Best Gregory Backpacks Review

The founder of the company, Wayne Gregory, has been modifying and prototyping backpacks since childhood. His meticulous attention to detail allowed him to create anatomical harnesses that work with your body, not against it. When designing, special attention is paid to fitting to the figure for male and female models, so it is very important to choose the size of the backpack for yourself.

Gregory backpacks are distinguished by their manufacturability and reliability. Check out @gregorypackseu for a glimpse of what backpacks look like on tourists, and you’ll get hundreds of photos of smiling faces on the trail.

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How to find the size of your Gregory backpack

To appreciate the comfort of your Gregory backpacks, it’s important to get the right fit. Wayne Gregory himself constantly mentions the importance of the correct fit of the backpack in his interviews. The fit and size of your backpack is important for a number of reasons. The right size allows you to feel comfortable and use less energy on the route. At the same time, load the backpack as much as possible without losing comfort. For the correct selection, it is enough to go through three simple steps.

Measure your back length

Measure your back length with a tape measure. To do this, tilt your head forward to make it easier to find the most prominent vertebra at the base of the neck, called C7. From this point, stretch the tape measure along the spine until you reach the iliac center. This is the point in the center of your spine that coincides with the highest point on your hipbone.

Choose your size

Now you can find out which size of Gregory backpacks is right for you. Keep in mind that all Gregory backpacks are the same size regardless of gender: male medium and female medium are exactly the same.

Try on a backpack

It is advisable to load it at least 7-10 kg. In “Sport-Marathon” there are special weights. Now make sure the top edge of the hip belt is 2.5 cm above your ilium.

The shoulder straps should wrap around the shoulders and wrap around the back, about 8 cm below the top of the shoulders. If the straps are pulled back or lifted off your shoulders, try using a backpack one size smaller.

Best Gregory Expedition Backpacks

We classified heavyweight backpacks in this category with a volume of about 100 liters, focused on carrying very heavy loads weighing more than 30 kg. All feature the most comfortable Autocant shoulder straps that individually adapt to the angles of the shoulder without the need for adjustment, and their foam gradually forms and over time fits more precisely and softer. On the belt, molded inserts made of dense LifeSpan EVA foam are responsible for comfort during long-term carrying of the load.

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#1 Gregory Denali 100 Backpack

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  • Purpose: high-altitude and difficult ascents, winter expeditions, ski tourism.
  • Carrying capacity: 36 kg.

The largest and most lifting backpack in the company’s range. Named after the highest mountain in North America – Denali Peak with a height of 6135 meters, located in Alaska. And such a name was chosen for a reason.

A special feature of the backpack is the back material – soft foam is used instead of the traditional air-mesh. Snow does not stick to it, it does not absorb moisture and is not clogged with fine litter. At the same time, the foam on the straps, back and belt of the backpack adheres gently to the clothes, reducing its wear from friction.

The bottom of the backpack is very durable and is stitched in two layers of water-resistant 640D nylon. The material stretches up to a third of the height of the front panel of the backpack, which allows you to put it on wet snow or grass without fear of getting wet inside the gear quickly. Overall, Denali is made from very durable 420D nylon, which is puncture resistant by crampons, ice tools and even rough handling.

Gregory Denali’s high carrying capacity is due to the design of its back: Fusion Flex Pro. It is based on a rigid frame with two vertical and one transverse supports made of 7075 aluminum alloy. The backrest provides a slight dynamic support and does not twist even under heavy loads, eliminating the deformation of the backpack.

For lighter weight, a snug fit to the back and better weight distribution from the shoulders to the waist, the Denali’s backrest is not adjustable in height. Together, these properties make Gregory Denali very convenient on mountain routes of high difficulty categories, requiring climbing on difficult terrain. And in order for the backpack to sit well, it is produced in three sizes at once.
The Gregory Denali belt and shoulder straps are long enough to fit so that it is equally comfortable to wear with both winter and summer clothes. The belt has loops for attaching drag sleds and an additional sling for hanging carbines and ice screws. The main compartment can be accessed from the top and from the sides – the zippers open wide enough so that you can quickly find the necessary equipment in the large volume of the backpack.

A powerful and comfortable harness, durable materials, large volume and many attachment points for a variety of equipment, including snowboard or alpine skiing, make Gregory Denali an excellent choice for multi-day winter expeditions, mountaineering and alpine-style climbing.

