Archeon 30 and I can confidently predict it will be the same on the Zealot. 

The carry on the Zealot 30 is very stable and I have used it for hiking and scrambling with no problems. The shoulder straps are soft and supple and not too wide so super comfortable on tired shoulders. There is also an adjustable chest strap (with an emergency whistle) and a removable waist strap (which I removed and haven’t used). The eva moulded back panel is stiffened using an HDPE frame sheet which helps keep the pack stable and comfortable under load. It has also carried well cycling – which is how I get to my local climbing gyms.

There is just enough room for a small rack of climbing kit and a rope.

I have used the pack for hiking on several test days and found it it really comfortable for all day use. Stable enough for carrying hiking kit and clothing and fine for easy scrambling over more technical ground. For outdoor climbing it was a little more tricky – you could organise a sport climbing day with some quick draws, harness, chalk bag and shoes. But as soon as you start adding a jacket and some food it soon becomes bulky. It will, however, be fine for warm summer days when not much clothing is needed. 

So, the Osprey Zealot 30 is a great pack that will be suitable for people who want a bombproof commuting pack that can be used for everyday as well as stamping your credentials as a hardcore climber. It is well featured, has a bombproof construction and carries well when hiking, climbing and cycling. 

The Osprey Zealot 30 comes in two colours Cetacean Blue (Navy) and Rocky Brook Green (Olive Drab). 

SRP is £120 and it can be bought directly from Osprey Europe and specialist retailers.

DISCLAIMER

Disclaimer – CGR reviewers and writers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!

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