In this Gregory Baltoro 85 review, you can read about an award-winning backpack with an advanced suspension system, with great features and bonuses, and with load hauling capabilities.
Key features & benefits
- The Baltoro 85 pack has received multiple awards.
- Three access points.
- Independently pivoting shoulder straps and hip belt fins.
- Removable internal sleeve doubles as a daypack.
- Detachable rain cover.
- 11 external pockets.
- Very strong and durable materials.
Note, there is a new 2018 version of this pack, the summary of changes is given in this text.
The Gregory Baltoro 85 backpack is a classic top-loading pack with a lid and an extendible collar underneath it. But you have also the front access to the main compartment through a large inverted zippered U-shaped opening. There is the bottom access as well, through the sleeping bag compartment. The divider between the two internal compartments can be open and you can use the whole space as one big compartment.
The pack comes with its specific rain cover stored in a separate zippered pocket on the front, it is shown in the pictures below.
The suspension system
Here you have what they call A3 system, which means Automatic Angle Adjust. This implies the following:
- Each shoulder strap rotates and flexes individually.
- Each hip belt fin rotates and flexes individually.
- The shoulder straps and hip belt fins can be removed and replaced for a perfect fit.
With such a design, the system automatically adjusts to the user to mirror his body movements.
The suspension is based on a peripheral wishbone-shape aluminum frame depicted in the picture above, which is shaped in such a way that it transfers the load directly to the lumbar zone. This is accompanied by a durable frame sheet which helps in the load stabilization.
In the lumbar zone, you have a removable pad which you can use when you want, you just slide it behind the permanent padding which you have in this zone. This external lumbar padding is with a silicone coating for an enhanced grip. Such a silicone design is available in many Gregory’s packs, like those from the Paragon, Maven, and Deva series.
The padding on the back panel is pleasant and breathable, with perforations, but in general, there are no deep ventilation channels here, so you will be sweating. But this is nothing new, in particular with packs of this size.
As mentioned in the Key features above, all pieces in the shoulder straps and hip belt can be removed and replaced, so you can find the best possible fit for you.
The hip belt is made pre-curved and ergonomically tapered, with LifeSpan foam and an easy-change design. The sizes available for the hip belt are XS, S, M, L, XL. So no worry about perfect fit, you will find something for you.
The same is with the pre-curved and ergonomic shoulder harness straps; they are also available in multiple sizes, XS, S, M, L, with LifeSpan foam and an easy-change design. What surprises me is the information I find in the Gregory site, that the smallest of these sizes are for women. Namely, they have the famous Deva series which is with the same basic features, but this is the women-specific design.
Note that the torso length is not adjustable. Instead, you have a number of lengths available. The information at Gregory’s site says you have S, M, L sizes for men and XS, S, M for women. They probably imply that those women’s sizes are for the mentioned Deva series. See more about the numbers in the specifications below.
In the main compartment, you have a water bladder sleeve which is removable and it doubles as a full-size daypack for city walks, day hikes, or for summit assaults. Note that the compression straps on the bottom compartment are also removable and can be used as a hip belt with this daypack.
So many pockets are available here, 10 in total plus the rain cover pocket, see how they are organized. You have two zippered pockets on the hip belt, the left pocket is a mesh while the other is fully weatherproof (see the picture below) so you can use it for small items which need protection, like electronics.
Two external zippered pockets are on the hood, one on top of another and with zippers that are on the opposite left and right sides of the hood. But this is not all, there is yet another zippered pocket underneath the hood.
On the front, in fact, on the mentioned front entrance, you have a long vertical zipper visible in the picture above. This is the entrance to a very large front pocket. It is quite shallow, so you can put things like maps or anything similar that is not so bulky. Note that the mentioned rain cover pocket is inside this front pocket. This is visible above.
On the sides, close to the top, you have dual side zippered pockets, my favorite feature. They are relatively shallow but very useful. Close to the bottom, on the left side, you have a stretch water bottle pocket. On the right side this pocket is a different style, so you have a tuck away type pocket for a water bottle. It is normally stored in a pouch with Velcro, and you take it out when you need it. It is canted, so getting to the water bottle is easy, and it is with a drawstring to cinch down for smaller water bottles, see the picture below.
There are gear loops on the bottom, and they are paired with the bungee tie-offs higher up. There are four lash points on the front pocket, so here you can attach things like solar panels or anything else.
Dual compression straps are 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 on the bottom, and here you can attach a pad, tent, or anything similar.
Here is a short promotion video by Gregory, about their Baltoro series:
Pros & Cons
Here is my summary:
The non-adjustable torso length can be understood as an objection mainly if several people of different sizes use the pack. Otherwise, you will choose your proper size in the moment of purchase and have a perfect fit. Note that some cheap packs with adjustable torso sizes are with low-quality hook and loop connections, and such packs cannot carry a lot. With the Baltoro 85, you can be sure you can carry even more than what is prescribed.
With the price of around $350 at the moment of writing this text, the Baltoro 85 is far from inexpensive. But if you can afford it, this is a top notch tool, definitely among the best on the market.
The average Amazon customers’ rating for this back is very respectable 4.2/5. Please see below my own breakdown:
Rating breakdown of the Gregory Baltoro 85 backpack for men
User Review( votes)
Please add your own rating here if you are familiar with this pack.
Specifications & summary of features
- Best use: backpacking, hiking, mountaineering.
- Internal frame pack.
- Three volumes:
– S: 4882 cu in (80 l).
– M: 5187 cu in (85 l).
– L: 5492 cu in (90 l).
– S: 5 lb 3 oz (2.35 kg).
– M: 5 lb 5 oz (2.40 kg).
– L: 5 lb 11 oz (2.58 kg).
- Torso fit:
– S: 16 – 18 in.
– M: 18 – 20 in.
– L: 20 – 22 in.
– S: 30 x 19 x 15 in.
– M: 32 x 19 x 15 in.
– L: 33 x 20 x 16 in.
- Maximum weight: 60 lb (27.2 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
*See more about this below.
The current prices (at the moment of writing this text) for the packs are, respectively, $350, 380, 274.
In conclusion of this Gregory Baltoro 85 review, this pack belongs to the top in the industry but it comes at a price. This is a backpack which will last for many years, and if you are seriously involved in outdoor activities, this is definitely a tool to consider. It has all the essential features and much more. I can warmly recommend it. But if you need something smaller, remember that the Baltoro series includes also the 65 liters and 75 liters backpacks. Need something bigger from the same series? See this giant, the Baltoro 95 Pro.
The Gregory is one of a few world-famous brands, they have been in this field for many decades already, started in 1977. Many of their packs in this size range are reviewed in this site, you can see this if you search in my page with packs above 56 liters.
Thank you for reading. In the case of questions and comments, please use the comment box below. I wish you a pleasant day.