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Gregory Baltoro 65 Review

   

Backpacking Backpacks

  • Currently 4.6/5
Overall avg rating 4.6 of 5 based on 7 reviews. Most recent review: July 8, 2015
Street Price:   Varies from $239 - $268 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Super comfortable, awesome suspension, easy to pack. tons of lower back support.
Cons:  Heavy.
Best Uses:  Backpacking, mountaineering, expedition climbing , travel, trekking, any trip where you might be loaded down
User Rating:     
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 (4.3 of 5) based on 6 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (6/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Gregory
Review by: Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ July 8, 2015  
Overview
The Gregory Baltoro 65 was our second highest scoring pack behind the Arc'teryx Altra 65 and is the best backkpack we tested for carrying massive loads (70+ lbs). It was maybe the most comfortable pack we tested and is ideal for folks willing to carry a heavier pack and who want comfort, many pockets, and features. It had the best shoulder straps and best lumbar support of all the packs. It is $100 cheaper than the Altra and delivers a great value. If you want the most bang for your buck in a lighter pack, check out our Best Buy winner, the Osprey Aether 60. Finally, if you are looking for a lighter pack more suitable for mountaineering and ski mountaineering, we recommend the Gregory Z65.

New Version Update - July 2015
The Gregory Baltoro 65 is now available in new colors and has received a few updates! Keep reading to find out more.

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  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The New Version of the Gregory Baltoro 65 vs. The Older Version



The Baltoro 65 is now available in new colors: Navy Blue, Spark Red, and Shadow Black. In addition to being available in new colors, the Baltoro also has a few new features: response A3 suspension, a silicone lumbar grip zone, a back panel with Lifespan foam, a LumbarTune removable 10mm insert (to customize the back panel) and an EVA foam harness and hip belt. The removable daypack also doubles as a hanging reservoir sleeve. The price has also increased from $270 to $299. Though these were the only changes that we were able to note, we have contacted Gregory for confirmation.

See below for a side-by-side comparison, with the latest version of the Baltoro 65 shown on the left and the older version pictured on the right.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge 



Hands-On Review



Likes


The Gregory Baltoro 65 was among the most comfortable packs in the review. It ranked high along with its big brother the Baltoro 75 and the Arc'teryx Altra 65 and 75. It was a full step up in comfort from the Osprey Aether 60 or 75 and an even bigger step above the REI Flash 65 or the Gregory Z65. This was even more noticeable once we were carrying around 35 pounds and above. The shoulder straps were articulated very nicely and were as comfortable as the Osprey Aether 60 or 70 and maybe a hair nicer than the Arc'teryx Altra 65 or 75. The Baltoro features a slightly pivoting waist belt that helped to transfer the weight to our hips, especially when carrying heavier loads on uneven terrain. The waist was second in quality only to the Arc'teryx Altra 65 and 75. The frame sheet is super burly and while carrying more than 70 pounds is never fun, if we had to pick one pack to carry massive horrible loads, it would be the Baltoro.

One of the biggest reasons why folks love the Gregory Baltoro is the lumbar support. It is the most substantial in the review and most of our testers loved it. However, about one in seven of our testers thought the lumbar support was too much and felt like the pack was sticking into their back

The Baltoro stands out for its pockets and compartments. It has two zippered side pockets, one zippered pocket on the front of the pack, zippered hip belt pockets plus two water bottle pockets, one vertical and one diagonal. All the pockets and access points make the Baltoro one of the best packs in our review for people who really care about having an organized pack. Because of the cargo-pocket-like design of the side zippered pockets, you can get into most of the pockets even if the pack is super full. We also liked how long the straps were on the lower part of the Baltoro. They are long enough to fit even the biggest of pads plus tent poles or whatever else you might want to strap on. They can even be buckled cross-wise to make an excellent place to put crampons. We liked how durable the materials on the Baltoro are. While none of our testers ever used it, it is worth noting that the lid of the Baltoro turns into a small but very functional fanny pack for short day hikes out of camp or from the car.

Dislikes


You either love all the extra pockets on the Baltoro or feel they are unnecessary and heavy. With ten separate pockets and two large access points plus a ton of straps to lash things to your pack, the Baltoro has a lot going on. All these features make this pack the second heaviest in the review at 5 lbs. 10 oz. for a size medium. That is not ridiculously heavy, but there is no confusing this with a lightweight pack.

The buckles that separate the sleeping bag compartment from the main compartment are burly, but they are hard to operate, especially if you have cold hands.

The lumbar support was great and most people loved it, but about 15 percent of our testers thought it had too much they felt like the back was sticking into their lower back.

Best Application


The Gregory Baltoro 65 is most at home trekking and backpacking or general mountaineering. The 65L is good for the average person for most 2-5 day trips, depending on your packing tendencies. The Baltoro does have the suspension to handle 50+ pounds so long as you do. This is the ultimate pack for heinous 70+ pound loads.

