BackpackGearTest
  Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Gregory Baltoro 65 or Deva 60 > Test Report by Duane Lawrence

GREGORY BALTORO 65 BACKPACK
Test Series by Duane Lawrence

Initial Review June 29, 2015

Field Report September 27, 2015
Long Term Report, November 23, 2015
Tester Information
Name: Duane Lawrence
Email: delawrence_98 AT yahoo DOT ca
Age: 42
Location: Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.79 m)
Weight: 160 lb (72.6 kg)
Torso:20 in (51 cm)
Chest:39 in (99 cm)
Waist:32 in (81 cm)

I have been an avid outdoor enthusiast for the past 25 years.  I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including mountaineering, day hikes, multi-day backpacking trips, river and ocean kayaking, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking and rock climbing.  I have climbed and hiked throughout British Columbia, the United States and when opportunity presents itself in Europe and India.  I carry a wide variety of gear depending on the type and length of trip.  I am a Search and Rescue team member in the Southern Rockies and am part of the swift water, rope rescue technical teams and ground search team.

INITIAL REVIEW
June 29, 2015


Product Overview

Web Pagehttp://gregorypacks.com/
MSRP$299.00 USD
ManufactureGregory Packs
ProductBaltoro 65
Volume65 Liter (3967 in sq)
Fabric210 denier (primary) & 300 denier (secondary) Nylon
Listed Weight4 lb 12 oz (2.12 kg)
Suggested Max Carrying Weight50 lb (22.7 kg)
Measured Weight5.2 lb (2.36 kg)
ColoursNavy Blue, Spark Red (tested), Shadow Black
SizesSmall, Medium (tested), Large
Dimensions74x37x34cm (Small) 29.1x14.6x13.4 in
79x38x36 cm (Medium) 31.1x15x14.2 in
84x38x37cm (Large) 33.1x15x14.6 in
Comfort Zone50 lb (23 kg)
Torso Fit41-46 cm (16-18 in) Small
46-51 cm (18-20 in) Medium
51-56 cm (20-22 in) Large
Manufacture LocationPhilippines

Initial Impressions

I always enjoy getting new gear to test in the mail and the Gregory Baltoro 65 is no exception.  I am actually even more excited about testing this pack as my very first backpack was a Gregory.  First impressions of this pack were very positive.  The color is very appealing, Spark Red, and the overall look of the pack is nice.  Closer inspection reveals the high quality I know Gregory Packs for.  The pack is made from 210-denier rip-stop nylon for the exterior and main fabric components and 300-denier nylon for the interior or secondary components with tight stitching.  The pack features include a unique two-pocket top lid with access from the each side plus an under-lid pocket.  The pack is a top loading pack with additional zippered access from the front and bottom U-zip panel.  There are two, open pouches for water bottles or similar type gear I would typically attach to the outside of the pack, with one ‘pouch’ that tucks into a side compartment hiding and protecting it when it is not in use.  There is a large front, zippered pocket with an interior mesh pocket that contains a rain cover for the pack.  

When I opened the pack up I was surprised to find a secondary backpack.  The secondary pack, which doubles as the water bladder container, is very light weight 149 g (5.26 oz) with thin shoulder straps, a single zippered pocket and drawstring top closure.  Apparently the girth-hitched compression straps on the bottom of the pack double as a hip belt for this 'ultra-light' pack. It appears to be more of a nylon stuff sack with shoulder straps and does not look very comfortable, but on first appearance is a neat idea.  I will have to wait and see if it is at all useful.  Other than the bladder carrier the interior of the pack is just an open area with a small, removable nylon divider between the lower sleeping bag compartment and the main storage area. The hip belt has two pockets one, fully waterproof with YYK AquaGuard zipper, and the other a lighter duty mesh pouch.  

For the suspensions the Baltoro 65 uses what Gregory Packs calls a A3 or Automatic Angle Adjust chassis which allows both the shoulder harness and hip-belt load panels to pivot independently.  This is supposed to allow for the pack to adjust automatically to your movements.  A Wishbone shaped 7075 aluminium alloy internal perimeter frame, dual aluminium stays and HDPE frame-sheet, ventilated back panel, LifeSpan foam harness padding and removable lumbar Tune 10 mm (0.39 in) inset foam shims allow the pack to be fully fitted for comfort. The multi-density EVA foam-padded shoulder straps and hip belt purport to relieve pressure on the hips and shoulders while adding support where needed. The designers have also integrated a silicone lumbar grip zone in order to further secure the pack to the wearer.

The pack is compressible with two external compression straps on either side of the pack, with two additional bottom straps that can either compress the bottom sleeping bag compartment or be used as an external attachment point for additional gear.  Two ice ax loops with shock cord locks, a key clip located in the under-lid pocket, hydration hose clip on the shoulder strap and removable sleeping bag divider round out this pack.  Weighing in at 5 lb 2 oz (2.36 kg) with both the hydration pack and rain cover the pack looks to be a relatively simple top loading pack that is relatively light weight.  

