GREGORY WASATCH PACK
TEST SERIES BY MIKE WILKIE
INITIAL REPORT - October 17, 2009
FIELD REPORT - January 08, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - March 02, 2010
foreverwild76 at yahoo dot com
Davenport, New York (USA)
5' 8" (1.73 m)
150 lb (68.00 kg)
Hiking for me started at an early age, as I was always an avid camper and as a Scout my backpacking obsession began. Now living in the Catskill Region backpacking has become serious for me over the years. I hike, snowshoe, canoe, snowboard or multi-day backpack through the Catskills or Adirondacks almost every weekend. I use and practice safe lightweight techniques and have greatly reduced my pack weight, adding both comfort and miles to my adventures. As an aspirant of the Catskill-3500 Club and Adirondack-46ers, peak-bagging is my main outdoor activity. My long-term goals are to complete long distance thru-hikes.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Gregory Mountain Products
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.gregorypacks.com
Pack Size: 720 cu in (12 L)
Listed Weight: 1 lb 5oz (.60 kg)
Tester Measured Weight: 1 lb 7 oz (.65 kg)
Tester Pack Color: Cayenne
ABOUT THE PRODUCT
The Gregory Wasatch Pack has a design and construction that could satisfy the lightweight guru. Packed with many features, the Wasatch offers plenty versatility to accommodate my short or long mile day hikes.
The Wasatch has two main zipper compartments, a front outer mesh pocket, two mesh side pockets and two zippered mesh waist-belt pockets. To further the versatility, the pack has an outer left and right stabilizer/compression straps and an internal left and right compression system. In addition, the outer mesh pocket contains an elastic shock-cord with two attachment points to add to the packs compression capabilities.
Inside the larger main compartment is a hydration sleeve to accommodate my reservoir and a mesh zippered pocket to stash small items. There are left and right exit points for the reservoir's port tube, which leads to a tube management sleeve to keep the tube in place and at hand. Inside the smaller main zippered compartment are two narrow mesh sleeves for organizing small items.
The large front mesh pocket secures gear in with an elastic shock-cord that attaches to either of the two attachment points for closure and compression. Attached to the sides of this mesh pocket are two ladder locks, where the stabilizer straps clip into to secure and compress the pack load. On the lower front of this pocket is an attachment loop that I hang a carabiner from for easy access.
On the sides of the pack are two mesh pockets with an elastic top to secure items in such as a small water bottle. The two waist-belt pockets can accommodate items such as a GPS unit or camera. However, these pockets are mesh and do not offer any protection from moisture or dirt.
On the left shoulder strap, just below the water tube sleeve is an elastic shock-cord loop that is attached with hook and loop. I am having a hard time figuring out what this could be used for or with. At this point, I am assuming it could be used to attach a running light or maybe a reflector.
The harness system, including the waist-belt, shoulder straps and sternum strap all have a slight elastic stretch that adds to the packs comfort and stability. This stretch helps to keep the pack comfortably hugging the body and firm against the back for stability. Trapped moisture is controlled by Gregory's Aero-Mesh backpanel that is also used behind the shoulder straps and waist-belt.
I was initially impressed by the many compression points offered in various locations. The main compression system is controlled by two (left and right) internal pull loops located near the bottom sides of the pack just behind where the waist-belt is attached. By cinching the pull loops, the pack compresses inward from the sides at the widest most portion. The pull loops stay in place by spring loaded clips and can easily be released by squeezing them in.
TRYING IT OUT
I have had the opportunity to use the Wasatch Pack on two short treks this past week. The pack afforded me with lightweight comfort while on the trail. Although they were short hikes, the lightweight design was easily noticed. Gear was accessed with ease and my load was always stabile and secure on my back. With the small load I carried, I was able to shrink the pack down for a stable load with its various compression points and capabilities.
Thus far, I can with confidence back-up Gregory's claims of the Wasatch being lightweight. And with this lightweight design, Gregory has packed the Wasatch with many features to add to its versatility and comfort. The Gregory Wasatch seems to be designed with high quality materials and appears to be manufactured with high standards.
