If you’re into minimalist, light travel, then you might want to check out Zero Grid travel gear. This US based travel gear company has been impressing backpackers for a while now with its low profile, high performance accessories. It’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t grab the eye, but offers lots of careful attention to detail, and hidden bells and whistles. Essentially, the company’s philosophy is staunchly minimalist: everything is lightweight and no-nonsense. In fact according to their mission statement, “Zero Grid is a travel accessories company that makes it easier for travelers like you to pack less.” It sounds great, but how well does Zero Grid perform in the wild? To answer that question, we put four Zero Grid products to the test, to see if they really met traveler needs and should be one of those things to carry whenever you travel.
Look & Feel
They look well and are easy to use.
I give 4 stars because the family case is a bit small
Very good value- products aren't expensive.
What I like
- Look & Feel
What would I like to see?
- More space in family case
Zero Grid travel gear is solidly built, easy to use and made with a purpose, though the family case didn't perform as well as expected.
The first product we tried out was Zero Grid’s microfiber towel set. Microfiber towels can be life savers for travelers. They save a huge amount of weight compared to regular towels, and are easy to pack in a pinch. However, if you’ve ever used a microfiber, then you probably already know they have one big downside: they’re just never as good as an “ordinary” towel. They’re always a bit of effort to use, and never quite get you totally dry. So how does Zero Grid’s hold up? To start with, the Zero Grid set comes with two towels: a 76cm x 38cm hand towel, and a 76cm x 152cm body towel. Off the bat, it’s worth noting the body towel is huge – at least for a microfiber. On the other hand, the smaller towel is only slightly smaller than most stand-alone microfiber towels. This means that many travelers might opt to ditch the larger towel, and only travel with the smaller one. This is likely especially true for anyone who does a lot of hiking, along with backpackers who are really trying to save on space.
Both towels work surprisingly well, and the quality seems to be a notch above your average microfiber. Zero Grid says the material is anti-microbial. Indeed, the towels haven’t developed the unpleasant odor that cotton can. The towels are also quick drying, and come with mesh cases with carabiners. This is a nice addition, though also to be expected of a towel of this quality. Overall though, the towels are some of the best microfibers out there and certainly the best I've tried. Some people might complain about the sizes, but the quality is unquestionable.Are they as good as a traditional towel? No. But if you want a small, lightweight microfiber towel they are a great buy.
Electronics Travel Organizer and Tech Dopp
Zero Grid’s electronics organizer comes with two main flip compartments, plus a few smaller pockets for bits and bobs. It’s suitable for packing medium sized electronics like an iPhone, Kindle, mini-tablet or external hard drive. The pockets are well organized, with a bit of a focus on keeping cords nicely untangled. The organizer also has a nice amount of padding; not so much as to make it too clunky, but seemingly enough to provide some cushion for fragile electronics during most common falls. The nylon exterior is also somewhat water resistant, but it’s a long way from full water proofing. A little extra protection from the elements would be nice, but that would come at the expense of the organizer’s nice compactness. All in all, the organizer does its job fine, and gets points for being neat and tidy. It’s nothing to write home about, though there’s no serious complaints to be made either.
RFID Blocking Passport Holder and Travel Wallet
Portable RFID readers have become the latest trick up the sleeves of criminals the world over. If you haven’t heard of them, these readers can be used to collect data from chips in passports, and some bank cards. Zero Grid uses TechSafe blocking material in its passport holder/ wallets to protect you from identity theft. Although we didn’t have an RFID reader on hand to check how well the wallet works, TechSafe is a well trusted name, so we’re going to assume it works just fine.
Moving on, the passport holder/ wallet does a good job of keeping things organized. For one, it gets the size just right. The wallet never feels too bulky, but also seems to always have just enough space to fit everything. Aesthetically, it doesn’t look like anything special, though that’s likely intentional. It’s certainly in keeping with Zero Grid’s minimalist philosophy of simplicity and minimalism. On top of this, the material seems bombproof. The YKK zip is also a nice detail, and you know it’s going to last a while. In short, this wallet has one job (well, technically two, given that it holds passports, too), and it does that job perfectly well.
RFID Blocking Family Passport Holder and Travel Wallet
The last product on our list is the big brother of the Zero Grid passport holder/ wallet. This family sized wallet is aimed at parents who want to keep all their important travel documents in one place. If you’ve ever traveled with kids, then you immediately understand what a big deal this is. Unfortunately, this wallet is just a little on the small side. We could fit up to six passports in one, though it did get a bit squishy. This might have been less of an issue if the inner case was a bit more flexible, or if the product was overall just a little bigger. Having said that, like all of Zero Grid’s stuff, this family sized wallet seems pretty durable, and won’t be falling apart anytime soon. It also maintains that nice, discreet look, which is appreciated when we’re talking about something that could be used to hold the entire family’s travel documents. Plus, there’s space for boarding passes. Like the smaller wallet, it also comes with RFID protection, which is likewise appreciated. To conclude, it’s certainly not a bad piece of kit. It just would be nicer if it was slightly larger, or at least a little more flexible.
Zero Grid travel products are solid, perform well, and can definitely be put to good use. Both passport carrying cases have become the default ones I use, even though the family case is a bit tight. I also take the electronics case with me on all trips and the microfiber towels sometimes come with me but sometimes don't- it all comes down to the trip I'm doing.
I'm happy to vouch for the quality of the gear, and highly recommend any of these products should you be in the need of one.
The products in this post were sent to me by Zero Grid for review purposes at no cost, however this has not affected what I have to say about them. You may also want to visit the Zero Grid online store for other travel products they have.