Gregory Citro 20/Juno 20
$120, 20L/1,220 c.i., 2 lbs. 3.5 oz. (without reservoir)
One men’s and one women’s size
On a 16-mile, roughly 5,000-vertical-foot October dayhike of 11,749-foot Mount Timpanogos in Utah’s Wasatch Range, on a day when I needed clothes for temperatures ranging from around 50 to the 30s Fahrenheit, with strong, cold winds at higher elevations, I carried the Citro 20 for several hours with about 15 pounds of water, food, clothing, and camera gear inside. That day convinced me that many hikers would like the men’s Citro 20 and women’s Juno 20. Here’s why.
Weighing just a few ounces over two pounds, with 20 liters of capacity, these packs are designed for dayhikes of any distance, including long days. While not the lightest packs of this capacity, and too heavy and bulky for trail running, their weight is largely explained by good organization and features that allow them to cross over well to activities like bike commuting.
A lightweight, wire perimeter frame with a leaf-spring in the lumbar area—as well as a foam pad for comfort—provides rigidity along the vertical axis and slight flex along the horizontal axis, and helps transfer much of the pack weight onto your hips. That translates to the Citro 20 and Juno 20 easily carrying 15 pounds, and some hikers will find them comfortable hauling up to 20 pounds.
Gregory’s moisture-wicking, VaporSpan back panel’s open mesh pattern ventilates well. But although they both have the concave shape to lift the pack off of your back, it’s not a typical trampoline-style back panel, which allows air to flow easily through from both open sides. Instead, the back panel’s mesh sides have a slight backward angle to them, to facilitate air flow—which works decently, but not as well as completely open sides. However, the benefit of the VaporSpan’s design is a closer, low-profile fit that’s more stable and avoids the tendency of some trampoline-style packs to feel as if the load is pulling backward against your shoulders.
The perforated mesh and soft, EVA foam shoulder straps compare for comfort with the best hiking daypacks. The mesh waist belt lacks any padding, relying on its width to disperse pack weight over the hips; consequently, it’s the limiting feature determining the maximum weight the Citro or Juno will carry before feeling like too much on your hips, but keeps pack weight down and minimizes the waistbelt’s bulk, keeping you cooler and giving the packs a lighter feel. Besides, most dayhikers have no need to carry more than 15 pounds: Even with my DSLR camera and two lenses inside, as well as food, three liters of water, and clothing for an all-day hike in cold temps, I didn’t exceed 15 pounds and had space to spare.
With no lid on the pack, the main compartment is accessed via a single, clamshell-style zipper—much more convenient than having to release one or more buckles and flip a lid open. Inside, there’s a zippered mesh pocket for valuables, as well as a zippered, external sunglasses pocket that has extra space for a hat and light gloves. Two spacious, zippered hipbelt pockets fit three bars each or any phone or GPS.
The feature set will appeal to many dayhikers. The Citro and Juno packs come standard with Gregory’s excellent, three-liter 3D Hydro bladder (a $36 value; read my detailed thoughts on it in my review of essential backpacking gear accessories). The bladder slides into a separate, zippered pocket behind the back panel, for easy refilling without having to empty other pack contents.
Deep, stretch-mesh pockets on each side swallow a liter bottle, and I can reach into them while wearing the Citro; the stretch-mesh front pocket is large enough for a rain shell. Magnetic clips quickly snap and hold the sternum strap buckle in place and secure the hydration hose to that strap; but as I’ve experienced with other magnetized hydration hoses, this one occasionally pops off when I’m moving fast or going through rough terrain.
Exterior stow options include attachments for two ice axes or poles, side compression straps, and a smart elasticized loop on the left shoulder strap to stash sunglasses or collapsed poles to free up your hands for scrambling or firing off some photos.
The biggest ding against the Citro and Juno is that each comes in just one size—meaning they will best fit men and women who fall into the middle of the range of torso sizes. The Citro 20 fit my 18-inch torso well.
For dayhikers who bring more than the carrying capacity of many ultralight daypacks (like another personal Gregory favorite, the men’s Miwok 18 and women’s Maya 16), the Citro 20 and Juno 20 are among the most featured and comfortable daypacks on the market.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking any of these links to purchase a Gregory Citro 20 at moosejaw.com or ems.com, the Citro 25 at moosejaw.com or ems.com, or the Citro 30 at moosejaw.com or ems.com. Or buy the Gregory Juno 20 at moosejaw.com or ems.com, the Juno 25 at moosejaw.com or ems.com, or the Juno 30 at moosejaw.com or ems.com.
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See my “Gear Review: The 6 Best Hiking Daypacks” and all of my reviews of daypacks I like, plus my “5 Tips For Buying the Right Backpacking Pack” (which apply to daypacks) and all of my reviews of hiking gear.
NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.