Gregory Baltoro 65
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $217 (On Sale)
Would definitely recommend this pack to anyone looking for a large pack thats is all around great. Its suspension system is amazing making even the heavier loads feel light. This pack has so many great features there isn't really much more you could want.
- Suspension System
- Access panels/many pockets
- removable top lid
This pack is an awesome pack for anyone looking for a larger pack for weekend to extended trips. I got a medium and it fit me great I am a 5'9" male weighing about 170 lbs, but you should measure yourself or get measured at a shop to insure proper fit.
Honestly this is the most comfortable pack I have ever had to pleasure to use. The suspension system makes 25 pounds feel like nothing and even in the heavier weights it's still comfortable and doesn't bruise your hips. The pack having a nice 65 liters can fit all your gear and food you need comfortably up to 5 days and if you cut down a bit you can probably go for longer.
Along with great capacity there is great organization including a sleeping bag compartment with a removable divider along with this there is side access to the pack so you can quickly grab what you need without unpacking your whole pack. This pack also is equipped with many compression straps to help keep your load secure even with a lighter load.
Probably the coolest feature is the removable top lid to use as a small pack for any shorter day hikes will already on the trail also the belt pockets are great for storing things like snacks, compasses, camera, or whatever else you need really quick. Also this pack has a specific spot for a water bottle which can easily fit a Nalgene and has a strap to secure it down.
This pack is super durable and Gregory backs it with a lifetime guarantee if your pack has any defects. I've only been able to use this pack on a couple 2-day trips on some well kept trail, but all in all it held up great and I absolutely love this pack and would recommend it to anyone looking for a multiday pack. HAPPY HIKING.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200
Lots of pockets! Very comfortable! Plenty of adjustment straps!
LOVE THIS PACK!
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $139
Wow! After 33 years in the British Army, I wish I had something as comfortable as this to carry 100lbs on my back. With semi-prolaxed discs at 3 and 4 this pack is awesome. The extra weight is more than made up for in comfort and the durability, pockets, and style make this an easy access pack for everything I need for pretty lightweight packpacking. My wife can carry 20-25 lbs and I can carry everything else in this great rucksack and still keep it under 40Lbs.
- Back support and design
- The strap locks take a bit of getting used to and the waist belt pouches are too small to be worth it.
- Also the side pouches are constricted when the main pack is full.
Only a year away from retiring from the British Army and at my final tour attached to the U.S. military in DC for 3 years, my wife and I have taken up trekking and are slowly moving into lightweight packpacking.
I am determined to keep my carrying weight under 40lbs and my wife can manage about 25lbs. We see ourselves out for no more than 5 nights at a time, covering 15 miles per day.; Therefore my pack must be comfortable and easy to load.
From my younger days carrying heavy packs in the Army, I am amazed at what can now be bought commercially. I have tried many packs over the last few months and already had the Gregory Baltoro 65 in my top 3. Imagine my surprise when at REI's used sale, there it was, unused!!! and returned because it was not bigger enough!! selling for $139. It is now mine and has been used today for a 14 mile, 5hr hike.
It is great. It has easy access to all that you need when hiking, maps, water, cooker, rainwear, dry layers, snacks on the belt and then for the night, tent and sleeping mats come out of the main compartment. The material is strong and durable and the zips are sturdy. The frame itself is great with both the pack load, chest straps and waist straps adjustable. It is very comfortable and I really like the shoulder straps design, they fit really well.
On the downside the belt pouches are too small (I am used to a webbing belts with pouches all round. I used the front two for snacks etc). They need to be deeper and longer on this pack. Also the side pouches, are difficult to use when the pmain pack is full. They should have been bigger or with an extension zip, like on many overnight travel bags.
All in all, a great pack that keeps the pressure off my lower back. I have my alcohol stove and now just need cookware, tent and sleeping mats and we will hopefully retire back to UK with the AT behind us!!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $169 (discounted)
This is a load-hauler for a backpack of this size. It has proved to be not only comfortable but also very durable. Plethora of features is nice. Customer service from Gregory is outstanding.
- Comfortable under a heavy load
- Great durability
- Multiple access points to the inside
- Bottle pocket not often used.
