This Gregory Baltoro 65 review is about one of the best backpacks from Gregory brand. This is a pack built to carry heavy loads, with bonuses and plenty of features. See more in the text.
Key features & bonuses
- Bonus rain cover.
- Bonus daypack.
- Three access points.
- 9 external pockets.
- The Baltoro series has received multiple awards.
- Independently pivoting shoulder straps and hip belt fins.
- Very strong and durable tool.
Note, there is a new 2018 version of this pack, the summary of changes is given in this text.
The Baltoro 65 backpack is a top loading pack, so you have a classic lid and a collar underneath it with a drawcord and a compression strap. You can fix a rope or anything similar under this strap. But the pack is also with a large U-shaped front access, so you can open it like a suitcase.
In addition, there is the bottom compartment with the usual zippered entrance, and the divider between the two is removable, so this is the third access point, and by removing the divider you have a single large space.
The first bonus with this pack is its rain cover. It is stored in a hidden zippered pocket inside the large front pocket, see the picture below.
Although the official volume is 65 liters, hence the number in the name, in fact, there are three sizes to chose, S, M, L, with 61, 65 and 69 liters.
The daypack bonus
This is a hydration compatible pack with the hose openings on the top of the main compartment, on both sides. Inside the main compartment, you have an internal sleeve which is attached to the wall by two toggles. So it is removable and equipped with shoulder straps so you can use it as a daypack. You even have an extra zippered pocket on the front of this daypack, it is seen in the picture above.
Now, the daypack is surely useful, but its design is not so great, it is far below the daypacks of this type which you may see in the Thule Guidepost pack and in the new Aether and Ariel AG packs. So the shoulder straps are without padding, more or less just a thin fabric, the top is only with a drawstring, and there is no chest strap. But you have some webbing loops on the shoulder straps and here you can route the water hose, remember after all this is a hydration bladder.
Note that the compression straps on the bottom compartment (of the main pack) are removable and they can be used as a hip belt with this daypack.
Advanced Response suspension system
They call it A3 system, which means Automatic Angle Adjust and it implies the following:
- Each shoulder strap and each hip belt fin rotates and flexes individually.
- Both the shoulder straps and hip belt fins can be removed and replaced for a perfect fit.
The shoulder straps and the hip belt are pre-curved, and all is designed to mirror the body movements.
You have a peripheral wishbone-shape aluminum frame which transfers the load directly to the lumbar zone, it si shown in the scetch further below. This is accompanied by a durable frame sheet which provides extra rigidity and helps in the load stabilization.
The lumbar zone is with a pleasant padding covered by silicone for an enhanced grip, see the picture above, and you also have a removable pad with a Velcro tab so you can add it where necessary and when you need it. Similar silicone design is available in some other Gregory’s packs, like those from the Paragon, Maven, and Deva series.
The padding on the back panel is pleasant and breathable, there are perforations in the central zone, but do not expect a great ventilation here.
The shoulder straps and hip belt can be removed and replaced, so you can find the best possible fit for you, there are several sizes available. Note that you can combine any of their sizes with any of the three sizes of the pack itself.
You should know that the torso length is not adjustable, there are three sizes available instead, S, M, and L. So this you will take into account when you order the pack.
There are 8 external pockets in total plus the rain cover pocket. So to start from the hip belt where you have two of them, the left pocket is a mesh while the other is fully weatherproof (see the picture below) suitable for electronics.
On the hood, you have two zippered pockets with zippers on the left and on the right. They are very large and they overlap completely, effectively positioned one above the other. Underneath the hood, there is yet another zippered pocket of the same size for valuables.
On the mentioned front entrance, you have a long vertical zipper which makes the entrance to a very large front pocket. Though the pocket is rather shallow, suitable for flat things like maps or books. Inside of this pocket, you have yet another pocket with the mentioned rain cover. This is visible in one of the pictures above.
On the left side, you have a standard stretch pocket. Whatever you store here, you can fix it with the lower compression strap. On the right side, the pocket is angled and built specifically for a water bottle, it is shown above. Getting a water bottle from this pocket is really easy. It is equipped with a drawstring to cinch down for smaller water bottles. Note that it can be tucked away in a small pocket with Velcro.
You might want to know that its bigger brother the Gregory Baltoro 85 has two upper zippered side pockets; they are missing here, pity.
There are two gear loops on the bottom, and they are paired with the bungee tie-offs higher up on the sides, this is for trekking poles. There are also several lash points on the front pocket to attach things like solar panels or anything else.
You have dual compression straps on each side, the lower and the upper, very useful to cinch the pack or to fix objects which you carry in the side pocket. Dual removable straps are also on the bottom.
Here is a short promotion video by Gregory from 2017, about their Baltoro series:
Pros & Cons
Here is my summary:
The torso length is fixed so this can be an issue if the pack is used by more than one person. Otherwise, this is not a big deal because the pack is built in three torso length sizes so you can choose at the moment of purchase.
