This Gregory Citro 20 pack review is about a new 2017 multi-purpose lightweight hydration daypack which comes with a 3-liter reservoir stored in its separate external compartment. The pack is suitable for day hiking, mountaineering, and travel.
Gregory Citro 20 backpack – key features & benefits
- Hydration bladder included.
- Sturdy suspension with a spring steel frame.
- External water bladder compartment.
- Magnetic sternum strap clip which sets itself automatically.
- Magnetic clip for the water valve.
- Attachment system for glasses.
The Citro 20 is the smallest in the new 2017 series of packs that also includes 25 liters and 30 liters hydration packs.
The pack is a panel loading type, with a long U-shaped zippered entrance to the main compartment. So it does not look strictly as an outdoor pack and it can be used for commuting as well. You have two zipper pools, so you can open it any position and you can do this easily even with gloves.
The hydration bladder
The pack comes with its 3D hydro reservoir and it is stored in its own external compartment behind the harness. You have what they call the SpeedClip mounting system which allows for a one-handed reservoir installation and it also stabilizes the reservoir’s weight in the center of the pack.
You also have here Gregory’s proprietary 3D QuickDry soft-molded technology, and the reservoir comes with an integrated drying hanger. This all is together with a magnetic sternum strap that allows for one-handed magnetic buckling, you will see this in the video below.
The 3D in the description implies that it keeps the shape even when empty so it can easily dry when you keep it open, which is good for avoiding mold and mildew developing inside. It is designed with an anti-sloshing system which saves you from a lot of noise when walking. It has an integrated clip close to the bottom so you can spin it and hang the reservoir to dry. The top opening is very wide, and you have a plastic handle on the top as well, so all in all a very clever design.
The fabric of the pack is 210D ripstop nylon, and the bottom is reinforced so you have 420D ripstop. The materials are abrasion resistant and water resistant. But you do not have a rain cover included here. You may be surprised to see that this small pack also has a spring steel peripheral frame.
The suspension system
You have what they call Vapor Span technology with a vented back panel which is designed to allow for maximum airflow. This is due to a mesh which covers the back panel. The mesh is tensioned by the peripheral frame which also gives the shape to the pack and transfers the weight to the hip belt. Not many packs of this size have a true frame, so yes this is something rare.
The padded lumbar zone is with perforated EVA foam, also covered by the same mesh, see it below. The torso length is fixed here, no adjustability, but this should be OK for a pack of this size.
The hip belt is almost without any padding, but again this should not be a big deal for such a size, it still takes some load and helps to carry the pack. The system allows you to carry up to 20 lb (9 kg) of weight quite comfortably. My impression is that it allows for much more.
The shoulder straps are contoured and with EVA foam with cutouts to reduce weight and to increase ventilation. On each of the shoulder straps, you have extra loops to attach glasses. The shoulder straps are with load lifter straps which do play a role here because this is a pack with a true frame.
One unique feature is also the adjustable sternum strap which is with a magnetic clip, so it locks by itself. But it also has a magnet for the attachment of the hydration valve.
Pockets and attachment elements
The hip belt is with standard dual zippered pockets. On the top, you have one scratch-free zippered pocket where you can store electronics and glasses. Inside the main compartment, you have a zippered mesh pocket with a key clip, for valuables and similar stuff.
One large stretch mesh pocket with a buckle is on the front, useful to stash things which you may need on the go, like gloves, rain shell jacket, or a fleece.
On both sides, you have one large stretch mesh pockets that can be used either for water bottles or for any longer object.
There are compressions straps on both sides, to secure items stored in the side pockets, or to cinch the pack down. You can store any long object in the side pocket and fix it in place with such side straps. Such a tiny detail adds a lot of functionality to such a pack.
You have two attachment loops on the bottom section, one on each side, for trekking poles or for ice axes. They are paired with two bungee tie-offs higher on the front, see them above.
Here is a short video by Gregory, about their new 2017 Citro series, so please have a look:
Pros and cons
Here is my short summary:
The reservoir alone you would have to pay around $30 if you buy it separately on the market, you can see it here on Amazon. So this adds value and in view of this, the price of the pack is quite reasonable. My rating of the Citro 20 pack is as follows:
- Purpose: hiking, mountaineering, travel.
- Weight: 2 lb 3 oz (0.992 kg).
- Volume: 1220 cu in (20 l).
- Dimensions: 19.25 x 11.25 x 8.75 in (49 x 29 x 22 cm).
- Maximum weight: 20 lb (9 kg).
- Panel loading.
- Hydration compatible.
- Reservoir included.
- Dedicated hydration pocket with SpeedClip system.
- Warranty: limited lifetime.
– Body: 210D CryptoRip Nylon.
– Base: 420D Polyester.
– Lining: 135D HD Polyester.
– Frame: spring steel and HDPE
- Adjustable sternum strap.
- Magnetic sternum strap valve attachment.
- Colors: 3.
- Dual zippered hip belt pockets.
- Dual side stretch mesh pockets.
- Front stretch stuff pocket.
- Top accessory pocket.
- Interior zippered mesh accessory pocket.
- Dual trekking pole and tool attachment points.
- Sunglasses quick stow system on the shoulder harness.
Gregory Citro 20 vs competitors
I give below the Gregory Citro 20 backpack side by side with two top-notch packs from other brands, see how they compare. To find out more please follow the links:
*Hydration bladder included.
The Gregory Citro 20 pack is the lightest of the three packs in spite of its steel frame.
The prices at the moment of writing this text are $120, 163 and 155, respectively. So the Citro’s price tag is very reasonable, and in particular in view of its integrated hydration bladder.
In the conclusion of this Gregory Citro 20 pack review to stress again that this is a very streamlined design, elegant and functional, with a good suspension based on a steel frame, which is very unusual to see in such small packs.
The included water reservoir adds a lot of value and it makes the price of the pack quite reasonable. Gregory is one of the leaders in the packs building industry, I trust the brand and I can fully recommend this pack.
The pack is the smallest in the series, so if you need a bigger pack please check this 25 liters version.
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