|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
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
|A view of the pack
showing the true ventilation, the curve is very visible in the first
|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.
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
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
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
|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.
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
|The pack at White Horse
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
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 is starting to look a little dirty from use but shows no
sign of wear at all.
|The pack and a trail sign.
I like that it fits well. That it is comfortable. That is
does not need to be readjusted often.
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
|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.