I must say that I dislike the divider design, this is just a piece of fabric attached to the wall with 4 toggles. So a sort of platform which can only keep large items, while all small items will easily slide down to the bottom compartment. So this is not a true divider in my view, in many packs you have a zipper here, see for example this Deuter Futura Vario 60 pack.
I do not think this is the most comfortable pack on the market. The ventilation is inferior to some other designs, in particular, those with the tensioned mesh system which you have in Deuter Futura Vario and in some packs from Gregory, like their Zulu series.
The price of this pack is from $220 and up, there are very big differences, so I suggest to check on Amazon. Even there, there are several possibilities to choose, and the price is also dependent on the size.
Users’ experience and rating
The average Amazon customers’ rating for this back is incredibly high, 4.8/5, this is something rarely seen. Please see below my own rating breakdown, the mean value is quite different:
Rating breakdown of the Gregory Baltoro 65 backpack for men
Volume to weight ratio - 8.7/10
Features & bonuses - 9.5/10
Comfort - 9.4/10
Price - 8.4/10
The mean value is very affected by the two first items, but my rating is consistent with the rating of other packs in this size range, see for example the Kelty Coyote 65 pack. Note that for the same reasons this mean value is well below the rating of its bigger brother the Baltoro 85.
User Review( votes)
Please add your own rating here if you are familiar with this pack.
Who is it for
This pack is designed to carry heavy loads, up to 50 lb (23 kg). But it is very strong and reliable, and I am sure it can carry far more; the harness is not attached by Velcro tabs, like in many other packs, all you have here is very strong. The Baltoro 65 pack is also quite expensive and heavy.
In principle, it is for everybody but if you are a beginner and not sure about your future outdoor activities, perhaps it is better to try some less expensive options like the Teton Sports Adventurer 4000 or Kelty Coyote 65.
Specifications & summary of features
- Best use: backpacking, hiking, mountaineering.
- Internal frame pack.
- Three volumes:
– S: 3722 cu in (61 l).
– M: 3966 cu in (65 l).
– L: 4410 cu in (69 l).
– S: 4 lb 13 oz (2.2 kg).
– M: 5 lb 1 oz (2.33 kg).
– L: 5 lb 3 oz (2.36 kg).
- Torso fit:
– S: 16 – 18 in (41 – 46 cm).
– M: 18 – 20 in (46 – 51 cm).
– L: 20 – 22 in (51 – 56 cm).
- Waist fit:
– S: 27 – 47 in (68 – 119 cm).
– M: 28 – 48 in (71 – 122 cm).
– L: 30 – 50 in (76 – 127 cm).
– S: 29 x 15 x 13 in (74 x 38 x 33 cm).
– M: 31 x 15 x 14 in (79 x 38 x 36 cm).
– L: 33 x 15 x 15 in (84 x 38 x 38 cm).
- Maximum weight: 50 lb (23 kg).
- Raincover included.
- Removable daypack included.
- Access: top, front, bottom.
- Sleeping bag compartment.
- Hydration compatible.
– Material: aluminum 7075, HDPE.
– Number of stays 1 peripheral hoop, 1 cross stay.
– Body: 210D nylon, 300D nylon.
– Base: 630D high-density nylon.
– Harness and hip belt: multi-density, ComfortZone LifeSpan EVA, and open-cell foam.
– Lining: 135D high-density embossed polyester.
- Warranty: limited lifetime.
- LumbarTune removable 10 mm pad.
- QuickSwap 3D interchangeable pre-curved LifeSpan EVA foam harness and hip belt.
- Dual zippered pockets on the lid and one pocket underneath it.
- SideWinder stowable ergonomic bottle holster.
- WeatherShield PU-coated hip belt accessory pocket.
- Dual ice axe loops and upper shock locks.
- Dual zippered side pockets.
- Stretch mesh water bottle pocket.
Comparison with competitors
Here is the Gregory Baltoro 65 pack side by side with two other packs from top brands, see how it compares:
The prices at the moment of writing the text are respectively $above 220, 190, and 135.
To summarize this Gregory Baltoro 65 review, this pack is exceptionally well-designed and with great shoulder straps that use a high-quality foam which may look too firm and stiff with a small load but it shines with a full load. The lumbar support is massive and partly removable, everything is solid and reliable, built to last and to serve you for many years.
The suspension system with pivoting harness and hip belt is a great feature, but you should know there are other brands with such a design, and one of them is the new model Kelty Revol 65. In any case, this feature increases comfort and saves energy on a rough terrain and when you have to do some scramble. This pack has all essential features you need and I can warmly recommend it.
Remember that the Baltoro series includes also the 75 liters and 85 liters backpacks. Many of Gregory’s packs are described in this site so please check my pages with packs above 56 liters, packs in the range 36 – 55 liters, and packs below 35 liters. In particular check this new 2018 Deuter Aircontact Lite 65 + 10 pack with the same volume but with the weight below 2 kg.
Thank you for reading. In the case of questions and comments, please use the comment box below. I wish you a pleasant day.