If you are looking for a very lightweight hiking backpack for overnight and weekend tours, this Gregory Paragon 48 pack review is for you. With 1.45 kg only, this is one of the lightest packs in this size group.
Benefits & unique features
- Rain cover included.
- Very lightweight.
- Adjustable harness.
- New Aerolon suspension.
- Quick-stow feature on the shoulder strap for attaching glasses on the go.
The Paragon series
Gregory Paragon backpacks for men are a completely new series launched by Gregory in 2017. All of them are very lightweight hiking and backpacking tools. See some basic numbers for all four packs in the series:
Clearly, this is an ultra-lightweight series for all the features they have. The numbers also show that the Volume-to-Weight (VW) ratio is better for larger backpacks. This is normal because they all have almost the same weight in the harness and the hip belt.
This VW parameter is useful to compare packs from different brands, but it is good to bear in mind that its big values usually imply the lack of some features. However, this is not the case here, the Paragon packs come with all the essential features you need on the trail.
There are some differences between the two bigger packs and the two smaller packs, and the most important are:
- The hip belt is adjustable in the 58 and 68 liters packs.
- There is a possibility to re-position the hip belt pockets in the 58 and 68 liters packs.
- The water bladder sleeve in 58 and 68 liters packs is removable and designed to be used as a daypack.
- Internal divider in 58 and 68 liters packs doubles as a top flap for a lidless use; it is absent in the two smaller packs.
Paragon 48 backpack – description
The Paragon 48 is in the style of a classic top-loading pack, with a lid and an extendible spindrift collar and with a bottom zippered entrance. I would not use it as a daypack, but if you plan an overnight or weekend tour, this is a right tool for you.
The lid is floating-type. If you are not familiar with the terminology, this means you have straps on the back so you can raise it or lower it in the case of an extra load. In such situations, you expand the collar and the lid accommodates to this extra volume.
Yet another situation is when you add some stuff on the top, like a rope or perhaps even a tent, and the lid is used to fix them in place, but you also have an extra strap over the collar to fix such extra pieces of equipment. This is why I prefer the lid-type packs to the panel-loading packs, the lid simply adds to the functionality, and it also contains a few extra pockets, see below.
The main compartment is simple, with a large hydration sleeve on the back and with a hook at the top for the water bladder. The single water hose port is in the middle, behind the neck. You have an additional entrance on the bottom. Note, this is not a separate compartment, there is no divider, and I must say I am not so delighted with this.
I already mentioned the bonus rain cover which comes in a separate zippered pocket underneath the front shove-it pocket. I normally go to the Alps and would not consider a pack without such a rain cover, but this may be different for you. About the importance of a rain cover you can see a bit more in my separate text.
The suspension system
All packs in this series are built in two sizes S/M and M/L, so you should choose your proper torso length when you buy the pack. This size of the pack and the corresponding torso length you will see printed on a tab on the back of the pack.
But in addition to this, you have fine-tuning because the torso length is adjustable. All you have to do is to loosen the load lifter straps and to break the Velcro connection behind the harness and then slide the harness in the desired position. After that press the harness to re-engage the hook and loop connection. There are some markers to guide you, but without numbers indicating torso length so you might need to try a few times to get to the right position.
This allows for adjustment in the range of some 4 inches (10.2 cm), very useful if several family members use the same pack or if it is used by a growing teenager.
The suspension system is breathable, very advanced, and designed with weight saving in mind. This is what they call the Aerolon system. It is based on an ultra-lightweight 7 mm diameter hollow aluminum frame which follows the perimeter on the top section, but then it directs to the lumbar zone and transfers the weight there. Here you have the gripton pad system with a soft-molded silicon overlay for enhanced load transfer. This all is designed for support and to reduce the stress on your shoulders.
Above this lumbar padding, you have what they call Matrix Ventilation System. This is a foam-matrix back panel covered by a very breathable suspended mesh, all designed for an excellent airflow, ventilation, and weight saving. It is visible in the picture below.
A similar matrix cutout pattern in the foam is also on the shoulder straps’ padding where you again have the same mesh and a great ventilation. You have the usual hydration hose webbing straps on the shoulder straps, as well as the rails for the adjustable sternum strap visible in the picture below.
