Gregory brand has launched completely modified Gregory Zulu backpacks for the season 2019. All of them have adjustable torso length and quite a number of other new features.
What this is about
The Zulu series by Gregory has been around for a few years already and there are reviews of the packs here in the site, so you can see the Zulu 30, Zulu 40, and Zulu 65 packs described in detail. Those are great backpacks with incredibly well-ventilated back panel based on a tensioned mesh. But my main objection to these packs has been their fixed torso size.
Well, this has changed now – all the packs in the series now have an adjustable torso size. So the series includes the packs of 30, 35, 40, 55, and 65 liters, and these nominal sizes are the same as in the previous versions. The two largest packs are different from the rest, those are packs with standard lids and collar, the three smaller packs are all panel-loading type.
What is new in the new Zulu series
I shall list below what I have noticed so far, hopefully, I shall not miss something important.
- Adjustable torso size. I already mentioned this, but this feature is so important that it is worth mentioning again. The system is based on Velcro hook and loop connections, so moving the shoulder harness up and down is easy.
- The packs of 40, 55, and 65 liters come in two sizes S/M and M/L. The previous models were in three sizes S, M, and L. In fact, only one size would be perfectly enough in view of the adjustable torso which you have now.
- The smaller packs of 30 and 35 liters come in the sizes S/M and M/L; the old versions are in M and L sizes.
- The lumbar zone is completely different with cut-out foam behind, and a completely breathable mesh on the top of it. The previous packs were known for their enormous lumbar padding but the structure was much more rigid.
- The whole hip belt looks totally different now. This they call the Free Float system but this term is used for the complete suspension here. The Free Float flex panels allow the hip belt to pivot and flex with the movements of your body, hence the name. So the belt wraps smoothly and comfortably around the body. This is a big change when you compare with the massive system in the previous model.
- There is no daypack in the new version. In the previous version the inner reservoir sleeve is removable in the bigger packs in the series and it is designed to be used as a daypack. So this feature is gone.
- You have a QuickStow system for glasses attachment on the left shoulder strap. Obviously, Gregory is introducing this feature in all of their new series.
- The side mesh pockets are now with inside-out design for the corresponding compression straps.
- I did not measure, but I have a feeling that the front inverted-U shaped access is now larger.
- There are small and insignificant differences in weight.
- The poles attachment loops on the bottom are redesigned.
- The rain cover pocket is now on the bottom of the pack. In the previous version it is on the front, you have a zippered pocket inside the front stretch pocket.
Please see some of these features in this short video. Note that they mention gender-specific features, by this they mean that you have the Zulu series for men and the corresponding Jade series for women:
A few more words about smaller packs Zuly 30, Zulu 35, and Zulu 40
- All three packs in this new version are panel loading type. Note that in the old version the Zulu 40 is a top loader with the lid. So the pockets are different in the 40 liters version.
- Note that the 35 and 40 liters packs also have the front access just like the bigger packs in the series, but they are without the bottom compartment (and you do not need it).
- But the smallest pack in the series is without the front and bottom access, so this is just a panel loading pack with a single access.
Please see more about these three packs in this short video by Gregory:
So these are the main features I noticed so far. I shall present some of these packs in full detailed reviews, so stay tuned and bookmark this post. There is no doubt, the Gregory Zulu backpacks are improved considerably, the ventilated suspension system is now at the level of the best backpacks on this industry. You can read more in my Gregory Zulu 55 pack review.
Note that the Jade series for women is also with the same changes, and you have the packs Jade 28, Jade 33, Jade 38, Jade 53, and Jade 62 in the series.
You should know that all these packs from both old and new versions are on the market, so it is easy to get confused. There are differences in colors, but check the back panel and the lumbar area, there you have the biggest difference which is easy to notice.
Do let me know if I have missed something important, I shall be happy to make changes. All these new packs except the smallest one are shown in the pictures below.