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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Gregory Whitney 2008 > Test Report by Chuck Carnes
W H I T N E Y 9 5
RESPONSE CFS SERIES BACKPACK
Initial Report: February 20, 2008
Field Report: May 6, 2008
Long Term Report: July 20, 2008
Name: Chuck Carnes
Height: 6 ft. 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 175 lb (79 kg)
Torso Length: 19.5 in (50 cm)
Waist: 34 in (86 cm)
E-mail address: ctcarnes1(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country: Greenville, South Carolina USA
I love the outdoors – I’ve spent time camping in the outdoors since I was born, and have been actively hiking and backpacking since then. I consider myself a lightweight hiker, usually carrying 20 – 30 pounds (11-13 kg) for hikes up to a week in length. I hike at an easy pace, averaging 2 mph (3 kph). I am a one-man tent camper for now. I like to carry a single trekking pole when I hike to help relieve stress to my legs and knees. I like to get out on the trail as often as I can.
Model: Whitney 95 (CFS Series)
Color: Trinidad Blue
Volume: 5,797 cu in (95 l)
Size: Medium (fits 18 in to 19.5 in [45 cm to 50 cm])
Comfortable Load: 70 lbs (31 kg)
Year of manufacture: 2008
Listed Weight: 6 lbs 9 oz (2.9 kg)
Actual Weight: 6 lbs 6 oz. (2.8 kg)
MSRP: Not on web site
The Gregory Whitney 95 is a large capacity backpack with many features and access points. The Response CFS suspension system stands for Custom Fit Suspension. This system allows the user to adjust the angle of the hip belt to find the perfect fit. The Whitney has two aluminum vertical stays and one horizontal stay attached to a frame sheet. The pack material is 210d HT Double Diamond Ripstop/Broken twill nylon. The back panel is vented and molded for extra comfort along with an Anti-Slip lumbar pad. There are four access points; top, one on each side and the bottom at the sleeping bag compartment. The Whitney also sports a hydration pocket, water proof zippers, molded shoulder straps, a built in fanny pack in the lid and an expandable water bottle holder.
I N I T I A L R E P O R TThe Gregory Whitney 95 (from here on out as 'pack' or 'Whitney') is just a beautiful pack to look at. With all of the features, organization and construction of the pack it makes for one nice piece of work. The pack arrived in great condition with a white tube under the shoulder straps to prevent the pre-molded shoulder straps from getting crushed during shipping. It's hard to tell anything about a pack when it's unstuffed so I took some pillows and stuffed the pack so that I could get an idea of the volume and look inside the pockets. I even tried it on for a quick fit and the pre-molded belt and shoulder straps are unbelievably comfortable. The hip belt just automatically sits right on my hips and curves around to the front. This pack has a unique way of tightening the hip belt. After buckling the belt, instead of pulling the web strap towards the back, they are pulled towards the front. This makes it so much easier to tighten the belt and they can both be done at the same time. Most packs that I have, I have to buckle the belt, place one hand on the belt and use the opposing hand to pull the web strap towards the back as I push in with hand on the belt; then I do the same for the other side.
February 20, 2008
The initial fit is very good, straps feel great, hip belt feels awesome with a custom fit feel, sternum strap is able to slide up and down depending on where I want it to be. Everything feels like it is within reach and the hip belt pockets are great; nice place to stow some snacks. Now for other parts of the pack. Below I will describe them in a little bit more detail.
Response CFS and Hip Belt Pouches
The Response CFS system allows the user to control the angle of the hip belt by pulling on a plastic ring tab and rotating the hip belt to the desired angle. This system can be seen in the picture to the left. Notice the numbers on the yellow label lets the user know the position and notch the system is set to. This can be done on both sides, independently.
The hip belt pouches are provided on both sides.The mesh material on the bottom with the solid material on the top is a nice touch to give stiffness in the material to open and close the pockets easily, and the pocket can breath and drain if need be. With the top portion being solid, this gives a bit of protection from the elements also. The pockets are big enough to put a small camera in them, two or three power or candy bars, or even a GPS or MP3 player.
Hide-a-way Water Bottle Holder
The Hide-a-way water bottle holder is a neat feature to the Whitney. It's a pocket that is gusseted with a mesh material and a zipper that closes the pocket on two sides. While the pocket is closed, the top is still open so the user can place small items in it or even a small bottle and still be secured. The pocket opening is positioned towards the front to make it easier for the user to get a bottle or items by just reaching back and not have to remove the pack. When the pocket is unzipped, the pocket can expand open to accommodate a larger water bottle. I like the mesh portion of the pocket and it's location. The mesh is placed at the bottom and the side as seen in the picture to the right. This gives the sweat or condensation from the bottle somewhere to exit and can just drip to the ground and not be trapped in a pocket. Also notice the elastic yellow cord attached at the pocket. This can be placed over the top of a water bottle to keep it secured in the pocket.