#2 Gregory Baltoro 95 Pro Backpack

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  • Purpose: high-altitude and difficult ascents, long expeditions, solo trips with a large amount of equipment.
  • Carrying capacity: 34 kg.

The Baltoro 95 Pro is an improved model of the Baltoro series of travel backpacks, while retaining their inherent details. For example, a rain cover, a capacious kangaroo pocket on the front, a removable backpack for radials and slanted side pockets from which you can get a flask of water on the go.

The key difference of the Baltoro 95 Pro lies in its increased volume and correspondingly “reinforced” suspension system. The Response Pro back is designed to carry up to 34 kg for maximum stability when carrying a heavy load. This is achieved due to the greater length and diameter of the aluminum frame compared to the “regular” Baltoro models. The belt also differs from the standard versions. The Pro model has reduced belt stabilization travel to provide increased support and stability for the backpack at maximum load.

Unlike the Denali 100, the back of the Baltoro 95 Pro is perforated, covered with a mesh and well ventilated, which makes it more comfortable to wear in the warm season. Its outer material and frame are slightly thinner, but the backpack has more pockets for convenient storage and quick access, making it more user-friendly and easier to handle. The model is often purchased by guides, since the Baltoro 95 Pro works well both in warm valleys on the approaches to the route and on ascents, and its carrying capacity and volume allow carrying group or winter equipment.

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Best Gregory Travel Backpacks

This category includes backpacks of different sizes and capacities, depending on the duration and style of the hike. If this is a route for 7 days or more with overnight stays in a tent and a heavy load, then the Baltoro and Deva tourist backpacks for 60-85 liters will be the best option. For hikes of less than a week, the Paragon and Maven models with 65-68 liters are suitable. And for trekking with overnight stays in shelters or hiking in the Fast & Light style, the ultralight Optic and Octal have been created for 45-48 liters.

#3 Travel backpacks Baltoro 75/85 and Deva 60/70/80

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  • Purpose: sports mountain tourism of high categories, autonomous hikes for a week or more. A versatile backpack for most routes with a very comfortable back.
  • Carrying capacity: 24-27 kg.

The Baltoro and Deva series are one of the most popular and award-winning backpacks in the Gregory catalog. So, after several months of thorough testing, the editors of Outside magazine awarded them with the Gear of the Year award, recognizing them as “the best sports equipment of the season.” And the Backpacker magazine team gave Baltoro / Deva backpacks their Editor’s Choice award twice – in 2015 and 2018, after updating the models.

Matrix ventilated back, shoulder straps and a belt of 3D Air Hipbelts excellently wick away moisture and fit perfectly, avoiding pressure points in places of contact with the body. The Response A3 back provides adaptive support, with the shoulder straps and waistband not firmly attached, but moving to follow your movements. This allows you to align the center of gravity on different terrain, be it a steep climb or an area with large rocks, and save forces that you would otherwise spend on stabilization. It may sound small, but with each step the effect accumulates, reducing fatigue and allowing you to enjoy more nature.

If you are just taking your first steps in tourism and are planning to go on commercial trips or join a tourist club, then Baltoro and Deva will do the job best. The backpack is roomy enough so that you don’t have to hang a lot of equipment from above, and on short hikes with a couple of overnight stays, its extra volume can be pulled together with side slings. Then the equipment inside will not dangle, and the backpack itself will look neat.

A nice bonus in the package is a small backpack weighing only 132 grams for radial excursions and day walks. It is worn inside the main compartment and can be converted into a drinking bag. The second important plus: a rain cover is included. Today, it is not always found in large backpacks, and usually has to be purchased separately.

#4 Paragon 68 and Maven 65 Lightweight Travel Backpacks

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  • Purpose: weekly routes, sports hikes of the initial categories, weekend hikes, travel.
  • Payload: 22.7 kg.

The Paragon backpack and its female modification Maven have a large volume and an impressive load capacity for their very modest weight of 1.68 kg. Both models have the most ventilated back in the Gregory range and rival the best in the travel backpack market.

