BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Gregory Advent Pro Pack > Test Report by Chari Daignault

GREGORY ADVENT PRO BACKPACK
TEST SERIES BY CHARI DAIGNAULT
LONG-TERM REPORT

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE INITIAL REPORT [June 13, 2007]
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT [September 6, 2007]
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT [October 23, 2007]

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chari Daignault
EMAIL: chari.daignault@gmail.com
AGE: 45
LOCATION: Orlando, Florida U.S.A.
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.70 m)
WEIGHT: 135 lb (61.20 kg)

I've been an ultra light hiker for 35 years -- I take the bare minimum with me and prefer a pack under or close to five pounds. I've hiked all the Florida State Forest trails in Central Florida and climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan when I was nine. I have hiked dry & sandy, rough & rocky and wet & boggy trails and as a result, have found what does and doesn't work for me in terms of equipment and clothing. Central Florida affords a lot of sun and rains, with high temperatures and massive humidity. It's a great testing area for clothing, footwear and headgear.


INITIAL REPORT [June 13, 2007]

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Gregory Mountain Products
Year of Manufacture: 2007 [per website]
Manufacturer's Website:
Gregory Mountain Products
MSRP: US$149.00
Listed Weight: 2 lbs. 4 oz. [1.0 kg]
Measured Weight: 2 lbs. 4 oz. [1.0 kg]
Available colors: Flame Orange, Shock Blue
Color tested: Flame Orange
Size tested: Small

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The pack arrived with retail tags and no packaging. The pack itself is very light, with a lot of straps, zip cords, zippers and buckles to navigate. I will attempt to describe and display many of the key points in this report.

Advent Pro
Front View


Advent Pro Features:
Molded foam backpanel
AeroTech™ mesh harness and waistbelt
Wraptor™ stabilizer system
Top load with giant front access
Free floating Quickdraw compression system
Side stretch mesh pockets and front zippered pocket
Waistbelt pockets
Front helmet pocket
Side lashing system
Integrated non-slip top pocket
Hydration ready
Bottom and top webbing compression
Pole and axe loops/lashing
Siliconized G 30 nylon ripstop
210D HT nylon twill

The pack is very sharp and looks like it will hold much more than I would need on a typical day hike.

TRYING IT OUT

The great thing about this pack is that I was able to figure out what each tie, draw, snap buckle or zipper was for just by trying them out. It's very intuitive. I easily put it on, adjusted the waistbelt, clipped the chest harness, tightened the Quickdraw Compression System [see photo] and the empty pack fit me perfectly.

Advent Pro
Free floating Quickdraw compression system


The molded foam back is rigid, without being hard. The pack does not have a hard frame, but can stand upright even while empty, if leaning on something.

Advent Pro
Molded Foam Back Panel


The pack is top loaded through a drawstring closure, which is accessed by unsnapping two buckles and flipping a top cover back. The top cover has a zipper pocket in it for storage of smaller items. The pack can also be loaded/accessed via a front access point that is found by unzipping a large flap on the front of the pack.

Advent Pro
Front Access


There are stretch mesh pockets on the bottom sides of the front, along with a front helmet pocket made of the same material.

Advent Pro
Stretch Mesh Pockets


The pack can be compressed along the sides via the Side Lashing System, which incorporates pull cords with locks that compress the pack to keep items from moving around while in use. These are accessible while the pack is on, so you can tighten them after getting the pack settled on your body.

Advent Pro
Side Lashing System


The waistbelt has pockets built-in on both sides. I found these to be very convenient and they are easily accessible while wearing the pack.

Advent Pro
Waistbelt Pockets


The Wraptor™ stabilizer system is built into the bottom of the shoulder straps. This allows you to adjust each shoulder strap from one point at the base to two separate points on the pack, with just one pull of a strap. This helps the pack to form to your body and to settle comfortably against your lumbar.

Advent Pro
Wraptor™ stabilizer system


Inside the main compartment, there is a hidden pocket which closes with a hook and loop fastener. I may use it for maps or important papers that I don't want exposed to the elements.

Advent Pro
Top Load w/hidden Pocket


There is also a separate area in the main compartment for a hydration bladder, which includes an opening for the drinking tube to emerge. I tried out one of the two hydration bladders I have, and at 70oz [2L] when full, it fit nicely and did not flop around. There isn't anything to clip it onto, so I'll have to see how well it stays in place once the water level in it begins to drop during use.

TESTING STRATEGY

The Gregory Advent Pro is advertised as a pack for adventure racers and lightweight thru-hikers. I'll be testing it on day hikes and trail runs.

