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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Gregory Targhee 45 pack > Test Report by Nancy Griffith

GREGORY TARGHEE 45 PACK
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
LONG-TERM REPORT
July 13, 2014

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Nancy Griffith
EMAIL: bkpkrgirlATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Northern California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

My outdoor experience began in high school with a canoeing/camping group which made a 10-day voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a few weeks long. Over the past few years I have lowered my pack weight to a light-weight base weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) and use a tent, stove and quilt.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Targhee 45
Photo courtesy of Gregory Mountain Products
Manufacturer: Gregory Mountain Products
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.gregorypacks.com
MSRP: $199 US

Listed Weight: 4 lb 14 oz (1.81 kg) for Medium per website
Note that this conversion is incorrect because 1.81 kg = 4 lb
Measured Weight: 3 lb 15 oz (1.79 g)

Color Tested: Radiant Orange
Other Colors Available: Obsidian Black

Size Tested:
Medium Torso: 18-20 in (46-51 cm)
My Torso Length: 18 in (46 cm)
Other sizes available:
Small Torso: 16-18 in (41-46 cm)
Large Torso: 20-22 in (51-56 cm)

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

insulated tube sleeve
Photo courtesy of Gregory Mountain Products
The Targhee 45 is a unisex all-around snow pack that is listed on Gregory's website under the 'alpine' category. It is a meant to carry everything for a long day of touring or for an overnight trip. The volume capacity for the medium size is 45 L (2,746 cu in) with a recommended load capacity of 35 lb (16 kg). The pack features a Vertflex suspension which is vertically stable to balance the load while being torsionally flexible to accommodate the movements of alpine sports. There is a HDPE framesheet with an added cross stay and wire wishbone perimeter frame. The back panel is a smooth design to easily shed snow.

The shoulder straps are padded and contoured for a better fit. They attach to the side of the pack rather than to the hipbelt. The right-hand strap has a pocket that zips the full-length of the strap to house a hydration tube and keep it from freezing up. There are load lifter straps on each side. The sternum strap is adjustable along the shoulder straps. The male side of the buckle has an integrated whistle.

The hipbelt is fixed in place so there is no torso length adjustment possible. There are side stabilizer straps on the hip belt. The hip belt is padded and adjustable with a small zippered pocket on the left side and a large gear loop on the right side. The top-loading main compartment closes with a drawstring and has a compression strap to tighten it all down. Inside are a buckled strap and a large pocket for holding a hydration reservoir. There are loops along the inside of the main compartment and one port for routing the hydration hose down the right shoulder strap. The lid which seems to be a good place to store goggles is not removable or adjustable. The underside of the lid has a zippered pocket with a keyclip inside.

Outer pocket
Photo courtesy of Gregory Mountain Products


On the front side there is a dedicated pocket for snow tools including a shovel and avalanche probe. On the sides there is an A-frame strap system for carrying skis which has sliding tab to lock the straps in place. It holds skis up to 130mm in length and at an off-set to keep the tail of my skis from hitting my legs and the tips from hitting my head. Skis can also be attached diagonally along the front of the pack using straps that connect to the pack with an anodized aluminum buckle. These straps are stowable when not in use. At the bottom there are two attachment points for carrying dual ice axes.

Snowboards or snowshoes can be carried along the front of the pack using hypalon-reinforced webbing straps which are durable against sharp edges. Compression straps allow for the fit to be customized to exactly what I'm carrying. These straps are stowable when not in use.





snowshoe carry
Photo courtesy of Gregory Mountain Products



The rear of the pack has a zipper that opens along both sides and top to allow for access to gear without interference from the gear that is strapped on the front. The bottom of the pack has a section of fabric to act as a fence to keep gear from falling out when using this rear-entry system.

The backpanel is molded with a lumbar pad to allow the load to transfer to the hips. Its design also makes it easy to shed snow. The front panel has padding to help protect it from the sharp edges of all of my gear. There is a pocket on the top for accessories such as goggles. Inside this top pocket is an internal zippered pocket which can be used for keys or valuables.

Many of the zipper pulls and buckles are large and designed to be easy to use while wearing gloves and to be resistant to freezing up or jamming with snow and ice. The main compartment drawstring is particularly unique having two large pulls on either side to easily open it and a toggle that allows for easy closure even while wearing gloves.



INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT

My initial impression was that the pack seemed large and heavy but then I've gotten used to some very small and lightweight backpacks. This winter pack has a ton of features and is heavy-duty so the pack is really pretty light considering all that this pack can do. I also was leery of how bright the orange color would be but find that I like the color very much. It has nice blue accents that are a cool contrast.

I tried on the pack and the torso length seems just right but the hip belt is a pretty large. Fortunately it has enough adjustment that it can be tightened sufficiently but it leaves long strap ends. It would've been nice to be able to order a specific hipbelt size separately from the torso length size.

Overall the pack is as advertised on the website. There are a couple of differences between the hangtag information and the website. One is the weight of a size medium with the hangtag stating 3 lb 14 oz (1.81 kg) and the website stating 4 lb 14 oz (1.81 kg). The most confusing thing about this is that 1.81 kg = 4 lb. The second thing is that the hangtag lists the recommended load as 35 lb (16 kg) while the website shows something more like 32 lb (15 kg).

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The pack came with a hangtag booklet listing the specifications and some of the features. There was also a hangtag noting the various gear carry options. The website was really the key though to get more information about the pack including an informative video.

SUMMARY

The Gregory Targhee 45 is a versatile pack for winter sports that is full of specific features for skis, snowboards, snowshoes and avalanche gear. It seems to be very well thought out and well-designed for alpine activity.

Initial Likes:
High quality
Nice color
Lots of features

Initial Dislikes:
Lid is fixed
Hipbelt is large


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Lid with padDuring the Field Testing period I used the pack for two overnight backpacking trips, two snowshoe day hikes and two day hikes.

Backpacking:
Rubicon Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 2 days; 10 mi (16 km); 6,327 to 6,500 (1,928 to 1,981 m); 21 to 57 F (-6 to 15 C) with clear conditions; light breezes.

Lake Pleasant, Sierra Nevada, California: 2 days; 13 mi (16 km); 6,300 to 6,600 (1,920 to 2,012 m); 19 to 52 F (-7 to 11 C) with clear conditions; wind gusts to 20 mph (32 km/h).

Snowshoeing:
Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 4 mi (6.4 km); 6,327 to 6,478 (1,928 to 1,974 m); 38 F (3 C) with clear conditions; breezy.

Glissade Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 3 mi (4.8 km); 6,327 to 6,478 (1,928 to 1,974 m); 34 F (1 C) with mostly cloudy conditions.

Day Hiking:
Haul Road, Mendocino Coast, Northern California: 6 mi (10 km); 45 to 55 F (7 to 13 C); nearly sea-level; cloudy to rainy conditions with blustery winds.

MacKerricher State Park, Northern California: 3 mi (5 km); 50 to 55 F (10 to 13 C): nearly sea-level; clear to cloudy condition.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

California had a record dry winter so where we normally would have deep snow conditions in the mountains, we had nearly no snow most of the winter. We could count the storms on one hand instead of the usual year of one storm after another. This made it difficult to get out snowshoeing as much as normal, but it did give me the opportunity to carry my snowshoes on my pack. Thus I was able to test out the snowshoe attachment feature more than I would have expected.

My first trip with the pack was a day snowshoe hike that had some sporadic areas of snow so I was taking off and putting back on my snowshoes multiple times. I carried them on my pack using the snowboard strap for lower portions and diagonal ski strap for top portion. Inside I stowed two light down jackets, one z-lite pad and two rain jackets. In the outer pocket I carried gloves, headbands and a neck warmer.

On two separate occasions we planned an overnight snow camping trip where we'd snowshoe in and camp. However, the snow turned out both times to be less than we'd hoped. So on the first trip I strapped on my snowshoes just in case but never had the chance to use them. On the second trip I wised up and left them in the truck. While carrying the snowshoes on my pack I noticed the top strap seemed to loosen. I later discovered that there is a locking feature on the straps that I was failing to use. They stayed tight when I used them. Oops.

