by Bart Beck.
Around 2010, I decided it was time to upgrade my backpack. After doing a bit of research and trying a few packs on, I landed on the Baltoro 70 from Gregory Mt. Not once have I regretted the decision to go with this pack, using it for anything from an overnighter to winter camping, and I’ve found the Baltoro to be extremely versatile and comfortable. The success of the Baltoro has led Gregory to splitting the Baltoro 70 into two different sized packs: the smaller Baltoro 65 BackPack and the larger Baltoro 75 BackPack. Not only can you better choose a pack to suit your needs, but the foundation which was laid by the Baltoro 70 continues to put these packs at the top of their categories.
To begin with, there’s an exceptional and customizable fit system in the Baltoro. Like most packs on the market, the Gregory Mt. Baltoro Backpacks come in small, medium, or large, and you’ll choose one depending on your torso size. However, the shoulder straps and hip belts also come in various sizes, and these can be swapped out to create the best possible fit. I went to Appalachian Outdoors to have my torso measured and try on a few different straps and belts, and I would suggest doing the same. You want to make sure you get a pack that properly fits.
One of the fantastic technologies found in the Baltoro line is Gergory’s Response AFS (Auto-fit suspension). This allows for the shoulder straps and waistbelt to pivot at their connection points, which lets them adjust to the natural angle of your hips and shoulders. The end result is a more comfortable and true fit. Another plus of the Response AFS system comes in the lumbar area, which features a contoured and grippy lower back area, allowing optimal load transfer to the hips. I got to experience this benefit first-hand when I wanted to give my waist a breather. I unfastened my waistbelt and hardly noticed much of a weight transfer to my shoulders; it was pretty amazing. Gregory’s fit system does wonders for me and cuts down on readjustments greatly. Because my body does not have a well pronounced hip area–it basically goes directly from my torso to my legs with little girth variance–I have found that many packs tend to slide around on me. Thankfully, Gregory’s system in the Baltoro packs has remedied this problem, allowing me to enjoy my adventures more.
Besides fit, the Baltoro line has many small features that add up to creating a great pack. Take hydration for instance. The water bottle holder on the right is angled for easy access while the pack is on. If you prefer using your water bladder, the Baltoro easily accommodates you with its bladder sleeve and ports. The Baltoro’s durability is enhanced thanks to the DWR coated ripstop nylon fabric, which takes all sorts of abuse from intense use or weather. Plus, on the bottom of the pack, Gregory added a dual layer to decrease wear even further. After nearly four years of regular, aggressive use, my pack is just about as good as new.
Gregory’s Baltoro is a great pack, and I love using it. From its exceptional fit, to the many features and rugged durability, this pack has got it right, and I would suggest it to anybody that is in the market for a new one. Over the years, the Baltoro has proven that Gregory knows what they’re doing, and you can’t go wrong with either the Baltoro 65 or the Baltoro 75. Come on in to Appalachian Outdoors to size a Gregory Mt. Baltoro Backpack today.