A love of wandering in the wilderness is ingrained into us from when our ancestors traversed untamed lands to find safe places to settle. Back then, the journey was usually made in groups, with pack animals carrying most of the gear.
Do you ever wonder how exactly to carry your gear? Before you rush out to buy yourself a donkey, there's a modern solution: backpacks!
Nowadays, I always feel stressed when starting by search since the backpack market is saturated. Plenty of these brands claim to offer the best technology.
But marketing is usually about ruffling feathers, so I'm always more hesitant to buy into the marketing right away. Instead, I always wonder whether the product actually stands up to the hype?
My interest was immediately piqued when I stumbled across Gregory backpacks and its lifetime guarantee. You have to have a lot of faith in your product to offer something like that!
In this post, I'm going to take a look at whether Gregory backpacks are worth the hype. After all, I'm itching for a new pack.
Let's get started!
What Is Gregory Backpacks?
Gregory, otherwise known as Gregory Mountain Products, has been around since 1977. Founder Wayne Gregory set out on a mission to create hiking packs that not only served their purpose, but were comfortable too.
He spent years designing and developing new technologies to improve the efficiency of his packs. Now, his successors strive to keep his legacy intact.
Gregory mountain backpacks were initially intended for the avid hiker. Today, the company makes backpacks suited to all types of travel.
The brand has become a well-known presence in Salt Lake City. The company office, overlooking the great untouched landscapes of Utah, offers an inspiring glimpse into the purpose of Gregory backpacks.
The designers have picturesque views to get the creative juices flowing. And once they've built a prototype, they're out the door and hiking into the wilderness to test it out.
Companies often design bags and backpacks with a straightforward ideology—fit everything inside and throw comfort into the wind. The idea that Gregory takes the time to figure out the nuances to make its packs both functional and comfortable is something I can't help but admire.
Reasons to Love Their Packs
Eco-Friendly is Better for the Environment
I'm a sucker for eco-friendly products, so I love it when Gregory packs are made sustainably. In fact, sustainability is one of the company's core missions. In the event that the bag may be unfixable, it can still be salvaged for use elsewhere.
The whole backpack doesn't just get chucked into a landfill. Rather, the components that are still viable are removed and reused elsewhere. Not to mention that Gregory products are generally made from recycled materials in the first place.
I'm talking about recycled nylon and polyester, plus other materials that are 100% recyclable. This means that even if your Gregory backpack fails you one day, it won't make too much of a dent in the environment.
Let's Talk About Functionality
Picking a Gregory product feels like picking out a new car. I like functionality and order, and Gregory's hiking backpacks really scratch that itch.
The packs are all equipped with unique features, so reading through the product list is a must if you're considering buying one of these bad boys. It's the best way to decide which items have the functionality you need.
From trekking pole attachments to hydration compatibility, the features depend on how you plan to use your pack. When I say Gregory Mountain Products come with almost every attachment you can think of, I mean it!
Built for Comfort
Gregory backpacks are built with comfort in mind. As I mentioned earlier, the backpack is supposed to feel like it belongs on your body rather than feeling like some beast clinging to your back.
The designers take great care to keep comfort in mind. From their use of Aircushion tech right through to the breathable and damp-proof material, each component is chosen for comfort and functionality, including the fit.
This brand doesn't just slap a one-size-fits-all sticker on their backpacks. Each Gregory pack comes in various sizes and fits, with some tailored for men and others for women. You can use the sizing guide to understand how to tailor the fit to suit your needs. The sizes are unisex, but a pack designed for women might have specific nuances men might find annoying, and vice versa.
That Lifetime Guarantee
You need to understand how incredible it is for a company to offer a lifetime guarantee. In all honesty, it still blows me away!
Gregory has faith in its products' ability to survive wear and tear. Obviously, the lifetime guarantee only covers some events. You can't expect to get a freebee if your pack gets ripped to bits by a bear looking for your Nature Valley Bar!
However, if your pack is experiencing everyday wear and tear, the company promises that:
- The company will make your pack like new again for a nominal fee.
- If something goes wrong while you're galavanting around in the woods, you can fix it yourself with spare parts.
The limitations are few, and I'm ecstatic that Gregory doesn't take its warranty lightly. If the products weren't great quality, the company would lose money with this policy. So, it does inspire confidence!
What About the Flaws?
No company or product is perfect, and Gregory is no exception.
While the company's products are excellent and do come with some sterling recommendations, there are a few drawbacks that might push me toward a competitor.
Not Every Product Offers the Comfort You Want
The packs are designed for comfort, but like a good pair of shoes, comfort takes time to achieve. This can work against the Gregory products line, as it's been mentioned that their AirCushion technology can be extremely stiff to start with.
For a brand that preaches comfort, you'd think there would be a solution that provides instant comfort. But Gregory packs need to be "broken in" over time. If that's the way it is, I might as well get an Osprey or Patagonia backpack.
I've also seen a few complaints about the belt sizes. The straps are too thin for some people. While it's something you could probably get used to, it's not ideal when comfort is the name of the game.
Some Functionality Could Use Improvements
Gadgets and gizmos and doodads! I'm a sucker for bags with all the trimmings, and I can never wait to get my hands on something with a specific pocket for my chapstick. While Gregory hiking packs are made for practical use, some of the models try a bit too hard.
Some users report problems where the innovative functionality of Gregory backpacks pushes comfort out the door, or if the function doesn't serve its purpose the way it was intended to.
One example is the Gregory hydration pockets. Some people find them too small or shallow. As an example, I'm super attached to an old beaten-up thermal flask I've had for years. The last thing I want is to lose it due to shallow pockets!
They Could Stand to Weigh Less
Gregory backpacks have a reputation for being on the heavier side. As an example, competitors offer lighter backpacks that can handle the weight of your gear without compromising capacity.
This weight difference could affect how much gear you can carry. With a heavier pack, you might need to pack less. I find packing stressful enough, so deciding what stays and what goes will give me more anxiety than what I'm actually ready for.
Gregory Backpacks' Most Popular Products
Gregory Jade - Women's
The Jade Backpack is versatile and functional for women who want a multi-use backpack without any hassle. This particular pack is suited to day hikes and overnighters. It's also lightweight enough for urban travel while coming in two color variants - a gorgeous teal and a cool gray. It has plenty of attachments to suit your hiking needs.
Gregory Zulu - Men's
The Gregory Zulu has everything you could need for long backcountry treks. The functionality is dynamic, and it's built for comfort with breathable materials and support, meaning you won't take the strain from carrying all your gear.
Are Gregory Backpacks Worth It?
Yes! I can't see why you wouldn't want one of these backpacks from Gregory.
From trekking through rough terrain to cruising through urban jungles, it seems like a Gregory pack would be more than enough to give you everything you need.
Yes, these products have flaws, but the issues are minor and easy to live with.
Ultimately, these backpacks are built for active lifestyles. While I wouldn't mind carrying one through the streets of New York, I think Gregory packs are a stellar product choice for hiking the Appalachians. If I come across a wild animal, I'll know my gear is safe!
My Rating: 4.2/5
- Lifetime Warranty
- Stiff at first
- Some functions need improvement
- Can be heavy
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