As much as I love winter and playing in the snow I dream about summer days of backpacking the Rockies. What only intensified my excitement was the fact that I would be testing the all new Gregory Baltoro 75 backpack this season.
“Great packs should be worn, not carried,” according to Gregory, and I for one couldn’t agree more. Gregory Backpacks have always been known for comfort. With over 45 years in the pack design business Gregory is one of the most recognized companies in backpacking. Their success and longevity can be boiled down to their design fundamentals of building a pack that fits the contours of the body. With innovations in unique fit geometry and customizable chassis it is no wonder there are so many Gregory Backpacks on the trails.
This spring I am excited to try out the all new Gregory Baltoro 75 backpack. I hope to find a pack that meets the demands of both weekend trips as well as the heavy loads of longer and more gear demanding trips.
Gregory Baltoro 75 Comfort Features
Outdoor gear should be comfortable. Gear that is not is destined to a shelf in the garage, or worse a consignment shop downtown. The Gregory Baltoro 75 is loaded with thoughtful comfort features. Gregory has three different comfort areas when it comes to the Baltoro Backpack: Dynamic Comfort, the Perfect Fit, and the Air Cushioned Back Panel.
Dynamic Comfort is the ability for a pack to be comfortable while hiking. Gregory has taken many steps to make the Baltoro Pack comfortable for long days on the trail.
The Free Float A3 System allows the Gregory Baltoro Pack to conform to the body. The hipbelt, shoulder straps, and lower backrest all conform to the body. Conforming fit makes hot spots minimal. The shoulder straps are created from dual density providing maximum comfort.
In addition to conforming to the body, both shoulder straps and hip belt allow for movement by articulation. This creates a pack that has the ability to move with the body.
The Perfect Fit is created by an adjustable torso length. This torso length has three different settings that allows a pack overlap sizing. Another feature that creates a good fit is the adjustable hipbelt. Both the padding as well as the belt tension can be easily adjusted.
The Gregory Baltoro 75 is loaded with storage features. There are about a dozen pockets, straps, and zippers that will keep gear organized on the trail.
The top of the pack has a three pocket compartment system. The very top is a quick access pocket that makes for easy accessibility on the trail. Below this is the main pocket that allows for more storage. Underneath all of these pockets is another storage area that can hold additional small items.
There are two entry points to access the main compartment of the pack. From the top there is a draw string access, and from the front its main compartment can be accessed with a “U shaped” zipper.
The large main packet has an optional separator baffle that will divide the pack into a top and bottom compartment. The bottom is the perfect size to carry a sleeping bag. This area has a zipper to access this bottom pocket. The top compartment of the main chamber will hold the rest of the adventure gear. On the outside of the main chamber are two elongated zippered vertical pockets with a large quick access mesh pocket on top.
The hip belt has a single zippered pocket on each side that is large enough to hold a cell phone sized object.
If the pockets are not enough
In addition to all of the storage pockets is an intricate strap system that allows for attachment of gear to the outside. On the bottom, sides, and back there are straps that will be perfect for cinching down a tent, trekking poles and fishing equipment. The possibilities are really endless with this strap system.
All the Bells and Whistles
The Gregory Baltoro 75 has a great hydration configuration. Within the main pocket is a hanger that holds any of the Gregory water bladders. Gregory hydration bladders are made to be supported by the hanger within this backpack. If you are interested, try the Gregory Hydration Hydration 3D Hydro 3L Reservoir. I did a review on this previously. Also on one of the shoulder straps there is a dedicated sunglasses strap.
Field Testing the Gregory Baltoro 75
I had the opportunity to try this pack out on a Spring backpack trip in Western Colorado in search of dropped elk antlers. Throughout the trip I found the pack versatile and perfect for load hauling as well as day trip excursions.
Gregory Baltoro 75 Comfort
Even before I took the Gregory Baltoro 75 out on my first hike I spent a little time fitting the backpack to my torso. On the Gregory Website there is a nice tutorial on how to make the adjustments in order to have a good fit. By adjusting the load straps and the lumbar support this pack was dialed in for my trip.
Both fully loaded and lightly packed I really found this pack very comfortable. The rotating shoulder straps within the Free Float A3 system were great. The A3 system stands for Automated Angle Adjust System. This system allows both the shoulders and hip belts to move independently from one another. This was very noticeable on my trip. Much of this trip was spent on steep craggy hillsides that involved significant scrambling. This backpack moved with my body and made it really easy to hike around even when the pack was fully loaded. At one time I had the pack near fifty pounds of weight and still managed to move from rock to rock easily as the load was balanced efficiently.