Back panel accessI found that the routing of hydration tube wasn't easy to do and ended up with a kinked water tube several times. Being able to open the back panel was a time saver and I used it several times to find the kink in my water hose. It was much easier than trying to remove everything from the top and it was easy to keep my gear from falling out. In the end I don't see the point of having a lower opening in the water reservoir pocket. It seemed only to be a hassle both for causing kinks and for being a pain to remove the reservoir from the hose for filling. I have since used the pocket with the water hose routed up back out the top of the pocket. It works great.

I found the pack to easily hold all of my gear even in winter packing mode. I was able to fit everything inside except for my closed-cell foam sleeping pad. I placed this across the top of the main compartment and strapped the lid over it. Since the lid is fixed in place, this caused the lid to not work well as a pocket. I wasn't able to carry much in the lid at all. If the lid was adjustable it could strap over and still allow the lid to be used for storage.

The drawstring top pull tabs on the main compartment are fabulous and make the pack a cinch to open even with cold fingers or wearing gloves. I carried sunscreen and lip balm and a snack in the hipbelt pocket.

The pack straps were very comfortable and didn't aggravate my shoulder. I am just recovering from a pinched nerve in my neck (caused by backpacking) and was concerned about how well this pack would work especially being heavier than my summer pack and load. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was no issue at all with my shoulder. The zipped pocket in the strap worked to keep my water tube from freezing overnight.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

EmigrantDuring the long-term testing period I used the pack for two backpacking trips and one snowshoe day hike.

Backpacking:
Emigrant Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California: 4 days; 20 mi (32 km); 6,300 to 7,600 (1,920 to 2,316 m); 38 to 75 F (3 to 24 C) with cloudy to clear conditions; gusty breezes; 18 lb (8 kg) pack weight.

Pacific Crest Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 4 days; 40 mi (64 km); 4,573 to 8,411 (1,394 to 2,564 m); 45 to 75 F (7 to 24 C) with clear conditions; high winds on passes; 20 lb (9 kg) pack weight.

Snowshoeing:
Wentworth Springs, Sierra Nevada, California: 2 mi (3.2 km); 5,200 to 5,700 ft (1,585 to 1,737 m); 37 to 57 F (3 to 14 C); cloudy with some sleet.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

PCTWe finally had our best snow of winter in April and got out to do a fabulous (but short) snowshoe hike. The deep snow was melting fast and we wore light layers when the sun was out but then it got dark and sleet moved in which called for a quick addition of rain gear. I carried a stove and pot to make some hot drinks during our lunch stop. As usual the pack pockets were convenient for holding everything and making it all easy to access.

On our Emigrant trip, we base camped and spent the days scrambling off-trail and fishing. I used the Targhee for a day pack and was able to comfortably carry extra clothing, lunch, water and fishing gear. It collapses down to a nice smaller size so that I feel like I'm carrying a day pack.

I use the large outer pocket for smaller items and for keeping things accessible like my rain kilt, headlamp, maps and first aid. The lid is so compromised by being strapped over the pack that I can't fit much of anything it in and ended up mainly using it for sunscreen. It the lid wasn't fixed to the pack it has plenty of space in it for holding much more.

I used the poles straps on the sides for holding trekking poles and they really work great. I also used them for holding my plastic water jug that I use for scooping water. The straps are easy to use and stay locked in place.

On the PCT hike I used the outer pocket for bandana, sun shirt (in the morning), map, Steripen and hand cleaner. I used the lower side strap which is meant for skis to slip through for holding a water bottle and it held in place with no problem even though there is no bottom to keep it from sliding through. I was easily able to hold all of my gear for a four day trip. I even put my water shoes inside the pack since I had the room.

The durability of the pack has been very good. It looks in great condition despite getting filthy dirty and being exposed to sharp granite and branches. Even after being muddy and dirty I just had to wait for it to dry and the dirt seemed to brush right off. I haven't bothered to wash it yet.

SUMMARY

The Gregory Targhee 45 is a versatile pack for winter that works well for both day trips and shorter backpacking trips. It has a lot of great features for alpine activities but the pockets are convenient for summer backpacking too.

If the lid of the pack wasn't fixed in place, this pack would be nearly perfect.

Likes:
Straps are comfortable
Back panel access
Pull tabs to open main compartment

Dislikes:
Lid is fixed
Water hose routing

This concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to Gregory Mountain Products and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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