    

                                            Front View                                                  Rear View                                                           Ultra Light Pack Front & Back Views

Overall Impressions

The large U-zipper front access and front storage pocket appear to be very usable and not just for show.  The top loading access point allows for easy packing and access once everything is stuffed into it.  The suspension is going to take a little bit to figure out but a video the manufacturer's web site appears to provide all the information I will need to adjust the pack specifically to my physical attributes.  I like the idea of the two top lid pockets that are accessed from the sides rather than the front or back, this might make it easier for my hiking partners to grab stuff from the lid so I do not have to take the pack off to grab stuff from the lid.  The one heavy-duty hip belt pocket looks great for electronics or anything else that I do not want to get wet.  I am a little concerned about the second mesh hip belt pocket as I tend to catch mesh on trees, hopefully it is tough enough not to tear easily.  When I was playing around with the pack I noted that the clips are of difference sizes which makes sure that I can’t clip the wrong clips together (compression straps vs. lid closure).  The hydration/ultra-light pack is an interesting bonus.  I am really not sure how usable this 'pack' is going to be, possibly for very short day hikes from a camp, and with very light loads as the straps look mighty uncomfortable, but I will have to wait and see. A neat idea regardless.  This pack looks very functional and easy to use and I am really looking forward to testing out this pack.

Test Plan

This summer I will have plenty of opportunity to test this pack, starting with a short overnight to Waterton National Park in Southeastern Alberta.  This will be my adjusting trip, to see how easy it is to adjust the pack.  Throughout July, August and September I have several four and five night trips planned in the Canadian Rockies included one trip into Mt. Assiniboine which involves a grueling one-day 25 km (15.53 mi) hike into the park which takes the hiker through alpine forests and passes.  Another four-day through trip, again in the Canadian Rockies, and a week planned for late September and early October in Yellowstone National Park, which may include a side trip into the Grand Tetons, will round out the test period.  With the variety of hikes I have planned my pack weight should range from a nice light 35 - 40 lb (15.88 - 18.14 kg) to the more uncomfortable 50+ lb (22.68 kg) which should provide me with a good feel for how this pack preforms under load and over a variety of distances.

Summary 

Aside from the fact that I liked the look of this pack right out of the package it appears to be a very simple versatile pack.  The top pockets on the lid appear to provide easy access, the hip-belt pockets are large enough to store a wide range of small items.  It was good to see the inclusion of a waterproof pouch on the hip belt which I can store my more weather delicate items in.  I personally like the top access for loading the pack and front access points to retrieve gear.  It is also nice to see the manufacture included a rain cover.  I'm not sure about how useful the bladder/ultra-light pack is going to be but it is definitely an interesting and unique feature. Overall my first impressions of this pack are very positive and I am looking forward to the next few months of backpacking.  

FIELD REPORT
|September 27, 2015


During the first couple of months I was happy to be able to use the Gregory Baltoro 65 on a couple of fun overnights that included a short one-night trip and a longer five-night excursion. The first trip was a short 50 km (31 mi) overnight into Waterton Park in southeastern Alberta.  The trail was relatively flat heading to our camp with a longer hike the next day to a local summit and back.  Overall the pack packed very well under a light load of about 45 lbs (20 kg).  I was able to store everything that I needed in the main compartment without hanging anything on the outside. The compression straps cinched easily and tightly making sure nothing moved around and the pack fit snuggly to my back.  On the flat trail with a relatively light load the pack performed well and was comfortable. 

 


The longer excursion involved a five-night trip into Mt. Assiniboine National Park in the Canadian Rockies.  This trip involved a much heavier pack, around 55 lbs (25 kg), with five days of food and supplies.  The hike in and out involved 600 m (1969 ft) of elevation gain and loss over 29 km (18 mi) of beautiful alpine terrain.  Over the course of the entire trip I put on about 110 km (68 mi) and just shy of 7000 m (23,000 ft) of elevation using the pack either under full load or as a daypack from camp.  

During the second trip is where I felt the pack really showed it strips. After the first 20 km (12.4 mi), with a full load (about 505 lb (25 kg) ) I noted that I was constantly fidgeting with the pack trying to make it fit better.  What was bothering me was the fit in the lower back.  The pack seemed to push into me a little causing enough discomfort to make me constantly adjust the straps in order to ease the pressure.  This is when I remembered reading about how to customize the fit of the pack.  Upon investigation I found a foam shim that fits in the exact spot that was giving me problems.  The foam pad, situated just above the hip belt, was easily removed, being Velcroed into the pack. Some minor strap adjustments to refit the waist belt and shoulder straps and I was off on the trail again.  The initial result seemed positive but by end of the trip I was fully convinced that this extra shim was the problem as the pack performed very well for the rest of the trip.

