The Gregory Katmai 55 Backpack for Men is incredibly nicely built with its ventilated tensioned trampoline-style back panel, adjustability options, 3 access points, and advanced materials.
Key features & benefits
- 3 Access points.
- Excellently ventilated back panel.
- Adjustable torso length.
- Adjustable hip belt fins.
- Eco-friendly materials.
- Auto-rotating shoulder straps’ attachments.
- Sunglass QuickStow system.
What this is about
Here you have the smaller pack from the new series that Gregory launched recently, it includes also the Katmai 65 pack. The series includes the corresponding packs for women under the name Kalmia. There are also Gregory Katmai 65 Plus packs.
Note that within each of the nominal sizes you have 2 sub-sizes. So there is Katmai S/M with a volume of 50 liters and Katmai M/L which is in fact 55 liters. The same holds with all the mentioned Katmai & Kalmia packs.
So this is a pack with a classic top lid and a collar with Quick-pull drawcord closure and top webbing compression. But there is also a side access point with a C-shaped zipper (the picture below), plus a bottom compartment with the usual zippered access. The divider between the bottom and the main compartments is just a shelf with toggles.
The pack is hydration-compatible so you have an inner sleeve behind the harness inside the main compartment.
Overview of features
The suspension is based on a peripheral alloy steel frame and a fiberglass anti-barreling cross-stay, plus an HDPE panel. The frame gives tension to an incredibly ventilated trampoline-style back panel. This is what they call the FreeFloat 360 ventilated back panel.
This advanced mesh continues over the lumbar padding all the way along the hip belt padding. It is not enough to say it is beautiful, you must see it, so here it is:
You can also see in the picture above the hip fins, they are adjustable, so you can re-position them to find your best body fit. This is useful when different family members with various body shapes and sizes use the same pack.
Note that the tensioned mesh is completely separated from the pack, so there is a gap for air circulation, and only the mesh is in contact with your body. So this is one of the most ventilated back panels that you will find on the market. See the whole suspension system below.
The torso length is adjustable, you will see the range in the specifications below. You have a Velcro hook and loop connection. So just break it and move the harness up or down and then press to re-engage the connection. There are markers to guide you, see the zoomed picture of the area.
Nice and breathable padding covered with mesh is also on the shoulder harness, you can see it in the picture above. Note that you have auto-rotating shoulder straps that move with your body’s natural movements and adjust to the user.
The pockets are numerous, see what the pack offers:
- Dual zippered pockets are on the hip belt.
- There are also two side pockets. One of them is a SideWinder bottle holster for one-handed on-the-go water bottle access, it can be tucked away when not in use. You can see it in the picture below.
- There is also a pocket on the top of the lid, and one on its underside.
- One stretch pocket with a buckle is on the front.
- There is a huge zippered front pocket shown below, with an inner pocket.
Attachment elements and straps
You have the usual upper and lower compression straps on the sides. A pair of compression straps are on the bottom, so you can here attach stuff. There are also attachment loops paired with bungee cords, for trekking poles and an ice axe. Webbing loops are on the top of the lid.
There is also a set of interior toggles to connect Nano 14 Daypack (which is not included). On the shoulder strap, you have a Sunglass QuickStow system for quick, secure, and scratch-free access to your shades.
They are very proud about the materials used in the construction, with all the good reasons of course, and this is summarized in the picture below:
- They use a 210D high density 40% recycled nylon PFC-free, DWR, and a 420D high density 45% recycled nylon PFC-free, DWR.
- The padding contains Lifespan Eva foam & Polygiene Stays Fresh Technology.
- The lining is 40% post-consumer recycled 135D polyester PFC-free DWR.
- You have an odor control air-mesh treatment that inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
Please see more in this video:
- Two sizes: S/M & M/L.
– S/M: 3051 in³ (50 l).
– M/L: 3356 in³ (55 l).
– S/M: 4.61 lb (2.09 kg).
– M/L: 4.67 lb (2.12 kg).
- Maximum carry weight: 45 lb (20.4 kg).
- Fits torso:
– S/M: 15 – 19 in (38 – 48 cm).
– M/L: 18 – 22 in (46 – 56 cm).
- Waist fit:
– S/M: 25 – 48 in (64 – 122 cm).
– M/L: 27 – 53 in (69 – 135 cm).
– S/M: 29 x 17 x 13 in (74 x 43 x 33 cm).
– M/L: 30 x 17 x 13 in (76 x 43 x 33 cm).
Final thoughts, rating, pros & cons
In summary, I would say that this is one of the best series that Gregory built so far. This Gregory Katmai 55 Backpack for Men has plenty of great features and adjustability options. Its ventilated back panel is among the best that are available on the market.
This is a reliable brand and one can only admire their efforts to use recycled materials. I can fully recommend this pack. It is included in my list of best backpacking packs for men.
You might want to know that they have some of Katmai packs built in Plus Size for oversized users.
Please see how this pack stands against my standard rating criteria:
Note that they have recently launched an ultralight Gregory Focal & Facet series of backpacking packs. So compare this pack with their Gregory Focal 48 pack; bear in mind also that they have a larger 58-liter version.
You might want to compare this pack with some other ventilated packs on the market, in particular the new Deuter Futura Air Trek packs. But see also the new series from Osprey, the Osprey Aether Plus series in many different sizes.
Let me know if you have questions or comments, there is a comment box below. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter and stay informed. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.
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