The Gregory team managed to combine the height adjustment of the backrest with maximum ventilation, which is very rare. The Aerolon’s mesh rear panel is made from matrix foam, making the suspension lightweight yet very heavy-duty for its class. And the adjustment of the position of the straps allows you to customize the backpack for yourself, not only for you, but also for family members and friends. The breathable backrest has good flexibility and follows body movements, which adds comfort on the route. The mesh design of the hip strap fits comfortably around the lower back and thighs.

The model will be a good choice if you do not go far from civilization and strive to reduce the weight of equipment, but want to maintain sufficient comfort when carrying the load. Such a backpack is perfect for hiking with a tent for more than a week, for example, along the Lycian Trail: there are many shops on the route and you do not have to overload the backpack with food for a week in advance, it is enough to have a supply for 1-2 days.

#5 Optic 48 and Octal 45 ultra light travel backpacks

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  • Purpose: hiking with an overnight stay in shelters, short hikes, long hikes in ultralight style.
  • Carrying capacity: 14 kg.

Gregory believes that losing weight by reducing the durability and comfort of the backpack is a poor investment. Therefore, the brand team has developed a backpack that meets the standards of easy travel, without sacrificing its good fit and functionality. The result of their work was the Optic 48 and its female version, the Octal 45, which weigh only 1.12 and 1.05 kg, respectively, with a carrying capacity of 14 kg.

The developers made a special emphasis on a well-ventilated back, belt and shoulder straps that perfectly absorb and wick away moisture, which is important in warm regions, as well as for easy-going people who prefer quick passage of their routes. The top flap is removed and the entrance is closed off by a flap made of lightweight fabric with a fastex buckle. On the front panel there is a kangaroo pocket in which you can dry clothes, and on the sides there are spacious pockets with quick access to a flask of water so that you can take it out on the go without removing your backpack.
The backpacks are great for hiking trails in shelters, such as in Nepal during trekking around Annapurna or to Everest Base Camp. They will fit everything you need: from a light sleeping bag and clothes to a thermos and a snack for the day. If you have a rich travel experience and are careful about choosing your equipment, keeping its weight down, then with the Optic backpack you can walk a route of several thousand kilometers or use it for simple ascents. For example, to walk the trail of the Pacific Ridge in the USA or climb Elbrus in an ultralight style.

#6 Additional backpack Gregory Nano 14

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  • Purpose: for one-day hikes and radial hikes, walks.
  • Payload: 6.8 kg.

The Nano is an extremely useful backpack that folds into a main bag and can be used as a garment bag. You will need it when the camp is located at a distance from the river and you need to collect water. Or you make a radial exit and take a puff with a flashlight. Wide shoulder straps keep your shoulders from fatiguing from excessive pressure.

When flying by air, you can remove the necessary equipment and valuables in it for hand luggage. Its functionality is impossible to evaluate without trying it, we recommend everyone to use the Nano 14 on hikes.

The backpack is very durable, made of 210D and 420D weave, allows you to comfortably carry loads up to 6.8 kg with a backpack weighing only 170 grams. This compares favorably with many analogues made of ultra-light fabrics, which require attention and careful handling.

If necessary, additional equipment can be attached to the outer loops.

Best Gregory Climbing Backpacks

Backpacks for technical mountaineering in the Gregory catalog are represented by the Alpinisto series.

#7 Gregory Alpinisto Backpacks

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  • Purpose: mountaineering ascents and ski mountaineering.
  • Payload: 15.9 / 23 kg.

The backpack has a minimalist design, but with everything you need. The fittings are reinforced with aluminum, plastic fastexes will not break here, because they are pressed against the stones. This gives the reliability much needed in the mountains. At the same time, the backpack is lightweight compared to competitors. Lightweight and durable materials do not provide him with prohibitive strength, but due to the lower weight, they allow him to spend less strength and move faster.

The VertFlex back, shoulder straps and waistband are specially designed for winter use. High density waterproof foam does not absorb moisture and does not add weight to the backpack. On ascents, this is especially important, since you do not have to waste time and keep track of where you put your backpack. The Fusion Lite frame is an Alloy 7001 tubular aluminum frame with a crossbar and flexible HDPE sheet. It helps to place the load as close to the back as possible, which is important on technically difficult routes, as it gives the necessary freedom of movement.

