Ron Bell at Mountain Laurel Designs will soon be releasing a sub 2100 cubic inch capacity UL backpack, code-named Newt.
This of course, gives Zpacks a direct competitor in the UL dyneema pack category. I wrote about Joe's new Dyneema pack in my recent post, New Zpacks in Dyneema.
What does this all mean? Joe has been criticized by BPL as using simple (but effective) construction techniques. However, Ron's gear has long been lauded for its quality manufacturing. I think only time will tell. Both packs are based on proven designs, and I expect both to withstand the beating of years of abuse or a thru hike. Bring on the testers.