Gregory Paragon 68 backpack for men is the largest pack from a completely new series. This is a very lightweight backpacking and hiking tool with several bonuses and unique features.
Benefits & unique features
- Rain cover included.
- Very lightweight, sub-four-pound pack.
- Adjustable harness.
- Unique adjustable hip belt.
- New Aerolon suspension.
- Internal divider doubles as a top flap for a lidless use.
- The water bladder sleeve doubles as a SideKick daypack.
- Quick-stow feature on the shoulder strap for attaching glasses on the go.
- Removable bottom straps can be used as a hip belt on the SideKick daypack.
Paragon 68 pack – description
This is a classic top-loading style design, with an adjustable floating and removable lid and an extendible spindrift collar underneath it. They have a cleverly designed ultra-lightweight variant of this pack: if you decide to remove the lid, if you wish you can also remove the sleeping bag divider and attach it to the top of the pack as a top-flap for protection.
This is easily done; the divider is attached to the pack at 4 points, so just detach the four buckles and attach the flap on the top of the pack. In such a variant, the pack becomes shorter and lighter, and with this top flap it again looks like a complete pack, see the picture below.
As mentioned already there is a bottom sleeping bag compartment with the usual zippered entrance, so this is yet another alternative access to the pack.
The rain cover is one of the bonuses with this pack. It stows inside an external zip pocket beneath the front stuff pocket.
There are many of them so it is appropriate to mention them separately. The pack is with very functional dual side compression straps. The lower straps are with the inside-out feature (see the picture below), so you can run them through the pockets in order to compress the pack, or over the pockets to secure the items in the pockets. The upper straps are v-shaped, they run twice across the sides, one is visible above.
One small and useful detail that I love is the quick-stow feature for sunglasses which includes a webbing loop and an elastic cord on the shoulder strap shown in the picture above. When you attach your glasses there, you can secure them with the cord.
The bottom compression straps are also available, so you can attach a sleeping pad or a tent, but they are also removable if you need them to attach things elsewhere on the pack. They can even be used as a hip belt on the SideKick daypack.
The Paragon 68 pack is equipped with a bottom loop for ice axe or poles attachment, accompanied by a tie-off higher on the front of the pack.
On the top of the lid, there are four Goal Zero attachment loops. Similar webbing loops are available on the bottom as well.
The pack is hydration compatible, and this is again a clever design used also in some other packs by Gregory, you can see it applied in their Amber 60 pack. as well as in the Stout 65. So, the internal reservoir sleeve doubles as an ultra-light removable daypack shown above, perfect for day trips, summit hikes, or for town walks.
To remove it, just detach it from the two hooks inside the main compartment. It has a large zippered front pocket visible in the picture above, and its shoulder straps are with some thin padding.
The suspension system
The pack is built in two sizes so you can choose your proper torso length and pack size in the moment of purchase. But you also have an adjustable torso for fine tuning and for a perfect fit. To adjust the torso, all you have to do is to break the Velcro tabs behind the panel and to slide the harness into the desired position. After that just press firmly to re-engage the hook and loop connections.
You have seen a new term here, Aerolon. This is a new adjustable system wich utilizes an ultra-light 7 mm hollow 7001 aluminum flexible and yet supportive frame with entirely new geometry and flexibility. This system allows for 4 inches (10.2 cm) span of torso adjustment.
This suspension comes together with what they call Matrix Ventilation System, a foam-matrix back panel structure covered by a very breathable mesh with an excellent air flow and moisture evaporation. It is visible in the picture above.
The hip belt is contoured and padded with a multi-density LifeSpan EVA foam, and the same sort of padding is on the shoulder straps. In the lumbar zone, you have the gripton pad system, with a soft-molded silicon overlays for enhanced load transfer and energy savings.
Note that you have two different sizes for the waist belt as well. But in addition to this, the hip belt is also adjustable. This is useful if the pack is used by family members with different waist circumference. So here you have a Velcro tab which keeps the hip belt pocket in place.
You undo this connection, lose the hip belt side strap stabilizer, and then pull the hip belt until you have the desired length. How to decide about the length? Well, you should have the padded part of the hip belt around your hips, so just try and you will find what the best is for you. After that, re-engage the Velcro and tighten the stabilizer.
A large stretch pocket is on the front to store things which you may need when you are on the go, or to store wet stuff and keep it separated from the dry compartment. The buckle on the top of it fixes it to the front of the pack.
You have the usual side stretch pockets with angled access for water bottles; they are equipped with straps so you can secure things in the pockets.
Dual zippered hip belt pockets can be repositioned independently due to the mentioned Velcro tabs, so that you still have an easy access to the pockets when/if you change the hip belt circumference.
The top pocket on the lid has an additional zippered pocket for organization.
Specifications & summary of features
- Gender: for men.
- Purpose: backpacking, hiking.
- Two sizes: S/M, M/L.
– S/M: 1.62 kg (3 lb 9 oz).
– M/L: 1.64 kg (3 lb 10 oz).
– S/M: 65 l (3966 cu in).
– M/L: 68 l ( 4150 cu in).
- Size (L x W x D):
– S/M: 74 x 33 x 31 cm (29 x 13 x 12 in).
– M/L: 79 x 33 x 31 cm (31 x 13 x 12 in).
– Main fabric: 210 D ripstop nylon.
– Secondary fabric: 210 D HT ripstop nylon.
– Frame: aluminum.
- Maximum weight: 50 lb (23 kg).
- Torso length:
– S/M: 38 – 48 cm (15 – 19 in).
– M/L: 46 – 56 cm (18 – 22 in).
- Access: bottom, top.
- Adjustable lid.
- Adjustable harness.
- Adjustable hip belt.
- Hipbelt circumference:
– S/M: 58 – 122 cm.
– M/L: 64 – 135 cm.
- Ventilated back panel.
- Compression straps.
- Removable daypack included.
- Rain cover included.
- Ice axe/pole attachment.
- Hydration compatible.
- Hipbelt pockets.
- Warranty: limited lifetime.
Summary, rating, pros & cons
As you realize, this Gregory Paragon 68 backpack for men is really full of bonuses and features, some of them completely unique for this series only and some unique for the Gregory brand. As I mentioned above, there are 3 other sizes in this series, so plenty of options to choose from. I have included this pack in my list of the best backpacking packs for men.
The side zippered pockets are something I love to have, all my packs of this size have them, but this may not be essential for you and you can disregard my objection. Please see how I rate this pack:
The Paragon 38 liters, Paragon 48, and Paragon 58 liters are presented in my separate posts. Note that they have also launched a parallel series for women under the name Maven in sizes 35, 45, 55, and 65 liters, and with the same features. Note that they have launched a new version of Paragon packs for the season 2020.
So, thank you for reading. I shall be happy to hear from you, there is a comment box below. Have a nice day.