I had done a preliminary review of this backpack shortly after purchase. Nearly 18 months later, I like the backpack more than I thought I would. A few observations from use:
- The shoulder and hipbelt padding is fairly firm on this pack out when it is brand new. it became more forgiving as I used it. otherwise, the adjustments to fit the pack and get the suspension comfortable are excellent. I really like the way it supports weight comfortably.
- A mouse ate through a hipbelt pocket not long after i got the backpack; i had left a clif bar in the pocket overnight. i tried to buy a replacement hip belt pad from Gregory; they refused, and instead sent me a set of hip belt pads for the cost of shipping only. extremely impressive.
- Despite quite a bit of use, the pack looks barely used. even taking 'the mouse incident' into account, excellent choice of materials to build this.
- I have grown to like most of the features. love the ice axe tool holders, the hip belt pockets, the multiple access points and pockets. great hydration reservoir solution. the only one i would re-think is a side water bottle pocket that i don't often use.
with that, my first impressions follow:
* * *
Consider this a preliminary review of a recent acquisition, designed to help people who are thinking about purchasing the backpack. I plan to follow up with a review based on significant use by mid to late summer.
My overall impression is that this backpack is comfortable, versatile, and has more features than I immediately need. I bought the large, which weighs nearly six pounds and holds 68 liters (4150 cubic inches). this isn't, by any definition, a lightweight backpack.
the suspension consists of a single metal stay, a flat piece of 7075 aluminum that is very rigid, which connects two hard flat plastic pieces in the vicinity of the shoulder strap attachment point and the lumbar region. Otherwise, this backpack does not have a plastic frame sheet. the only way to adjust torso length is a manual adjustment of the shoulder strap attachment point, a metal clip that passes through a slot. I think this gives about 2 inches of variation, but it explains why this pack is sold in three sizes, small-medium-large.
the back pad and lumber pad are made of a moderately firm foam; the lumber region has additional padding and a sticky silicone layer that is supposed to keep the pack from sliding down. the back pad has a few channels that might help with air circulation, but i won't know for a while how effective that is.
the back pad does not look like it will ventilate as well as the partial mesh on the Osprey Aether 70, for example. there are two hand-sized loops near the bottom on either side, in case someone might want to grab them and use their arms to support the pack bag. to me, they look a little thin for the job.
For me, the comfort of the suspension and load-carrying capabilities of this backpack are a strength. like most good packs this size, it has a sternum strap and dual load-lifter straps, as well as dual straps to tighten the pack to your lower back. the shoulder straps and hip belt wings are independently bolted to the top and bottom plastic pieces. as a result, the shoulder straps pivot in and out, and the hip belt wings pivot up and down. the angle of the shoulder straps and hip belt is not adjustable with a tool that can fix the angle - they pivot freely as you walk. as a result, as you walk and move, you can feel the pack body move slightly relative to the hip belt.
i don't think the pivoting hip belt is revolutionary, but it does help the belt consistently ride at the top of my pelvic bone where it is supposed to be - so far, this does not appear to be a pack that will have problems slipping off my hips. also, the pivots and the lack of a full-length frame sheet do help the backpack feel like it moves and flexes with you, more so than packs with a rigid plastic sheet.
the hip belt tightens from both sides via straps that pull inward - which is very easy to adjust. the shoulder strap pivot is barely noticeable as you walk. the hip belt and shoulder straps are made from foam that is noticeably thicker and more firm than the back pad, with the foam pre-curved. the stiffness of the foam was noticeable, particularly the hip belt, and might send some potential buyers elsewhere, because it feels harder than most other backpacks.
on the other hand, this backpack did a better job keeping fifty pounds from slipping off my hips than most other packs of comparable size, and did a better job handling that amount of weight generally than the competing packs I tried. i will be watching those attachment points, the swivel bolts, to see how durable they are.