The Bio-sync suspension system, the Aero-Mesh backpanel and the internal compression system are only a few of the features that make up this versatile, highly technical lightweight pack. The features of the Wasatch can be appreciated by any user and not just the lightweight enthusiast.
Internal compression system
Stabilizer straps and other compression points
This concludes my Initial Report on the Gregory Wasatch Pack. The Field Report will be completed and appended here in approximately two months. Please check back then for further information.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
For field use and evaluations, I tested the Gregory Wasatch Pack on several backcountry day hikes and snowshoe treks as well as front-country use on day trips and excursions. Most backcountry use took place in the Catskill Region and occasionally in the Adirondack Regions.
South Hill State Forest
In this state forest I snowshoe trekked a three mile (4.83 km) bushwhack loop. This loop was hiked on three occasions with an average 6-12 inches (15.24 - 30.48 cm) of snow. Overcast was the norm and on one trip, near whiteout conditions. The temperature was consistently below freezing and the wind-chill was in the negatives. Elevations averaged around 2100 ft (640 m).
Cascade Lake - West-Central Region, Adirondacks
This was a four-mile out and back hike at an elevation of 2250 ft (671 m). This snowshoe trek was relatively flat going and breaking trail was required in about 6-8 inches (15.24 - 20.32 cm) of fresh powder. The temperature was cold at around 15 F (-9.43 C) with light snow.
Five other short treks took place in the forest behind my home. This 2.5 mile (4.03 km) loop climbed to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m). Snowshoes were worn for all of these treks and the temperature varied from freezing to 5 F (-14.99 C). The terrain is a rough climb with a few steep scrambles.
To add to the use of the Gregory pack, it has also proven useful in the front-country when trekking around my hometown or on a few sightseeing excursions when in the Adirondacks. I have carried the pack around town at least once a week since the initial report was post for this test series. Therefore, my total use for front-country use averages about ten days.
For this portion of the test series, the Gregory Wasatch Pack was used on 9 treks in the backcountry and about 10 days in the front-country. The total use for felid testing and evaluation is 19 days.
Field Evaluations and Assessments
Thus far, the Gregory Wasatch Pack performed well, with no major issues or failure. However, for winter use the small size of the pack is still a concern for me.
I have been limited to using the Wasatch Pack on short treks mostly less then three miles (4.83 km) or when some winter essentials can be left behind. With that said, from what I've experienced with all of the use give to this pack, it does provide enough space to carry the necessities needed for warmer season hikes, depending on the size of my lunch for that day.
On all various front and backcountry excursions, the Wasatch Pack has proven worthy of its lightweight, function and performance. Thus far, the pack still appears and operates as it did when new. All zippers run smoothly without snagging, draw cords and ladder locks still perform, as they should. The seams of the pack are all tight and no thread pulls, tears or holes from use are shown. Overall, the Gregory pack is designed with high-end standards and quality.
The are several features that I have taken a great liking to; such as the internal compression, waist-belt pockets and the large front mesh pocket. The internal compression work well when carrying small loads. The internal compression was used only in the front-country when loads were small enough to compress.
My compact camera amongst other small necessities fit nicely in the two waist-belt pockets. Since these pockets are mesh, my items were initially stored in plastic zip bags for protection from moisture and snow. I really liked having the large from mesh pocket for stashing my Microspikes. The pocket offered a quick and easy access to them and on occasion my hat or balaclava.
The Gregory Wasatch has consistently provided a lightweight and well-ventilated pack. Although the pack has size limitations in winter backcountry travel, it has still proven valuable for short snowshoe jaunts and some front-country use. The Wasatch is packed with some great features and all have proven to be valuable. Always offering comfort, durability and function, the pack is made with high standards and of high quality. I feel the Wasatch Pack is worthy for short backcountry excursions and limited winter use.
