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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Gregory Sage 55 or Savant 58 pack > Test Report by Frances Penn

GREGORY SAGE 55 PACK WOMEN'S
TEST SERIES BY FRANCES PENN
LONG-TERM REPORT
August 14, 2012

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Frances Penn
EMAIL: fpenn AT sbcglobal DOT net
AGE: 55
LOCATION: Costa Mesa, California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 135 lb (61.20 kg)

I have been backpacking for five years mostly on long weekends in Southern California with one or two 5-day trips per year in the Sierras. My total daypack weight is usually 15 lb (7 kg) and my total backpack weight is usually 28-30 lb (13-14 kg). I am a tent camper and have experienced all night rain, heavy winds, camping in snow once, but mostly fair weather.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Gregory Mountain Products
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: www.gregorypacks.com
MSRP: N/A
Listed Weight: 3 lb 10 oz (1.6 kg)
Measured Weight: 3 lb 12 oz (1.7 kg)
Capacity: 59 L (3600 ci)
Size tested: Medium
Sizes available: Extra Small, Small and Medium
Color tested: Rosewood red
Colors available: Rosewood red, Tule blue and Cyprus green
IMAGE 1
courtesy Gregory website


Product Features
This pack is built specifically for the female anatomy and uses the Intuition 3D Suspension system. The pack includes a water-resistant roll top style top pocket with a waterproof zipper and an internal security pocket. The molded foam back panel, harnesses and waistbelt are breathable. There is a side stash zippered quick access pocket adjacent to the right side mesh pocket. There are small zippered stash pockets on both side waistbelts. The external hydration access port allows access to the internal hydration pocket which is located adjacent to the top drawstring opening just under the rolltop pocket. The pack features a large horseshoe shaped zipper for access to the main pack body. There are dual side and bottom compression straps, dual axe/tool attachment points, and an integrated, color-matched raincover. The pack is constructed of Ripstop nylon/polyester using 4 mm gauge wire for the wishbone internal frame suspension, 10 mm EVA foam for the waistbelt, and 12 mm EVA foam for the harness.

Available Sizes:
XS is 51 L (3112 ci), weighs 3 lb 0 oz (1.3 kg) and fits 14-16 in (35-40 cm) waist
S is 55 L (3356 ci), weighs 3 lb 6 oz (1.55 kg) and fits 16-18 in (40-45 cm) waist
M is 59 L (3600 ci), weighs 3 lb 10 oz (1.6 kg) and fits 18-20 in (45-50 cm) waist

Product Overview:
The Gregory Sage 55 Women's backpack is a mid-size internal frame pack specifically shaped for the female anatomy. The pack can be converted to a daypack on multi-day trips by cinching the compression straps.

The Intuition 3D Suspension molded foam back panel is shaped to fit my lower back and keep the waistbelt from shifting while keeping the main pack body away from my back for ventilation.
IMAGE 2
Intuition 3D Suspension


There are hydration tube loops on the top portion of both shoulder straps. There is no need for tube ports because the internal hydration pocket is accessed from an opening adjacent to the main pack drawstring opening just under the rolltop pocket.
IMAGE 3
external hydration access port


The top pocket is designed with a waterproof zipper and an internal security pocket that rolls before cinching down.
IMAGE 4
rolltop pocket closed


The drawstring top opening also has a quick opening loop which works to easily access the main pack body.
IMAGE 6
loop top opening


The pack includes an integrated color matched raincover in its own outside pocket with a hook-and-loop closure tab located just above the outside front pocket zippers. The front panel horseshoe shaped zipper appears to be waterproof but has not yet been tested. There are hook-and-loop pole straps on both sides.
IMAGE 5
integrated raincover


There are dual side compression straps and large side mesh pockets on both sides which easily accept a one liter water bottle.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

This is one sweet pack in a pleasant dark burgundy color. The pack has a lot of features that appear to be well thought out for comfort, versatility and function on a variety of trips. This pack is designed for long weekend summer trips due to its mid-weight size.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The pack tag indicates the comfort zone for packed weight is 35 lb (16 kg). There is a limited lifetime warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship.

TRYING IT OUT

The pack adjusts easily for a comfortable fit as both a daypack and a fully packed backpack.

