Reviews

12

This newly released lightweight backpack is equipped…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps

Summary

This newly released lightweight backpack is equipped with user-friendly features without adding unnecessary weight. Supreme comfort meets a lighter base pack weight! This backpack is ideal for both the casual overnight hiker, and the long distance backpacker covering ground day-in, and day-out.

Pros

  • Extremely Comfortable
  • Feature Rich For Weight
  • Included Rain Cover

Cons

  • Long Term Durability Concerns
  • Poor Back Ventilation
  • Some Features Unnecessary For A Lightweight Pack
  • Minor Design Flaws* (See Review)


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Gregory has entered the market with their new line of lightweight backpacks, the Men's Paragon & Women's Maven series. Recreational backpacking has become obsessed with becoming UL (ultralight) over the past several years, allowing hikers to achieve their personal goals without so much of the ‘pain-in-the-neck’. After approximately four months and about two hundred miles of testing, this pack has shown to be truly luxe in comfort, however Gregory has paid the price in long-term durability… 

NOTE: Some of the design flaws noted in this review have been addressed By Gregory Packs, and we at Trailspace are waiting to hear back about further information regarding these fixes. 


IMG_7941.jpgWinter backpacking on the Appalachian Trail

Specs

Volume- 58 Liters

Weight- 3lb 9oz (3lb 4oz minimum weight)

Measurements- 31”H x 13”W x 10” D

Load Range (Estimated by tester)- 12-40lbs

Frame Type- 7001 aluminum internal perimeter frame

Fabric- 210D CryptoRip nylon/100D high tenacity nylon

Included Rain Cover- Yes

 

Fit, Comfort, and Ride

The Gregory Paragon 58 is one of the only packs tested to have no break-in time, with truly out-of-the-box comfort. The MD/LRG 17"-21” pack size was tested, and the fit was right on the target for a 5’10” 155lb tester. 


IMG_5782.jpgFully loaded pack for 7 days was found to be superbly comfortable!

Each size available to the consumer has four inches of torso adjustment, allowing the user to use a simple hook & loop system to get that perfect fit. 


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IMG_5700.jpgHook & Loop torso Adjustment


IMG_5699.jpgEasy to read markings help for easy adjustment!


Gregory’s Quickadjust technology is also used for the hip belt suspension.


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The Aerolon suspension in the Paragon 58 is very comfortable, using an aluminum perimeter frame. 


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Maximum pack weight of approximately 40lbs was used on several winter overnights, and did not overload the suspension system of the pack. As far as carriage is concerned, this is a near perfect system. Gregory specs the maximum carry of the 58L model to be 50lbs. 


IMG_7930.jpg40lbs on a multi-day winter trip was still found to be very comfortable!


Although the webbing and straps for pack adjustment are more svelte for weight reduction, no flaws were evident with the redesign. 


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Gregory uses a silicone coated lumbar pad, using their proprietary ‘Gription’ technology. 


IMG_5618.jpgThis lumbar pad stays put!

One of the main concerns found testing the pack in regards to comfort is back ventilation. Gregory touts their Matrix ventilation system to provide ‘exceptional airflow’, however the results are far less than exciting. 


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Understanding the need for the back panel to provide structure for comfort, this ultimately is not a deal breaker considering how comfortable the ride is. The 58 liter volume spec seems to be true to size. When carrying less, the four compression straps (two per side) do an adequate job. 


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Note the lower straps act as double duty to retain tent poles or water bottles that are in the side pockets. 


IMG_7783.jpgA lonely, cold winter night for the Gregory waiting for the Greyhound bus back home

The side pockets are medium in size, but will hold a 32oz Nalgene bottle. The right side pocket has a 45° angle second access point, which is user friendly to get access to water, or a snack.


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IMG_7687.jpgThe Paragon 58 is stripped down for a fast & light winter overnight



When removing the top lid, the front attachment straps can easily be removed. Two lower front accessory straps are also easily removable for weight savings. 


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IMG_5800.jpgThe main & lower straps attach via larks head/girth hitch



Although not problematic, the attachment straps for the top lid don’t have a place to stow. Trailspace is waiting to hear back from Gregory about design changes. 


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Another design oversight is the functionality of the removable main compartment divider as a lid for the pack. When attempting to do so, the user will find the attachment clips are a different size, rendering this option useless. Once again, Trailspace is waiting to hear back from Gregory about design changes. 


