Great comfortable pack
I bought this pack for scouting trips with my son. The troop does a yearly week long high adventure trip plus multiple weekend trips to get in high altitude training. I'm 50 something and a reasonably experienced hiker/backpacker.
I've used the pack now for about two years. I've got probably 150 trail miles on it. I use the Baltoro for longer trips and alternate between this pack and a light weight 44 liter pack for overnights and weekends.
The Baltoro is by far the more comfortable of the two. I can fit a full weeks' worth of gear; sleeping bag, rain gear, stove, cooking gear, tent, etc. plus a bear can and 2-3 liters of water (around 35-40 lb. for a week full up) and be very comfortable on the trail. The straps and belt tighten and stay put - they don't loosen. We pack in the Sierra and San Jacintos so there's lots of ups and downs. The pack stays put and is very stable.
I have to comment on the water bottle pouch. It is seriously worth any extra weight! To be able to reach a 1 liter Nalgene and put it back without help or taking the pack off is great! I can't recall ever having a bottle fall out of the holder. I don't like or use camelback style water bladders and this is the best thought out water bottle holder I've seen.
Pockets are reasonably useful except for the hip belt pockets. I'd like to see the side zip pockets a little more roomy. When the pack is full, they get pretty squashed. The pockets on the hip belt are too small to be useful for snacks. I usually put my compass in one pocket and put a lip balm in the other - that's about it for them. The pockets should be bigger or removed. The removable top pocket is big and really useful for things you may need access to on the trail. Packing is easy with top and bottom access.
The pack is durable. No rips, tears, broken zips, straps or buckles. The fabric is durable enough to have survived multiple scrapes and scuffs on Sierra granite without damage. I cannot comment on waterproofing integrity, I use a pack cover for wet weather.
OK. Cons. The pack is heavy. Yes, it is comfortable and incredibly durable but it is heavy. For the comfort though, I'm willing to tolerate the weight. The pack is also noisy. I have been unable to keep the shoulder stay straps from rubbing. It is annoying when hiking along a quiet Sierra trail to hear the pack rubbing at every step. I would give the pack a 5 except for the rub-rub-rub as I hike.
I will probably use this pack for several years, and would buy another to replace it.
Most Comfortable Pack I've Ever Worn!
I have been backpacking for forty years, and this is the most comfortable pack I've ever had. Before I got this one, I had the REI Flash 65, which was OK, but not too comfortable and the durability wasn't there. So, I returned it to REI (with their wonderful return policy) and got this one. I've put a lot of effort, time and money into getting ultralight gear, but I've realized that the comfort of my pack is one area where some extra weight is more than worth it. There's just so much more to the overall equation that simply the weight of a pack. This pack weighs 2.5 lbs. more than my ultralight pack did, but with 25-30 pounds of load, it feels SO much better! It actually feels like I'm carrying LESS weight. No pressure points whatsoever, nothing digging in, just plush comfort! I put the pack on, adjust it once and go hiking. I'm not constantly re-adjusting it like I've done with packs in the past. All my other gear (sleeping bag, pad, tent, etc) are all very light, so I could disappear for a week with this pack and still have my load under 35 lbs. Packs and boots are two items where I won't skimp on comfort, support and durability. Also, I love the side pockets on the Baltoro. Growing up backpacking in the seventies with external frame packs, I really appreciate numerous pockets to organize gear. I use the water bottle holder on the right side for my Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter, and because I have the adapter on the tube of my Camelbak, I can refill my reservoir without ever taking off the pack. This is a really great thing to be able to do, and I appreciate it very much. All in all, I am extremely pleased with this pack. Having the 65 liter version helps ensure I'll be careful about what I pack, and not take too much stuff. I tell you, the fit, comfort, padding and craftsmanship of the Baltoro 65 is outstanding!
A darn good pack!
I bought this pack for my upcoming thru-hike attempt of the Appalachian trail. I spent many hours researching packs and reading users reviews and all that jazz. Regardless of what anyone says, the best way to find the pack for you is to simply try it on. While this pack what a bit heavier than what I was original aiming for, as soon as I threw it on my back and strapped down, I immediatley felt good about it. I would much rather have a durable and comfortable pack that weighs a bit more than to sacrafice such important needs for a ultra light pack. I tried a UlA pack my roommate purchased for the trip and there is deffinitley a world of a differnce between that and the baltoro. While I love the idea of having a ultra light pack, I love the idea more of finishing my thru-hike with a pack that I know will last without breaking my back. The gregory is a little heavier simply because of its suspension system. And that system is what makes the gregoy pack simply amazing. I have some decent back issues and most packs i tried on pulled my shoulders back, leaving a gap inbetween my back and the pack, thus causing me to feel much more on my back than i should. Yes it is a backpack, but most of the weight should be resting on your hips. The hip harness on the baltoro is second to none. It is thick, comfy, and best of all adjustable. As your hips move, the harness moves to allow for natural movement. All in all, I feel good with the pack on back and truly believe it is the best option for me. Like I said earlier however, certianly take the time to try on as many packs as you can before settling for something. If you do so, make sure you try the baltoro though, because you will have a better understanding of the positive differences it provides.
