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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Gregory Whitney 2008 > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen

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courtesy of http://www.gregorypacks.com


Gregory Mountain Products
Whitney™ 95 Backpack

Test Series by Ryan Christensen

Last Update - July 7, 2008


Whitney_blue
Photo Courtesy of http://www.gregorypacks.com

ACCESS MAIN REPORT SECTIONS VIA THESE LINKS:

INITIAL REPORT
February 24, 2008
FIELD REPORT
May 4, 2008
LONG-TERM REPORT
July 7, 2008

INITIAL REPORT
February 24, 2008

Reviewer Information

Backpacking Background

Name: Ryan L. Christensen

Age:  43

Gender:  Male

Height:  6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)

Weight:  235 lb (107 kg)

Torso Length:  20 in (51 cm) [my son's measurement]

Waist Measurement:  38 in (97 cm)

Email:  bigdawgryan(at)yahoo(dot)com

City, State, Country:  Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

I began backpacking at twelve, continuing until 25. After an extended hiatus, due in part to a bad back, I resumed cycling, hiking, and backpacking several years ago and began snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I share my love for backpacking and these sports with my children. For several years, we have hiked or camped nearly every month, year-round. We vary our experience: desert, forest, meadow, and mountain; spring, summer, fall, and winter; sunshine, rain, wind, or snow. I am a midweight backpacker, but carry a full array of necessary gear.

Product Information:

The information below comes from the product card or Gregory website.

Whitney™ 95 Backpack

Manufacturer: Gregory Mountain Products
Manufacturer's website:

http://www.gregorypacks.com

Place of Manufacture:

China

Year Manufactured:

2008

Available Backpack Sizes:

Small - 87 L (5,309 in3)
for torso sizes 14 - 15.5 in (35 - 39 cm)

Medium - 95 L (5,797 in3)
for torso sizes 16 - 17.5 in (40 - 44 cm)

Large - 103 L (6,285 in3)
for torso sizes 20 - 21.5 in (50 - 54 cm)

Available Hipbelt Sizes:

Small - for waists 22 - 28 in (55 - 70cm)
Medium - for waists 28 - 34 in (71 - 86 cm)
Large - for waists 34 - 40 in (87 - 100 cm)
Extra Large - for waists 40+ in (100+ cm)

Warranty:


The Gregory Lifetime Guarantee

"We build Gregory gear to last a lifetime and that's how long we stand behind it. We guarantee to you, the original purchaser, that this product will be free from defects in materials or workmanship, for as long as you own it. If you think this product has any defects in materials, send it to us postpaid and clean with your proof of purchase. If the product is defective, then we will fix it or replace it with a new one and return it to you at our expense..."

Limited Warranty

"This warranty does not cover damage due to unreasonable use or improper care...incidental or consequential damage nor the natural breakdown of materials which occurs with extended use..."

MSRP:

$349 USD (not listed on Gregory website)

Product Specifications

Manufacturer's Specifications

 

Listed Weight: [Large] 6 lb 11 oz (3.03 kg)

Listed Load Capacity: [Large]

70 lb (32 kg)

Tester's Actual Measurements

 

Weight: [Large]

6 lb 12.5 oz (3.1 kg)

Color:

Trinidad Blue

Product Description:

The Gregory Whitney 95 backpack (hereafter referred to as "Whitney" or "pack") is the largest-volume member of Gregory's "Backpacking" line of packs. This series includes the Whitney 95, Deva 85, Palisades 80, Baltoro 70, Deva 60, and Triconi 60; with the Deva 85 and 60 being women-specific. All six are newly updated for 2008.

The Whitney comes in three unisex sizes, Small (87 L 5,309 in3), Medium (95 L 5,797 in3), and Large 103 L (6,285 in3). There are also four different hipbelt sizes available. In addition to being a volume monster, the Whitney has many noteworthy features, including:

  • Response Custom Fit Suspension™ system
  • Quick-Adjust hipbelt
  • 3D pre-curved harness and hipbelt
  • Ventilated dual-density molded foam backpanel
  • Side compression to secure large and small loads for greater stability
  • Top, front, side, and bottom access to main compartment
  • Removable top lid, which converts to a lumbar pack
  • Hydration sleeve and dual ports.
  • Dual hipbelt pockets, angled side stretch pocket, and angled hide-away water bottle pocket

FramesheetThe Whitney is an internal frame pack. It has an HDPE framesheet. There are two 0.75 in (1.9 cm) wide aluminum stays which are 0.125 in (.32 cm) thick. These pre-curved stays run the full length of the pack. Approximately 12 in (30 cm) down from the top of the stays, there is an aluminum anti-barreling cross-stay. This cross-stay is 0.5 in (1.3 cm) wide and runs perpendicular to the main stays, and is secured to the framesheet via webbing pockets. The main stays are secured at the top of the framesheet via webbing pockets. In the sleeping bag compartment area, the stays pass through sleeves in the vinyl material attached to the framesheet. A rivet in each stay secures them at the bottom of the framesheet.

Gregory constructs the Whitney's main bag from 210d HT (High Tenacity) double diamond ripstop nylon. The accents on the top lid, front stuff pocket, twin side pockets, and sleeping bag compartment are 210d nylon twill. Gregory says the 210d HT nylon it uses is "the perfect balance of lightweight, high tear strength, abrasion resistance, and waterproofness." Gregory also incorporates "a polyurethane coating, high-intensity color dyes, and ultraviolet inhibitors" in this material. The bottom of the sleeping bag compartment is constructed from a rubber-like thermoplastic elastomer. This is a waterproof and wear-resistant material which provides added protection. Zippers on the top lid, twin side pockets, the entrance to the main bag from the front stuff pocket, and dual hipbelt pockets are water-resistant. Gregory says there are three primary reasons it uses water-resistant zippers. First, because a weather flap is not required, water-resistant zippers are lighter. Second, because water-resistant tape covers the zipper, they are also more resistant to abrasion. Third, water-resistant zippers protect gear from moisture better than non-water resistant zippers do. However, there are non-water resistant zippers on the front stuff pocket, the hideaway water bottle holder/stash pocket, and the sleeping bag compartment.

Stretch Pocket Side Pocket Hideaway Pocket

Quick-AdjustResponse CFS is embroidered on the main bag along the left side, just above the hipbelt (backpanel view). This is Gregory's Response CFS™ (Custom Fit Suspension). The "Custom Fit Suspension" pivots to mirror the user's body movement. The associated Quick-Adjust hipbelt allows the user to adjust the hipbelt to their hip angle. There are five available positions on the left and right sides of the hipbelt. The adjustment is made by pulling on a quick release tab and pulling the hipbelt to the desired position on each side independently.

Auto•Cant™ attachment pointThe 3D pre-curved hipbelt and harness have dual-density foams laminated to the surface fabric for cushioning without pinching or binding. The foam on the harness is approximately 0.75 in (2 cm) thick. The harness connects to the pack frame via rotating Auto•Cant™ attachment points. They move to mirror the slope of one's shoulders and width of one's neck. This helps eliminate rubbing and hot spots. There are two slots in each Auto•Cant™ attachment point to enable the user to adjust the harness to their individual torso length. There is an adjustable sternum strap attached to the harness as well. This strap can be slide nearly 11 in (28 cm) along the harness to get just the "right" fit.

The foam on the hipbelt is approximately 1 in (2.5 cm) thick. There is a two zippered mesh pockets on the hipbelt. One snugs the hipbelt around the waist by pulling from back to front on the 1.5 in (3.8 cm) wide nylon webbing belt. Personally, I like the idea of pulling from back to front rather than pulling front to back, it just seems more natural to me.

Backpanel ViewThe molded backpanel is made of dual-density foam. The backpanel appears to be molded in such a way to enhance airflow and move moisture away from the user. In the waist section of the backpanel, there are two beaded-rubber "grip strips." These strips are nearly 5 in (13 cm) long and 2 in (5 cm) wide. I believe these strips are to help keep the pack on the hips, thereby assisting in load transfer.

The Whitney also has a sleeve to hold a hydration bladder (bladder sold separately). There are drink-tube ports on both the left and right side. Each port is identified on the exterior of the bag by a light blue embroidered water drop.

A few additional features, which I feel contribute to the overall quality of the Whitney. The pack has Whitney 95 embroidered on the backpanel side of the top lid and along the right side of the front stuff pocket. The top lid also has the Gregory logo embroidered on its front. There are two gear loops, one on either side of the zippered stuff pocket. This loops, which close with hook and loop fastener, provide a means of securing ice axes, snowshoes, trekking poles, or other items to the pack. Each loop has the Gregory logo on it. All zippers have pulls mad from nylon cord with molded plastic handles. Each handle and the plastic buckles also have the Gregory logo on them. There is a retractable divider between the main compartment and the sleeping bag compartment. The divider is retracted by simply sliding the metal buckle through the plastic loop on both sides of the divider.

Initial Impression:

The first thing that caught my attention as I pulled the Whitney from the box was its color. Trinidad Blue, which I really like, is new for 2008. It is a higher intensity color than the 2007 Midnight Blue, which I saw on the website at the time I applied to test this pack.

Once out of the box, I was impressed with the size of the pack. There is no doubt it will hold a lot of gear. There are five access points into the pack: top, both sides, front, and bottom. This will make getting to gear much easier (if I can just remember where I packed things).

The pack came with an attached product brochure. The brochure includes a company overview, product highlights, fitting information, and a brief overview of Gregory's Lifetime Limited Warranty. This is done in four different languages: English, French, Japanese, and German. There is limited information in the product brochure. I would like to have had some information on adjusting the harness and hipbelt.

The Whitney appears to be constructed of high quality materials and workmanship. All seams are straight and tight, with no loose threads. There were no snags or fraying material. All zippers, buckles, cordlocks, etc. worked smoothly.

Likes:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Harness and hipbelt padding
  • Adjustable harness and hipbelt
  • Multiple access points
  • Top lid converts into fanny pack
  • Dual hipbelt pockets
  • Angled hide-away water bottle pocket and side stretch pocket

Dislikes:

  • None at this time

Initial Testing:

My initial testing consisted of a thorough examination of the material, zippers, straps and buckles, cords and cordlocks. I then proceeded to weigh and measure the bag. Finally, I pulled the pack on for an initial fitting. Although it was not loaded, I was very pleased with how comfortably the Whitney fit me.

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FIELD REPORT
May 4, 2008

Summary:

During the Field Test Phase, I wore the Whitney on four over-night outings. Three were cross-country skiing, and the fourth was an overnight camp with my two oldest sons at a BSA Cedar Badge National Youth Leadership Training Staff meeting. I have worn the Whitney on semi-steep conditions while cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area near Idaho Falls, Idaho and on the flats while cross-country skiing in Harriman State Park near Ashton, Idaho and getting to our campsite at the CB-NYLT Staff campout near Idaho Falls, Idaho. This pack has been roomy enough to hold all the cold-weather gear I needed for each of these outings. It fits me well. Although it is a load-monster of a pack, it has been very comfortable to wear-even when skiing or snowshoeing. I am very pleased to date with the Whitney, and believe it will be my winter and multi-day backpack of choice (according to the load I will be carrying).

Likes Thus Far:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Harness and hipbelt padding
  • Adjustable harness and hipbelt
  • Multiple access points
  • Top lid converts into fanny pack
  • Dual hipbelt pockets
  • Angled hide-away water bottle pocket and side stretch pocket

Dislikes Thus Far:

  • Inability to attach my sleeping pad to the bottom
  • Effort required to get my 0 F (-18 C) synthetic-fill sleeping bag in its compression sack (10 x 16 in or 25 x 41 cm) into the sleeping bag compartment

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

Harriman State Park located 18 mi (29 km) north of Ashton, Idaho or 45 mi (72 km) south of West Yellowstone, Montana. The park is within an 11,000-acre (44.5 km 2) wildlife refuge in the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In the winter time, there are more than 20 mi (32 km) of trails available for cross-county skiing and snowshoeing. The skies were partly cloudy, with snow showers most of the day Saturday. The temperature ranged from 21 F to 37 F (-6 C to 3 C).

The Kelly Canyon Nordic Area located 26 mi (42 km) northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho in the Targhee National Forest. The Nordic Area starts at an elevation of approximately 5,900 ft (1,798 m) and reaches elevations of 6,700 ft (2,042 m). On the fist of two trips to this location, the temperature at 8:00 p.m. MST when we began skiing was 14 F (-10 C) and there was no wind. On the second trip, the temperature at 8:00 p.m. MST when we began skiing was in the mid 20s F (-4 C) and there was a slight wind. Based on the height of the trail sign-in box, I estimate there was 4+ ft (1.2+ m) of snow.

Near Idaho Falls, Idaho, which is approximately 4,700 ft (1,433 m) above sea level. Skies were partly cloudy and the low temperature was 28 F (-2 C).

Observations:

Wow, where do I start? I am very pleased with size, fit, and performance of this backpack thus far in the test series. The Whitney has the room to carry everything that I have needed on my winter outings. Some of the gear that I took on the three cross-country ski outings included the following:
  • 0 F (-18 C) sleeping bag
  • open/closed-cell foam sleeping pad
  • backpacking pillow
  • snowshoes (on two trips)
  • extra mid-weight base layers
  • extra mid-weight technical top
  • extra merino wool socks
  • slippers
  • extra beanie
  • extra gloves
  • down jacket
  • fleece jacket
  • Gore-Tex shell
  • headlamp
  • GPS unit
  • camera
  • snowshoes (on two trips)

Even with all the gear listed above, there has been room to spare in the Whitney. In addition to the roominess, I really like the easy access to the gear provided via the side pockets. This is much better than having to dig down from the top.

The fit of the Whitney is great. Gregory's Response CFS™ (Custom Fit Suspension) has been great while cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It has been quick and easy to adjust the suspension: shoulder stabilizer straps, sternum strap, shoulder harness adjustment straps, and the hipbelt. The pre-curved shoulder straps and hipbelt fit nicely, and they have been very comfortable, no pinching, etc. The suspension has done a great job transferring the bulk of the load to my hips, thereby minimizing strain on my lower back. Although a load monster, the Whitney is narrow enough that it has not impaired my arm movements while skiing or snowshoeing. The articulation in the suspension has moved well with my body. I am anxious to see how well it will move as I scamper over and around boulders, etc.

Performance to date has been great. The multiple pockets have enabled me to keep my gear well organized thus far. The polyurethane coating on the material, and the rubber-like thermoplastic elastomer on the bottom, has kept my gear dry. This has been nice especially in snow storms and as I set the pack down in the snow while taking breaks. While skiing and snowshoeing, I work up quite a sweat. The backpanel probably allowed air movement, but not enough to compensate for my over-active internal furnace. But, this is something to which I am accustomed. I will pay more attention to how well the backpanel breathes during the long-term test phase. To date, I have not had the opportunity to use the top pocket as a fanny pack. However, I will do so during the balance of the test period.

All the seams are still nice and tight; no loose threads anywhere. The zippers and buckles work as smoothly as the day the pack arrived on my doorstep. There are no snags in the material. This or stains anywhere. There are however, two nitpicks that I have with this pack. First, the straps covering the sleeping bag compartment are not long enough to accommodate my sleeping pad, so I have to attach it to the side of the main bag. Second, it that it takes a bit more effort than I like to get my 0 F (-18 C) synthetic-fill sleeping bag, in its compression sack (10 x 16 in or 25 x 41 cm), through the opening in the sleeping bag compartment. Overall however, I am extremely pleased with the Whitney. I expect this to be my pack of choice well into the future for extended-day and winter trips.

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LONG-TERM REPORT
July 7, 2008

Summary:

Life conspired against me, and I was unable to get in a multi-day outing during the Long-Term Test Phase. However, I was able to get in three additional overnight outings. I continue to be pleased with the volume and ease with which I can access the gear inside this pack. It fits me well, and is comfortable to wear, even when fully loaded (60+ lbs or 27 kg). I look forward to taking it on a multi-day outing or two yet this summer. If I experience anything significant, I will post an addendum to this report.

Likes:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Harness and hipbelt padding
  • Adjustable harness and hipbelt
  • Multiple access points
  • Top lid converts into fanny pack
  • Dual hipbelt pockets
  • Angled hide-away water bottle pocket and side stretch pocket

Dislikes:

  • Inability to attach my sleeping pad to the bottom
  • Effort required to get my 0 F (-18 C) synthetic-fill sleeping bag in its compression sack (10 x 16 in or 25 x 41 cm) into the sleeping bag compartment

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

In early May, I took the pack with me on an overnight outing near Idaho Falls, Idaho. The elevation is approximately 4,700 ft (1,433 m) above sea level. The temperatures ranged from the mid 30s to mid 60s (1 - 19 C).

In early June, I took the pack with me on a three-day church youth retreat near Hebgen Lake, Montana. Hebgen Lake is 10 miles northwest of West Yellowstone, Montana at an elevation of 6,547 ft (1,996 m). The sky was overcast and we had rain, snow, and hail. Temperatures ranged from a low of 27 F to a high of 49 F (-3 to 9 C).

Later in June, I took the pack on an overnight outing at the base of the Teton Mountains approximately 10 mi (16 km) east of Driggs, Idaho. The elevation is approximately 6,500 ft (1,981 m). The temperature ranged from 28 F to 72 F (-2 to 22 C) and although the skies were clear, there were 3 in (8 cm) of snow on the ground.

Observations:

I continue to be pleased with the volume and ease with which I can access the gear inside this pack. It is as if I carried my dresser with me. Access to gear is easy via the multiple access points and the multiple pockets help keep things nicely organized (even better than in my dresser at home).

The Whitney continues to fit great and its Response CFS™ (Custom Fit Suspension) continues to perform well. The suspension system provides great comfort and stability. The components: shoulder stabilizer straps, sternum strap, shoulder harness adjustment straps, and the hipbelt are easy to adjust. The pre-curved shoulder straps and hipbelt continue to be very comfortable, no pinching at all. Not once did I feel the pack impeded my movements. With a history of lower back problems, I am very pleased with how well the suspension transfers the bulk of the load to my hips, thereby minimizing strain on my lower back. This may be the most comfortable pack I have worn--that is quite impressive considering the Whitney is also a load-monster.

The polyurethane coating on the material, and the rubber-like thermoplastic elastomer on the bottom, has kept my gear dry, even in hail, rain, and snow showers. This has been nice especially when I set the pack down in the snow or on wet ground while taking breaks. I did use the top lid as a fanny pack on a short hike. Adjustments were easy to make, and the lid worked nicely as a fanny pack. I would gladly use it on dayhikes as part of a multi-day backpacking trip. However, I would prefer a "real" fanny pack, or smaller backpack for simple day hikes.

The angled hide-away water bottle pocket held my 32 oz (1 L) water bottle nicely and allowed me to access it without the help of my hiking buddy. The hydration sleeve held a 64 oz (2 L) hydration bladder nicely. I prefer to use the drink-tube port on the right side. But, I like the fact that this pack also has a port on the other side for those that prefer to drink from the left side.

All seams remain tight; there are no loose or fraying threads in any of them. The zippers and buckles continue to work as smoothly as the day the pack arrived. Even though I brushed up against bushes, trees, and rocks, there are no snags in the material. There are no stains on the material either. The Whitney has held up well during this test period. Being a Gregory product, my expectations were high at the outset of this test. I am pleased to say that the Whitney met all my expectations. In fact, my 17yr old son has asked if it is possible to buy a smaller hip belt so he can use the Whitney (I have to watch that kid, he is a real gear junkie). Consequently, I have already inquired at the local gear shop, and they confirmed that they can order a smaller hipbelt for the Whitney. This pack will be a staple in my gear closet for years to come, assuming my son does not run away with it.


Thanks to Gregory Mountain Products and BackpackGearTest
for allowing me to test the Whitney™ 95 backpack.

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