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  1. #1

    Default Zpacks - I almost stopped the whole machine!

    I saw a utube video of someone that ordered a zpacks pack cover and had zpacks put a grommet in the bottom to let the water drain out.
    Thought it was a good idea and since I was going to order a pack cover anyway I requested a grommet be added.
    I certainly don't want to stop the WHOLE MACHINE so may be ordering from other companies in the future.
    Anyone else experience this from companies?


    This is the response I received from Zpacks.

    Monica (Zpacks)

    Mar 1, 2021, 1:10 PM EST

    Thank you for ordering with us and we appreciate you reaching out. Regrettably, our production model does not allow for customization. We have enterprise resource management software that automates everything now.

    It generates work orders to build items to stock and keeps track of all our products, our material consumption, our inventory, productivity scores for the seamsters, customer records, shipments, and so on. If we try and build a custom order the whole machine stops.

  2. #2

    Default

    Ran into similar recently when I contacted the folks I usually buy my tarps from about making a few mods to one of their dyneema models. Figured at those prices I wanted to get exactly what I wanted even if I had to pay extra, but they said not possible. Their business so they get to choose how they run it.

    It is pretty simple to put a grommet in yourself. You can buy them at hardware store and just need a hammer to install. I have an old Osprey pack cover with a tiny one at the bottom and it really does keep it from forming a puddle in there.
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

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  3. #3
    Registered User Maineiac64's Avatar
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    Default

    As big as they are now, It makes good business sense having a policy that doesn’t accommodate customizations. It’s not just your order, imagine doing this on a regular basis for a lot of customers. It would certainly disrupt the order fulfillment flow which already runs a backlog. Also, I am sure most people would balk at the true cost of the extra time, effort, and materials to do a customization. Can you call osprey, arcteryx, patagonia, rei, or outdoor research for a custom grommet on any of their products?

  4. #4
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    Default

    I understand what zPacks is doing from a business perspective, but I miss the ability to customize gear. They have decided to go more mainstream with standardization and leave custom work for smaller cottage companies. I have asked for custom work, specifically for them to make me a Hexamid Twin which they discontinued many years ago, and they declined to do it.

    This obviously opens opportunities to do what Joe did to get his company started. Nothing stays static ... people and companies evolve over time. I wish them well and still order many items from them -- most recently an Altaplex and rain pants.

  5. #5

    Default

    Customization is antithetical to any assembly line process. If such a manufacturer actually charged what a customization cost them to make your change, you would pass out. Customization is relatively easy with artisan products where one highly skilled person makes a whole product. ERP systems are not flexible, so, yes...

  6. #6

    Default

    Grommet kit

    Takes about 2 minutes. Approximately 1/3 the time it takes to rant about it.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  7. #7
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    Grommet kit

    Takes about 2 minutes. Approximately 1/3 the time it takes to rant about it.
    My Zen moment for today, thank you!

  8. #8

    Default

    Already have a grommet kit and will surely do it myself now.

  9. #9
    Registered User
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    Default

    Though it does seem if this is something an average person could do in a couple minutes, it wouldn't take them nearly as much to do it (not like making something totally different). They wouldn't even have to modify the machine/programming, just have someone at the end add it in (Just as the customer will be doing). In fact, maybe surprising that if they have had requests for it they didn't see if it was a good idea and make it a permanent modification (as companies usually try to improve items).

  10. #10

    Default

    I will put the grommet in myself when I get the pack cover.
    I don’t expect the cover for a few more weeks.
    So the time I spent what you call ranting could not have been spent putting in a grommet.
    Also its not much of a rant if your using the words the manufacture gave you in their response.
    Also, Zpacks has done mods in the past but does not anymore. How am I supposed to know that, It sure doesn’t say anything on their web site.
    Now I will call that a rant. lol

  11. #11

    Default

    I tried to put grommets on a rain kilt once so I could stake it to the ground under my hammock etc but that did not work out so good because of the very thin nature of the material.Maybe your results will work better.