Large front mesh pocket
Small size for winter use
Mesh waist-belt pockets are not water-resistant for winter use
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I continued to use and test the Gregory Wasatch Pack in various state parks, forests and local woods. Due to the small size of the pack and limited space to carry winter essentials, the pack was used on short low mileage snowshoe treks. However, for the first time, I decided to test out the pack as a snowboard pack while hitting the slopes at Belleayre Mountain.
South Hill State Forest
In this state forest I snowshoe trekked a three mile (4.83 km) bushwhack loop. This is a typical loop I hike, which was trekked twice during this test period. On my first trek, there was about 12 inches (30.48 cm) of snow and the second was right after a big Northeast snowstorm with three to four feet (91 cm to 122 cm) of fresh snow. On both occasions, there was light snow with temperatures just below freezing. The average elevation was around 2100 ft (640 m).
This slope-side snowboard trip was an all day excursion with just below freezing temperatures and snow flurries at times. The total elevation of the mountain is 3420 ft (1042 m) with a vertical drop of 1404 ft (428 m).
I continue to take my weekly short treks in the forest behind my home. This 2.5 mile (4.03 km) loop climbed to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m). Snowshoes were worn for all of these treks and the temperature averaged out at about 25 F (-3.88 C). The terrain is a rough climb with a few steep scrambles. This trek was completed six times during this final testing period.
For continued use, the Gregory Wasatch Pack was used on nine short day excursions during this final testing leg. Eight of these trips were backcountry snowshoe treks and one was on a snowboard trip while hitting the slopes. In total for the entire testing period, the Wasatch Pack was used for 30 days of field use.
Final Field Evaluations and Assessments
For this final testing leg of the Gregory Wasatch, the pack performed as expected. It continued to provide durability, great function and excellent features. Over these four months of testing, I have learned to appreciate the sleek design of the Wasatch for short backcountry treks, front country walks and as a snowboard pack while hitting the slopes.
As expressed in my previous reports, the Wasatch did not offer enough space for long winter treks in the cold and snowbound backcountry. However, the pack performed great on short snowshoe treks when not venturing deep into the backcountry. With my experience of packing my essentials into the Wasatch, I can see it will accommodate my summer essential comfortably where I will continue to us the pack more frequently.
The pack has proved to be durable and performed without failure. All zippers, draw-cords, and buckles still perform as they did when new. As for a personal preference, I would like to see completely enclosed waist-belt pockets instead of mesh. I feel the mesh allows too much moisture and dirt in, where I like to store my camera or GPS unit.
The lightweight design always offered comfort on my back and the loads no matter what size were always stabilized with the internal compression system. Many other features help to add to the packs comfort and excellent performance, such as the H2O reservoir compatibility and large front mesh pocket. The small internal pockets help to organize small essentials as well as the side mesh pockets.
Overall, I found this test series to be a success as the Wasatch Pack proved to be valuable in the field. As for its small size and limited space, the pack will be used on short treks during the winter months; however, it will receive extended use during the warmer months. For overnighters, the Wasatch easily compresses and with its lightweight, it can easily be carried as summit pack when base camping or backpacking.
In the beginning of this test series, I had issue with the Gregory Wasatch Pack's small size and limited pack space for winter use. However, with all my experience with the Gregory pack, I found it to be high quality with outstanding function and performance. Yes, I was reduced to using the pack on short treks only, but for that, the pack proved valuable. I look forward to when I can extend the packs day use in the warmer months as its lightweight and sleek designed offered great comfort and function.
For a small pack, the Wasatch offers plenty of features, in my opinion, to satisfy the lightweight guru or adventure racer. Any loads carried by the Wasatch, sat comfortably on my back and were easily stabilized with the internal compression system. The Gregory Wasatch is now a valuable option added to my gear list.
Internal compression system
Lightweight and sleek design
Continued comfort during field use
I originally had issue with the packs small size and limited space, but I have learned to accept it as the packs features, function and excellent performance in the field greatly make up for this complaint.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
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