Tag Archives: Gregory Optic 58 backpack review
By Michael Lanza
Backpacks come in many sizes and flavors for a reason: so do backpackers. Some of us need a pack for moderate loads, others for heavy loads, while still others want a pack designed for lightweight or ultralight backpacking. Some prefer a minimalist design, others a range of features and access. Everyone wants the best fit and comfort they can find, and almost everyone has a budget.
From the many backpacks intended primarily (if not exclusively) for backpacking that I’ve tested and reviewed at The Big Outside, I’ve selected for this article 10 top performers that stand out for reasons that make each appeal uniquely to a certain type of backpacker. (In addition, I point out below two excellent packs for kids of all ages.) I think one of them will be perfect for you—possibly even more than one if, like me, you prefer different packs for different kinds of trips. Continue reading →
Gregory Baltoro 65 and Deva 60
$300, 65L/3,966 c.i. (men’s medium), 4 lbs. 15 oz. (men’s small, without the rain cover)
Sizes: men’s Baltoro S-L, women’s Deva XS-M
Loaded with up to 40 pounds on a four-day, nearly 30-mile family backpacking trip in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, this pack felt almost unnoticeable on my back—even climbing over three 9,000-foot mountain passes (two of them in one day). That may sound hyperbolic, but it’s true: I was thinking about the scenery rather than about my pack. That observation speaks volumes about the comfort of the fully featured men’s Baltoro and women’s Deva, which rank among the two or three best backpacking packs for hauling heavy loads—and may be the very best of them all. Here’s why. Continue reading →
I read your article about ultra-backpacking and how you did the John Muir Trail in seven days. I am planning on doing it, but would like to know, for an ultralight backpacker, what do you suggest for a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, etc.? Any feedback or thoughts that you have would be much appreciated.
Covina, CA Continue reading →
I’m looking for a backpack for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike. I am considering some Osprey packs and others. What to you recommend as the best thru-hiking backpack?
Gregory Optic 58 (men’s) and Octal 55 (women’s)
$210, 58L/3,539 c.i. (men’s medium), 2 lbs. 7 oz. (men’s small, without the included rain cover, 3 oz.)
Sizes: men’s S-L, women’s XS-M
No one loves loading extra water into their pack—especially upwards of 13 pounds of it, as I did as we left our last water source on our final evening backpacking the Grand Canyon’s Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop. We needed to haul enough liquid sustenance to get us through the 2,600-foot climb we were embarking on at 5:30 p.m., plus another 2,000 feet uphill early the next morning. That pushed my total pack weight up toward the limit of the ultralight Optic 58—as good a test as any. And Gregory’s first foray into ultralight packs not only handled that assignment well, it shines for many other reasons, too. Continue reading →