Side Pocket and Compression Straps
The side pockets are large and would be useful for placing items in them that would not matter about being crushed. I say that because the side compression straps are directly over the side pockets as seen in the picture on the left. This creates a bit of a problem when items are in the pocket that would need to be retrieved easily. Although, the straps are snap buckled so it wouldn't be very hard for the user to unbuckle the straps, retrieve the item and then buckle them back and cinch the straps tight if needed.
These side pockets are the location to where the main compartment can be accessed. As seen in the picture to the right, there is mesh material and a zipper to keep any items in the main compartment from falling out when the pocket is opened but clear enough to see an item in the main compartment if needed. The pocket itself can store gear as well in the mesh pocket that is provided on the lid of the pocket that can store smaller items.
Sleeping Bag Compartment and Frame Sheet
The sleeping bag compartment is very large and can be divided from the main compartment by way of a thin nylon material. On the outside of the compartment, there are compression straps that extend to the bottom of the hip belt area and buckled above the waterproof zipper opening. This gives the user the ability to strap gear to the front and the bottom. Integrated into these web straps are two ice axe loops. The bottom is made up of waterproof, wear resistant material that has a rubbery feel to it.
Inside the sleeping bag compartment the vertical aluminum stays are seen attached to the frame sheet in the picture to the right.
Accessory LoopsI'm calling these 'Accessory Loops' because they can be used to hold just about anything on the outside of the pack. I presume they are mainly to be used for hiking poles, ski poles or maybe tent poles. But I think anything light that can be placed here, the loops will hold. They are held closed by a hook and loop closure. These have a neat feature in that when they are opened, there is another hook and loop closure that keeps the strap from the lid, held in place and not flopping all over the place.
SummaryOverall, I am excited to get the Whitney packed with gear and take it out in the backwoods. I am looking forward to putting a lot of my winter gear in it that I normally do not get to take due to space and weight. Since the Whitney is listed as a heavyweight backpack then I will certainly push its limits. I am a very organized person when it comes to packing my pack with gear and this pack seems to have all the luxuries and organizational features to fit my backpacking style. I hope to have a trip with rain in the forecast to see how water resistant or waterproof the fabric and zippers are. In my next report I will include a gear list and weights for reference as to how the pack felt while carrying these loads.
F I E L D R E P O R T
May 6, 2008
The Gregory Whitney has been more than I expected. The pack has performed beautifully and has been very comfortable when carrying it. I used the Whitney on a two nighter just before spring time came around here and was able to fill it pretty full with winter gear. I hiked the Foothills Trail from Table Rock to Sassafras Mountain. An 8 mile (14 km) stretch that ascended 2,000 ft (610 m) in the first 3 miles (5 km) but then was pretty smooth and flat the rest of the way. The weather was fairly nice. The temperatures ranged from 60 F to 70 F (15 C to 21 C) during the day and 35 F to 40 F (1 C to 4 C) at night. We had a few sprinkles of rain here and there but nothing major to have to get out any rain gear.This concludes this test series
Packing the Whitney was fun in itself as I really enjoy pockets and access points and the Whitney has plenty of both. I carried a 20 F (-6 C) bag even though I was not expecting the temperatures to reach that low, I like being warm and not right at the threshold of the borderline temperature rating of the bag. The bag fit perfect in the sleeping bag compartment and my blow-up mattress fit just above it. I took a bivy along with me for the first time and it fit fine vertically and the poles fit vertically along side it along with my cooking system and water bottle to even out the load. After getting these items in the pack I started loading it with some winter clothes and food that were in separate stuff sacks. I actually had room to fit everything in the main compartment but I wanted to use the outer pockets to see how easy it was to get to the items when I needed them. Note that I did not even come close to filling them up but I did have things in them for location purposes.
Map and headlamp went in the lid pocket, extra stove fuel, trowel and some personal items went into one of the side pockets. Camp shoes and pack cover went into the other. The front pocket can swallow a lot of gear and again, it was no way close to being full and I had a rain shell and an outer shell stuffed into it along with some small food items. I also had a few snack bars and peanuts in the hip belt pockets which, by the way, was very nice and useful.
