Weighing less than a can of soda, the ZPacks Vertice hard shell series sets a gold standard

Ultralight backpacking equipment manufacturer ZPacks launched a fully featured and high-performance waterproof breathable “Vertice” series of shells for the true trail-rat gram counters. The series makes use of a Ventum-WPB 3-Layer material which claims to offer a whopping 60k breathability and 20k waterproofing. With this much breathability, a hiker can sleep or hike in cold climates with ZPacks products without getting clammy — according to the ZPacks website, that is.

Those impressive numbers don’t just beat the industry performance standard of 20k / 20k for premium shells, they crush them.

All this performance does come with a minimal burden to the nimble-footed hiker, however. The Vertice Jacket, Pants, and Mitts combine to weigh 10.8 ounces which is less than the weight of a typical full can of soda and lighter than most waterproof breathable jackets on their own. The Ventum material used in the series barely tips the scales at 1.8 oz per square yard and is treated with a short-chain C6 durable water repellency to help prevent the fabric from wetting out.

Furthermore, the Ventum material used in the series barely tips the scales at 1.8 oz per square yard and is treated with a short-chain C6 durable water repellency to help prevent the fabric from wetting out. The three layer sandwich in the Ventum-WPB fabric consists of a tricot wicking liner on the interior, a super light 7 denier ripstop nylon exterior, and a mysterious waterproof membrane in the middle.

Digital Trends reached out to ZPacks founder Joe Valesko for more information about the Ventum-WPB fabric being used in these shells, however, the fabric and fabric supplier remain shrouded in trade secrecy.

“I can tell you that they are a large reputable manufacturer,” Valesko told Digital Trends regarding the supplier.

Valesko did disclose some information regarding the membrane used to reach those 60k breathability claims, “It is not Event. It is a proprietary product of the manufacturer.”

Prospective Vertice buyers hoping to get new gear for the Summer backpacking season should place their orders soon, as ZPacks products are made to order in the USA and the Vertice series currently has a four-week wait list.