Product Review

Zac Speed Pack
By Dave Gronlund
2/20/2012


Have you ever had your chest protector ride up and stab you in the throat? How about your drink system, backpack, tool pouch, or all three pushing  your chest protector out or up or even pulling it down? I have battled it all and have never found a good way to carry the bulk. I have tried to put the drink pack under the chest protector but it just pushes it out and I’ve tried putting it over the top and it weighs it down. I have tried many chest protector and drink system combos over my 15+ year off-road racing career and have never been 100% satisfied. Add the bulkiness of a neck brace and it gets pretty crowded. For me, and most racers, feeling comfortable in your armor is a key element to the success of your ride.Sprint

We spend hours and hours out in the hills racing or trail riding, not to mention days on end dual sport riding. I want to be comfortable for once! The solution is, at least for me, the Zac Speed Pack system. I’ve seen a few prototypes around at the races and have been chomping at the bit to get my hands on one to test. They finally came available for the public so I contacted my local distributor to try one out. I put it on in the store and didn’t think twice, slapped the money on the table and took it home. There are 3 sizes of packs, Dakar (largest), Recon (midsized), and Sprint (smallest). All three packs also come in 3 sizes: medium, large, and extra-large. The Sprint appears to be the best option for shorter sprint races like Hare Scrambles and GP’s but you lose the tool roll that comes standard with the Dakar and Recon packs. It has the same comfort and adjustability as the others but slightly smaller, lighter, and a little more compact. I chose the Recon midsized pack in extra-large since I have a big frame to cover. I also tend to go on longer rides and compete in all day enduros where a little more storage and the tool roll will come in handy. The Dakar is an excellent take it all pack and would be ideal for those multi day rides like Baja tours. It might be a tad large for most racers though, although it feels very comfortable and much better than my past setups!

ReconAt first sight I thought that the pack/chest protector combo may be heavy and bulky until I put it on, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. When you weigh your chest protector, drink system, and tool pouch you’ll be surprised how much weight you are saving with the Zac Speed system AND it rides better on your person. The system is designed to equally distribute the weight on your shoulders with super comfortable and flexible soft shell shoulder guards. All versions of the pack use a very unique, simple, but extremely functional cross strap system that attaches to the bottom of the pack on the back up to the chest strap in the front to also help distribute the load correctly. No more chest protector vs throat battles!

The part that surprised me the most on my maiden voyage with the pack is how well it works with my neck brace. I hate those things, as necessary as they are, and fight the wife like a 2 year old fighting eating his vegetables when she gives me that look to wear it. I was 10 miles into the initial test ride when I started kicking myself for not throwing my brace on to test it out also with the pack. Come to find out I did have it on! I have never worn a neck brace and had it ride so well on me.Dakar

Another cool feature is all three packs come supplied with a shoulder harness to turn the pack into a back pack. The chest protector has a quick release system and the shoulder straps snap right in to take its place. Pretty freaking cool.

To top it off all packs have a 3 liter water bladder with a fully insulated hose. You just can’t go wrong with this system!

Visit Zac Speed USA on facebook for product photos and real life applications.

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