Gregory Focal 58 Review
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Gregory Focal 58
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|$269.90 at Amazon|
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|$280 List||$199 List|
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|Pros||Very lightweight, comfortable suspension, good value, great features||Light-weight, comfortable with heavy loads, perfect pocket combination||Light-weight, comfortable, supportive, functional feature set||Light-weight, comfortable, easily personalized, inexpensive||Well padded, slightly lighter than average, very durable, more torso height adjustment than most, stout suspension|
|Cons||Not very adjustable torso||Tiny buckles hard to operate with gloves||No lid, back-panel lacks ventilation||lacks durabillity, not made for heavy loads||Not 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 panel||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||A 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%)|
|Features and Ease of Use (20%)|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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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