Gregory Baltoro Backpack

9.2
9.2 score
[Editors rating (9.2)] = (GearWeAre.com) score (9.2)/10

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Editor rating: 9.2 / 10
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Gregory Baltoro Backpack Review Facts

The award-winning Gregory Baltoro 65 is an extremely useful backpack for weekends or multi-day trips. The latest version seems to be even better, as it has become lighter in weight. Although the difference is not much and has included many new features. With a wealth of access points, an innovative custom-fit suspension system, and an array of trail-worthy features, it is clear why it is one of the top-scoring packs around.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Adjustable shoulder straps are convenient to use and offer exceptional lumbar support
  • Suspension system is strong and loads extremely well
  • Hip belt is quite secure and allows for easy hip movement
  • Organization is easy with so many side pockets, including a mesh bottle pocket
Cons
  • A bit on the heavier side but compensates with its strongly built suspension
  • Hip belt pockets could have been a bit larger to accommodate larger phones
Comfort

Comfort

The Gregory Baltoro 65 is rightfully regarded as one of the most comfortable backpacks around and is more than capable of holding its own (excuse the pun) against market leaders such as Arc’s Teryx Bora AR63 or Osprey Xenith 75. It’s the combination of high-quality foam in the supportive cushioning and ergonomically designed straps that won’t cut into your shoulders even on the longest hike, that sets this backpack apart from the rest.

We liked this feature but it might not be that suitable for someone with narrower shoulders. The thing is that the foam is relatively stiffer, so those who like to wear light clothing or explore the world shirtless may not find it that comfortable.

Moreover, the comfort factor may seem to be compromised a little when you talk about the daypack. The feature in itself is a nice addition to the pack, but the truth is that you do not feel comfortable at all when you wear it as a summit pack. The primary reason for discomfort is its thin shoulder straps – a bit uncomfortable, of course, but certainly not a deal-breaker!
Performance

Performance

The Baltoro is purposely designed to carry heavy loads for those treks out into the wild and for that, it uses a heavy-duty foam that holds its form even after the heaviest of loads. It has 3D pre-formed shoulder and hip straps that are made of LifeSpan EVA foam.

The Baltoro feels sturdy and moves with you. None of this potentially dangerous swinging from side to side as you push yourself on a hike or climb. It sticks with you, adding security. For all its sturdiness it is surprisingly light when empty, a little over 5lbs, which is the average for most backpacks.

It feels heavy because of its robust suspension and array of pockets, features, and access points but these features make it a frontrunner. Our real concern was regarding the back ventilation, which was quite disappointing. The cutaways in the padding really do nothing to encourage good airflow, and that is one area where other competitors perform better than the Gregory Baltoro 65.
Suspension

Suspension

The good news is that this latest model backpack from Gregory Baltoro still comes with the same first-class suspension. It is a tried and tested system that has proved itself easily capable, so why change it? It comes with relatively rigid ‘Y’ shaped aluminum stays that perform amazingly well to transfer the load from the pack to your waist belt.

It comes equipped with waist and metal buckled shoulder straps that pivot to the best position to distribute the load, which makes wearing the Baltoro just about as comfortable as you are going to get when you are lugging huge loads up and down mountain trails.
Support

Support

The lower back support must be one of the best things about the Gregory Baltoro 65 and is made even more effective with a soft lumber support incorporated into the backpack itself. The lumbar pad is highly secure because it comes with an Elastomer anti-slip technology.

It is removable, but for the more challenging hikes and climbs, it works so well to minimize the ‘day after’ aches and pains on the lower back, why wouldn’t you leave it in and take advantage of it? Even so, this pack is multi-purpose and there will be times when you want to use it when just out and about like an ordinary guy so the having the option to take it out is a bonus adding to its wide range appeal.
Durability

Durability

The Gregory Baltoro has always been durable, and the latest model continues the trend even with a marginally thinner fabric. It adds to the overall comfort and reduces the weight with only a fraction of compromise – perfectly forgivable and easy to ignore.

Even with rough use it keeps its shape and with impressive tear resistance will continue to perform well even after numerous boulder scrambles. Easily comparable with top end packs like the REI Traverse and Osprey Aether AG, the Gregory Baltoro 65 makes excellent use of a 210/300 denier nylon mix that forces it to stand out.

With 630-denier fabric even the bottom of this pack holds up to tough use. In fact, you can drag it on rough, damp surfaces without having to worry about anything because it comes with a dual-layer, wear-resistant floor.
Organization

Organization

The way the Gregory Baltoro is organized is quite appreciable. A closer look at it will confirm that organization is certainly one of its strong suits.
The Baltoro 65 has two differently designed side pockets for fast access to your water bottles and snacks. With a total of eight exterior pockets and the front pocket is stylishly designed and zipped, the Baltoro offers more than ample space for maps, compasses, first aid kits, wet gear or anything else you might need in a hurry.
Access to the pack itself is easy through a large U-shaped zip at the front with the truly innovative feature of being see-through allowing you to locate anything in the middle or at the bottom of the pack’s interior, totally eliminating the frustration of ‘finding by feel’.

