The xml export is the way to do this. Even if zip were offered, it would just be a zip of the xml.
You might want to explain what you mean by "xml did not do the job" - I've used it several times for creating test systems, moving servers etc
The xml also generated a .zip file. I downloaded that to my Win 7 laptop, and then tried to identify the attachments there. Did not really work - they may be there, but it looked like I'd need additional tooling to see the material as it was.
May have been my ignorance (I'm sure it was), but in oder for me to believe I have an archive I need to see and open the pages and the powerpoint, excel, pdf, cad etc attachments - and that I could not.
So I did a "Backup" which resulted in a zip file.
I wanted to check that I have somethig useful, so I started with attachments. The zip contains path attachments\10944514\10977281\ and there is a file "1" (one) in the this folder.
This must make perfect sense for export - import but I can't check that, and accordingly don't trust that as a backup.
What do you get when you export material to a zip file?
Mine contains entities.xml, exportDescriptor.properties and then folders "attachments", "config" and "plugin-data"; the latter has a .pdata file which looks like xml.
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