As you probably know, Gregory has launched new versions of their Paragon & Maven and Stout & Amber packs. They look similar, so you might want to know what makes them different. So keep reading.
There are several generations of these packs and you have at least two versions of each of them on the market, so it is easy to get confused and to know which is which. The picture above shows the Paragon packs on the left and the Stout packs on the right. The corresponding Maven and Amber packs are the same.
I already wrote about the features of the new Paragon and Maven packs, see details in my recent text. But here I would like to point out the differences between the Paragon & Maven from one side and the Stout & Amber packs from the other side.
First, if you are not familiar with these packs, Gregory builds gender-specific packs, so the Paragon is for men and the Maven is for women. Similarly, the Stout is for men and the Amber packs for women. There are no functional differences between the packs for men and women. But there are differences related to the body shape, and this is reflected in the shape of the shoulder harness, in the hip belt profile, lumbar zone shape, colors, and also in the sizes of the packs for men and women.
Now, let me first give the list of the features that are the same in all four packs, or I shall call them two different series, Paragon/Maven (PM) and Stout/Amber (SA) series, this should be easier:
- All packs come with a rain cover included.
- All of them have an adjustable torso length.
- You have 7 pockets in all of them.
- There is an internal hydration sleeve.
- The compression straps distribution is practically the same.
- All have a lid and collar with a draw-cord and a top strap.
- The adjustable sliding sternum strap is in all of them.
- All of them have a perimeter alloy frame plus an anti-barrelling horizontal central pole.
You might want to see how the suspension system looks because this is the most important part of any pack, so here it is:
- There are two attachment loops for poles and ice axe on the Stout/Amber packs. You have only one on the Paragon/Maven packs.
- There are no attachment loops on the lid of the SA packs, you have them 4 on the PM packs.
- There are top and bottom access on the SA packs; you have an extra zippered access on the Paragon/Maven packs.
- All PM packs have adjustable hip belt fins. This feature is available only on the two largest Stout/Amber packs.
- There is a divider between the bottom and the main compartments on all PM packs. This feature is available only on the two largest Stout/Amber packs.
- In the case of Paragon/Maven packs you have 3 nominal sizes, but each of them has two sub-sizes, so effectively you have 6 sizes. The Stout/Amber packs are built in 4 different sizes without sub-sizes.
- The Paragon/Maven packs have a floating lid. This feature is only on the two largest Stout/Amber packs.
- There is an attachment for glasses on the PM packs, this is absent on the Stout/Amber packs.
- Paragon/Maven packs have interior attachment toggles for Gregory’s Nano packs attachment. This is not available in the SA packs.
- Paragon/Maven packs have what they call the FreeFloat suspension which allows the pack to flex and follow the body movement. This is not in the Stout/Amber packs.
So which is better?
All these packs are great. The Paragon-Maven series has this side entry point which is added in the 2020 version. This is an extra feature, and the same holds for its FreeFloat design, both are missing in the Stout-Amber packs. Note also that the smaller SA packs have a few features less. So all in all, this would make the PM packs a bit better.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts and let me know if I have missed mentioning something important, there is a comment box below. These packs are available at all major sellers, you will find them on Amazon, at REI, at Backcountry, and also at Moosejaw.