IMG_5803.jpgThe main compartment pack divider 

IMG_5804.jpgThe divider can easily be removed using this floating clip


IMG_5805.jpgThe clip gets attached at the load lifter

IMG_5807.jpgSee the difference between the lid (top) and the flap (bottom)?


IMG_5808.jpgUsing the divider flap is incompatible!

The Paragon has two generously sized hip belt pockets; one mesh, one water resistant. 


IMG_8492.jpgThe mesh pocket holds a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), and much more

IMG_5688.jpgThe water resistant pocket is equally sized

The elastic mesh front pocket is a nice place to store wet or quick-access items. Although this very stretchy material allows the user to store lots in the pocket, long-term durability is questionable. 


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Although somewhat hidden, there is a stash pocket under the mesh for storing the included rain cover. 


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IMG_7767.jpgMoving fast during a rainy winter day near Warner Gap


IMG_7778.jpgThe included rain cover is highly water resistant


The main compartment of the backpack has two access points; the standard top opening, and the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom.


IMG_5740.jpgOne hand pull open/one hand pull closed design is used for main pack access


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IMG_8501.jpgTraditional lower pack access is available for buried items


There are several other notable features of the Paragon, like the useful sunglass quickstow, and the trekking pole attachments.


IMG_5779.jpgThe sunglass stow is useful, and well designed


IMG_5669.jpgThe upper trekking pole attachment has a elastic hook system


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IMG_5801.jpgThe lower trekking pole attachment manually adjusts to stay tight


Some people may find the hydration reservoir sleeve useful, which acts double-duty as an ultra-light summit pack. 


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Available as a separate accessory, Gregory has a newly designed hydration reservoir for their backpacks. Andrew F. of the Trailspace Gear Review Corps reviewed the Gregory 3D Hydro 3L Reservoir for Trailspace. 


IMG_5742.jpgA hydration reservoir is clipped to the top frame

IMG_5746.jpgNote the second zippered compartment on the summit bag

IMG_5763.jpgThe summit pack is perfect for water resupply & a snack!

IMG_5757.jpgSide view of the summit pack

The main area of concern with this pack is it’s questionable long-term durability. Following the second or third use, the connection between the mesh pocket, and main upper mount point began to come undone. This is a critical area that has to withstand lots of daily stress! It is not possible to determine if this separation is a design flaw, or poor sewing…


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The Gregory Paragon 58 has been tested during the winter 2016-2017 season over approximately 200 miles along the Appalachian Trail, and mid-Atlantic US. 


IMG_2098.jpgCatching a quick view at High Rock, near the Mason Dixon Line on the AT


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Whether going out for a quick overnight, or thru hiking a long distance trail, The Gregory Paragon 58 can do it all! Many thanks to the people out at Gregory for the opportunity to test this product for the Trailspace Gear Review Corps!


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denis daly

Sean I have to say your photos and review peeked my curiosity...I came back to your review 3 times looking at the pictures and reading your thoughts on it..I looked at the hipbelt pictures the most and the mesh...The hipbelt I need to see in person to get more of an idea of what they did here..They had issues in the past not to long ago with the hipbelts from long distance hikers in 2015...I know I met 3 of the 14 that bought different packs when they broke..The mesh I dont think will be a problem..Thats a fine mesh integrated it looks from the pictures with material.. If you look at my profile picture thats an older ULA Catalyasis with mesh..The pack has over 2000 miles on it.I bought it used in 2011 and I put 1300 miles on it..Larger mesh holes and no rips or runs...But mesh packs arn't made for bushwhacking...I thought your review was excellent and I want to see this pack because of certain features. I looked up which outfitters by me carry Gregory so I found 4 so I am calling today to see who has it..This is almost the ideal liter pack for a LD Hiker..


12 days ago
Sean Van Cleve GUIDE/OUTFITTER

Thanks Denis! It's funny that you mention it, my go-to pack is a ÜLA Catalyst...


12 days ago
G00SE MODERATOR

Your comment on ventilation speaks to why I prefer an external frame pack. I just like having the air moving behind me. Excellent review, Sean!


11 days ago
Euphorbia

Awesome review, m8, above and beyond... And it looks like you had the right pack to review too, as in quality... Well done, Sir!


9 days ago
Rob R

I have the new 2017 version of this pack. The issue with the sleeping bag compartment separator having differing buckles was addressed. It can be used as a lid in place of the normal lid. I looked at the seam where the stitching was failing on the test pack and didn't see any issues yet. I'll have to keep an eye on it as the pack gets more use.


9 days ago

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