Gregory Contour 50 Pack
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Gregory for testing and review)
The Gregory Contour 50 is a small, lightweight, well-built backpack featuring Gregory’s Trail Smart Packing System with organization for Camp, Trail, and On-the-Go. It is designed as a weekend pack and carries moderate loads very well.
- Well made
- Comfortable if not overloaded
- Offers innovative packing system that works
- Waterproof top pocket
- Hydration pocket hard to use with a full pack
- Water bottle pockets too tight
- Some people may want more padding
Boasting an innovative way to organize your pack with three different packing zones for your gear – around camp, on the trail, and on the go -- the Gregory Contour 50 makes packing and accessing your gear quick and easy.
It provides a main compartment for storage, a zippered front pocket, and a good-sized dump pocket. Also included are two side water bottle pockets and two hip belt pockets. The Contour also comes with an external hydration sleeve, giving access to a water bladder quick and easy.
Capacity & Weight
Weighing in at 3 lbs 15 oz / 1.79 kg (4 lbs 2 oz / 1.87 kg with the included rain fly) and a volume of 52 liters / 3173 cubic inches (medium size), the backpack isn’t designed for extended trips or for carrying heavy loads. Gregory claims its comfort level is 45 lbs / 20 kg, but, personally, I found this to be a bit much for the pack. I did find it to be comfortable with loads upwards to 35 pounds.
Speaking of comfort, the Contour incorporates a lightweight hip belt, and thinly padded shoulder straps. While not uncomfortable, a bit more padding would be welcome, especially while carrying heavier loads. The hip belt is easily adjustable and molded to my body well. Internally, the backpack sports a wire wishbone frame. I found the pack to be quite stable while carrying loads less than 30 pounds, even while scrambling over trail-less terrain in the southern Utah desert.
Getting back to the Trail Smart Packing System, I found the Contour 50’s three dedicated packing areas to be well thought out and easy to use. The main compartment, accessed via the top, is the area designed for items you would need around camp, i.e. tent, sleeping bag, cookware, stove, etc. This compartment takes up a little over half of the pack's available space. It is also accessible by a side zipper running down the left side of the pack for about 16 inches. It makes getting to items stored in the bottom of the pack much easier.
The zippered front pocket, the dump pocket, and the very nicely designed top pocket are designed for items you’ll need access to while on the trail. This is where you’ll most likely store your rain jacket or coat, extra layers of clothing, trail food, and the like. I found this worked quite well. I appreciated the mesh divider and small zippered pocket included here.
Zippered front pocket for trail-needed gear
The top pouch has water resistant zipper which folds and rolls under, giving it less chance to leak if wet. The top pocket is also constructed of two layers of material, giving it even more waterproofness. There is also a zippered compartment under the lid.
The third and final dedicated packing areas of the Contour’s Trail Smart Packing System are the side water bottle pouches and the hip belt storage areas. This is where you will most likely keep a water bottle or long items such as tent poles, and perhaps trail snacks (hip belt pockets). I found the side water bottle storage areas too tight to get a standard quart-sized water bottle in and out easily, especially when the pack was on and even more so when the pack was stuffed full. This may not be an issue with a larger capacity version on the Contour, but it is with the Contour 50. The hip pockets are a tad too small to carry a smart phone, GPS, or point-and-shoot camera. Their zippers do function well on the pockets, which are best suited to very small items or snacks.
The Contour also has a small, zippered side stash pocket located on the right side, and below the water bottle pocket. While it’s not the easiest thing to access, it’s usable and made a great place to store a beanie cap and lightweight gloves.
The Contour’s external hydration sleeve is a feature that I find difficult to use, especially when the backpack is full. Internal contents pushing out on the sleeve make getting a full bladder in and out very hard. Again, perhaps this is due to the pack’s small size and might not be a problem in the Contour 60 or 70.
I found the Contour 50 to be pretty comfortable when carrying loads up to 35 pounds or so. The padding along the back of the pack isn’t overly stuffed, but it does have a nice feel. It’s airy and provides some standoff of the pack from your back. As mentioned, the shoulder straps and hip belt are thinly padded, but do their job with moderate loads. Each side of the hip belt is independent of the other, allowing for a bit of individual movement – a nice feature.
Usability is not something I’d normally mention in a backpack review, but I wanted to say that I found the pack a bit overwhelming at first. The first thing I noticed was the overabundance of straps and connectors. There are multiply sets of tie downs, compression straps, and connectors on this pack. After getting it loaded, all the straps made sense, but still, there are lots of them.