Adding to the comfort is the molded hipbelt. The hip fits perfectly with the pull of the straps. Even when cranked down with a large load on my back I found the hip belt very comfortable and supportive.
One feature that I was pleasantly surprised with was the ability for my back to breathe when wearing the pack. At one time during the trip there was over a 1,000 ft steep climb. I figured I would be a hot and sweaty mess by the time I reached the top. Although I did get pretty tired I was not overly soaked due to how breathable the backpack was. The foam back allows for air circulation and the shape of the back creates space for air movement.
Thoughts on Storage
The Gregory Baltoro 75 Pack met most of my storage needs quite well. Having a main compartment that was split to have a dedicated space for a sleeping bag is great. My only complaint about this space is it is a bit tight. I was using a zero degree sleeping back, and it was a challenge to get the sleeping back into this compartment. I am sure a more lightweight bag would have an easier time fitting, but it would be worth taking note of this when backpacking during the fringe seasons.
The upper portion of this backpack is really where the Gregory Baltoro 75 shines. Access to the large main pocket could not have been easier. Gear could either be accessed from the traditional top entry or could be accessed from the side. This was definitely useful when the gear I needed had settled to the bottom of the pack during the hike.
Well Thought Out Small Pockets
Aside from the large compartment my next favorite pocket is the waterproof pocket that is on the hipbelt. It is awesome to be able to have access to my cell phone and to not worry about it getting soaked during a rainstorm. Although I did not have any rain on this trip it threatened to rain a few times and having my phone in a waterproof area was comforting.
The rest of the pockets are great as well. So many great areas to stash gear. Each of these other pockets have so much to offer. From the water bottle holder, to the large easily accessed pocket, the double compartment upper pockets and the two side baffle pockets this pack is so well equipped to handle gear.
Specs and Features for Gregory Baltoro 75 Backpack Taken Directly From the Gregory Website
- Adjustable Torso
- Fits Torso 17” – 20”
- Adjustable Hipbelt 28”- 50”
- Weight 4.98 lbs
- Max Carry Weight 55 lbs
- Packed Dimensions 32.7″ x 13.4″ x 13.8″
- FreeFloat A3 suspension system with dynamic flex panels and auto rotating shoulder straps that move with the natural movements of your body
- AirCushion Foamless backpanel provides true breathability, eliminates pressure points and moisture-wicking cooling benefits
- 3D Shoulder Harness & Hipbelt Construction eliminates wrinkling and hot spots to provide hotspot free, body-hugging comfort
- All suspension components treated with Polygiene® Stays Fresh Technology
- Auto-rotating, dual-density shoulder harness with sternum strap featuring integrated safety whistle and hydration clip
- ComfortGrip lumbar pad helps prevent pack slip and keeps the pack positioned high on your hips without the need to over-tighten the hipbelt
- Perimeter alloy frame
- Front U-Zip access to main body of pack
- Dual front zippered pockets with floating divider wall
- Sunglass QuickStow system on shoulder harness for quick, secure and scratch-free access to your shades
- Internal hydration sleeve with SpeedClip hydration hanger compatible with Gregory’s 3D Hydro Trek reservoir (reservoir not included)
- Floating top pocket with a large zippered compartment, small quick-access pocket and an underside zippered pocket, reflective attachment points, and key clip
- SideWinder bottle holster for one-handed on-the-go water bottle access – tucks away when not in use
- Oversized zippered hipbelt pockets with enough space to fit cell phones and trail essentials
- Side stretch-mesh pocket with pass through for over-or-under compression
- Front oversized stretch-mesh pocket with secure buckle closure
- Quick-pull drawcord closure and top webbing compression
- Zippered bottom sleeping bag compartment with removable divider
- Accessory attachment system located at easy-to-access hip location for bear spray holster’s or accessory pouches
- Adjustable attachment loops and upper shock locks for trekking poles or ice axe
- Custom ComfortGrip molded zipper pulls and molded webbing keepers for strap management
Final Thoughts on the Gregory Baltoro 75 Backpack
All in all I believe that Gregory hit it out of the park with the Gregory Baltoro 75 backpack. The comfort of the A3 system alone makes this pack a worthwhile purchase. The A3 system creates the extra movement that allows this pack to move with the body and not fight against it. On top of the comfortable ride is a well thought out storage system that is ready to haul all the gear. Gregory has done a nice job taking the traditional pockets and adding their own flair, making each of the storage areas extra easy to access, built with intention, and perfect for many of the essential gear that all backpackers need. If you are looking to upgrade your backpack or are looking to purchase your first pack look no further than the Gregory Baltoro 75.
MSRP $349.95 For more information visit gregorypacks.com