So far, so good, so small!
I bought this pack to haul my gear and the collective gear of the party on short outing of one or two nights. Because we are not "into" backpacking yet or stuff is not the lightest or the smallest. The light part we can handle. It's the small part where we come into some trouble. I couldn't get my wife's sleeping bag to compress into a small enough bundle to slide INTO the sleeping bad compartment. It cam OUT of it OK though and top-loaded just fine. Throw in some other items that packed a little more beefy than the "enthusiast" version would and I ran out of room quickly. I am positive that better packing skills will free up SOME room but I think a larger pack would have been better for our current collection of stuff.
The pack itself was easy to adjust and comfortable. It's been a long time since I had a pack of any size on my back. After I got over the fact that packs have not become "magical" in the past 15 years and started hiking, I realized how much better packs actually were! I kept fiddling with it throughout he morning trying to make it "better" but it was never actually uncomfortable at all. It was only a 4.5 mile trial hike with 32 pounds of my own and wife's gear on board but so far I am quite pleased with this pack.
I bought this pack in the Reading store: after THREE HOURS of trying things on and adjusting and setting up and all that. Thank God for Jennifer! She was amazing and I would not have left the store with anything if it weren't for her! That being said, MY pack is NOT at all the same color green shown in the pictures on the web site! It's a happier shade of green, more interesting to look at.Not bad at all, just not the same as the picture.
6 months ago a college teammate of mine said that it was time for some "bro-time," a get-together and that this was going to take place on the Denny's Creek Trailhead outside Denver over Memorial Day Weekend 2011.
There was no way I wasn't going to go.
I had no backpacking gear at the time nor had I been camping in years. I started the quest to assemble the necessities and that same weekend my 20% member coupon showed up in the mail. I went to REI and decided to get my first real backpacking pack. I had done a decent amount of research and had my choices narrowed to an Osprey Atmos or this Baltoro.
The Baltoro is amazing. I'm not sure how someone can argue about the size of the pack. It is, after all, as advertised. The sleeping bag compartment is spacious, IMO. While in CO, I would stuff my large Big Agnes Sleeping bag and long insulated Big Agnes sleeping pad into the sleeping bag compartment with ease... along with a decently heavy Columbia jacket. A couple pairs of clothes, a stove, fuel, food and the other necessities fit in the bag with ease... any issues with pack size must be do to inefficient packing.
I had about 45 lbs. in the pack during the trip and loved every minute of it. The waist belt is outstanding, I also like the articulating feature found on both the hip-belt and shoulder straps.
I didn't have any issues with durability, the pack withstood the 4 day trip without a blemish. I've used it on several occasions since, in several scenarios and am completely pleased with my purchase. There're pockets galore, and creative minds can find multiple ways to use every aspect of the pack.
I had a no hip support pack that I was not too happy about, so I did some research and narrowed down to three models to try out at an REI store. But, when I actually tried them out, none of those really jumped at me. Then, one of the REI guys came to rescue and introduced me to Gregory Baltoro 65 Pack! What a great hip support it gives! It is slightly on the heavier side with the weight of over 5 lbs. However, I really couldn't say no to this pack once the belt wraps around my waist. It is an amazing pack, and I took it with me to my 2 nights/3 days backpacking trip to Thousand Island Lakes in Mammoth just past weekend. In terms of capacity, I didn't find it too difficult to load stuff in even with a large bear canister that I brought with me, and with everything in it, it looked still very tight and easily accessible for each compartment. I particularly loved the middle opening where I could easily access my bear canister without taking out all of the stuff sitting on top of it. The only minor complaint that I have is the belt that is very solid and rigid, which is perfect for the hip support but at the same time my hip bones were soar at the end of the trip. I guess it needs a bit of break in. Other than that, it is a perfect pack for me, and I am very glad that I discovered this pack during my visit! Highly recommended!