For the rest, we have a classic mountaineering backpack: clamps for two ice tools, a loop for carabiners, a rope bay is attached from above. The top flap on the Alpinisto comes unfastened. There are also loops for fixing skis with a “house”, which allow you to use the backpack in ski mountaineering.

Perfect for mountaineering, assault ascents or changing in an alpine camp, for example, in Tuyuk-Su.

Best Gregory Travel Backpacks

Models from this category are designed for travel and flights – travel or business trips.

#8 Backpacks Gregory Tetrad 40/60

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  • Purpose: travel, business trips and adventure travel.
  • Payload: 15.9 / 20.4 kg.

Tetrad combines the convenience of a backpack with the capacity of a luggage bag. The 40-liter version is designed to be as streamlined as possible and meets the carry-on regulations for most airlines. And the 60-liter Tetrad model comes with an additional small detachable backpack on the front panel, which you can take in your hand luggage or for a walk around the city.

The model turned out to be universal, it has compartments for a laptop and a tablet, many pockets, handles for easy transportation, a rain cover that can also be fully zipped by hiding the straps of the backpack. At the same time, there is a belt with powerful support, allowing you to carry up to 20.4 kg so you can take even more equipment and things.

A water-resistant Active Shield compartment separates wet and dirty items from clean items and keeps unpleasant odors out. You can even attach a mat and a tent to the side slings.

Unlike other travel backpacks, the Tetrad is equally comfortable to travel as well as to make small excursions into the forest or carry it in everyday life.

Best Children’s backpacks Gregory

Gregory kids’ backpacks meet the same requirements as adults. The only difference is in size. Therefore, the backpacks have an equally comfortable fit and are made from equally durable materials.

#9 Travel backpacks for children and teenagers Gregory Wander 50/70

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  • Purpose: LDPE, children’s hiking and school trips.
  • Payload: 18.1 kg.

Comfort is a critical priority for the first steps in backpacking, which is why the Wander combines excellent ventilation and precise adjustment to the height and body of the young hiker to create the perfect fit.

The spring steel frame is directly connected to the hip belt to ensure excellent weight distribution from the shoulders to the hips and waist. At the same time, it provides sufficient flexibility in movement to walk on a trail with difficult terrain without unnecessary energy consumption.

The height of the straps is adjustable within 10 cm, which allows you to adjust the backpack following the growth of the young tourist. In this case, you can adjust not only the length of the back of the backpack, but also the girth of its belt. Access to the main compartment through a U-shaped zipper allows for easy unpacking and packing of the backpack in the camp, there is a kangaroo pocket for clothes on the front panel, and a rain cover is included in the package.

At Gregory, backpacks have been created for almost 45 years, and the company’s team has always relied on the comfort and functionality of their models. See for yourself! See you on the mountain trails!

The emergence of the Gregory company

As is often the case, Gregory is the name of the founder of the company. For the first time, Wayne Gregory began to develop the design of backpacks at a very young age, when he was only 14 years old. Wayne’s childhood head injury prevented him from playing most sports. Therefore, the boy became a devoted fan of hiking, joining the ranks of the Boy Scouts. And one of his aspirations was to improve the heavy canvas backpacks of the time. He believed that if so much time and effort is devoted to designing shoes for the sake of comfort, then why not do the same for backpacks. This desire grew into the idea that the backpack should fit the figure, and then its load will be correctly distributed, and it will work along with the body movements, and not interfere with them.
Like many of the pioneers in the outdoor gear industry, Wayne Gregory mastered the sewing machine to sew new and modify old backpacks himself.

Soon, the young scout took a job at The Adventure 16, or A16, initially specializing in hiking and wildlife adventure films, then refocused on the development and sale of camping gear. Its founder, Ralph Andy Drollinger, was a design engineer by profession, and in 1957, he took up the creation of products for the camping and Boy Scouts, and for Wayne he became something of a senior mentor.

Gregory focused his efforts on coming up with new designs for tents and backpacks, as well as finding materials for them. The young designer also consulted Dick Kelty, whose backpacks were perhaps the most advanced in the United States in the mid-1950s, and Wayne even tweaked their frames.

Wayne Gregory’s first solo swimming experience took place in 1970. Then he opened his first own enterprise for the production of frame backpacks. The company was named Sunbird – “Sunbird”, but it was short-lived. The business closed after three years. Wayne at that moment became disillusioned with frame backpacks. He was not satisfied with either their design or appearance. The frames distributed the weight well, but only at the expense of flexibility and mobility, which was a problem for climbers and mountain tourists who did not walk along prepared trails, but overcame technically difficult sections.