Things I wish to find out the following during the testing period:

* Can I stow my sleeping pad rolled and strapped on the back and is there a certain size pad that is best?
* How much can I fit in the Advent Pro [the web site states 2065 cu in.for a small], and how easy is it to pack?
* What is the Wraptor™ stabilizer system and is it easily implemented and adjusted? The web site states it:
# Pulls the backpanel in towards the lumbar
# Transfers load weight over a wide area
# Prevents backpanel collapse and increases stability during high aerobic activity
I'm curious to see how my back feels after a mile or two of trail running while wearing this pack partially loaded and fully loaded.
* Does the molded foam backpanel have any type of material that wicks moisture?
* When trail running, how sweaty will my back become and will it affect the contents of the pack?
* Does the material of the backpanel cause sweaty discomfort during extended use [other than trail running]?
* What will fit in the side stretch mesh pockets? [how large are they and how useful]
* How easily accessible are items in the side stretch mesh pockets while hiking?
* How comfortable are the shoulder straps? Are they easily adjusted and do they stay adjusted?
* How is the hip belt constructed? Is it comfortable -- does it bind or rub?
* How durable is the material of the pack's main body?
* The pack is "Hydration ready"; what size and type water bladders will fit, and how?
* How durable is the base of the pack? If it's set down on varying types of terrain over time, will it absorb moisture, get stained, or become worn?
* How weather/water-proof is the main body of the pack and the top closure? Can moisture enter at this point? Should I pack my gear in water-proof bags prior to packing them in the Advent Pro?
* Basically, my main testing points will be:
** amount of gear I can take
** weight of pack after packing
** durability of pack
** comfort on long hikes
** comfort on trail runs
** practicality of use on short hikes
** weather/moisture concerns

I will also report on anything else uncovered during testing.

SUMMARY

So far, the Gregory Advent Pro backpack seems to be an excellent lightweight pack for high activity hiking. I have not tested it out in the field yet, but will be doing so during the Field Report testing phase.


FIELD REPORT [September 6, 2007]

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Locations:
Various locations throughout the Orlando Metro area plus a two-day hiking trip on a couple of trails in the Flamingo area of the Everglades National Park in South Florida.

Conditions:
The end of June through July was very humid with much rain and thunderstorms. By August, the rain had stopped, but not the humidity. Temperatures in the Orlando area have been averaging around 95 degrees F [35 C] with humidity so high that the heat index reaches 105 degrees F [40.5 C]. The terrain included asphalt, concrete, grass, sand, mud and dirt trails.

In the Everglades, the temperature hit 94 degrees [34.4 C] both days with very high humidity. There was one late afternoon thunderstorm on our last day out, but it hit just as we were leaving the park. The trails were sandy with matted grasses interspersed with pockets of very wet, marshy areas. There were alligators everywhere supposedly, but we didn't see any; they're obviously too smart to be out in the heat.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I used the Advent Pro mostly on day hikes of 3 to 5 miles [4.83 km to 8.05 km] and on some bicycle rides of 10 to 15 miles [16.10 km to 24.15 km]. I learned very quickly not to fill the pack anywhere close to the maximum stated limit of 25 lbs. [11.34 kg]. The pack, no matter how much I fidgeted with the straps and adjustments, was not comfortable at all for me with a weight over 9 or 10 pounds [4.08 kg or 4.54 kg].

I found that just a short time into my initial day hike, with a pack weight of 21 lbs. [9.53 kg], the shoulder straps put so much pressure on the top of my trapezius muscles [the muscles connecting the back top of the neck to the shoulder and over to the spine], that I developed an extremely bad headache. I spent most of my time during that hike adjusting and readjusting shoulder straps, the sternum strap [and any other strap I could adjust] and the Wraptor Stabilizer. The pack had two full 1.5L [51 fl oz] water bladders*, an extra set of shorts, socks and a shirt, my GPS, my digital camera, a couple of lenses, a cell phone, a first aid kit, a knife, a ground cloth, a sleeping pad and a box of trail bars. One of the water bladders was set up in the hydration compartment for immediate use; the other was stored in the bottom of the main cargo area. I normally do not bring this much gear along on a day hike, but wanted to test the pack thoroughly. The size of the pack for day hikes is overkill, in my opinion.

When I packed it as I would for my day hikes at around 9.5 pounds [4.31 kg], with one full water bladder, a couple of trail bars, my GPS, a ground cloth, a cell phone, a knife and a camera, it was a very comfortable pack. I was able to cinch the straps and cords to compress the pack tightly. There was plenty of room left, but with the pack fully compressed, it wasn't an issue. This was how I packed the Advent Pro for the remainder of my day hikes and bicycle rides.

Staring at Loch Ness Monster
Staring out at the Loch Ness Monster


The Wraptor Stabilizer system worked great with the lower pack weight, as did the waistbelt. The pack stayed with most of the weight on my hips, allowing me to move more naturally and comfortably. The foam back panel formed to my back and I wasn't able to feel any of the more oddly-shaped items in the pack through it. I can't comment on whether or not the back panel was able to wick any sweat from my back, as I sweat profusely anyway and my shirts are always wet.

It seems the days I choose to ride my bicycle are the days when we end up with a steady drizzle of rain. This does not keep me from riding, and the Advent Pro has performed great. The interior of the cargo area stays dry; I've not had to pack anything in plastic bags. Anything packed in the outside mesh pockets will get wet though, so I move my cell phone into the hidden cargo pocket inside the top access point when it rains.