The backpack has numerous 'features,' some more useful than others. the hip belt has two small zippered mesh pockets, but they are small - each could hold two regular clif bars or one small point and shoot digital camera, but my smart phone w/case doesn't fit. there are two side mesh pockets that are asymmetrical. the left pocket is vertical and can hold small items (gloves and hat or a one liter bottle) easily; i can reach it while walking with a little work.
the right pocket is more easily accessible because it angles toward the front and appears designed to hold a one-liter bottle - it actually has an adjustable shock cord designed to keep the bottle in place. But, a longer camelbak liter bottle had some trouble staying in place, so i will have to stick with shorter bottles. i think the angle and relatively shallow depth may make this pocket prone to losing things on a trail.
the pack has two long zippered side pockets that run shoulder to hip on each side, i like these for spare rain shells, or they could hold a camera tripod or tent poles. the front has a zippered outer pocket in the same place other companies put a "shove it" pocket. it can swallow my rain parka, but with the pack fully loaded, you would need to keep the top compression straps pretty loose if that pocket is full.
the pack has a good-sized hydration pocket that should hold two 100 liter reservoirs, and it has hydration ports near each shoulder strap, and loops on both shoulder straps to secure the water tube. the hydration ports each have velcro to keep them shut when not in use. there are three small hooks that look like they could hold the top hook of a hydration system, but they looked sufficiently small that i haven't used them and would have a concern about breakage.
access points to the interior are a strong suit - there is a bottom U-shaped zipper for a sleeping bag compartment, and you can unhook the top part of the compartment if you prefer one large bag (ps - unhooking the sleeping bag compartment could be easier - it's a similar system to the shoulder strap adjustment and takes a little time and focus). you have to unclip the outer bottom straps (eg for a sleeping pad) to unzip the lower compartment.
further up the front, there is another U-shaped zipper that roughly runs around the zippered shove-it pocket and gives you panel-loader-like access to the entire top half of the pack. But, you have to unclip the top pocket and the upper compression straps to unzip it. finally, it has traditional top access with a nice pull-cord system that is easy to open and close, even with gloves on. in general, i like the zipper pulls on this pack because they have a hard plastic piece that is pretty easy to use with gloves.
the inside has a load-compression strap to keep things in place, and the outside has a middle strap that could turn this into a roll-top if you don't want to use the top pocket.
the top has a relatively shallow top pocket, and a very small zippered pocket underneath - for things like car keys and a wallet. the top pocket can come off and serve as a fanny pack, though i haven't tried that yet. the pack has a number of outer attachment points that seem sturdy, two ice axe loops and two fairly sturdy fabric loops for holding axes or tools. the haul loop at the top of the pack seems very solid.
overall, i couldn't find loose seams, ragged edges, or fit and finish issues with the backpack - good quality control. the pack material is either solid or some kind of diamond-shaped pattern, both appear better suited for durability than for weight reduction.
* * *
my conclusion is that this is a top-notch backpack in its size/capacity range.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $250
Great pack, moves well, feels light.
- It moves well with your body
- although at 6-ish pounds it doesn't feel that way
- Great company
- Squeaks from time to time, I put sealant from water purifier on it and it stopped
Prior to thru hiking the AT, no previous hiking experience. This bag I walked one day without on a slack pack day, from that day forth I had it with me, way too comfortable to slack pack with something else when I was so used to the Baltoro.
Thanks from the Sunshine Gang 2012 Appalachian trail family
Source: borrowed it
With a good design for contain bags allocation; With a perfect backing system, make hiking comfortable with so 65 more liters.
- backing system
- materials should be wearable more
Good enough for long distance hiking.
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
This is without a doubt the most comfortable backpack I have ever owned. It is tough and roomy. It requires very little adjustment. It left my shoulders and back feeling fine at the end of a long day of dodging blowdowns.
The only complaint is the weight which comes in at 6+ pounds for the large.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $280
A great pack to start with because it is comfortable, great weight distribution system, and easy access.
- Most comfortable hip belt
- Best weight distribution system
- Easy access to all pockets
- Not a lightweight bag
- Easy to over pack
I am a beginner backpacker and this was my first pack I liked. It is very comfortable, has a great weight distribution system, and easy access to all parts of the bag. The hip belt is wide and very padded, which makes it very comfortable and the shoulder straps are very ridged which I like because they will not rest on my shoulders unless I want them to.
I carried around 55 pounds in this bag with no issues. The only issue I ran into was hip belt blisters because I had my pants too high and they were rubbing me.
This is a great pack for someone starting out who is not concerned with weight.