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Gregory Focal 58 Review

This is an awesome lightweight pack that can carry a heavier load and has a very comfortable mesh-trampoline back panel
gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review
Credit: Gregory
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Price:  $240 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Very lightweight, comfortable suspension, good value, great features
Cons:  Not very adjustable torso
Manufacturer:   Gregory
By Sam Schild ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 5, 2022
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 16
  • Suspension and Comfort - 45% 8.0
  • Weight - 20% 10.0
  • Features and Ease of Use - 20% 7.0
  • Adjustability - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Gregory Focal 58 is a great pack for those looking to go light without sacrificing the functionality of a fully-featured backpacking pack. Weighing in at 2 pounds, 10 ounces, this pack is one of the lightest of the bunch, almost qualifying as a true ultralight pack. Unlike ultralight packs, though, this features a remarkably burly suspension system that can handle heavier loads comfortably. This pack's mesh trampoline-style back panel is one of the most breathable we've seen. If you want a pack that provides great ventilation, is lightweight, and can carry moderately-heavy loads, this pack is a great choice. It offers a comfortable ride and has a great feature set to keep you organized on the trail.

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gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review
This Product
Gregory Focal 58
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $240 List
Check Price at REI
$202.46 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$280 List$199 List
$119.39 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Very lightweight, comfortable suspension, good value, great featuresLight-weight, comfortable with heavy loads, perfect pocket combinationLight-weight, comfortable, supportive, functional feature setLight-weight, comfortable, easily personalized, inexpensiveWell padded, slightly lighter than average, very durable, more torso height adjustment than most, stout suspension
Cons Not very adjustable torsoTiny buckles hard to operate with glovesNo lid, back-panel lacks ventilationlacks durabillity, not made for heavy loadsNot quite as many pockets as other models, soft padding was less comfortable with super heavy loads, warmest pack in the review
Bottom Line This is an awesome lightweight pack that can carry a heavier load and has a very comfortable mesh-trampoline back panelA lightweight load hauler that is both comfortable and full of featuresThis pack blends excellent carrying comfort with arguably the best-executed set of features, all in a light-weight packageIt 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 priceA simple but versatile pack that offers plush padding, a stout suspension, and quality durability
Rating Categories Gregory Focal 58 Granite Gear Blaze 60 Ultralight Adventur... REI Co-op Flash 55 Deuter Aircontact L...
Suspension and Comfort (45%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (20%)
10.0
9.0
9.0
10.0
6.0
Features and Ease of Use (20%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Adjustability (15%)
5.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
10.0
Specs Gregory Focal 58 Granite Gear Blaze 60 Ultralight Adventur... REI Co-op Flash 55 Deuter Aircontact L...
Measured Weight 2.7 lbs 3.0 lbs 2.8 lbs 2.6 lbs 4.4 lbs
Volume 58 L 60 L 75 L 55 L 65 + 10 L
Access Top Top Top Top Top, sleeping bag compartment
Hydration Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Materials 100% Nylon 100D robic nylon w/ DWR coating 400 Robic fabric Main Body: 100D ripstop nylon
Bottom: 420D nylon
35% Polyester, 65% Nylon
Sleeping bag Compartment No No No No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Gregory Focal 58 is an extremely lightweight pack that still handles heavier loads well. Weighing in at 2.7 pounds, this is almost the lightest pack we tested in this review. Compared to other packs in its weight class, this backpack works well to evenly and comfortably distribute weight between the shoulders, back, and hips.

Performance Comparison


gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - the focal surprised us at how stable and comfortable it was when...
The Focal surprised us at how stable and comfortable it was when fully loaded.
Credit: Sam Schild

Suspension and Comfort


The Focal has a trampoline-style mesh back panel that is very comfortable. It does a great job of distributing weight between the shoulders, hips, and back. When we tested how much weight was being transferred to the hips by unclipping the hip belt, we suddenly felt much more weight on our shoulders. This is a sign that the ultralight tubular aluminum perimeter frame and load lifters that make up the suspension system actually work.

Some mesh back panels don't seem to carry heavy loads very well. However, the Focal carries heavy loads of 35+ pounds quite well. We load this pack until it was full to the brim, expecting it to be uncomfortable. But even with it fully loaded, we still felt surprisingly good with this on our backs.

gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - the mesh back panel on the focal's suspension system works well to...
The mesh back panel on the Focal's suspension system works well to distribute weight evenly across your entire back.
Credit: Sam Schild

The hip belt is very padded, as are the shoulder straps. Actually, the padding on the shoulder straps feels denser but less thick than on some packs. This makes the suspension more supportive while still being comfortable.

