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Gregory Baltoro 65 Review

A excellent pack that handles loads well, while offering a respectable weight that even folks carrying modest loads can appreciate.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $300 List | $299.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, handles heavy loads, dual zippered lid pockets for accessibility, large "U" zipper allows easy access
Cons:  Average weight, supportive foam can feel stiff at first
Manufacturer:   Gregory
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 5, 2018
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 16
  • Suspension and Comfort - 45% 8
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Features and Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • Adjustability - 15% 5

Our Verdict

The Gregory Baltoro 65 sports an excellent overall pack design. This feature-rich contender earns a Top Pick Award for its comfort and load hauling ability. It also has fantastic pocket design and access. This award-winning pack is one of the most comfortable models that we tested for extended trips. While it is on the heavier side, the additional ounces are not a huge deal when you are toting loads of 40+ pounds. If you need a pack with excellent load hauling ability and even more volume, check out the Osprey Xenith 105, otherwise, this model is an excellent option.


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Gregory Baltoro 65
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $299.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Comfortable, handles heavy loads, dual zippered lid pockets for accessibility, large "U" zipper allows easy accessShoulder straps are very comfortable, many awesome pockets, excellent ventilation, extra adjustable hip beltLighter weight, comfortable to carry for long periods of time, tons of useful pockets, good hip belt adjustabilityPacked full of features, great pockets, comfortable and solid ergonomic designGreat value, solid features, ergonomic shoulder straps and back-panel, versatile
Cons Average weight, supportive foam can feel stiff at firstNot as supportive for loads over 45 pounds, snow gets trapped in back panelCompression straps not effective if pack isn't full, external lid pocket isn't easy to search throughSlightly on the heavier side, not the best for super heavy loadsJust okay suspension and support, tall folks with 35+ pound packs won't find it as comfortable
Bottom Line A excellent pack that handles loads well, while offering a respectable weight that even folks carrying modest loads can appreciate.This pack offers awesome comfort and above-average suspension for most backpacking loads.A sweet pack with lots of well-designed features and user-friendly pockets at a below-average weight.An extremely comfortable and feature-rich design that handles heavy loads, while only being marginally heavier than average.This light and versatile pack doesn't give up much in the way of features.
Rating Categories Gregory Baltoro 65 Osprey Atmos 65 AG The North Face Banchee 65 Osprey Aether AG 60 Osprey Volt 60
Suspension And Comfort (45%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
Weight (20%)
10
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5
10
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5
10
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7
10
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4
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6
Features And Ease Of Use (20%)
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9
10
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8
10
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9
10
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9
10
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7
Adjustability (15%)
10
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5
10
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8
10
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8
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8
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10
Specs Gregory Baltoro 65 Osprey Atmos 65 AG The North Face... Osprey Aether AG 60 Osprey Volt 60
Measured Weight (pounds) 4.84 lbs 4.54 lbs 3.63 lbs 5.13 lbs 3.88 lbs
Volume (liters) 65 L 65 L 65 L 60 L 60 L
Access Top + Front U-shaped access zipper + sleeping bag compartment Top + sleeping bag compartment Top + sleeping bag compartment Top + side access zipper + sleeping bag compartment Top + sleeping bag compartment
Hydration Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Materials EVA foam harness & hipbelt, LifeSpan Foam & silicone lmbar grip zone Main body: 100D X 630D Nylon Dobby, Accent: 210D High Tenacity Nylon, Bottom: 420HD Nylon 210D nylon ripstop Main body: 210D Nylon Dobby Accent: 210D High Tenacity Nylon, Bottom: 500D Nylon Main body: 210D Nylon Double Diamond Ripstop, Accent: 600D Packcloth, Bottom: 600D Packcloth
Sleeping bag Compartment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

There are few packs we'd rather haul with a heavy load. With its rock-solid suspension and plush padding, this pack makes big weight feel manageable. Even beyond its load-hauling prowess, our testers loved its well-designed feature set, complete with fantastic pockets and a top-notch access zipper, ensuring gear is easily accessible and as organized as possible.