Seeing that the previous five weeks while I was at work was nothing but blistering heat and sun, it was inevitable that it would start raining and continue to do so every day of the trip, at least it was off and on rather than a steady torrent.  On the positive side the rain allowed me to use the rain cover in all sorts of conditions, from downpours to light showers.  Thankfully the rain cover did very well and kept the pack dry throughout the trip. I also wanted to see how the pack did without the cover so I left it off for a day and I must say the pack is just as water repellent without the rain cover as with.  

Overall during the first couple of hikes with the Gregory Baltoro 65 I found the pack very pleasant. The pack fit well, especially when I removed the foam shim.  The straps are easy to adjust and did not seem to slip when I was on the move.  The support harness was comfortable to wear even when fully loaded with 55 + lb (25 kg).  The harness also pulled the pack close into my back making the pack that much more comfortable to wear regardless of the load.  

This trip also provided me with the opportunity to use the pack as a day pack.  How the pack preforms with light loads for day usage is an important factor for myself as I typically hike into a camp then head upwards to a summit or two.  I was fairly impressed with the Baltoro 65 as the compression straps compressed the pack down nicely making the lighter load stay secure in the pack without moving around.  The designers were obviously paying attention when they built this pack as the lid actually stays exactly where I wanted it.  The center strap under the lid ensured it did not slide down the front the pack which usually creates an opening at the top of the pack.  Everything cinched down tightly and securely making it a very versatile pack regardless of the amount of stuff I was carrying.

  

The one item that I really wanted to report on was the sticky back pad that is supposed to keep your clothes from sliding up when wearing the pack.  This feature, although a small one, is AWESOME!  Having my shirt ride up and having to pull it down every kilometer or so is a very annoying thing to have to do. This sticky patch worked like a charm and although a minor feature I must admit someone was thinking about the end user of this pack because this was the first time ever that everything stayed exactly where it should.  Kudos to whomever thought of this.  

I would be remiss to not touch upon the small day/water pack that comes with the pack.  As a place to store a water bladder it works just fine.  It held my 3-liter water bladder easily and the multiple attachment points kept the bladder in an upright position when full and throughout the varying stages of emptiness.  I did take an opportunity to use the small pack on a short day hike of about 5 km (3.1 mi).  I will admit that I was not looking forward to using this pack as it looked incredibly uncomfortable so I kept the weight down to an absolute minimum with one litter of water and clothing.  Sadly I was not remiss in my trepidation.  This little pack is uncomfortable even with just a very small load.  Honestly I just cannot imagine when or where I would willingly use it as a day pack.  It does not fit enough gear to be useful and being a sack with shoulder straps it is just uncomfortable. I ended up using the ends of the shoulder straps to pull the shoulder straps off of my shoulders to the center of my chest and the pack became slightly more comfortable.  Even though it was much better than it was I am not sure if I will ever use it as a pack. Great idea just not sure if it really works.

Lastly I wanted to make a couple of general observations regarding the pack.  With respect to storage the pack has a main compartment which can hold a significant amount of gear, so far I was able to stuff five days’ worth of food, camping supplies and clothing into it with no problem at all.  The top, split pocket, was convenient and easily accessible.  The side access rather than the more traditional front or back zips was a nice feature as my wife was able to grab stuff out of the top of my pack from the sides rather than the front or back.  Only problem here was that I always got the sides mixed up which resulted in having to look in both sides for whatever it is I was after. The hip belt pouches are of a large enough size to fit a camera, snacks and various other small objects.  One is a waterproof pouch, the other mesh. Thankfully it rained a lot so I was thrilled to be able to confirm that the waterproof pouch was actually waterproof.  Using a water bladder rather than a bottle I haven't tested the storable water bottle holder, I'll try it out next time, but it was a nice to be able to stuff it into the side of the pack so it was out of the way.  The cinch cords for the ice ax were also a nice feature as they allowed me to attach my poles and keep them securely anchored to the pack.  The front pocket works, holds an adequate amount of gear and is easy enough to access but more challenging to pack when the main compartment is stuffed full. I am not sure if I like the center zip or not as it is hard to do up when it’s full.  The buckles are good, small, and easy to undo and clip in.  The draw cord to close the top of the pack is easy to grab and cinches the top down nicely.

Overall for the first two trips the Gregory Baltoro 65 performed very well.  It is light weight and the designers really put some careful thought into it.  I am looking forward to trying it out on a few more trips to see if I have the adjustments right.