The mesh used on the back panel, shoulder straps, and hip belt is treated to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Even though it's well-ventilated, you'll still sweat in this pack. This anti-bacterial treatment will help with that.

gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - the load lifters, like all straps on this pack, are only a half-inch...
The load lifters, like all straps on this pack, are only a half-inch thick to save weight, but they still work as they should.
Credit: Sam Schild

Features and Ease of Use


The Focal has all the best features you'd want in a pack without extras that you don't need. Whether you are used to the more traditional backpacking packs, or just getting into backpacking, the features are easy to get used to and help keep your gear organized.

gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - the focal has a stretch mesh outside pocket for stashing items you...
The Focal has a stretch mesh outside pocket for stashing items you don't want in the main pack compartment.
Credit: Sam Schild

This backpack has a hip belt with zippered pockets big enough to store a larger smartphone. The zippers have molded rubber loops that make hooking a finger into these zippers easy, too.

gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - the hip belt pockets are big enough for plenty of snacks.
The hip belt pockets are big enough for plenty of snacks.
Credit: Sam Schild

It also has a top lid with a zippered pocket on the outside and another on the inside. And, if you're looking to shave some more weight off this pack, you can remove this brain altogether. If you do this, you can still cover the cinch top closure with a more minimal top flap. This top flap doesn't have any pockets, though.

gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - you can replace the brain of the focal 58 with a top flap without...
You can replace the brain of the Focal 58 with a top flap without any pockets to save weight.
Credit: Sam Schild

This pack also has deep side water bottle pockets with side and top access. We were able to easily grab our water bottles with the pack using the side access opening. Plus, these side pockets are made of stretchy material. This lets you cram in multiple large water bottles. We easily fit two 1-liter bottles into one pocket.

gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - we love the deep, stretchy side water bottle pockets on the focal.
We love the deep, stretchy side water bottle pockets on the Focal.
Credit: Sam Schild

It also has a single ice-axe loop. The side compression straps loop underneath the pack as well. These loops can be used to attach a foam sleeping pad underneath the pack.

Weight


At 2.7 pounds, this pack almost fits into the "ultralight" category. If finding a lightweight pack with a full-suspension system is important, the Focal 58 is a great pack to consider. This is one of the lightest packs we tested, and it still has a fully padded waist belt and shoulder straps, robust frame, load lifters, and mesh back panel.

gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - the focal is almost an ultralight pack that still carries a heavy...
The Focal is almost an ultralight pack that still carries a heavy load quite well.
Credit: Sam Schild

Adjustability


The Focal comes in three separate sizes to fit different torso lengths, and each one fits a range of three inches. It comes in small (16-18 inch torso), medium (18-20 inch torso), large (20-22 inch torso)

The shoulder straps and waist belt are fixed but have a lot of webbing to adjust the length with. The hip belt has nearly 28 inches of adjustability, and the shoulder straps each have 17 inches. If you get the right fit, this pack is more than adjustable enough.

gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - the torso length isn't adjustable, but the waist belt has 28 total...
The torso length isn't adjustable, but the waist belt has 28 total inches of adjustability (14 inches per side).
Credit: Sam Schild

Should You Buy the Gregory Focal 58?


Gregory has been a leader in the backpack game for decades, and that experience shows with the Focal. This is one of the best-value lightweight backpacks available. It's not quite as inexpensive as some packs, but it has a better frame system than those packs. It has every feature you'd want in a pack, so we feel this pack is definitely worth the price.

gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - the gregory focal 58 has a robust frame with a surprisingly high...
The Gregory Focal 58 has a robust frame with a surprisingly high carrying capacity.
Credit: Sam Schild

What Other Backpacking Packs Should You Consider?


The Focal is one of the most comfortable backpacking packs that weighs less than three pounds. The framed suspension, fully padded hip belt, and shoulder straps give more support than most ultralight packs, too. This pack works well for those who want a simple pack that carries weight well and provides ample breathability. If you're looking for a more affordable lightweight pack, the REI Flash 55 is similarly lightweight but a little less expensive. If you're looking for a pack with a more comfortable suspension system, try the Osprey Atmos AG 65

gregory focal 58 backpacks backpacking review - walking off into the sunset in our focal 58.
Walking off into the sunset in our Focal 58.
Credit: Sam Schild

Sam Schild
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