Performance Comparison


The Gregory Baltoro 65 has excellent suspension, features, and solid comfort, earning it a top spot in our review.

If we knew we had to carry a heavy load there are few packs we'd rather do it with than this one. With its rock solid suspension and plush padding  this pack was a contender for our Editors' Choice Award  thanks to its comfort and array of well-designed user-friendly features.
If we knew we had to carry a heavy load there are few packs we'd rather do it with than this one. With its rock solid suspension and plush padding, this pack was a contender for our Editors' Choice Award, thanks to its comfort and array of well-designed user-friendly features.

Suspension and Comfort


This pack is one of the most comfortable in our review and is comparable to our other top performers, such as the Osprey Xenith 105, Arc'teryx Bora AR 63, and Osprey Atmos 65 AG. This model has extremely well-designed and nicely articulated shoulder straps that use high-quality foam. The face fabric is also among the best in the review and performed above average. The shape of the shoulder straps is very ergonomic, and every one of our testers enjoyed using it.


The Baltoro 65 is geared toward heavier loads which its slightly stiffer-than-average foam suggests. However, it isn't too stiff. Even with moderate pack weights, the foam spreads even pressure across the surface area of the shoulder straps. This model also sports decently wide shoulder straps. All of our testers like the wider shoulder straps and felt they were one of the reasons this pack felt so comfortable.

The Baltoro sports two water bottle pockets on either side of the pack. However  to make these features overall more versatile Gregory designed each side to be slightly different. One water bottle pocket is traditionally shaped with the opening on top. This pocket can also help hold items like a tripod or tent poles. The other (seen in this photo) faces forward. With practice  it's easy to retrieve and stow without removing the pack. The pocket in this photo is also collapsible and stows away nicely.
The Baltoro sports two water bottle pockets on either side of the pack. However, to make these features overall more versatile Gregory designed each side to be slightly different. One water bottle pocket is traditionally shaped with the opening on top. This pocket can also help hold items like a tripod or tent poles. The other (seen in this photo) faces forward. With practice, it's easy to retrieve and stow without removing the pack. The pocket in this photo is also collapsible and stows away nicely.

For smaller or narrower shouldered users, this design might not be as comfortable. The fabric on the inside of the shoulder straps is certainly above average. However, if you were shirtless or wearing light clothing, we like the feeling of the material on the Osprey Xenith 105 and Arc'teryx Bora AR 63 slightly better.

One of the biggest reasons that folks love this pack is the exceptional lower back support it offers. Our testers agree that it's a valuable addition. If it's not your thing, it is removable; however, we feel that this reduces the overall comfort of the pack.

The Baltoro 65 features a large "U" shaped opening that allows users to access nearly every point in their back. This feature is nice for backpackers searching for items tucked away in the main compartment but also makes the Baltoro an excellent pack for travel.
The Baltoro 65 features a large "U" shaped opening that allows users to access nearly every point in their back. This feature is nice for backpackers searching for items tucked away in the main compartment but also makes the Baltoro an excellent pack for travel.

This pack has one of the burliest suspension systems currently available. If we knew we had heavier loads in our future, this pack would be on our list — along with the Arc'teryx Bora AR 63 and Osprey Xenith 105. While all of the packs above handle loads exceptionally well, if pure weight hauling comfort is what you're after, then we'd get this contender or the Xenith 105. The Baltoro's "Y" shaped aluminum is quite stiff and does a fantastic job of transferring the load from the pack to the waist belt.

One of the sweetest features of the suspension system is that the shoulder straps and the waist belt can automatically pivot into the ideal angle to maximize load distribution and increase comfort. The benefit of this subtle feature is even more noticeable when negotiating rough terrain with heavier loads.

We love this pack's dual front zippered pockets. These pockets are big enough to easily fit a 1-liter Nalgene bottle and help keep track of easily lost items or pieces of gear.
We love this pack's dual front zippered pockets. These pockets are big enough to easily fit a 1-liter Nalgene bottle and help keep track of easily lost items or pieces of gear.