Also, the whole premise of this pack, with its three part Trail Smart Packing System may seem geared toward the backpacking neophyte, and perhaps it is, but don’t let that deter you from seriously looking at this backpack if you are in the market.
I did find that the Contour 50, due to its smaller size, is best suited to overnight backpacking trips -- perhaps two nights if you are careful how much you pack. I found that it filled up rapidly.
The Gregory Contour 50 is a well thought out, well-made, lightweight backpack. It’s stylish, has plenty of room for one or two day’s gear and food, and is very comfortable with moderate loads. The integrated packing system works well in helping you organize your gear. The included rainfly is well designed and fits well. I was not happy with the usability of the external hydration sleeve and the water bottle pockets, but this was by no means a deal killer.
I’d recommend this pack to beginner and seasoned backpackers, alike.
Where to Buy
Here's what other sites are saying:
The Gregory Contour 50 Pack is a great size for a weekend pack. It features Response LT suspension and a wishbone wire frame giving you a lightweight pack that doesn't compromise comfort. The Contour 50 was designed around the Trail Smart Packing System which organizes your gear for camp, trail and on-the-go.
Gregory's Contour 50 Backpack is a weekender's dream. Built to be light, fit great and be comfortable and designed with the Trail Smart Packing System in mind, this is a great back if you're going out for a couple nights. Response LT Suspension Wishbone Wire frame Auto-fit waistbelt with ventilated channels Contoured backpanel with breathable spacer mesh and ventilated air channels Highly water-resistant top pocket with waterproof zipper and sealed seams Integrated rain cover
Key Features of the Gregory Contour 50 PackWishbone Wire frameResponse LT formed auto-fit waistbeltVentilated air channelsMonobond ArchitectureThermo-bonded, four layer constructionContoured backpanelBreathable spacer meshTrail Smart Packing SystemOrganization for CampTrail and On-the-Go gearHighly water resistant top pocketWater proof zipperSealed seemsIntegrated, color-matched rain coverExternal hydration sleeveSide stash security pocketQuick draw closure on main accessStash pocketLarge front dump pocketTwin oversize side pocketsDual waistbelt pockets420D and 100D Robic fabricsUTS coatingGregory Contour 50 PackPrepare to fall in love with the Gregory Contour 50 Pack, innovative packing system that creates the ideal space and separation for all of your gear. The main compartment of the Contour 50 has top loading access and, in addition, a large, U-shaped front zipper enables you to quickly put hands on gear and or clothes without having to dump out the entire contents of your pack. It is comprised of a lightweight, sturdy steel wire frame, an anti-barreling stay and lightweight foam and mesh backpanel, the Contour 50's Response LT suspension effectively transfers load to your hips and provides comfortable support. The lightweight Gregory Contour 50 Pack is a backpacking breakthrough, offering precise Gregory fit innovative organization and efficient gear access for comfort and performance in the wilderness.
The lightweight Gregory Contour 50 pack is a backpacking breakthrough, offering precise Gregory fit, innovative organization and efficient gear access for comfort and performance in the wilderness. Suspension offers legendary Gregory comfort and strong, light support with a patented hipbelt alignment system, streamlined back panel and wire wishbone frame. Shoulder straps feature a layer of monofilament mesh, perforated EVA foam and 2 layers of air-mesh on the top and bottom, all bonded together for breathability and comfort. Hipbelt auto-adjusts to fit your unique body shape the moment you put on the pack; ventilated air channels and breathable spacer mesh on the back panel permit cooling airflow. Light and sturdy wire wishbone frame provides effective load transfer to your lumbar area; integrated cross-stay helps maintain proper pack shape and prevents barreling. Innovative packing system features 3 sections that separate your trail gear from camp items, and keeps frequently-grabbed essentials at your fingertips. Each section allows easy access to your gear when you need it and distributes the weight properly for intuitive packing and comfortable carry. Highly water-resistant top pocket features a waterproof zipper and sealed seams; top-loading design features a quick-draw closure and a stash pocket under the lid. External hydration sleeve makes it easy to access and fill your reservoir; it attaches directly to internal frame (reservoir sold separately). Organize gear within easy reach with a side security pocket, large front dump pocket, dual oversize side pockets and hipbelt pockets. 2-stage compression straps on the lower pack body and over the main top opening help stabilize and compress your load. Integrated raincover helps keep contents dry when the weather takes a wet turn.