Gregory Focal 58 Review
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Gregory Focal 58
|Price||$185.05 at Amazon|
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|$224.95 at Amazon|
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|$280.68 at Amazon|
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|$280 List||$199 List|
$139.29 at REI
|Pros||Very lightweight, comfortable suspension, good value, great features||Lightweight, comfortable with heavy loads, perfect pocket combination||Awesome pockets, excellent ventilation, general comfort||Lightweight, comfortable, supportive, functional feature set||Light-weight, comfortable, easily personalized, inexpensive|
|Cons||Not very adjustable torso||Tiny buckles hard to operate with gloves||Not supportive for loads over 40 pounds||No lid, back panel lacks ventilation||Not the most durable, low maximum load weight|
|Bottom Line||This is an awesome lightweight pack that can carry a heavier load and has a very comfortable mesh-trampoline back panel||A lightweight load hauler that is both comfortable and full of features||A classic backpack design with breathable a suspension and many user-friendly features||This pack rides the line as an ultralight bag that's still comfortable to carry, has useful features, and boasts impressive durability||It may not be a heavy load hauler, but for moderate loads, this pack is comfortable and has a great set of features, all at an affordable price|
|Rating Categories||Gregory Focal 58||Granite Gear Blaze 60||Osprey Atmos 65 AG||Ultralight Adventur...||REI Co-op Flash 55|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Specs||Gregory Focal 58||Granite Gear Blaze 60||Osprey Atmos 65 AG||Ultralight Adventur...||REI Co-op Flash 55|
|Measured Weight||2.7 lbs||3.0 lbs||4.6 lbs||2.8 lbs||2.8 lbs|
|Weight per Liter (oz/L)||0.74 oz/L||0.80 oz/L||1.13 oz/L||0.60 oz/L||0.81 oz/L|
|Advertised Volume||58 L||60 L||65 L||75 L||55 L|
|Organization Compartments||Lid, front mesh pocket, side water bottle pockets, hip belt pockets||Lid, front mesh pocket, side water bottle pockets, hip belt pockets||Lid, front mesh pocket, side water bottle pockets, hip belt pockets||Front mesh pocket, side water bottle pockets, hip belt pockets||Lid, front mesh pockets, 2 side pockets per side, hip belt pockets, shoulder strap pocket|
|Access||Top||Top, front||Top, sides, bottom||Top||Top|
|Sleeping Bag Compartment||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Materials||100% Nylon||100D robic nylon w/ DWR coating||Main Body: Recycled 210D honey comb nylon
Accent: Recycled 210D high tenacity nylon
Bottom: Recycled 500D high tenacity nylon
|400 Robic fabric||Main Body: 100D ripstop nylon
Bottom: 420D nylon
|Measured Volume (main compartment)||(not measured)||55L||(not measured)||55L||45L|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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