Nero 38L Backpack

$199.00 Weight 10.8 oz / 305.0 g
Lead Time Ships in 2 weeks

If you want to feel the freedom of traveling light on your hiking adventures, the Nero is the backpack for you. The ultralight Nero is a compact frameless backpack stripped down to only the most popular features. It is the ultimate minimalist backpack, great for hikes where less weight and volume is required. At 10.8 oz, it is the lightest of our packs and put you well on your way to that elusive sub-10 lb base weight.

This pack is also highly versatile – you can use it for a day hike, a section hike, or even a thru-hike. Minimalist hikers have taken this pack on thru-hikes of the AT, the PCT, and the CDT and proved that smaller volume frameless packs are a legitimate approach to long-distance hiking.

  • Constructed from 2.92 oz/sqyd DCF Hybrid.

  • Three belt positions allow you to move the webbing belt up or down to fit a range of torso heights. The included belt is 1" (2.5 cm) wide and has a maximum adjustment of about 50" (127 cm) circumference. The belt contributes 1.2 ounces (34 grams) to the total weight. It can be trimmed down or removed.

  • Belt pouches with integrated belt pads are sold separately for those who desire more belt cushioning.

  • A roll-top closure clips down to the sides of the pack using Lineloc 3 WSR buckles. The cords can be cinched to compress the pack volume. The side compression can also be used to stand tall items like trekking poles in the side pockets.

  • A closed cell foam sit pad measuring 3/8" x 9.5" x 18" (1 cm x 24 cm x 46 cm) is included and adds an additional 1 ounce to the total weight of the pack. The foam provides some cushion and support against your back. The sit pad is held in place with shock cord and comes off quickly for breaks. The shock cord (.3 oz / 8.5 g) and sit pad are removable and replaceable.

  • The shock cord can also be re-tied to accommodate 20" tall folded sleeping pads, or taller sit pads.

  • The pack material is waterproof. All seams and attachment points are taped, making the pack highly water resistant.

  • Comfy 3/8" thick by 2.5" wide padded contoured shoulder straps. The straps have a daisy chain for clipping on items, and an adjustable position sternum strap is included. The shoulder straps have 3D mesh on the underside which gives them a little bit more cushion.

  • Side pockets are sized to fit 1 or 1.5 liter bottles. They are positioned low on the pack and slanted forward for easy access without removing the pack. The pockets have drainage holes at the bottom, and elastic that keeps them tight at the top.

  • Large stretchy mesh center pocket is great for quick access items. Mesh also lets you dry wet clothing and gives you a clear view of your gear.

  • This pack can be folded up to fit inside a 1 gallon Ziploc bag. It can easily be packed in your luggage or used as a carry-on.

  • All Zpacks gear has a two year limited warranty against defects in materials or workmanship. Please see our return / warranty policy.

  • Made in the USA.

Pack Weight: 10.8 ounces (305 g) | Foam sit pad adds 1.0 oz (28 g)

Belt (included): 1" (2.5 cm) wide x 50" (127 cm) circumference, 1.2 oz (34 g)

Body dimensions: 5.5" x 12" x 23" (14 cm x 30 cm x 59 cm)

Volume: 38L (25L main body, 2.5L each side pocket, 8L center pocket)

Load Capacity: Recommended up to 20 lbs (9 kg)

2.92 oz/sqyd Dyneema Composite Fabric Hybrid

Dyneema Composite Fabric is composed of high strength Dyneema fiber laminated inside a polyester membrane. It is inherently waterproof and does not require any coatings or DWR treatment. Dyneema Composite Fabric has very high tensile strength for its weight and does not stretch.

This hybrid version is made from 1.43 oz/sqyd Dyneema Composite Fabric on the inside, with an extra layer of protective 50 denier polyester on the outside. The outer layer gives it more strength and abrasion resistance, prevents fraying, and gives it a nice solid color. 

Tensile Strength:
 245 lb/in (2150 N/5cm)

Puncture Strength: 
7.3 lb (32 N)

Water Resistance:
 >20,000 mmH₂O

Made in the USA.

.3.5 oz/sqyd Mesh

This is the mesh that we use on our backpack's center pockets. It has a relatively light weight for mesh, while being difficult to tear. It can withstand getting caught on branches and other typical abrasion that backpacks are subjected to. The hole size is a about 4 mm (a little over 1/8"). 