Features and Ease of Use


This competitor stands out for its excellent pockets and features. Our testers enjoyed the two zippered pockets on the top of the lid. Not only did this pocket allow us to stay more organized, but we were able to see inside easily. As a result, we were able to find items more quickly than we could with a more traditional full-length pocket. This design is significantly more user-friendly than the top-lid pocket found on the Osprey Atmos AG 65 or Osprey Xenith 105.


The two zippered pockets on the front of the pack are favorites. Each one is large enough to fit a 1 liter Nalgene bottle. These pockets keep you organized and keep essential items accessible. The stretchy mesh beavertail-style pocket is excellent for drying socks, storing a rain shell, or fitting oddly-shaped things like flip-flops.

Our testers love the stretchy mesh beavertail style pocket on the back of this pack. It's perfect for storing hard-to-pack items like flip-flops or a fuel bottle.
Our testers love the stretchy mesh beavertail style pocket on the back of this pack. It's perfect for storing hard-to-pack items like flip-flops or a fuel bottle.

This competitor has a mesh water bottle holder on one side of the pack and a stowable forward-facing bottle pocket on the other. The forward facing pocket makes your water bottle relatively easy to remove. The straps underneath and around the sleeping bag compartment are long enough to fit over a closed cell foam pad.

The Baltoro features two straps that run over the sleeping bag compartment. These straps are perfect for strapping on a closed cell foam pad or other difficult-to-pack items. They work for nearly all 3/4 length pads but not all full-length (6 ft ones).
The Baltoro features two straps that run over the sleeping bag compartment. These straps are perfect for strapping on a closed cell foam pad or other difficult-to-pack items. They work for nearly all 3/4 length pads but not all full-length (6 ft ones).

The dual waist belt pockets are big enough to fit a small camera, chapstick, and a bar at most, but not all smartphones. The left pocket is mesh. The right pocket is all nylon and has a weather-resistant zipper.

The Baltoro 65 features one zippered waist belt pocket on either side  one weather-resistant pocket (shown here) for an item like a smartphone  GPS  or camera  and a zippered mesh pocket for other items like snacks or sunscreen.
The Baltoro 65 features one zippered waist belt pocket on either side, one weather-resistant pocket (shown here) for an item like a smartphone, GPS, or camera, and a zippered mesh pocket for other items like snacks or sunscreen.

It also comes with a completely detachable "side-kick" hydration backpack that doubles as a water bladder holster. While the daypack isn't quite as sweet as the Osprey Xenith 105 and Osprey Aether 65 lid-turned daypack, the Baltoro's hydration bladder-holder is a functional pack on its own that weighs very little. We ended up taking it on short day hikes.

The Baltoro includes a functional rain cover (also commonly called a pack cover). We like that it's not permanently attached so we can leave it behind or use it with other packs. We used this pack cover on several days in the pouring rain and were impressed with how nicely it kept our pack dry.
The Baltoro includes a functional rain cover (also commonly called a pack cover). We like that it's not permanently attached so we can leave it behind or use it with other packs. We used this pack cover on several days in the pouring rain and were impressed with how nicely it kept our pack dry.

A rain cover comes folded in the pocket underneath the main lid but isn't permanently attached. In reality, we store it elsewhere else to be able to utilize this pocket better. This bonus rain-cover is a nice perk.

For folks that like a lot of pack access and who might use this model for traveling, there is a large upside-down U-shaped opening that allows access to nearly all of the contents.

The Baltoro's shoulder straps are connected to the pack via a metal buckle  which slides through a plastic hole. This is an extremely secure design that allows for some horizontal adjustment. What really makes this feature stand out is that the plastic attachment point automatically pivots to the optimum position for the wearer.
The Baltoro's shoulder straps are connected to the pack via a metal buckle, which slides through a plastic hole. This is an extremely secure design that allows for some horizontal adjustment. What really makes this feature stand out is that the plastic attachment point automatically pivots to the optimum position for the wearer.