As mentioned before we gained 2,000 ft (610 m) in the first three miles so this gave me an opportunity to see how well the Whitney was balanced on my hips and if I felt the pack had any top heaviness. While this was a stressful and heart pumping hike the pack rode very balanced and snug to my hips and back. With the Response CFS system already dialed in to my comfort level while at home, this was the perfect time to test it because I was leaning forward most of the time and the angle of the hip belt at the beginning was perpendicular to the frame sheet. I pulled on the ring tabs and sort of leaned forward and squatted down to get the hip belt to rotate. I released the tabs and stood back up and it seemed to have worked. The belt was much more slanted and the pack rode even better at this angle as I went up the trail. As I got to the top and the terrain leveled off I re-adjusted it back to its original position, this is a really nice feature.
The pack was very comfortable during the three days of hiking. The total weight of the pack with my gear in it was about 36 lbs (16 kg) and this included food for three days and three 32 oz. (.9 L) water bottles. It did sprinkle rain on us on the second day as we hiked but it wasn't enough to take out the pack cover and rain gear. The Whitney was a little damp on the top lid but underneath was dry. I really like all of the features of the Whitney especially the Response system and the shoulder straps and hip belt. I think these three features are the key to the comfortable, and highly adjustable, fit of the pack.
The Gregory Whitney takes in a lot of gear and organizes it very well. All of my gear is very easy to get to and I don't have to dump things out just to get something on the bottom. All of the pockets open wide so that all the gear can be seen and retrieved very easily. The pack rides very well on my hips and shoulders and the load is distributed evenly. The Response CFS system is without a doubt on of the best features on this pack and it worked very well on the trail when I needed to adjust it.
* The comfortable and custom fit feel of the waist belt
* All of the access points into the main compartment
* The organizational pockets
* The Response CFS system
* None so far
Since my Field Report, I have used this pack on a 2 night trip and on several 1 night trips. On my 2 night trip my gear list did not change much from what is listed in the Field Report except that the sleeping bag was lighter due to the summer season. In fact, I took a little bit more food since I had enough room. I took it to the Pisgah National Forest where I encountered very hot days and dry conditions. My total packed weight was about 30 lbs (13 kg) which included water and food. On my over night trips I went to several different locations that are close to my house and easy to get to. During these trips I would carry about 15 – 20 lbs (6 - 9 kg) as I was not carrying as much food and water as the 2 night trip but most of the weight was the pack itself. Although this is classed as a long weekend or week long pack, it was still comfortable on just an overnight trip.
L O N G T E R M R E P O R T
July 20, 2008
The elevation at Pisgah was between 5,500 - 6,500 ft (1,676 - 1,981 m) and temperatures ranged from 80 F – 90 F (26 C - 32 C) during the day and 60 F – 70 F (15 C - 21 C) at night. I never experienced any rain just high humidity. On the over night trips the elevation ranged from 1,500 - 3,000 ft (457 - 914 m) and the temperatures ranged from 60 F – 90 F (15 C - 32 C) during the day and 50 F – 70 F (10 - 21 C) at night. I did not encounter any rain during these trips.
After this final series of testing in the field, I've decided that this is a great all around pack. From the multiple organizing options to the quick custom fit suspension. I moved along the trail with no problems from this pack. The shoulder straps felt very good. I never had to adjust them due to discomfort to my collar bone or trapezoids. The hip belt kept the load close to my back and never had a problem with the pack bouncing around. In the lumbar area and in my lower back area I found the vented molded back panel to keep my back from becoming overheated and soaking my shirt with sweat. For the most part, the temperatures would get to about 85 F – 90 F (29 C - 32 C) and stay there most of the day. For me the pack is narrow enough so that my arms do not brush the side of the pack when my arms go back.
The pack itself has been very easy to pack with my gear. The two side pockets and the front pocket has been a great addition to the pack for organizational purposes. They make finding certain pieces of gear easy to find. I mainly stowed things like headlamps, fuel bottles, water purifier, GPS, rain shell and a few miscellaneous items. These items were easy to get to when I needed them since they unzip and open wide to make searching easier. The main compartment held all of my gear without needing the extension collar. At least I know that I could pack a little bit more stuff in it and know that I have room at the top. After the side cinch straps are tightened, the pack becomes tight and very stable. The only problem is depending on what is in the side pockets will determine how tight one would want to cinch it.
As seen in my reports, my experience with the Whitney pack has been outstanding. I will continue to use the pack as a long weekend and even an over night and extended stay pack. The durability of the pack has held up very well and there is very little wear on the outside of the pack where the bottom constantly rubs the ground from setting it down and picking it up. All buckles and zippers are still in good working order and never had any problem with them.
Thank you Gregory and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity.
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