Wayne went on to design backpacks, but as a freelancer, and worked for the then booming American outdoor companies: Alpenlite, Gerry Outdoors, Frostline Kits and Snow Lion. In addition to backpacks, he designed sleeping bags, tents and even some clothing items for them.

In 1977, Gregory decided to return to his own business of producing backpacks. He became the manager of a climbing equipment store, and in his back room, Wayne was quietly sewing backpacks for sale. This time, he focused on developing models with an internal frame, which had just started to appear on the American market. In his store, he talked to customers all the time. New materials, designs and technologies – what they liked and what they didn’t. The ideas of many clients were later used in the development of new models. Gregory was finally convinced that the fit of the backpack was the most important thing, and threw all his energy into working on it. Wayne soon created his own backpack suspension system, which comfortably distributed a lot of weight from the shoulders to the hips, but retained sufficient flexibility for comfortable movement. Also in 1977, Gregory Mountain Products was founded.

Gregory backpacks were already among the most expensive on the market at the time of their appearance. For comparison: in 1981, the tourist Gregory Snow Creek cost $ 188, and its counterparts of about the same volume – the Kelty Tour Pack and The North Face Moraine – $ 134 and $ 120, respectively. Despite this, Gregory backpacks were readily purchased by participants in difficult mountain hikes and climbers. Among them was, for example, the famous American traveler and climber Doug Robinson, who ordered himself a backpack for climbing Ama Dablam directly from Wayne Gregory back in 1978. Already in 1981, Backpacker magazine reasonably called Gregory one of the leaders in the creation of the most advanced backpacks and the main competitor of Lowe Alpine in the USA.

Wayne did not limit himself to hiking and mountaineering, and in the early 1980s also developed a backpack for the city and day trips. It cost a considerable $ 70 with an average cost of such models of about $ 35-40, but was recognized by the Backpacker as the best for the excellent fit and “fitting” figure. This became Wayne Gregory’s creed and specialty. He made backpacks according to the figure – as anatomically correct and comfortable as possible. Every spring, he flew with his assistants to the East Coast of the United States to submit his products for testing to local tourists on the ultra-long Appalachian Trail. And repair the previous ones, if necessary.

Gregory backpacks were already produced in different sizes to suit people of different heights and builds. In the United States, Wayne Gregory was the first to do this. He also tried to complement his backpacks with a wide range of adjustments for the shoulder straps, lumbar pad and waist belt so that everyone could fit them exactly to their needs. And this ultimately made it possible to transfer the weight of the backpack to the hips of the tourist as efficiently as possible, so that he did not drag his shoulders and less constrained movement on the route. So much attention to the fit of the backpack and the selection of its size is still one of the main “tricks” of Gregory.

Since the early 2000s, Gregory has changed owners several times. In 2004, the company, together with Bianchi Inc. passed to Armor Holdings Inc. – a manufacturer of armor for military and commercial vehicles, as well as body armor and shields for military and police officers. Gregory supplemented its range with their backpacks for law enforcement agencies, but the main focus was still on products for fans of outdoor activities. In 2011, the company briefly returns to the fold of outdoor companies – to Black Diamond Equipment.

But already in 2014, it was bought by Samsonite, a manufacturer of luggage bags, suitcases, protective cases and travel accessories. Following this, the Gregory headquarters is moving to Salt Lake City so that the development team is closer to the mountains and can quickly test prototypes and communicate more with their audience – tourists, skiers, climbers and all fans of outdoor activities.
What happens at this time with the range of backpacks? Gregory did not blindly follow the ultralight trend, while other brands have removed or significantly reduced the number of high-volume models. Therefore, the company quickly earned a reputation for making the most comfortable expedition backpacks in the United States.

Gregory will be celebrating its 45th anniversary soon. This is one of the few existing companies that stood at the origins of the modern outdoor industry and made a huge contribution to the development of “backpack construction”. The brand has a huge number of fans all over the world, among which there are many real fans. For example, one of the first Gregory backpacks was sold on eBay to a Japanese collector for over $ 3000!

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