Thank you REI~ this ROCKS!
After extensive online research, I headed to my local REI, knowing I was not going to leave until I came home with the perfect women's specific hiking day backpack. I chose the Gregory Jade 28 size small in black & gray, the darker colors are much easier to keep clean and still maintains a feminine, yet outdoorsy look. The Jade 28 shoulder straps weren't as abrasive & bulky as I found the women's Osprey Sirrus 24 to be at the armpit and top of neck. (If you're a tank top girl like I am wear one when you go in to try on packs, then you won't have any surprise rub spots later on the trail!) The women's REI Venturi 30 was in the running for a very short while, there's just something about it's fabric that looked cheapish and bulky. Once I became attached to the fabric & raincover on the Jade 28 the women's REI Venturi 30 was no longer in the running . The Jade 28's top compartment is the perfect spot for lunch & snacks. I do not hike with trekking poles so haven't found a cutesy use for the elastic loops just quite yet, besides slipping wildflowers through them. I'm bouncing back and forth between a widemouth Camelbak 2L bladder and 3L and am considering trying a more 'rigid' bladder as to keep the water distribution even in the bladder and not just in the bottom of the pack. (I choose a widemouth bladder so I could fit my own ice cubes in without having to buy a special sized tray.) I've always enjoyed myself out on the trails, but this awesome backpack makes it that much better!
I rate this backpack a 6 out of 5 stars
I rate this pack 6 out of 5 stars. I recently purchased a larger Camelback but I received this Gregory pack as a gift and it is far superior. I used this pack for the first time on several hikes in the Sierras. It worked great in torrential downpours and my interior gear stayed nice and dry with the rain cover, even when my waterproof hiking boots were no longer dry (that took about 3 hours). My pack was loaded with lunch, snacks, 3 liters of water, safety gear and 2 jackets. I loved all the pockets for small things like my headlamp and cell phone. The hip belt was comfortable and I kept a small pack of tissues in 1 pocket and my waterproof camera in the other. It was cool to be able to tuck the excess straps out of the way.
My pack fully loaded was probably close to 12 or more pounds but it felt like I only had about 5 pounds on my back. One hike was 18 miles and the pack still felt nice and light and balanced, even at the end. You could probably run reasonably comfortably with this pack, too.
So, I loved it and never expected to find this pack this amazing.
I am new to hiking (day trips) but was fitted for this pack at my local REI store (thank you, Scott!) and it's GREAT!
When I've got my water and gear in it, it's rather heavy to lift but once I've got it on my back and strapped on properly, I hardly know it's there. I just did a 7.5 mile hike last weekend and never once thought about taking my pack off... Most times I forget I've even got it on!
I'm still new enough that I haven't really figured out exactly what I want to carry and/or how I want to load it so I really can't speak to those things but I do tend to overpack and I've never had to leave something behind because it couldn't fit into the pack.
The only reason I didn't give the pack a 5-star rating is because I haven't used it yet in wet weather and haven't gotten to test the rain cover feature.... But I really do like that the pack comes with a cover that lives in it's own place in the pack and I don't have to buy a separate one or remember to pack it.
This is the first day pack I have ever purchased for myself. Until now, I have just used whatever was lying around the house, i.e., my husband's cast-offs. I used the pack for the first time yesterday on a 3-hour snow shoe hike, uphill most of the way. I have really bad arthritis in my back and after a few hours on my feet suffer from severe back pain. Yesterday while hiking I was never even aware of the pack on my back! I even attached the snow shoes to the pack for part of the hike. No back pain whatsoever during or after the hike. I'm tempted to wear the pack while doing house work to keep my back properly aligned. It's a phenomenal pack with lots of room and compartments for whatever you need to carry on a day hike. Strap placements are highly functional, everything is well padded and comfortable, and the frame is perfect. I had no discomfort in any spots. I'm no expert, but I don't see how you can go wrong with this pack as long as you are properly fitted for it by someone who knows what they are doing.
I bought one of these packs for my daughter and one for myself. We have worn them only on two day hikes but had the same reaction -- we hardly noticed that we were carrying 15 pounds on our backs. I am 59 years old, and I have not carried a backpack in years, yet I had absolutely no trouble at all with this pack. It adjusts easily and sufficiently, and I imagine that once it starts getting warm the mesh barrier against my back will ensure that it stays comfortable even when I am all-out exerting. Also love the rain cover that is very well-hidden in the pack. I discovered it by accident (there's a very discreet zipper underneath the three raindrops on the outside bottom of the pack).
I read another reviewer's concern about the open pocket in the back posing a safety issue because it could snag branches and rocks. After wearing the pack, I just don't see the concern. In any event, I like that pocket because it provides easy access to a few things. And you can always cover it with the rain fly.
Going on a trip to hike in Utah. I will hit Zion, Bryce and Arches so I needed a good daypack. I have to say it is worth getting fitted by one of the REI team. I have tried other packs but had chaffing and ultimately just felt uncomfortable. With this trip coming up, I knew I needed a good pack. Decided to actually let someone help me and it was worth it. He fitted me with a small (I am 5'4" 145lb.) but had I not asked for help, I would have chosen the medium which would have caused a problem. I did a 5 mile hike with the pack today and it rocked!! Weight felt distributed evenly and did not pull on my shoulders. I actually felt like I walked with better posture with it on than without. Will update after my big trip in
Best Pack Ever
This is an amazing product. It makes a 15+ pound pack feel like 5 pounds on my back. It didn't feel like I was carrying anything and was nicely balanced for scrambling over rocks and crossing logs over streams. I had a bunch of food, jackets, 3 liters of water and all my emergency supplies and there was extra space, too, had I needed it. We did an 8 hour hike that day, climbing Mt. Tallac and hiking to Lake Aloha, and the pack felt light on my back the whole way. Another day we were drenched by rain, and the pack stayed dry with the rain cover on it, though my waterproof hiking boots were soaked through. I heartily recommend this pack!
I was seeking a pack that was not too cumbersome, could hold a bladder, and slim down when not so much space was necessary. One thing I hate is a pack with tons of straps and zips and buckles hanging off of it. This pack has all the necessary compartments and zips and buckles without over doing it. It slims to the perfect size and expands to a good overnight size pack! It gives so much comfort on the back that I can even bike ride with it on for over 25 miles with no problem. I am psyched to bring this pack down to S. America soon and use for overnight treks!
So happy. :)
Great Daypack for hot weather
I needed a daypack for 90+ degree desert weather that wouldn't put too much strain on my shoulders. The hip belt on this bag is wide and well padded. The bag is also slim in width which allows for a full range of motion. The shoulder straps aren't itchy against bare skin. It fits plenty of liquid, food and a few layers comfortably. I tested it out on a 14 mile hike in 85 degree weather and it was perfect. The mesh panel that keeps the pack off your back is fantastic. This is a great daypack for those willing to carry a slightly heavier daypack that distributes the weight down to your hips.
Great day pack!
I was looking for a simple pack for day hikes, mostly for when we decide to go 15 miles on a whim because the weather is nice and we've never been there before. I love the lumbar support, but once I have it packed the tear drop shape can make it difficult to take stuff out. I use it everyday for light loads and for school books, and my back never hurts! it definetely makes you stand up straight. it serves the purpose of what I was looking for, putting in a few layers of clothes, food and water and going.
for longer hikes and more gear I would recommend the Jade 38.