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Best Backpacking Backpack: Gregory Baltoro - Gear Hacker

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Gregory Baltoro and Deva: Most Supportive Backpack under Heavy Loads

Most Supportive Backpack under Heavy Loads

  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Storage 90% 90%
  • Accessories 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Price: $300

What We Like: Included rain cover and side pocket.

What We Don’t: Weight  

Baltoro 65

Small

62 L

28 x 13 x 13 in

71.1 x 33 x 33 cm

4.65 lbs

2.11 kg

Medium

65 L

30 x 13 x 13 in

76.2 x 33 x 33 cm

4.84 lbs

2.20 kg

Large

68 L

32 x 13 x 13 in

81.3 x 33 x 33 cm

5.14 lbs

2.33 kg

Deva 60

Extra Small

56 L

26 x 12 x 12.5 in

66 x 30.5 x 31.8 cm

4.48 lbs

2.03 kg

Small

60 L 

28 x 12 x 12.5 in

71 x 30.5 x 31.8 cm

4.61 lbs

2.09 kg

Medium

64 L 

30 x 12 x 12.5 in

76.2 x 30.5 x 31.8 cm

4.83 lbs

2.19 kg

 

The Baltoro and Deva backpacks come with their own customized rain covers… need I say more? Fine, I will. Gregory has done an incredible job designing the harness system for their backpacking packs. There is less ventilation than with the Osprey Anti-gravity packs, but the A3 Response harness, explained further in the main article, and the wishbone frame direct weight perfectly onto the hips and allow the pack to move fluidly with the body. This system made the Baltoro and Deva backpacks by Gregory the Most Supportive Under a Heavy Load in 2020. In addition to the custom rain cover, there is a multitude of cool features that help these backpacks stand outincluding a sunglasses bungee on the shoulder strap and a water bottle “holster.” 

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Best Backpacking Backpack: Gregory Baltoro - Gear Hacker

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  • Comfort 100% 100%
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  • Accessories 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Included Rain Cover

Side Pocket

Cons

Weight

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Cons

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Like Osprey, Gregory is an old school titan in the outdoor world. Likewise, their premium backpacking backpack, the Baltoro, and women’s specific Deva are considered some of the best options for backcountry campers and mountaineers. The pack itself has gone through a few redesigns, and every year is an improvement over the last as technology and materials improve. The advancements of their harness system, especially under heavy loads, have helped the decision to name the Baltoro and Deva the best backpacks under a heavy load. 

For this review, we are focusing on the Gregory Baltoro 65 and the Deva 60. These are the smallest of the available sizes, so if you like what you see in this pack but need some more space, there is a Gregory for you! 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Gregory Baltoro - Gear Hacker

Comfort and Suspension

Gregory uses an aluminum “wishbone” frame to direct weight to the ComfortGrip lumbar pad for superb weight management. The LumbarTune pad is removable, and the hipbelt as well as the shoulder straps can be swapped out for other sizes to improve the fit for the user. The key to the wishbone frame is its ability to concentrate the weight right on the lumbar pad. The hipbelt then takes all of the weight and keeps your shoulders comfortable and not burdened during a long hike. 

The Response A3 “Automatic Angle Adjust” harness is a premium feature that comes with the Baltoro and Deva packs. The hipbelt and shoulder straps move independently of each other reducing chafing and abrasion during a long day on the trail. The EVA foam that is used for the shoulder straps and hipbelt is also extremely comfortable and moisture-wicking for hot desert excursions. 

The back panel is called the matrix ventilated back panel. There are several airports to keep the backpack close to your body while remaining highly breathable. Gregory has built an extremely comfortable harness system that is able to keep the pack closer to your center of gravity without compromising maximum loads. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Gregory Baltoro - Gear Hacker

Features and Convenience

While going through the Baltoro, you can tell that everything was well thought out and designed with intention. Along with the hipbelt, there are two zippered pockets. One of the pockets on the right belt is weather resistant with burly YKK zippers to protect electronics, cellphones, or small cameras. The other hipbelt pocket, on the left side, is mesh, and it is an excellent pocket for wrapped items like snacks or your lip balm. Gregory also has a great sunglasses system on the left shoulder strap. It uses a bungee cord to hold your glasses to the pack to keep them secure while on the move. 

There are “double-barreled” zippered pockets on the top lid. These pockets are essentially stacked on one another and are handy places for smaller valuables such as headlamps or small shell layers. On the bottom of the lid, there is a dedicated pocket for the custom-built rain cover that comes with the Baltoro and Deva packs. This addition is great, as snug-fitting rain covers are hard to find for larger backpacks.

Best Backpacking Backpack: Gregory Baltoro - Gear Hacker

The main compartment of the pack can be accessed three ways, through the top with a drawstring, along the front through a u-shaped zipper, or from the bottom in the sleeping bag pocket that has a removable divider. These options offer a great amount of freedom with how gear can be packed and organized within the main compartment. 

The hydration sleeve inside of the main compartment can be removed and used as an ultralight daypack called the “SideKick Daypack”. A great way to leave the big backpack at basecamp while you explore the area surrounding your campsite. Along the front of the pack, there are two vertical zipper pockets that open into more storage and a stretch mesh pocket on the front of the pack for extra layers or wet items. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Gregory Baltoro - Gear Hacker

On the left side of the backpack is a standard stretch mesh water bottle pocket, while on the right side is a SideWinder bottle holster for great one-handed on-the-go water bottle access. 

The sleeping pad straps along the bottom of the pack are removable and can be used as a minimalist hipbelt for the SideKick Daypack. You will also find ice axe straps along the outside of the pack and gear loops along the top lid for solar panel attachment or other equipment. 

Weight and Material

With all of the amazing features that come with the Baltoro and Deva packs, one would think that the daypack might be quite heavy… and you’d be kind of right. The Baltoro medium-sized backpack weighs in at a hefty 4.84 lbs or 2.2 kg. This is fairly heavy for a backpack, and many ultralight through-hikers may turn their noses up at this number. However, for everything that comes with this backpack and the adaptability of the harness system, I personally don’t think the weight is an issue. 

The entire body of the Baltoro 65 uses a Honeycomb Cryptorip 210D nylon, while the bottom is made with 630D High-Density nylon. That makes this bag tougher than the New York Times crossword on Sunday morning. With the durability and functionality of the Baltoro and Deva backpacks, the weight will be a non-issue when your boots hit the trail. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Gregory Baltoro - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

It is easy to see how much thought and time went into improving the Gregory Baltoro and Deva backpacks. The harness system is just as comfortable as the Osprey Anti-Gravity, and the materials used in the pack will help it last forever. The amount of material and the design are reflected in the cost, as both backpacks cost $300. For this reason, we named these backpacks the Most Supportive Under a Heavy Load. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Gregory Baltoro - Gear Hacker

I still love the number of details that went into the design and the almost limitless storage potential. From the top lid “double-barrel” zippered pockets to the three access points for the main compartment, Gregory has built an impressive bag. The Baltoro and Deva backpacks are as comfortable on through-hikes as they are pushing to high camp on a mountaineering expedition. This is not something you find in every backpack. 

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