 3.5 oz/sqyd (119 g/m²)

5.3 oz/sqyd 3D Spacer Mesh

This mesh has a three-dimensional structure which allows airflow and adds cushioning. It has a tricot backing so you can't see clear through the holes. We use it on the underside of our backpack's shoulder straps and belts to absorb sweat, add cushion, and add grip. Our 3D mesh weighs less than most other types.

 5.3 oz/sqyd (180 g/m²)

 About 3/32" (2.5 mm)

Torso Height:

This backpack has three belt attachment positions allowing you to move the belt up or down to fit a range of torso heights. The actual distance on the pack from the bottom of the belt to the top of the shoulder straps can be adjusted from about 18" to 22" (46 to 56 cm), which will fit most adults. On a frameless backpack, it is nice to have the shoulder straps roughly level with the tops of your shoulders (rather than wrapping up around them) so that more weight is forced on to the webbing belt. The pack body does not extend much above your shoulders and load lifter straps are not needed.

Belt Size:

The webbing belt will fit up to around 50" circumference and can be trimmed down for smaller waists or swapped out for larger waists. To move the belt to a different position, slide off the belt buckle and back the webbing out of the backpack attachment points.

Customer Reviews

4.9 Based on 9 Reviews
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United Kingdom United Kingdom

Light and water tight

Back from the Scottish borders after a Four-day backpacking trip. First outing for the Nero pack and what a performer. Now I always customise my packs and the Nero pack was no exception, but it was minimalist. I changed the side tiedown cordage for shock cord and added a more substantial close cell foam back support. I also added a pair of Zpack shoulder pouches for trail snacks and my camera. My base weight was 10lb helped using a Zpack classic quilt and my Zpack Solplex tent. I was a bit dubious about going without a padded hip belt, but my concerns were unfounded as low weight meant it was not needed. My back did get a little sweaty but that is same for all packs that go that light. It shrugged off all that the wind and the rain through at it and kept the contents of the pack dry. This is now my go to pack for summer.

LANCE J. verified customer review of Nero 38L BackpackLANCE J. verified customer review of Nero 38L Backpack
Matthew S.
United States United States


I used my Nero on a 5 day hike/walk-about where I wanted to carry as little weight as possible. The pack was great - simple and functional and it really helped me to enjoy the experience rather than thinking of all that I was carrying :) I am very satisfied and will be using the pack on future trips!

Chris K.
California, USA

"Did you see how small that guys pack was?"

"I have some Nero Backpack feedback for you. I used the pack multiple times this past summer (2018). The most lengthy was my thru hike of the JMT. I had some reservations because I was carrying slightly more (21 lbs day one) than the recommended weight, in the end the pack was flawless. I carried the BV450 canister and it fit just perfectly sideways in the bottom of the pack. I also carried the Zseat, folded once from each end, it fit perfectly behind the Zpacks foam backpad that comes with the pack, offering some additional rigidity to the back of the pack. My Thermarest Neo Air folded in 1/6th's fit perfectly inside the back of the pack adding additional comfort as well. I opted to purchase the padded hip pad pouches with the pack bringing the total backpack weight to an unbelievable 13.3 oz. Comfort, not even a subject worth discussing. I have no negative comments. Many folks I chatted with in passing while on the JMT were quite interested in my pack. "Did you see how small that guys pack was?", "How much does your pack weigh?"

Johan L.
Auckland, New Zealand

Thanks for great products

"Hi Team Zpacks! Just completed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand with the Nero backpack and the multipack! Works like a charm on day trips as well as overnighters. Thanks for great products an a happy new year to you all."

Johan L. verified customer review of Nero 38L Backpack
New York, USA

I hardly noticed it

"Just wanted to say thanks for building my amazing Nero backpack and other similar products for hikers who don't look for overbuilt gear with unnecessary bells or whistles - just a light and simple bag with a great suspension (I'm tall and having torso adjustability was a bonus - you rarely see this feature in small packs). Last weekend I took it for a two day hike of Cranberry Lake 50 trail and was amazed how well it carried the weight - I hardly noticed it even after the second 26-mile day when I started to get pretty tired. I think the multi-pack pouch also helped in balancing the load a lot. All the best."