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Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Gregory Z30 Day Pack > Owner Review by Cheryl McMurray

GREGORY Z30 DAY PACK
OWNER REVIEW BY CHERYL MCMURRAY
MAY 7, 2009

PERSONAL BIOGRAPHY

Name:  Cheryl McMurray
Age:  50
Gender:  Female
Height:  5' 8" (173 cm)
Weight:  145 lb (66.6 kg)
Torso Length:  18.5 in (47 cm)
Email Address:  cherylswan@earthlink.net
City, State, Country:  Garden Grove, California, U.S.

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

I've been backpacking and hiking for 3 years, mostly on weekends.  Backpacks are usually 2-3 day trips in the Eastern Sierras with 38-50 lb (17-22 kg) loads depending on the season and a distance around 30 mi (48 km).  One class 2 rock climb with a day pack is common.  I am working towards lighter weight loads.   Day hikes are 10-15 mi (16-24 km) in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains with loads of 15-20 lb (7-9 km).  I have camped in snow, freezing temperatures, winds (once was gale force), but mostly fair weather so far.

PRODUCT DETAILS

Manufacturer:  Gregory Mountain Products
Manufacturer Website: www.gregorypacks.com
Size:  Medium    1800 in^3  (29.5 l)
Listed Weight:   2 lb 12 oz  (1.25 kg)
Actual Weight:  2 lb 10 oz (1.19 kg)
MSRP:  Not Available
Purchase Date:  July 2007

FEATURES: (taken from website)

JetStream™ DTS Suspension
Auto-Fit harness system
Dual hydration ports and sleeve
Expandable front bucket pocket
Side and bottom compression
Quick access waist belt pockets
Side mesh pockets with compression pass-through
Dual axe/tool attachment points
210d double box ripstop

SPECIFICATIONS

Size               Volume                          Weight                         Torso Length
S        1650 in^3 (27.5 l cm^3)    2 lbs 10 oz (1.19 kg)      16-18 in (40-46 cm)
M       1800 in^3 (29.5 l cm^3)    2 lbs 12 oz (1.25 kg)      18-20 in (46-51 cm)
L        1920 in^3 (31.5 l cm^3)    2 lbs 14 oz (1.30 kg)      20-22 in (51-56 cm)

DESCRIPTION

This pack size is a unisex medium in a citron yellow color (no longer available).  It has a stiff suspension frame that sits on the outside back of the pack but under the mesh panel that is next to my back.  The strap adjustments include side compression straps (two on each side), sternum strap, waist belt, shoulder straps, load lifters, and hip stabilizers.  It has two mesh pockets with nylon covers on the hip belt large enough to carry sunscreen, compass, and some snacks.  It has two side elastic pockets that will carry a one-liter water bottle and/or thermos of coffee along with a large zip pocket in front, small shovel pocket, lid pocket at the front top, main compartment, two ice axe loops and a shock cord loop at each side for hiking poles.  These loops can be unhooked and connected to each other for strapping clothing to the outside.  There is a hydration sleeve inside with an exit port on both the right and left side.  There are two hook-and-loop straps just above the hydration pocket that a bladder can be hooked to.  There is also a zipper on the upper inside main compartment through which one can access the frame but it is very small.

     Side view of Gregory Z30             Front view of Gregory Z30         Gregory Z30 back view

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

I purchased this pack to replace my previous pack that was becoming uncomfortable on my shoulders.  I picked the Gregory because of the suspension system which felt very stiff and I thought it would carry loads better.  I tend to hike with enough gear to get me though a cold night if necessary so my pack weight, consequently, is a little heavier.  I liked the idea of the mesh panel for ventilation the hip belt pockets and mesh side pockets.  The hiking pole loops were another featured I liked as it is nice to be able to stash them when I need both hands free.  The loops at the bottom are for an ice axe but I was not intending to use this for winter so I use them for keeping the poles in place when there is no room for them in the mesh side pockets.  The material and zippers are water resistant. 
 
FIELD INFORMATION

I have used this pack about 20 times in the San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, and Santa Ana Mountains in Southern California.  The conditions included light snow cover, drizzle and  warm sunny days.  I have used this pack on hikes ranging from 10-15 mi (16-24 km) distances with loads of 15-19 lb (6.8-8.6 kg).  This is total weight including pack, food and water.