Clean up was easy, as even though I've used the pack almost daily since I received it, there is usually only a minimal amount of dust on the outside. I use a micro fiber cloth dampened with water to wipe it down, which seems to work just fine.

*I try not to bring plastic water bottles out on the trails.

SUMMARY

The Advent Pro is a nicely made pack. It did not perform well for me packed with gear weighing over 10 lbs.; it performs wonderfully at anything less. It fits well, sits perfectly on my hips and allows me full motion without binding. The Advent Pro works well in light rain and cleans up easily. There is plenty of cargo room, loads of pockets for storage of smaller items and two large access points from which to get at your gear.

Loch Ness Monster approaches
Posing with Advent Pro and Nessie in the background

TESTING STRATEGY

I will continue to test the Advent Pro on my day hikes and bicycle rides. I would also like to try testing it on a trail run, if my schedule allows. Otherwise, I will try short spurts of running while hiking to see how the pack feels on my hips and shoulders.


LONG-TERM REPORT [October 23, 2007]

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have worn the Gregory Advent Pro pack during all my day hikes and while on my bicycle on the trails. Having located a little-known [and not maintained] trailhead for the Hal Scott Nature Preserve in the southern portion of my own subdivision, I've been taking turns hiking and biking on the very rugged and often-times marshy trails in there.

The weather was very muggy earlier on during the Long-Term testing period, with high humidity levels and temperatures between 88 F [31.1 C] to 95 F [35 C]. Late afternoon thunderstorms were the norm and I was caught in them frequently. As of late, the weather attempted to take an Autumn-like turn in early October and we were in the lower 80s [27.2 C] with very low humidity. It was fantastic hiking weather. We're once again back up into the lower 90s [32.2 C] with high humidity, and we're apparently breaking high-temp records for late October.

The terrain in the Hal Scott Nature Preserve is level, with sandy trails, occasional water features [puddles and river tributaries], and underbrush consisting of mainly palmettos and wonderfully shaped tall pines.

Red Trail in Hal Scott Nature Preserve
Red Trail in the Hal Scott Nature Preserve

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Now that I've solved the weight issue I'd experienced early on [see the Field Report for details], the pack is very comfortable and does not cause much if any discomfort [other than sweaty back syndrome]. I carried a water bottle in each of the side mesh pockets on a couple of trips while my hydration bladder was in the process of being cleaned. The condensation from the water bottles dripped out of the mesh material and down the back sides of my shorts and legs, which initially was a bit disconcerting, due to the temperature of the water. Condensation is something that one has to deal with when hiking, but I'd really prefer to not have my backend dampened.

Author Testing the Gregory Advent Pro
3 Hours into a hike during rainy weather


I carry my camera in one of the waist belt mesh pockets and my cell phone in the other. This works well, unless it rains, during which I'll then move the two items into the top pocket of the pack, which is waterproof. I like having my camera nearby, as thunderstorms look magnificent when they come rolling in across the flat brush out there. Unfortunately, they've come in so quickly, I haven't had time to get setup to photograph them.

View of Hal Scott Nature Preserve
Typical View of Hal Scott Nature Preserve


I like the myriad of adjustments I can make to the pack to compress it or make it fit my torso better; however, these adjustments need to be made prior to my taking off on my hike, as once I'm out there, I don't like stopping to make adjustments -- and I've found that I can't adjust too many things on the pack once it's on. Understanding that the pack's main feature is that it's lightweight and frameless, I think that with its size, the Advent Pro should have more solid support so that it can comfortably carry equipment up to its listed weight limit. Either that, or lower the weight limit and/or make the pack smaller so that its more suitable to the target audience of trail runners and adventure hikers [my humble opinion].

SUMMARY

Overall, I really like the Gregory Advent Pro. I like using it for my day hikes but will probably not continue using it on my trail biking expeditions, mainly because it's a bit too big for me in that scenario [same thing for trail running; it's too bulky for me]. It's an excellent lightweight frameless pack for quick in-and-out hikes that allows me to carry most if not all the equipment I'd like to take along. I'd like to see Gregory add a lightweight frame to the pack, mainly so it can support and comfortably carry the listed weight limit.

There are plenty of pockets, loops, clips and belts to keep anyone busy; and the cargo portions of the pack are easily accessed and offer plenty of room for storage of gear. The shoulder straps are well-padded without being too thick and are very comfortable. The waist belt adjusts easily and sits comfortably on my hips, equalizing the load of the pack and taking the bulk of it off my shoulders.

I will definitely continue to use the Gregory Advent Pro for my day hikes.

This concludes my Long Term Report on the Gregory Advent Pro. Many thanks to Gregory Mountain Products and BackpackGearTest.Org for the opportunity to test this product.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.



Read more reviews of Gregory gear
Read more gear reviews by Chari Daignault

Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Gregory Advent Pro Pack > Test Report by Chari Daignault



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson