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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Gregory Z45 > Test Report by Andrew Preece

Gregory z45 Technical Pack
Test Series by Andrew Preece
Initial Report 27-07-2011
Field report 25-10-20011

three views of the pack
Photos courtesy of Gregory

 

Contents
Initial Report
Field Report
Long Term Report

Personal Details
Name: Andrew Preece
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Waist: 34 in (86 cm)
Sleeve Length: 20 in (53 cm)
Chest: 42.5 in (108 cm)
Neck: 16 in (40 cm)
Email: andrew_at_teamgunnparker_dot_com
City: Perth, Western Australia.
 
Backpacking Background
I have done a lot of hiking over the years, tenting my way around but now I carry a hammock and associated hamocking gear.
I normally carry approximately 35 lb (16 kg) of hiking gear which includes food and water.
My trips are usually between one to two days duration mainly over weekends, with some longer multi day hikes when time permits.
I hike all seasons with winter temperatures ranging from 39 F (4 C) to 64 F (18 C) including periods of heavy rain at times to summer conditions with the temperature ranging from 68 F (20 C) to 95 F (35 C) and very dry.

 

 

 

Product Information:
Manufacturer: Gregory
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website:
http://www.gregorypacks.com
MSRP: $190.00 US
Reported Weight: 4.062 lbs (1.85 kg)
Measured Weight: 4 lbs (1.81 kg)
Tested Size: Medium
Capacity: 2807 in³ (46 L)
Max Load: 40 lbs (18 kg)

 

Features
•JetStream™ LTS Suspension with 3 waist belt size adjustment options
•Ventilated and moisture wicking harness and waist belt
•Side zipper access that goes the length of the pack
•Large stretch mesh front pocket
•Dual hydration ports and sleeve
•Removable top lid
•Side, bottom and top compression
•Dual quick access waist belt pockets
•Exterior side pockets with pass-through compression
•Single axe/tool attachment points with secure carry under compression flaps
•Water-resistant zippers
•7001-T6 hollow aluminium stay
•210D double diamond ripstop and 210D x 420D HD flat weave fabrics

Specs

Size Volume Weight Torso Length
small 2563 in³ (42 L) 3 lb 12 oz (1.70 kg) 16" - 18" (40 cm -40 cm)
medium 2807 in³ (46 L) 3 lb 14 oz (1.75 kg) 18" - 20" (40 cm – 60 cm)
large 3051 in³ (50 L) 4 lb 1 oz (1.85 kg) 20" - 22" (60 cm – 80 cm)

 

Initial Report

The Gregory z45 arrived to me in great condition and after a good look over I could not see any loose or poorly sewn threads. The pack has a swing tag on the front that explains the features and how to adjust the waist belt. It also has another tag that tell of the “true ventilation” a feature of this pack and another pointing out the three sizes of adjustment at the rear of the waist belt. The pack I am testing is a medium size in Sonora Gold.

The Gregory z45 technical back pack is a top loader style pack made from a combination of 210 Denier double diamond ripstop and 210 Denier x 420 Denier HD flat weave fabrics. This pack is a top loader with a twist; it has a full length zip running down the right side (as worn) that allows entry into the main section of the pack without undoing the lid.
The pack has one main large storage area. Storage within the lid, a front pouch and two side pockets. The front pouch and side pockets are made of a stretchy material that will expand and contract with the load. It also has two side pockets, one on each side of the waist belt.
The support for the pack is supplied by a HDPE (High-density polyethylene ) framesheet with a hollow aluminium stay running down the centre of the HDPE framesheet. This stay can be removed and replaced if needed.
The waist belt and harness is constructed from a moisture wicking material. The harness has shoulder stabiliser straps at the top and shoulder straps at the bottom to allow for fine adjustments of the load. The waist belt has a clip in the centre and can be tightened at the left or right side; ideally they would be tightened by the same amount.

 

A view of the pack showing the true ventilation, the curve is very visible in the first photo.
The waist belt is also adjustable at the back and has a small, medium and large adjustment. The harness has an adjustable sternum strap which is adjustable up and down the harness and well as tighter or looser.
Inside the pack is a sleeve for a hydration bladder with exit ports on the left and right for the drinking hose. On each side of the shoulder harness is an elastic loop to hold the hose in place.

The pack has, to quote Gregory “true ventilation” which means that they have constructed the pack in such a way that the area of the pack that would rest on my back is curved. It has a large padded area that will rest on my hips and a smaller padded area that will rest at the top of my shoulders. This should in theory allow air to pass between my back and the pack, keeping sweat to a minimum. Road testing with a load should prove this point. The foam in the shoulder pads have been die cut and so have a lot of small holes in the foam that should help to keep the heat down. That foam is encased in a moisture wicking material.

 

In this view the die cut foam and HDPE can be seen clearly.
The lid has approximately a dinner plate sized space to store items in and has a zip to close it. The zip runs a good way around the lid and allows it to open up very well. Both the lid zip and the side access zip are water resistant. The zips have cord pulls on them to open and shut the zips. The lid has two straps to tighten it at the front and another two straps at the rear to adjust the height of the lid if the pack is very full.
The main compartment has a draw string to close it and a cord lock to keep it shut, it also has a strap that goes over the top to compress the load and keep it closed. Inside this compartment is a sleeve for a water bladder, this sleeve is I guess about three quarters the depth of the pack but is full width. I could a put a large bladder in there for sure. One thing I miss here as a clip of some sort to hold the top of the bladder up and in place.


 
Here is the hydration hose and a pocket with a strap passing through.
The pouch on the front is quite large and will stretch to allow quite a lot to fit inside. It has an adjustable strap at the top to close it. The side pockets are made of the same stretch fabric and look ideal for water bottles or some snacks.
On the sides of the pack are two compression straps, one near the top and one lower down. The interesting thing about the lower straps that I have not seen done on any other packs is that the strap can pass through the pocket. So rather than having a water bottle in the pocket and then not being able to take it out while walking because it is strapped in. I can pass the strap through a small hole in the pocket, synch it down and then still have full access to the pocket. A very nice idea indeed.

The waist belt has a pocket on each side with a zip opening. The pockets have solid material at the top and mesh below the zip. They are of a good size and I am able to get my fingers into the pocket with the pack on. It also has a single axe/tool attachment point.
All of the clips and buckles seem to be of solid construction and the buckles snap shut with a very pleasing sound.

 

Here is the ice axe attachment point, I have a hammer and a pocket with a strap passed over it.
   
The adjustments on the belt and one of the large pockets.

Thoughts so far.
This looks like a well constructed pack. One that should last a long time, but testing will tell. In the short time I have worn it so far it seems comfortable.
I like in particular the large side pockets at the waist, the stretchy front and side pockets. and the side zip.

This ends my initial report on the Gregory z45 pack. Please check back in about two months for my field report.

Field Report
24th Oct 2011
 
I have now used this pack on three occasions. I have used it twice in the hills of Perth on overnight trips, the first trip was a hike out to the shelter I maintain on the Bibbulmun track and the second overnight trip was to another shelter I like. Both of these trips involved an out and back hike of about two and half hours each way, or 7 miles (11 km). The weather was mild with temperatures about 44 F to 68 F (7 C to 20 C) and without any rain.
The last trip was a morning hike out along one of the trails here, a loop of about four hours with a break for morning tea. The weather was a bit warmer, 50 F to 77 F (10 C to 25 C) but with a short shower of rain in the morning. The distance is about 14 miles (21 km).
 
The pack at White Horse Hills shelter.