I took this pack out of the box and immediately noticed that "Electric Yellow" had a very slight greenish tinge to it, and wasn't the thermonuclear yellow depicted in the pictures. I can't say whether I was disappointed or not, but the color has grown on me so I am satisfied.
I loaded it up with a 45� sleeping bag. my 20� fit, but barely. I then added two changes of clothes, full rain gear, a hammock tent, a bevy of camping supplies like a stove, water filter, headlamp, hat, gloves, etc, and it all fit. my first aid and inflatable sleeping pad fit as well, and I put another foam sleeping pad on the outside. I filled a large 48oz Nalgene (the tall one) and stuck it in the bottle holder. It didn't fit, per say, but the bungee cord easily looped across the cap and the whole operation stayed put.
Once it was loaded, I added a DSLR camera and a pair of big headphones, and a spare pair of shoes, and headed to NYC for two days. I walked about 10 miles around the city with the Baltoro on my back over a wool shirt and a fleece. it was about 40-50� and I never got too warm or sweaty.
In fact, I never exerted myself. The dynamic hipbelt and shoulders were a dream! The pack stayed balanced, and I felt like I was carrying the load directly over my center of gravity. It was extremely comfortable for 35lbs. I was sold!
I will update this when I take it into the backcountry next month.
Seems to fit me
I had an REI Flash 65, which I might have kept had the straps not loosened every three minutes. I returned it & tried the Flash 62. While it fit well, I gave in to the temptation to try other packs. An Osprey Aether 60 had a hip belt that rode a bit high in front. The Baltoro 65 was better than both at making a 35 lb. load disappear. The hip belt fit well, without riding up too low or too high in front. I have been using it up/down hills in town as prep for in-season camping. I find the B65, loaded to 38 lb carries quite well. Still, I hope I don't carry that much weight on my next long hike.
Access to the bag through the top or a panel zipper or the bottom compartment: nice.
The water bottle pocket on the right fits a 1 L bottle a-OK with easy access. Two hip belt pockets: good.
In the B65, removing/attaching the panel separating the lower pack from the upper pack is the easiest I have ever seen. Most other packs require you to thread webbing through a ladder buckle. The B65 has a slider on the end of a strap that you push sideways through a rectangular loop on the short strap & straighten after you've gotten it through to hold tight.
B65 zippers don't seem water resistant--probably need a rain cover.
I've used it on overnighters and on weeklong winter trips. Loaded it with at least 60 lbs and it carried well.
The waist belt is very comfortable and moves with me very well, the shoulder straps are well padded too, although the waist will support most of the weight easily. The load adjusters are well placed for use while wearing and work great.
The sleeping bag compartment fits even my 0� winter bag ( Marmot couloir) in a large sea to summit dry compression sack.
I like the front access to the main compartment, the buckles work well and didn't ice up in sticky snow.
Cons: seems small for a 65L, noticeably smaller than the Arcteryx and Osprey I've used. The vertical zipper on the rear facing pocket is pretty much impossible to get anything in or out of when the pack is full, I try not to use it for anything not soft and stuffable. It would work for a small jacket, a beanie, some socks or a long sleeve shirt. I wish it was more functional, like the pocket on the Arcteryx Bora 65.
The compression straps are well placed and were strong enough to hold my skis on with my Scarpa Mobe boots attached.
I actually like the design of the Arcteryx bag better, but the comfort of the harness makes me happier wearing the Gregory. I'm 5'11" with a 32" waist and I got the medium.
All in all, a great pack.
Best backpack I have ever owned
This pack has it all. The lower suspension belt is wide, well padded and very comfortable. The two compartments on the belt are great for holding energy bars, Chap Stick, GPS etc. The bottle holder on the right side is awesome. The lower compartment is perfect for my tent and sleeping pad leaving plenty of room in the main compartment for the rest of my gear which can be loaded from the side or top. The two side compartments provide quick access to my jacket, pants and extra socks. All the zippers, straps and buckles seem to be very strong and work very well.
At 5lbs 10ozs this is not a minimalist backpack, I am willing to add a few more ounces to gain the comfort and usable features this pack offers. I have been using this pack for two day to five day hiking trips including some resent cold weather trips. It packs down very well for the short trips and can handle bigger/warmer sleeping bags and extra cold weather gear with no problems. On small trips my back weighs about 27lbs. On longer winter trips it has weighed as much as 42lbs. In all cases the load carries very well and I remain comfortable all day long.
The only complaint I have about this pack is I wish one of the lower belt pockets was large enough for my Droid phone.