Gear Test: MEC Zephyr 65L Backpack

We’re out in Idaho backcountry with the Mountain Equipment Company (MEC) Zephyr 65L Backpack, putting this backpack to the test.

Highlights of the MEC Zephyr 65L Backpack

Initial Thoughts on the Zephyr 65L Backpack

I tested the Zephyr backpack on a 65-mile backpacking journey through Idaho’s majestic Sawtooth Mountains. This wasn’t an ultralight trek — I fit plenty of extras into this pack, including a BV500 bear canister, water crossing/camp sandals, a JetBoil stove, and a tenkara fishing rod.

With exceptional external storage options, including multiple huge mesh pockets and numerous compression straps, the Zephyr proved to clutch for such a gear-heavy trip. Overall, it was comfortable to wear and provided ample storage options. The pack is a bit over-engineered, though — the side mesh panels don’t make it easy to grab your bottle on-the-go, and the side zipper access to the main compartment just seems like extra weight.

All in all, the MEC Zephyr 65L Backpack is a solid choice for wilderness backpackers, and it’s at a price point that won’t break the bank, too.

Pros Cons
  • Lots of stretchy mesh for external storage.
  • The design of the side pockets makes it difficult to access a water bottle easily.
  • Plenty of attachment points for equipping external gear.
  • Overengineered in some aspects, such as the vertical side zipper. This makes it a bit heavy at 4.2 pounds.
  • Trampoline-style back panels provides excellent ventilation.

See the MEC Zephyr 65L Backpack

MEC Zephyr 65L Backpack mountains

What do you think of the MEC Zephyr 65L Backpack? Have you tested it yourself? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

Arthur McMahon

Arthur loves to walk. It's as simple as that. He believes walking is the best way to experience the world. Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was his first backpacking foray, and he hasn't stopped since. Follow his adventures and stories on Instagram. Review Policy: We do not accept payments or gifts from brands and vendors, and strive to provide unbiased, independent advice. Brands typically provide review samples which we return, and in some cases we purchase the item so we can keep using it long after the review.

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