Near Zero: A Revolutionary Lightweight Backpack Invented by an East Valley Man



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In the article “Near Zero: A Revolutionary Lightweight Backpack Invented by an East Valley Man,” Mesa native Scott Jensen shares the story behind his innovative creation. Inspired by his late father, Jensen developed a backpack with a U-shaped zipper and removable labeled compartments for easy access to belongings.

Tired of the hassle of traditional backpacks, Jensen’s invention aims to simplify camping and backpacking experiences. With years of hard work and determination, Jensen has successfully launched his company, Near Zero, and hopes to continue its growth in the future.


Mesa native Scott Jensen and his late father Dean Jensen were the inspiration behind Near Zero, a company that designs and sells ultralight camping gear. Scott Jensen had a career in supply chain management but decided to start his own business after coming up with a brilliant invention. He wanted to create a lightweight backpack that had a U-shaped zipper for easy access to its contents.

This innovative design would allow backpackers to quickly retrieve their items without having to unpack everything. Scott’s motivation to start the business was intensified when his father passed away, and he wanted to honor his father’s passion for camping and lightweight gear.

Scott Jensen and his family moved to China to pursue this venture. They started Near Zero in 2019 and began marketing a range of ultralight tents and sleeping bags. The idea for The Dean Hiking Backpack came later during a hike in China, where Scott and his wife discussed creating a backpack that could open up like a suitcase and be organized and compartmentalized, just like his dad would have wanted.

Features of The Dean Hiking Backpack

The Dean Hiking Backpack has several key features that set it apart from other backpacks on the market. Firstly, it has a U-shaped zipper design, allowing for easy access to the contents of the backpack. This eliminates the need to unpack and repack everything when retrieving items from the bottom.

The backpack also features a removable organization system with labeled compartments, making it easy to stay organized while on the go. Additionally, The Dean Hiking Backpack is lightweight and ultralight, reducing the strain on backpackers’ backs and allowing for easier and more comfortable journeys. The backpack also has a separate access panel for a hydration bladder, eliminating the need to cram it in with other items and making it easy to stay hydrated while on the move.

Benefits of Lightweight Gear

Lightweight gear is crucial for backpackers and campers for several reasons. Firstly, it allows for a more enjoyable experience in nature. Memories of camping trips and the joys of being surrounded by nature are greatly enhanced when backpackers don’t have to worry about heavy gear weighing them down. Lightweight gear also makes it easier to reach remote and peaceful locations, where solitude and connection with nature can be found. It reduces the prep work involved in packing for camping trips, as there is no need to sort through and lug around heavy gear. Finally, lightweight gear helps to avoid unnecessary strain on the body, making backpacking and camping more comfortable and sustainable.

Early Challenges and Successes

Starting a business is never without its challenges, and Scott Jensen faced several obstacles along the way. One of the main challenges was securing capital for the startup. However, despite this hurdle, Jensen was able to develop a diverse product line and an effective marketing strategy.

Another challenge was achieving a work-life balance while raising a family and building a business. However, Jensen managed to find the right balance and continues to prioritize both his family and his entrepreneurial endeavors. Despite these challenges, Near Zero has experienced impressive growth, with three times growth year over year for the past three years.

Near Zero: A Revolutionary Lightweight Backpack Invented by an East Valley Man

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Future Plans for Near Zero

Near Zero has high hopes for continued growth in the future. Scott Jensen and his team are committed to providing innovative and high-quality camping gear to outdoor enthusiasts. They aim to expand their product line and continue to offer lightweight and functional gear for backpackers and campers. To find Near Zero gear, customers can visit their website at They can also find their products on Amazon or at Just Roughin It in Scottsdale.


The Dean Hiking Backpack, designed and sold by Near Zero, is a game-changer for backpackers and campers. Its U-shaped zipper design and removable organization system make it easy to access and organize contents. The lightweight and ultralight design of the backpack enhances the outdoor experience by reducing strain on the body.

The separate access panel for a hydration bladder adds convenience and ensures that backpackers stay hydrated while on the move. Scott Jensen’s journey as an entrepreneur and inventor has been inspired by his late father, Dean Jensen, and his passion for lightweight gear. Near Zero’s success and future plans reflect Scott’s dedication to providing innovative and practical camping gear for outdoor enthusiasts.

Near Zero: A Revolutionary Lightweight Backpack Invented by an East Valley Man

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About the Author

Paul Maryniak is the AFN Executive Editor.

Additional Information

For more information about Near Zero and their products, customers can contact them through their website at It’s recommended to have the latest version of browsers like Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Firefox for a better user experience.


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