The pack has performed very well and I am very happy with it. The first thing I liked about it was on the very first morning. I went to put my car keys in the top lid and found a short lanyard with a hook to clip my keys onto. The biggest worry I have when hiking is losing my keys and this was a pleasant find. The pack is very comfortable and is easy to adjust and seems to fit very well. I found unlike other packs I own that I did not need to keep readjusting the straps throughout the day. Once tightened the straps stay in place.
The only drama I have with one strap is the load lifter strap on my right hand side. It did not matter whether I tightened or loosened the strap it would make a scraping sound in my right ear. After an half an hour of this noise it became very annoying. I was not able to stop it from happening.
 
The pack at White Horse Hills shelter.


I had a little rain on one of the hikes but my gear remained dry inside the pack. On one hike the sun was quite warm and I broke out into a sweat in the hills on the way back to the car. My back stayed dry because of the mesh and the curve to the back of the pack. When summer arrives in December I will see just how well this works.
All of the zips and pockets work very well. The side zipper works well and I have used this a few times to get inside the main part of the pack.
The pack is starting to look a little dirty from use but shows no sign of wear at all.
 
The pack and a trail sign.

 
 
Pros
I like that it fits well. That it is comfortable. That is does not need to be readjusted often.

Cons
The scraping sound from the straps.

I must thank Gregory and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this back pack, it is working very well so far.
This concludes the field report section. Please check back in about two months for the final long term report.

 

Long Term Report
3rd of January
This is my long term report on the z45 pack after using it for another few months.
I used the pack for another two trips out to White Horse Hills campsite as I did during the field report phase. This time though the weather was quite a lot warmer, about 68 F to 86 F (20 C to 30 C). The hike in and out was the same, a one way trip of about two and a half hours.
My last trip was to a trail here called The Eagle View Trail in a section of the John Forrest National Park. The trail is a little way from my house and within the hour I can be out on it. This trail is very good as the terrain is so varied. From where I park and the direction I take on this 14 mi (21 km) loop, I can start in hilly but open ground and steadily head up hill and into the trees. After walking along the top of the hill in the trees I head down hill to the river and make my crossing. Then I head along a disused railway line and back up hill. This time though it is a bit of a scramble through the granite boulders and out crops with a lot of almost vertical climbing but all on track, no climbing gear is needed. The terrain here runs from about 320 ft (100 m) to 820 ft (250 m).
Here I am wearing the pack along a section of the river near my house. The gap between my back and the pack is clearly visible. This photo really shows the design of the curve in the pack. Even though the temperatures were a little high on the last trips the pack design stopped a lot of the sweat build up on my back. It still gets hot and sweaty at the waist belt and at the top of the shoulder straps but much better than my other packs.

This pack is very comfortable to wear and I have none of the annoying scraping noise from my right shoulder. Perhaps my different load and the way I have packed it has stopped the noise. One big thing that I think this pack needs is a hook or strap to hang the water bladder from inside. What I resorted to doing was to undo the hook and loop tab that holds a support stay in the centre of the pack near the top, then thread it through the top of the bladder and hook it back in place. This held the bladder in an upright position perfectly.
 

 

 
The main reason I wanted to get up to the Eagle View Trail was to get in amongst the rocks and boulders and do a bit of climbing and scrambling through them. I did this because the pack is listed as a technical pack and I wanted to see how much it would snag on the rocks.
I'm glad to say the pack performed well in this area too. At no time did I find myself hung up on a rock and I was able to manoeuvre along this trail with ease.
As shown in the pictures to the left the pack sits well on my back and sits within the width of my back.   
To Sum up
I think this is a very good and well made pack. It fits me well and it carries everything I need from day hikes to over night camping trips within the limit of the size of the pack. The thing is I guess that if the pack were larger I would just carry more gear, and I'd rather go as light as I can.
I'd like to see a dedicated tab to hang a bladder from. The scraping noise seems to have gone and could have just been because of the way I packed it on that trip. There just isn't a lot not to like of this pack and it will be my main pack from now on.
 
I'd like to thank Gregory and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test and get to know this fine pack.
 


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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Gregory Z45 > Test Report by Andrew Preece



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