The ample front pocket is large enough for a rain jacket and a light fleece for quick access. A few snack bars can easily fit into each of the waistbelt pockets. I like how compact the pack rides on my back and does not touch my hat for ease of movement and maneuverability.

The top pocket is sewn onto the pack body eliminating the ability to expand the pack above the main pack body or to detach it for use as a daypack. The pack easily converts to a daypack by cinching the compression straps tighter. I plan to test the bottom compression straps on my upcoming trips.

SUMMARY

So far I am very impressed with the features of this pack. It appears to have everything needed for a variety of trips with nothing extra to add weight. The pack is very compact, comfortable to wear, versatile, and should accommodate a variety of trips.



FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Trip #1
Location: Big Bear, California USA
Elevation: 6920 ft (2,109 m)
Trip duration: 2 days, 1 night
Conditions: rocky forest trail
Temperatures: 30-40 F (-1-4 C)

Trip # 2
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California USA
Elevation: 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Conditions: cross country on sandy desert terrain with cactus
Temperatures: 40-70 F (4-21 C)

Trip #3
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California USA
Elevation: 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Conditions: cross country on sandy desert terrain with cactus
Temperatures: 50-80 F (10-26 C)

Trip #4
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California USA
Elevation: 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Conditions: cross country on sandy desert terrain with cactus
Temperatures: 50-80 F (10-26 C)

Trip #5
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California USA
Elevation: 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Conditions: cross country on sandy desert terrain with cactus
Temperatures: 50-80 F (10-26 C)

Trip #6
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California USA
Elevation: 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Conditions: cross country on sandy desert terrain with cactus
Temperatures: 50-80 F (10-26 C)

Trip #7
Location: Moquith Mountain, Utah trail maintenance trip
Elevation: 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
Trip Duration: 7 days, 6 nights
Conditions: sandy desert trail with cactus
Temperatures: 50-80 F (10-26 C)

Trip #8
Location: San Gorgonio Wilderness Area, California USA
Elevation: 8,000 ft (2438 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Conditions: rocky forest trail
Temperatures: 50-80 F (10-26 C)

Trip #9
Location: Big Bear, California USA
Elevation: 6920 ft (2,109 m)
Trip duration: 2 days, 1 night
Conditions: rocky forest trail
Temperatures: 50-80 F (10-26 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

At the end of a day of hiking with a full pack up a canyon with a lot of bouldering, there was no perspiration on my back due to the breathable molded foam back panel. My pack weight on most of these trips was 28 lb (12 kg). The pack was comfortable to carry with this weight. The Intuition 3D Suspension kept the waistbelt from shifting.

Since this pack is a little smaller than the pack I have been using recently, I was concerned about fitting all of my gear. My concern evaporated quickly in the packing process. The top pocket is large enough to swallow up all of my smaller items.

IMAGE 1
start of Joshua Tree trip



The pack is even with my shoulders when fully packed making it very maneuverable while bouldering and dodging overgrown bushes and tree branches. I can also wear a wide brimmed hat for sun shade without the pack interfering with the rear portion of the hat. The top pocket can be extended by loosening the side tightening straps.

My 1 liter water bottle caught on the side compression strap when being pushed down into the mesh side pocket. My 1 liter water bottle in the mesh side pocket sits too high on my hips to be easily accessible to me while wearing the pack.

I had to carry 6 liters of water on one of the Joshua Tree trips which brought the pack weight up to 30 lb (13 kg). The pack carried that weight well and was comfortable. On the Utah trip, my pack weight was 35 lb (16 kg) because I needed to take more gear for the week than I would normally carry. The tent was attached to the bottom of the pack using the straps and a lightweight chair was tied to the back of the pack. Aside from the extra weight, the pack was comfortable to carry.
IMAGE 2
fully packed for a week

SUMMARY

This is the most comfortable backpack I have used. The features are well thought out. There are many adjustments and compression straps that can easily adjust to the current pack contents while using it as a day pack or backpack on a multi-day trip.

