Great pack, amazing suspension!
I've carried a number of packs in this size range, including the Baltoro 65, REI Crestrail 70, and Deuter Act Lite 65+10, and they are all great packs in their own right. Enter the Contour 70. The suspension is truly outstanding! I have never, and I mean never, had a pack ride so well up on my hips. Even loaded up, it doesn't put any weight on my glutes at all. I have quite a flat butt, so many packs just slide down my hips, and do not work for me. I think it's the design of the swiveling hipbelt, and also the cut of the packbag. It sort of tapers toward the bottom,so it's very clean in that area. The hipbelt and shoulder straps have thin, but good quality, laminated padding that performs better than you might think by just feeling it. In fact, sometimes I think that padding can be overdone. If you look at the top gear for pack animals, it's much more about design than overly thick padding. For me, the same principle applies to the Contour 70; it's all about the design of the straps and quality of padding, not necessarily just about the thickness of the padding. Normally, my loads are 35 pounds or less, but I wouldn't worry about carrying 45-50 pounds in this pack if necessary. The suspension is just that good. Of course, Gregory is well known for excellent suspensions. As for the bag, the Trail Smart packing system is nice, but I'm not sure it's anything revolutionary. It's a packbag, with top and side access, stuff-it pocket with zippered storage on the outside, top lid and side pockets. That's pretty standard on most packs these days. The pocket configuration is nice, though. I especially like the waterproof top lid, with taped seams and water resistant zipper that you can roll under like a dry bag. Also nice is the zippered side pocket on the right side, which can be accessed without taking off the pack. The hipbelt pockets are small, but big enough for my eTrex 20 GPS on one side and my ultra compact point and shoot camera on the other. The other side pockets are made of solid, not mesh material, which I like for durability. They aren't overly spacious, especially with the packbag loaded full, but they are big enough for me. I can put my Alite Butterfly chair in one, so it's handy on rest breaks. I really like that this pack design comes in a 70 liter size. It's a modest 70 liters, in my opinion. By contrast, the REI Crestrail 70 is huge compared to the Contour 70. I can't believe they're even rated as the same size. Anyway, I like the size of it, as it's better for me to have a bit of extra room than not enough. I can always snug up the compression straps if necessary. They can go either inside or outside of the side pockets too, which is handy for different situations. I thought the Contour 60 was a bit small for a multiday pack. Just my 2 cents on that. All in all, this pack is comfortable, innovatively designed and built very sturdy for such a lightweight pack. I highly recommend the Contour 70!
GREAT motorcycle touring pack!
I did a review that didn't get published where I gave this pack 4 stars. I take it back! It is in fact a 5 star pack!
In comparison to the Gregory Baltoro, the Contour DOES lack when it comes to carrying more weight when you are backpacking. It does not have as thick of padding, and the suspension seems a little bit lighter.
I tried loading a typical camping load for backpacking, and liked the good old Baltoro better. The thinner padding of the Contour is better suited to lighter, minimalist loads.
BUT... I'm glad I had more time to review this pack. For motorcycle touring, I wear my already padded leather riding jacket.
The contour SHINES in this situation, because the extra padding is not only un-necessary, but it gets in the way!
I am VERY pleased with how this pack performs on my Honda XR650L for touring. It holds my mandolin, laptop, and a Hennesy Hammock, plus several other goodies, Jetboil, AND a sleeping bag!
ALSO, the Contour includes a rainfly! That is included in the total weight. With the Baltoro, the rain fly is NOT included, and it requires another pound of weight! You absolutely MUST have a rain fly for moto-touring!
By the time you load up the Baltoro with all that, now it rides heavy on your bike, and will wear you out early, and the padding will feel constricted.
The Contour, while with a heavier load misses that padding, on the bike it feels GREAT! That 2 pounds, minus the heavy extra rain fly (another pound) makes it so I can ride all day with no dis-comforts.
Obviously, the Contour is no slouch if you wanted to take it hiking away from the bike as well, just not quite as good for hiking with a lot of weight all day as the Baltoro.
WELL, now it looks like REI is clearing out all the old model Baltoro packs to finally make room for the newly designed Baltoro!
FANTASTIC! It's about time, and I'll be eagerly waiting to buy the first new Baltoro that comes out!
My guess is that it will be a little bit lighter, but still have the padding and suspension, and with bigger pockets, and a similar compartment system (which I REALLY like! Once again, the pockets are GREAT for motorcycles, and would be for hiking as well!) I like how there is an outside pocket that things can't fall out of for gloves, bonnets, etc, and a zipper part for more sensitive things that you can't loose or get wet. The top has a great zipper that rolls up to become super water proof. Great for wallets, hats, gloves, documents, etc.
I wonder how I will feel about the Contour compared to the NEW Baltoro? For now, I am still sold on the old Baltoro, and there is still not a better backpacking pack for hauling weight, BUT this Gregory Contour is a TOP notch minimalist and motorcycle pack. There is nothing better!
Gregory Contour 70 is stellar
My first review of a product ever. But, Contour 70 so impressed me that I felt compelled to share my experience. It is my first Gregory product. Just spent 6 days backpacking in Glacier National Park, with between 37 and 42 pounds in the Contour 70, going up some steep inclines, and both short (5 miles) and long treks (15 miles) each day. The Contour is exceptionally well designed; it doesn't rely on overly stuffed padding to compensate. It fits as if I had nothing on my back; I had full mobility and range of motion. It was exceedingly comfortable; never have I packed so far without any strain during the hike or soreness afterwards. Just a really well thought out, comfortable, ergonomic pack. While it is a 70 liter pack, some might find it a little on the small side, especially when compared to other 70 liter rated packs. It was the perfect size for me, but I could see how others who do not pack efficiently could find it constraining.
Good Lightweight pack
A great effort by Gregory. This pack is light yet large. As with all lightweight packs though, comfort and load bearing qualities are compromised. It's still a very good pack, just keep your loads to under 40 lbs... from my experience. Watch my video for a full review.