Gearing up: The Gregory Baltoro 75

by ahanagata

 

  Man, when I first strapped a pack to my twelve year old back things were a lot different. It was an external frame pack from the 60’s that my uncle used in the Boy Scouts. Just about the only good thing about it was it was free. My mom also took that ‘be prepared’ motto a little serious, and it ended up being over half my body weight.

  Luckily, most of us aren’t letting our moms pack our backpacks and technology has come a long way. The latest in this line of tech for multi-day backpacking is the Gregory Baltoro. At first inspection you can tell that this pack is well made. The internal frame is aluminum and carbon fiber, which makes for a strong but lightweight bone structure. The skin is a tough rip stop fabric that does a good job of being light but doesn’t feel like it’s going to break. Which is a great piece of mind when everything you’re depending on in the back-country is in your pack. The rigging itself is padded nicely, and the hip belts move with your body in a way I’m not sure are available on comparable packs. The quality of the zippers is a relief, I’ve not had them catch or get stuck, yet. The other thing you immediately notice is pockets, pockets, pockets galore. There’s even a stow away pocket that pops out to hold a water bottle in the most convenient spot I’ve ever seen (truly this pocket is rock star awesome).

  With a more in depth look you’ll find a bladder pocket with ambidextrous tube exits, which is nice. My immediate thought is that the tube exit you’re not using could be used for headphone cords. If you’re into that sort of thing. There is also a pocket on each belt half, just big enough for a camera and some snacks. It also has a “separate” sleeping bag compartment that I really do like. The downside to the sleeping bag compartment is the floor separating it from the main pack has gaps, so it’s not completely separate. I suspect I’ll either relegate myself to having to dig things up out of there that have fallen into the bag space; or making a makeshift floor. Though there are many ways into the pack itself so doing a bit of digging isn’t a total mess.

The ‘brain’ bag is a decent size and isn’t a pain to deal with. Though you’re supposed to be able to detach it and use it as a small hip pack for day running; I don’t suspect many will. The process of transforming the brain bag to hip bag seems a bit convoluted and reminiscent of my adolescence spent in frustration with my transformer robots. On the exterior back there are a couple of sturdy velcro loops, which actually took me a while researching to find their purpose. They’re meant for your trekking poles. Which is fine, but you’ll have to take the pack off to stow them or have a buddy stow them for you.

  The only shortcomings I see are it’s a little on the bulky side. Weighing in a stout 11 oz heavier than the Osprey Aether in it’s capacity class. The Osprey also sports an on-board rain cover, which you’ll need to pick up as a separate-ad on with the Baltoro. It’s also less streamlined than the Osprey, so if you’re using ice axes and mountaineering you might want to grab something sleeker. I’m sure people who count ounces are grimacing, and ultra-lighters won’t even look at it. In my opinion they’d be missing out.

  Gregory did a bang up job with the suspension of this pack, you can carry extra weight while not really noticing it’s presence. This pack ladies and gents, is a Cadillac. It turns a little on the wide side, and it’s a bit heavy; but it rides like a dream. You buy this pack because it’s comfortable. Dads, if you find yourself carrying extra gear your little ones packed, this is the tool for the job. I’m going to enjoy this pack, it’s beast of burden with a smooth strut. It’s a big red shark, ready to take you through bat country.

You can purchase it here: Gregory Baltoro 75

 

 

Until Next Time Savages! Live Wild. Eat Well.

visit me on Twitter and Facebook

© 2012 TheSavageGentleman.