Weight


This model weighs in at 4 pounds, 14 ounces. The main reasons it isn't lighter are that its suspension is one of the most robust in our review and it has a solid array of features, pockets, and access points.


For the weight, this contender has a host of useful features and a top-notch suspension system. It's slightly lighter than packs with similarly robust suspensions like the Arc'teryx Bora AR 63. This model is more or less the same as our award winner the Osprey Atmos 65 AG and handles heavier loads better. If you like this pack but want to save a little weight and don't need a monster load-carrying suspension, check out the Gregory Paragon 68 or the Gregory Zulu 55.

The Baltoro is built with comfort and load hauling prowess in mind. Its foam is slightly stiffer than average  but not by much. It has a decent amount of stiffness (for support with heavier loads) and still remains cushy enough to feel comfortable.
The Baltoro is built with comfort and load hauling prowess in mind. Its foam is slightly stiffer than average, but not by much. It has a decent amount of stiffness (for support with heavier loads) and still remains cushy enough to feel comfortable.

Adjustability and Fit


This competitor is available in three torso lengths and offers interchangeable hip belts and shoulder straps that are in between sizes.


Certain users will appreciate the ability to mix and match torso lengths with a waist belt and shoulder straps to provide the best fit. The only other adjustability this pack offers is some vertical movement in the shoulder straps.

While it's not an adjustment in the traditional sense, the shoulder strap attachment points pivot and automatically create the best fit for the wearer. We found this design pretty useful. It added to the pack's overall comfort, particularly with heavy loads and long days.

The Baltoro also has a sleeping bag compartment that can open to connect to the main compartment. We like this design for longer trips when just pack all the items we needed for camp  like a tent  sleeping bag  and sleeping pad  at the bottom of our pack.
The Baltoro also has a sleeping bag compartment that can open to connect to the main compartment. We like this design for longer trips when just pack all the items we needed for camp, like a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad, at the bottom of our pack.

Best Application


This pack is most at home on trekking and backpacking trips or the occasional mountaineering adventure. The 65-liter model is great for the average person on most 2-5 day adventures, depending on your packing tendencies. This model does have the suspension to handle 50 pounds and is one of the best contenders for heinous 70-pound loads.

It is also excellent for traveling. We like it for backpacking through Europe, Southeast Asia, Thailand, etc. It's a great travel pack thanks to its above-average durability and a plethora of useful pockets. We also like that the front panel opens up almost entirely for easy access, acting like a suitcase or a duffel bag. This model is even easier to load than several duffel bags but naturally carries far better.

Value


At $300, this contender is on the less expensive side of the models with similarly robust suspension systems. This particular pack could be worth it for anyone whose adventures include extended trips where a lot of equipment is needed, or if you are the designated porter for the group. Though it is pricier than the average pack when it comes to comfort and suspension, this model doesn't give up anything, which we feel makes it an exceptional value overall.

The Baltoro 65 comes with a fairly functional hydration pack that doubles as a bladder sleeve inside the pack. Here we show a shell jacket and 70 oz Platypus bladder for size reference. This separate pack is designed to be taken on a summit push or day-hike from camp but is just as suitable for use around town.
The Baltoro 65 comes with a fairly functional hydration pack that doubles as a bladder sleeve inside the pack. Here we show a shell jacket and 70 oz Platypus bladder for size reference. This separate pack is designed to be taken on a summit push or day-hike from camp but is just as suitable for use around town.

Conclusion


This model is not the lightest, but considering its suspension, it's still a respectable weight. Aside from its comfort and suspension, the Baltoro 65 has one of our favorite overall designs and offers all the features that backpackers want — plus a few extras. Most importantly, this beast is a load-hauling machine. Anyone looking for a super comfortable pack with a few bells and whistles can appreciate the robust suspension and comfortable design that is among the best in our review.


Ian Nicholson