by Dan Trew
Gregory backpacks have always specialized in hauling loads with comfort and ease. The new packs this year continue to improve that thought and innovate in new ways. The freshly updated packs fit five different bills: long distance and long duration comfort, lightweight versatility, ventilated technology in clean packages, packs to grow with, and ultralight adventures.
The Gregory Baltoro and Gregory Deva series of packs are designed to carry the heaviest loads the longest distances. They can carry 65 lbs with relative ease, but you might not want to load that much for your back’s sake. The backpack is fully cushioned to absorb those large loads and keep you nice and comfy. The inclusion of slightly tacky rubber in the lumbar region prevents the pack from sliding down as you jaunt about on your adventures. The pack is smart too. The shoulder straps automatically adjust to fit a wide range of shoulder widths for a much more comfortable ride. The Deva series runs 1-1/2 inches narrower than the Baltoro.
Not every hiking trip is a two-week excursion, and for those less extreme adventures the Gregory Contour series of backpacks fills in with a lightweight frame system that still lets you carry everything, including the kitchen sink. The pack is designed with more activity in mind as the waistbelt auto cants as your body naturally changes shape while walking. Numerous pockets and tool attachments, including a waterproof top pocket, give you the versatility to organize your pack as you see fit. And with a max load of 55 lbs at your disposal, you are sure to be able to bring enough to fill those pockets.
The Gregory Z series backpacks have been Gregory’s ventilated series of packs for years, and the new editions take that classic and improve upon it in numerous ways. The current season brings back the trampoline back panel that was removed in previous season’s models in favor of fewer contact points. The end result is even more ventilation than in previous models. The external design remains the cleanest of the hiking-oriented line with little in the way of external adornments. The cleanliness does not detract from the functionality, however, thanks to the large pocket that does not lose capacity as the pack fills sits on the outside of the pack. Underneath that pocket is the front access zipper which opens the pack towards the top allowing for easier access to the the things tucked away in the bottom.
For the younger adventurers that still have growing left to do the Gregory Mt. Wander Backpack series provides a fully adjustable pack that can grow with the child. However, being a youth pack does not mean that the pack lacks capability or function. Numerous external pockets and an included rain cover round out the features of this versatile youth pack. Gregory doesn’t skimp on features with its youth-oriented packs, so you won’t have to worry about buying a less-than-field-worthy pack for your little one.
The Gregory Miwok is a long time staff favorite and is a great multi-sport day pack. The updated model cleans up the external lines to bring it more in line with the other Gregory products. The focus has settled more on hydration and stretch with more elasticated panels and shoulder straps that move with you. Suitable for everything from light hiking to biking, the new Miwok can hold a full sized bike helmet.