FIELD TESTS


Mt. Baldy San Gabriel Mountains April 2009

This was a spring hike but just one day after a fresh 2 in (5 cm) snowfall.  The temperatures were around freezing at the start but warmed up to the high 40s F (around 8 C).  It  was an 8 mi (13 km) hike with 4,000 ft (1200 m) of elevation gain.  I used two Nalgene bottles, one in the side mesh pocket and one stashed inside the hydration sleeve.  I also had a thermos of coffee in the other mesh pocket.  I was able to fit all my snacks and lunch in the top lid along with some extra clothes, first aid kit, and 10 essentials bag in the main compartment.  I strapped a sit pad, Yaktrax, and soft shell jacket on the outside.  A locator device and GPS fit nicely on each shoulder strap.  The total weight with the pack was 16 lb 8 oz (7.5 kg).  It sat very comfortably on my back and I never had to make any further adjustments.  The water bottle in the side pocket fell out once (almost losing it down the mountainside) when I bent over to pick something up but was able to retrieve it.  The pack performed well and except for almost losing the water bottle, I had no complaints.

              Gregory Z30 packed for light snow hike                                                          Z30 with 14 lb (6.3 kg) of gear


Santiago Peak, Cleveland National Forest  January 2009

This day hike was 14 mi (22.5 km) and 4,400 ft (1300 m) elevation gain.  It lasted 9 hrs in drizzle and light rain.  I used a 3-liter Camelbak Unbottle in the hydration sleeve which barely fit but I was able to zip the main compartment completely shut.  The curved mesh backing of the pack produces a curve inside the main compartment that makes accessing items in the lower area difficult when using a 3-liter hydration bladder.  I had my usual thermos of coffee in one of the side mesh pockets and rain gear, spare clothing and some essentials in the main compartment.  All of my food fit into the top lid and  I kept a supply of snacks in the hip pockets.  I used a pack cover to keep my dry clothing dry since Gregory states that the pack is water resistant but not waterproof.  Although the hip pockets have mesh on the sides, items inside remain dry. The pack was comfortable at a weight of 19 lb (8.6 kg) and carried everything I needed for a challenging day.

Muir Peak San Gabriel Mountains, Southern California

This was a day hike that was 10 mi (16 km) with 2900 ft (900 m) of elevation gain.  The temperatures ranged from 70 F (21 C) in the morning to 97 F (36 C) during the hottest part of the day.  I was carrying a load of 19 lb (8.6 km) including the weight of the pack. I had a GPS on one shoulder strap and locator beacon on the other.  I carried my usual essentials along with a fleece pullover and sit pad strapped to the front of the pack, and a 3-liter hydration bladder.  This day presented some comfort problems due to the improper distribution of weight in the pack.  I felt the discomfort at the shoulder strap area but after stopping a few times to redistribute the weight was able to correct the problem.  The mesh panel was extremely nice with the warm temperatures we were experiencing.  The photo below is a typical summer load that I would carry as described above.  The space between my back and the mesh panel can be easily seen.

Gregory Z30 packed for summer hike


THINGS I LIKED

Comfort when packed properly
External hip and mesh side pockets
Bowed Mesh Back (for ventilation)
Ability to hook the two looped shock cords together

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Bowed Mesh Back (difficulty accessing gear in lower main compartment with a 3-liter hydration bladder in the sleeve
Color
Price (higher end price for day pack)

CONCLUSION

I have used this day pack on every 3-season hike I have taken since my purchase in 2007.  I don't use this in winter as I feel it is too small for extra winter clothing, ice axe, crampons, and possibly snowshoes.  It has many nice features including the two side pockets, hiking pole loops that can be connected to attach a jacket to the outside, and hip belt pockets.  The shoulder and hip belt straps are very comfortable when my load is distributed properly.

I would recommend this pack.  



Read more reviews of Gregory gear
Read more gear reviews by Cheryl McMurray

Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Gregory Z30 Day Pack > Owner Review by Cheryl McMurray



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