  12. #12

    Default

    Five Tango - Thank you for the heads up.

    In the past when I put grommets in thin material I doubled up on the material (cannot do in this case) or used a piece of duct tape and put the grommet through the material and the duct tape.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  13. #13

    Default

    The only time I ever had a rain cover collect water in a noticeable amount, was just after a night of rain and was hiking on a very overgrown trail where I was pushing through brush on both sides so the brush was dragging along my pack. The water that collected on the brush ran down inside my cover and collected at the bottom. I remember dumping what looked to be a liter twice in 2 hours of that. That was a zpacks DCF cover though I don't think it had anything to do with the fabric used. Never had the issue on good trail no matter how hard the downpour.

  14. #14
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    Default

    Does anyone else not use a pack cover? I've found that they're marginal at keeping out water. I guess what I do like about them most is they keep the back of the pack clean if I set it down on a muddy/wet surface.

    But... my ultimate goal is not to have more "stuff I have to keep up with" than necessary.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    Does anyone else not use a pack cover? I've found that they're marginal at keeping out water. I guess what I do like about them most is they keep the back of the pack clean if I set it down on a muddy/wet surface.

    But... my ultimate goal is not to have more "stuff I have to keep up with" than necessary.
    I haven't used one in many years. Much happier with a liner than a cover.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    Does anyone else not use a pack cover? I've found that they're marginal at keeping out water. I guess what I do like about them most is they keep the back of the pack clean if I set it down on a muddy/wet surface.

    But... my ultimate goal is not to have more "stuff I have to keep up with" than necessary.

    I've been using liners for many years, but I keep the cover that came on an Osprey pack that I no longer use. It is a nice deep red color and I break it out for hunting season every year. Doubt it blocks much rain, but it has done an excellent job of keeping the lead off
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

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  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    Does anyone else not use a pack cover? I've found that they're marginal at keeping out water. I guess what I do like about them most is they keep the back of the pack clean if I set it down on a muddy/wet surface.

    But... my ultimate goal is not to have more "stuff I have to keep up with" than necessary.
    I like a poncho because it keeps rain from running down between my back and the pack. Much easier to put on and take off, which can really get annoying with jackets when the rain is intermittent throughout the day.

    I use the Zpacks poncho which has worked pretty well for me. The stiffness of the material makes it easier to don/remove and provides a bit of airflow because it isn't clingy at all. Still need some rain pants or kilt or quick-drying shorts, however.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by skiBee View Post
    I will put the grommet in myself when I get the pack cover.
    I don’t expect the cover for a few more weeks.
    So the time I spent what you call ranting could not have been spent putting in a grommet.
    Also its not much of a rant if your using the words the manufacture gave you in their response.
    Also, Zpacks has done mods in the past but does not anymore. How am I supposed to know that, It sure doesn’t say anything on their web site.
    Now I will call that a rant. lol
    I hope it works out well for you, but they gave you a well-reasoned response and you didn't like it. Not to worry, however, because haters of Zpacks are legion (see reddit) and yet they survive somehow.

    That must have been an old video because the Z-folks haven't done custom for some 5-6 years now, maybe longer. I am not at all well versed on this topic but I seem to recall that there are others who tried to jump in and fill the void in the custom niche but also found it is not a viable business model. One that I remember specifically is Appalachian Ultralight because at one point I was just about to pull the trigger on a pack and poof! it was gone. Too bad because the owner, Cody, seems like a really nice guy and the products looked to be really well made and customizable.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  19. #19

    Default

    I use pack covers and rarely have an issue unless hard wind driven rain persists for long periods of time, but these conditions generally will defeat most "water proof" things. One reason may be how the packs I use have a ventilation feature to allow air circulation on my back that has a flexible mesh to keep the back of the pack away from my body, allowing water that goes under the pack from the top to be wicked away from the pack itself. It could also be a bit of luck mixed in there as well.

  20. #20

    Default

    Although I know he's had mixed reviews, I've had good luck with both custom requests and having items modified by BearPaw Wilderness Designs.

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