TESTING LIKES
Very comfortable to carry within recommended weight range
Many adjustments available for different gear & trip options
It can accommodate all the gear I can pack for a one week trip

TESTING DISLIKES
Side compression straps interfere with my water bottles
My water bottles in the side mesh pockets are not easily accessible while hiking

TESTING STRATEGY

As the summer continues, the weather changes will dictate packing different gear. My upcoming trips will be to higher elevations requiring warmer gear. I plan to continue to test the pack adjustments to accommodate different gear needs.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Trip #10
Location: San Gorgonio Wilderness Area, California USA
Elevation: 6,000 ft to 11,500 ft (1829 m to 3505 m)
Trip duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Conditions: rocky forest trail
Temperatures: 40-70 F (4-21 C)

Trip #11
Location: Big Pine Lakes area of the Sierras, California USA
Elevation: 9,500 ft to 11,000 ft (2,900 m to 3350 m)
Trip duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Condition: rocky forest trail
Temperatures: 40-70 F (4-21 C)

Trip #12
Location: San Gorgonio Wilderness Area, California USA
Elevation: 6,000 ft to 11,500 ft (1829 m to 3505 m)
Trip duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Conditions: rocky forest trail
Temperatures: 40-70 F (4-21 C)

Trip #13
Location: San Jacinto Wilderness Area, California USA
Elevation: 10,800 ft (3292 m)
Trip duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Conditions: rocky forest trail
Temperatures: 50-70 F (10-21 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

This pack easily held all the gear needed for my different packing needs. For the week long Utah trip, I was able to pack it with 35 lb (15 kg) and it carried that weight comfortably. The bottom straps were very useful for carrying the tent and solar shower. I tried different options to carry the bear canister. On the Big Pine trip, I carried the full bear canister inside my pack while hiking in to camp. The empty bear canister was strapped to the bottom using the straps while hiking back to the trailhead. On the San Gorgonio trips, I strapped the empty bear canister to the bottom of the pack while hiking up to camp and packed the food inside at the top of the pack. I found it most comfortable to carry the empty bear canister strapped to the bottom. I was happy to find the bottom straps were just big enough to accommodate the bear canister. The straps on some of the other packs I have used are not long enough to accommodate a bear canister. On the San Jacinto trip, my water bladder was leaking slightly so I tried carrying it in the outer front pocket which worked well. On this same trip, there was rain one evening which left my tent partially wet the next morning. I planned to carry the tent using the bottom straps, but in taking down the tent, it appeared dry enough to carry inside the pack. I really appreciated having the ability to change the packing location of my gear during this trip to adapt to different needs.

The Intuition 3D Suspension kept the waistbelt from shifting on all of my trips. The breathable molded foam back panel allowed room for air between the pack and my back to minimize perspiration on the warmer days. I found this to be one of the best features of this pack.

The horseshoe zipper has a flap which helped to make it waterproof. It is a nice feature to be able to access items at the bottom of the pack when necessary without unpacking everything. I usually packed items I needed regular access to in the large front pocket.

This pack shows a little wear in the form of light scrapes on the outside front pocket due to contact with bushes, trees and rocks during breaks, bushwacking and while packing in camp. This has not affected the performance of the pack.

I used the pole storage straps for holding my camp sandals which worked very well and made it easy to secure them. I have not found a way to access water bottles in the side pockets without assistance. I tried using a 32 oz (1 L) bottle and then a 16 oz (.5 L) bottle and found the size of the bottle made no difference in the lack of accessibility. It may be because I wear the pack strapped to my waist which makes the side pockets ride higher than my arms are able to twist to the back position to grab the bottle. This is not a problem because I am always with my friends on the trail and we assist each other with pack access when needed.

The loop top opening works as easily as when the pack was new, shows no wear and makes for quick access to the pack contents. The hydration pocket is easy to insert and remove my bladder. I like not having to feed my tube through a little hole in the pack and sometimes having to remove the mouthpiece to accomplish this because the hole is too small.

I usually backpack between March and October so the size of this pack is perfect for non-winter backpacking trips. I like to try different packing options to see what might work best. I am continually surprised at how much I can comfortably carry in different configurations using the options available.

SUMMARY

This Gregory Sage 55 pack has become my new favorite pack and works well for my backpacking style. It is a well-designed women's pack with just the right amount of space for my warm weather trips. I really appreciate all of the adjustments so I can carry different gear required for my trips.

Things I Like:
Women's specific fit
Zippered hip belt mesh pockets
Roomy lid and front pocket
Compact pack yet large enough to carry everything
Many strap and pack adjustments for different carrying options

Could be Improved:
Easier side pocket access to water bottles

This concludes my Long Term Report and this test series. Thank you to Gregory Mountain Products and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this awesome pack.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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