Gregory Baltoro 65 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Comfortable, handles heavy loads, dual zippered lid pockets for accessibility, large "U" zipper allows easy access
Cons: Heavier weight, supportive foam can feel stiff at first
Compare to Similar Products
Gregory Baltoro 65
|Price||$239.96 at Amazon|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$215.96 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$280 List||$199 List|
$199.00 at REI
|Check Price at REI|
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|Pros||Comfortable, handles heavy loads, dual zippered lid pockets for accessibility, large "U" zipper allows easy access||Light-weight, comfortable with heavy loads, perfect pocket combination||Light-weight, comfortable, supportive, functional feature set||Light-weight, comfortable, easily personalized, inexpensive||Durable, lots of features, plenty of adjustments to dial in the perfect fit, supportive|
|Cons||Heavier weight, supportive foam can feel stiff at first||Tiny buckles hard to operate with gloves||No lid, back-panel lacks ventilation||lacks durabillity, not made for heavy loads||Heavy, attached hipbelt, water bottle pocket can be inconvenient|
|Bottom Line||An excellent pack that handles loads well, while on the heavier side||A lightweight load hauler that is both comfortable and full of features||This pack blends excellent carrying comfort with arguably the best-executed set of features, all in a light-weight package||It may not be a heavy load hauler, but for moderate loads, this pack is comfortable and has an amazing set of features, all at a great price||This highly adjustable pack may be one of the heaviest in the review but carries large loads in comfort|
|Rating Categories||Gregory Baltoro 65||Granite Gear Blaze 60||Ultralight Adventur...||REI Co-op Flash 55||Osprey Aether 65|
|Suspension and Comfort (45%)|
|Features and Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Gregory Baltoro 65||Granite Gear Blaze 60||Ultralight Adventur...||REI Co-op Flash 55||Osprey Aether 65|
|Measured Weight||4.9 lbs||3.0 lbs||3.0 lbs||2.6 lbs||5.0 lbs|
|Volume||65 L||60 L||75 L||55 L||65 L|
|Access||Top + front U-shaped access zipper + sleeping bag compartment||Top||Top||Top||Top, front +sleeping bag compartment|
|Materials||210D High Density 40% Recycled Nylon, 420D High Density 45% Recycled Nylon with PFC-Free DWR||100D robic nylon w/ DWR coating||400 Robic fabric||Main body: 100D ripstop nylon
Bottom: 420D nylon
|420HD nylon, DWR treatment|
|Sleeping bag Compartment||Yes||No||No||No||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
There are few packs we'd rather haul with a heavy load than the Gregory Baltoro 65. This pack's rock-solid suspension and plush padding make heavier loads 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.
Suspension and Comfort
This pack is one of the most comfortable in our review and is comparable to other top performers. This model has extremely well-designed and auto-rotating shoulder straps that conform to the shape of your upper back. The foam used in these straps is extremely dense and comfortable, too. 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 them.
The Baltoro 65 is geared toward heavier loads, which its slightly stiffer-than-average foam suggests. However, it isn't too stiff such that it causes discomfort or hot spots. Even with moderate pack weights, the foam spreads even pressure across the surface area of the shoulder straps. This model also sports wider shoulder straps than most packs. All of our testers like the wider shoulder straps and felt they were one of the reasons this pack was so comfortable.
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 shortlist. The Baltoro's "U" shaped aluminum frame is quite stiff and does a fantastic job of transferring the load from the pack to the hips. And, the large mesh panel provides plenty of airflow between your back and the pack.
One of the sweetest features of the suspension system is that the shoulder straps and the waist belt can automatically pivot to 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 already touched on the shoulder straps above, but the hip belt also floats in a way that conforms to your body. And, the hip belt has extendable padded sections for larger waisted hikers.
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 these pockets 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.
The two zippered pockets on the front of the pack are favorites of ours, too. Each one is large enough to fit a 1-liter Nalgene water 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.
The Baltoro 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 very easy to remove. However, we found it was also pretty easy for a water bottle to fall out of this pocket if you lean over too far.
The dual waist belt pockets are very big. They're big enough to fit a 500-page paperback book, not that this is where you'd probably pack a book, but you could if you wanted.
The straps underneath and around the sleeping bag compartment are long enough to fit over a closed-cell foam pad. And, 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 65 weighs in at 4.9 pounds for a size medium. The main reasons it isn't lighter are that its suspension is one of the most robust in our review. And, it has a lot of pockets and access points--those zippers aren't light. 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. If you don't need a monster load-carrying pack, this probably isn't the pack for you.
Adjustability and Fit
The Baltoro 65 is available in three torso lengths with a highly adjustable hip belt that is sized relative to its size. The small size fits a torso of 16 to 19 inches and waists from 26 to 48 inches. The medium fits 17 to 20-inch torsos and 28 to 50-inch waists. The large fits 18 to 21-inch torsos and 30 to 52-inch waists.
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 for getting this pack to fit a variety of shoulder widths. It added to the pack's overall comfort, particularly with heavy loads and long days.
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 looking to go on extended adventures with a lot of equipment, or if you are the designated porter for the group. Though it is pricier than some packs, this model doesn't give up anything in terms of suspension and comfort. We feel this makes it an exceptional value overall.
This model is not the lightest. But considering its suspension, it's still a respectable weight. 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 lots of bells and whistles can appreciate this pack. Its robust suspension and comfortable design is among the best we have tested.
— Sam Schild
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