Long Term Report
November 23, 2015

Test Conditions

Overall I was able to use the Gregory Baltoro 65 on 16 nights, 20 plus days and over 200 km (124 mi) in the backcountry this summer.  Although I would have preferred all my trips to be sunny with no sight of rain, I was not so lucky.  Great for testing not so great for blue sky photos.  Weather included solid days of rain, off and on showers, snow and sleet, sideways rain on a mountain ridge and pretty much every other type of precipitation.  I was lucky enough to use the Baltoro 65 over a variety of terrain in the alpine of the Canadian Rockies and through the Alberta Prairies.  Day excursions from base camp, with a light load, ranged from a short 5 - 7 km (3 - 4.3 mi) to around 20 km (12.4 mi). Hikes into base camp and through hikes from camp to camp ranged from 16 km to 29 km (10 - 18.1 mi) each.   Pack weight varied quite a bit, but generally my pack weighed in around 45 - 60 lb (20 - 27 kg) under a full load and 20 - 25 lb (9 - 11 kg) for day hikes from base camp.

 
Observations

Once I figured out all the adjustment points and, more specifically, remembered there was a foam wedge in the lower back that I could remove, the pack was very comfortable regardless of the load.  I am not sure what to say regarding the A3 or Automatic Angle Adjustment system.  It appears to be dynamic and able to keep the pack orientated upright when moving, it is just difficult to confirm without having another pack without the A3 system to compare it with.  Reviewing the overall support system the shoulder straps and hip belt are well padded and comfortable and the adjustment straps are simple to use.  One thing I did like about the straps was that they did not loosen off over the course of a long hike.  It was nice not to have to continually re-tighten the shoulder straps.

Packing-wise the Baltoro has a simple packing system with one main storage compartment, a front zippered area and a nice top storage area with two side zips.  The main storage compartment has a sleeping bag divider which I removed as I found it got in the way and reduced the overall storage capacity of the pack.  The front pouch was nice but hard to do up.  It's a good size and I could load in items that I wanted easy access to but the zipper was a little hard to do up being right in the middle of the pouch.  This was only when the pack was fully loaded through. I did like the side zippers for the lid pouch finding them very useful and making it much more accessible compared to the more traditional front or back zipper designs.  I would like to mention that the Baltoro is a very compressible pack.  This is important for me when utilizing a base camp as once I get to camp and offload my tent et cetera I want to be able to comfortably use the pack as a day pack as well.  The Baltoro did this very well.  The compression straps were able to tighten up extremely well holding a small amount of gear tightly.  I especially appreciated that the lid stayed in place with small loads, never sliding down the front of the pack.  
For durability and water resistance the Baltoro stands up to heavy use and even heavier rain.  I made sure to test the pack both with and without the rain cover and regardless of whether or not I used the rain cover everything stayed dry even during heavy prolonged periods of rain.  I would like to see an alternate storage spot for the rain cover though as it is rather bulky when not factory packed and I would have liked to use the zippered interior mesh pocket for other items rather than the rain cover.  

The side pouches are deep and well made.  I didn't really use the side water pouch as I have a hydration system so don't typically use a bottle, at least during the summer.  It was nice that it stored away into its own pouch and I anticipate using it later on this winter when a hydration system is more susceptible to freezing and I transition to bottles.  The hip belt pockets were a nice size and the water-proof pouch is definitely water-proof.  As previously mentioned in this report the interior hydration bag works well but I not recommend using it for a day pack.  It was not big enough to hold all the gear I would normally take on a day hike and it was very uncomfortable even with what little gear I could put in it.  I would recommend transitioning it to a permanent hydration pouch and skip the day pack option.  The Baltoro 65 is light enough on its own and compresses very well so is a much better day pack.  

Summary

I was very pleased with the Gregory Baltoro 65.  It is a comfortable pack when under heavy loads and over long distances.  It compresses down well for use as a day pack from a base camp.  It is very well constructed and can repel a ridiculous amount of rain.  Packing is easy and there are enough options for small gear storage.  The buckles and straps are easy to use with gloves and mitts which is very nice when its cold out.  My only criticism is with the day pack/hydration pouch.  It just did not work as a day pack. My favorite thing about this pack though is the silicone lumbar grip zone.  I had no idea how nice it would be not to have to pull the back of my shirt down during a long hike.  It's the little things like this that make the Baltoro a fantastic pack that I would highly recommend.

Likes

Silicone lumbar grip zone
Comfort and overall support system
Split top pocket with side access
Weather resistance
Compressibility

Dislikes

Secondary day pack


Thank you to Gregory Packs and backpackergeartesters.org for the opportunity to test this pack.  Check back in a couple of months for my Long Term Report.

Read more gear reviews by Duane Lawrence

Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Gregory Baltoro 65 or Deva 60 > Test Report by Duane Lawrence



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