The hip belt is contoured and with a multi-density LifeSpan EVA foam. On the sides, you have straps attaching the hip belt to the pack. With this, you can tighten it if you need for better load control. There are differences in this design as compared with the bigger packs from this series, the 58 and 68 liters, where the hip belt pockets can be re-positioned and the hip belt can be adjusted.
The Paragon 48 comes with very functional dual side compression straps, and the lower straps are with the inside-out feature. This means that you can run them through the pockets in order to compress the pack or over the pockets to secure the items in the pockets. If you store some elongated objects in the side pockets, you can fix and secure them with both lower and upper side straps.
The pack also has what they call the quick-stow feature for sunglasses on the left shoulder strap, it is visible in the picture above. This includes a webbing loop and a tie-off cord. After you attach the glasses, you can secure them with the cord. This is not so unique, if you check this Osprey Talon 33, you will notice such features on both shoulder straps.
There are two useful compression straps on the bottom, to attach a sleeping pad or a tent. You also have a bottom loop for an ice axe or for trekking poles attachment, and it is paired with a tie-off bungee cord higher up on the pack.
You will notice four webbing attachment loops on the top of the lid, very useful to have for various purposes.
There are 7 pockets in total, plus an extra pocket for the rain cover. The top lid mentioned above has two zippered pockets, not particularly big but very useful.
A very large stretch shove-it pocket is on the front, to store various things which you may need when you are on the go, or for wet stuff. It is secured with a buckle on the top. The mentioned rain cover pocket is underneath this front mesh, a bit hidden but this is good enough for its purpose. You can certainly use it to store other things.
There are two usual stretch pockets with angled access for a water bottle on the sides, see the picture, large enough for Nalgene or for even bigger bottles. Such an angled access is useful as you can reach the bottle on the go. Two zippered pockets are on the hip belt, one fabric and one mesh.
Specifications & summary of features
- Gender: for men.
- Purpose: hiking, mountaineering, travel.
- Two sizes: S/M, M/L.
– S/M: 1.33 kg (2 lb 15 oz).
– M/L: 1.45 kg (3 lb 3 oz).
– S/M: 45 l (2746 cu in).
– M/L: 48 l (2929 cu in).
- Size (L x W x D):
– S/M: 69 x 33 x 25 cm (27 x 13 x 10 in).
– M/L: 74 x 33 x 25 cm (29 x 13 x 10 in).
– Main fabric: 210 D ripstop nylon.
– Secondary fabric: 210 D HT ripstop nylon.
– Frame: aluminum.
- Maximum weight: 40 lb (18 kg).
- Torso length:
– S/M: 38 – 48 cm (15 – 19 in).
– M/L: 46 – 56 cm (18 – 22 in).
- Access: bottom, top.
- Adjustable torso.
- Hipbelt circumference:
– S/M: 58 – 122 cm.
– M/L: 64 – 135 cm.
- Ventilated back panel.
- Compression straps.
- Rain cover included.
- Ice axe/pole attachment.
- Hydration compatible.
- Hipbelt pockets.
- Colors: 3.
- Warranty: limited lifetime.
Summary, rating, pros & cons
To summarize this Gregory Paragon 48 Pack Review, as you realize this is a pack rich with features and yet exceptionally lightweight and functional. If you are in the search for a weekend pack, a pack for overnight tours, or for hut to hut tours in the Alps, this pack should be on your list.
The torso length adjustability makes it suitable for several users, family members or couples, or for growing teenagers. As mentioned above, the series includes several other packs, bear this in mind if you need something of a different size.
The bigger packs in the series have even more functional features. The same is with the corresponding Maven series for women with the packs that have the same features and differences between the smaller and bigger packs. You might want to check this Gregory Optic 48 which is an ultra-lightweight pack. Check also this new 2018 Deuter Futura Vario 50+10 which is a bit heavier but with some truly great features.
Thank you for reading. I shall be happy to hear from you, so let me know what you think about this new Gregory’s series, there is a comment box below. I wish you a pleasant day.