A question to Gregory Baltoro owners (are you creaky?)

6:56 p.m. on March 10, 2011 (EST)
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I just got home with the Baltoro 70 (2010 model) and after fully loading it I noticed that it does indeed creak a bit. I didn't notice it at the store. I did see the review here where the reviewer said it "screamed" at him with every step. This certainly isn't in that category but I'm curious if anyone else has noticed and or dealt with this issue?

Does your Baltoro creak?

2:38 a.m. on March 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Wish I could help you since I just bought a Baltoro 70 but I haven't used it yet. :P  I'm going to use it in May.  Haha.

2:38 p.m. on March 24, 2011 (EDT)
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I have a buddy who has one and his does make some noise. It's not too bad, kind of reminds me of some external framed packs.

8:50 a.m. on March 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the replies…

Here’s “the rest of the story”:

Although my old external frame pack does make some noise I found that I could not live with the noise from the Baltoro and returned it. Something about the character or quality of the sound just grated on my nerves. I’ve got mixed feelings about the whole deal because I really liked the truly important aspects of that pack; the fit and suspension.

I called Gregory and was a little surprised by the answer I got. The rep said that he gets about one call a month from people complaining about creaking from the Baltoro; he commented that considering the number of those packs sold, that ratio of complaints is statistically insignificant. His stock answer to mitigate the noise is to be sure to “pack-out” the corners of the pack; he suggested stuffing some socks and or underwear into the corners. He said that 80% of the time he never hears back from people after giving that advice. If the owner still complains that “packing-out” the corners doesn’t help, he issues an RMA and they send it in for a repair; he wasn’t sure what the repair consisted of.

After returning it I tried two more Baltoros thinking maybe others would be better and they both made the same noise.

So the combination of my reticence to the notion of initiating a repair on a brand new piece of equipment combined with my reaction to this particular issue made this an untenable choice for me. To each his own….

9:26 a.m. on March 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the info, Patman. No news is good news then, for Gregory aftersales dept. I wonder if "the 80%" go on to purchase another pack from them?

1:19 p.m. on March 30, 2011 (EDT)
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I have been carrying one for about four years now and I have not had any issues with it making any noises.  I use it for my winter/family pack when I am carrying more than my usual three season kit.  It seems it would want to creak when loaded down vice when lighter, either way I have had some ridiculous loads in it and never had the problem.  Mine is an older model so I don't know if that makes a difference or not.  I have considered retiring this one for one of the new models, I guess I will need to be careful when and if I decide to make the switch.

2:06 p.m. on March 30, 2011 (EDT)
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i just purchased a baltoro 65.  it's fully loaded sitting here, and it does make a slight creaking noise when i lean side to side.  i'm confident this comes from the design.  each hipbelt wing has a plastic 'frame' that is bolted to the plastic framesheet.  this allows each side of the hipbelt to independently pivot in relation to the frame.  in theory, it is probably supposed to help the hip belt adapt to different people's body shape, but at the point where the two parts are bolted together, plastic slides against plastic.  that makes the noise.

on mine, the noise is barely noticeable, not a repair or warrantee situation, and i expect the noise will diminish over time as the parts wear.  but for the heck of it, i called Gregory and asked about it.  they gave the same advice; load out the corners, and that tends to relieve pressure that can cause the squeaking.  when i asked what a repair might consist of if that didn't work, he said warranty might replace the bolts, though he wasn't sure.  when i asked about plastic-safe dry lubricants, he said they don't make any recommendations about those issues. 

i'm confident adding dry lube would void the warranty if it turned out bad, so i don't recommend using it, but the curious part of me wonders whether that might work.  graphite is black and messy.  silica-based powdered lubricants are white, though.  powdered graphite or silica are generally safe for use with plastic. 

it seems like a great backpack.   

5:20 a.m. on April 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I finally loaded up my Baltoro 70 with about 25 to 30 pounds of gear and did a 2 1/2 hour hike to test it out.  I noticed a little squeakiness but nothing major.  Definitely not enough reason for me to return it.  In fact, I think the only reason I even noticed the sounds was because at some point during the 2 1/2 hours, I remembered reading about people complaining of squeaks.  My friend has the women's version and she hiked with me today and hers also squeaks a little.

4:19 p.m. on April 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Ah, good to know nworbled. As I mentioned I had mixed feelings about returning it and probably over-reacted. I wound up buying a Mystery Ranch Trance (which was quite a bit more expensive) and I’m very happy with it. The MR pack really fulfilled my desire to drop some pack weight from my old external frame pack (the Baltoro was about the same); so this actually worked out OK in my case. Thanks for the responses from everyone. If I hadn’t been satisfied with the MR pack, I would probably still have some regret over returning the Baltoro. It is indeed a very comfortable piece of equipment.

12:15 a.m. on April 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Good to hear about this problem. I was looking at Gregory's new suspension system with longing eyes. But I will NOT put up with noise from a pack. I want to hear Nature when I'm hiking.

August 20, 2014
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