There are also zipped pockets along the top of the Baltoro and they work reasonably well but could benefit from having longer zip pulls when you are reaching over your head to get at the pack. There are more zipped pockets at the front, large enough to carry a 1litre Nalgene bottle, and a stretch mesh beaver-tail pocket suitable to store a rain shell, flip-flops or even to use as somewhere to dry off your socks.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

It relies on a simple cord channel system that provides you with a quick access to the main compartment. One more of the many features we liked was the ease of access to the forward-facing pocket. It is perfect for carrying a water bottle and means no stopping and taking the pack off when you need to hydrate. Similarly, the dual waist belt pocket is easy to access and perfect for a camera. Together with a hip belt pocket, all are water and dust resistant and come with a rain cover.

There is an additional pocket, which makes it perfect for storing technology such as sat navs, phones or cameras. Our only complaint was regarding the size of that pocket. It has to be noted, some of the modern larger screen phones or point and shoot cameras may not fit.

Another feature we really liked was how easy it was to open the front panel of the Gregory Baltoro, which makes it work like a duffel bag or a suitcase. The feature provides easy access to the inner pockets. The pack also comes with a detachable rain cover and hydration backpack that also serves as a water bladder holster.
Best Applications

Best Applications

The Gregory Baltoro 65 shines brightly on backpacking and trekking trips, mainly because of its durability and a plethora of useful pockets. While it is great for traveling, it also performs reasonably well when you use it on the occasional mountaineering adventure.

If you are on a 2-5 days trip, the 65-liter model is likely to serve you well. But at the end of the day, it depends on your packing tendencies. Though the recommended weight range is low, the pack finds it easy to manage 50+ pounds, thanks to its burly suspension.
Weight

Weight

The weight of the Gregory Baltoro 65 is 5 pounds and 1oz. It may not be the lightest pack around, but it can certainly compete with other top names. The Osprey Atmos 65AG is lighter with a weight of 4lbs and 14oz. The North Face Banchee 65 is the lightest in this category with 3.63 pounds. With a little additional weight, you get a pack that is extremely durable and ready to tackle big loads.
Price

Price

It may seem to be a bit expensive, but it offers a good value for your money. Moreover, compared to other top models, it still costs less. For instance, you will pay a big sum of money to order your Arc Teryx Bora AR63, which is a popular choice but is still a bit heavier as compared to the Gregory Baltoro 65, which offers more overall features.

You may only want to go for the AR63 when you want something relatively more adjustable and weather resistant. If you buy a larger Baltoro, you pay almost the same as you pay for the Osprey Xenith 105 or Osprey Xenith 75. But, even with a similar price tag, the Baltoro is a better bet because of its exceptional suspension and comfort. At this price tag, the Baltoro also provides you with rain fly and an additional small pack that serves a hydration bladder holder too.
Comparison with Other Brands

Comparison with Other Brands

The Gregory Baltoro 65 seems to be a good all-around performer, and it surprises you when you compare it with other top-of-the-line packs in the market. In terms of suspension, it can compete with other top models, including Osprey Xenith 105, Arc'teryx Bora AR 63, and the Osprey Xenith 75. But if you are looking for extreme comfort with the burliest suspension systems available in the market, you may want to put your money on the Gregory Baltoro 65 only.

The new Osprey Atmos AG is a direct competitor and is $40 cheaper. As far as the back breathability is concerned, the Baltoro cannot match the Atmos, but there is no competition between the two when you talk about the hauling ability of the Baltoro. Moreover, the hip belt on the Atmos has mesh paneling that makes it a little less comfortable, especially when the miles add up and you are hauling 40+ pounds.

The Aether AG is another established player in the market and is a bit affordable than the Baltoro. Moreover, the Aether AG has a much better built-in daypack, but the Baltoro's durability, padding, build quality, and pocket organization stands out. What it implies is that the Baltoro is now a highly desirable backpack with the company constantly updating the model and lowering its overall weight. The price has also come down a bit, which helps it stand tall in front of other top performers in the market.
The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

The Gregory Baltoro 65 has become lighter, but it is still a bit on the heavier side, as compared to other comparable packs in the market. But if you want a pack to carry a heavy load with, it has to be the Gregory Baltoro 65, thanks to its plush padding and rock-solid suspension. The weight distribution capabilities of this pack are superb and make oppressive loads feel manageable on your climbs. Even if you take its exceptional load-hauling prowess out of the equation, you still love it for its well-designed feature set coupled with several pockets and a top-notch access zipper. You can hope to keep all of your gear organized and accessible all the time. Yes, some pockets could have been larger, but you have ample space to fit your stuff quite efficiently. Overall, it is durable, nicely designed, and a great value for money!