Other Versions


Gregory Baltoro 75
Click to enlarge
  • Cost - 320 ($50 more than the 65)
  • Weight - 6lbs 2oz (8oz more than the 65)
  • 10 litres bigger than the 65

Baltoro 85
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  • Cost - $350 ($80 more than the 65)
  • Weight - 5lbs 5oz (5oz less than the 65)
  • 20 liters bigger than the 65

Gregory Deva 60
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  • Cost - $300 (Same as Baltoro 65)
  • Weight - 5 lbs 5 oz (5oz less than the 65)
  • Women's version of the men's Baltoro
  • Women's specific pre-curved harness and hip belt

Accessories


Rain Cover
Click to enlarge
  • Cost - $35
  • Available in five sizes
  • Protect your pack from the elements

Ian Nicholson

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 8, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.3)

100% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
7 Total Ratings
5 star: 57%  (4)
4 star: 29%  (2)
3 star: 14%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 6 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Jun 7, 2015 - 05:18pm
RobertinHouston · Backpacker · Houston
The main review is seriously out-of-date. The new 2015 model Baltoro sheds significant weight, coming in at 5 lbs 1 oz (medium) which compares favorably with the Arcteryx Altra (which is now only 2 oz lighter for the medium). It also competes with the new Osprey Atmos AG (Medium is an incredibly light-weight 4lbs 6 oz with the new "anti-gravity" suspension). The new Baltoro 65 has dropped in price (now $299 list) and the includes an updated suspension and a rain cover plus a removable daypack / hydration pack and a waterproof side pocket. All of those updates, now make it, in my opinion, a hands-down winner versus the Arcteryx but I would sure love to see OGL do a head-to-head with the Atmos AG (which I am sure is coming…). Overall, the new Baltoro 65 is far better than the old one, keeping all the great stuff while going on a much needed diet, lowering the price, and throwing in a much -appreciated rain cover.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 7, 2015 - 05:00am
Ir · Hiker · Jakarta
I bought it in Belgie.
First time, I use it to Mt Rinjani. Overall it's very comfort.
You must set it up match to your body to get the best setting.

I absolutely recommend it for all of you, hiker

Click to enlarge
Sagara Anak, Mt Rinjani
Credit: Ir


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 16, 2014 - 04:27pm
I would give it a 4 out of 5
Great backpack for long adventures, comfortable and weatherproof, quite heavy however you can pack a lot of your stuff due to a 65L volume. Comes with lifetime guarantee, good price too.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 2, 2014 - 11:35am
Badger · Hunter
I've carried a lot of different packs and the Baltoro is one of the better ones. That said, packs are like shoes… Everyone has different needs and unique anatomy (fit and comfort are subjective). Would I recommend it to a friend? I would not recommend buying any pack without trying it out under load first, but I would recommend the Baltoro as one to look at.

For me, the suspension system carried weight better than any internal frame I've used. However there are some drawbacks. It's squeaky which isn't good when hunting. The padding is very good quality, but it doesn't breath. That was not a problem in cool to cold temps when wearing thicker clothes. Yet on hot days wearing just a t-shirt sweat built up and the sticky coating on the lumbar pad rubbed me raw. The rigid shoulder straps and belt are also awkward when transporting while not being worn.

It's somewhat heavy, but for me the tradeoff was that it proved very durable. The #10YKK zippers are great. No fraying of stitching or tearing issues with the fabric. Beefier buckles would be nice, but those can be replaced if they break. I like how the shoulder straps and belt are replaceable. Wish more companies did that. I used it daily for a year and it held up.

I like external organization options for quick access (ie pockets). While the Baltoro does have several, they are of poor design. Low volume and bad zipper placement. The pocket on the back is nice and big, but the vertical zipper is not a good design in my opinion. Would be much better across the top.

Ultimately I switched to the (now discontinued) Osprey Kestrel 68 for Spring through Fall and an older Kelty External frame for heavier winter/hunting loads. Neither are perfect, but the combination serves me well.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 2, 2014 - 08:07am
Wil · Backpacker · Colorado
I would give it a 3.5 out of 5
The main reasons for this is because of its surprising lack of durability. I have had this back pack for year and a half and have treated to a vast array of different trips. After three months my waist buckle broke (It was three months straight in high altitude hiking in Nepal) Along with the broken buckle a had a lot of fraying of the fabric on the waist belt, outside pockets and on the straps. I also had problems with the buckles constantly loosening which can get frustrating when you have to re adjust every 15 minutes. Also if you sweat a great deal the back padding does not dry fast! It is very comfortable but does not breath at all and absorbs moister like a sponge. It tends to hold the oder because of the sweat. The back piece has no adjustability unlike the Lanka 75 or the arcteryx back packs. One other thing which is a good and a bad thing in my mind the middle loading pocket. It is a really useful addition but if the pack is heavy laden then there is ALOT of pressure on the zippers and they sometimes begin to open. The pack compression could really be assisted by a third strap, it is difficult to get a even compression on the bag. Last is the way the bag packs. It is a top heavy bag, the way the bag is sown makes the bottom of the bag above the sleeping bag compartment tapered down compared to the very large top opening.

This is a good image of what I mean when the bag is more heavily packed it is worse.
All cridisims aside the bag is a tough little thing and carries very well. I may have just been taking it past its sutible abilities.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 19, 2013 - 08:47pm
synrx · Hiker · regina, sk, canada
Its everything you have heard about it including the only con- its heavy. But i went to se asia for 5 months and tried several other options but needed the belt and structure because I have 50 % of my discs missing and 100% in several places like L5 and in my neck. I did a 7 day trek in nepal up to 13000ft and carried between 25 and 40 lbs depending if I was hiking or in flight. An extra 2 lbs for security! I am 63.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Gregory Baltoro 65
Credit: Gregory.com
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