Review: Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS Backpack

Umpqua's new Zero Sweep backpack may be your new full-day mission staple
Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS backpack
Photo: Paul Snyder

Backpacks designed specifically for angling have traditionally suffered from two common ailments: ergonomics and features, especially when compared to packs of similar size and volume designed for hikers, not anglers. For years, it seemed as if building a pack that included features that anglers need meant creating a pack that was, in general, not all that great at just being a pack.

Over the last several years, manufacturers across the industry have started being more thoughtful about their designs and have begun offering packs for built specifically for anglers that include meaningful improvements in general use features and ergonomics. Amongst this growing field of improved packs, I have yet to find one that serves its purposes as well as the Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS.

What works

It’s got all of the right components and smart design

Rod straps on both sides are present. This was a real need when I stuffed the pack full of gear for my recent Montana trip, used it as a carry-on and was able to have my two rod cases ride shotgun through the terminals and out to the rental car lot.

The “clamshell” design of the full-length main compartment makes access and packing a breeze. The waist and chest support straps are right where they need to be with the waist straps carrying sufficient, ventilated padding to help your hips carry their share of the load, as does the injection molded frame sheet back panel, which is also “suspended” to improve ventilation like all top quality backpacks. The waist straps both have convenient, small exterior zippered pockets perfect for whatever you need handy.

Also on the exterior sides are two stretchy sleeves that easily accommodate large water bottles or fat 32-ounce Gatorades. Inside you’ll find a hydration bladder sleeve.

A padded “top loft” compartment on the top of the bag provides a decent level of protection for more delicate gear and the dual exterior 12” pockets will each accept a surprising amount of stuff. Durability should not be a problem given the 420 denier construction with “Ballistic Cordura” in the base and other high wear areas.

Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS backpack
The Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS backpack, shown with integrated chest pack.

The Zero Sweep system

Umpqua’s clever Zero Sweep (ZS) system, present on six new product types (with multiple versions within the sling packs, chest packs and waist packs), does its very best to minimize line snag points. Present on the Surveyor 2000, its primary role here is to accept either one of the ZS family of chest packs through the front of the shoulder straps. It takes a bit of education and practice, but once you’ve got the integration requirements figured out, you can attach and remove the chest packs with relative ease.

The Size

At 2000 cubic inches (33 liters) and smartly designed, this pack is perfect for supporting one or two anglers for a full day (8-12+ hours) on foot on the water, rain gear, first aid, food, hydration and more included, especially when paired with the Overlook 500 ZS Chest Pack. Any bigger and it would impede the user while fishing (and likely start to wear you down if fully loaded).

What doesn’t

The Size

As noted, the Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS is right sized for a full day on foot. But, if you’re in for an overnight solo mission, this will likely only keep you if you’re packing extremely light. And by “extremely light,” I mean sleeping on the ground under a rain fly, eating ramen noodles and purifying your water light. Even a small, two-person backpacking tent, however light, sucks up space. While perhaps defeating a bit of the Zero Sweep mission, straps on the bottom to support a tent would help extend the amount of time this pack can support you and would be a simple, welcome addition.

Final Word

In just a few months time, the Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS has become a well-used staple in my kit, especially for full day missions, which make up the majority of my fishing. I’m more likely to grab it before competing packs that keep it company in my closet. If you’re in the market for a pack of its size and function it’s a solid choice.