Gregory Optic 58L Review
Cons: Poor support under heavy loads, Fixed torso and waist belt
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This featherweight option is just right for quick weekend trips or for those who have a very light base weight.
Suspension and Comfort
The Optic's trampoline style, AeroSpan suspension does a good job of allowing heat to escape from the back panel, and the shoulder straps and waistbelt both are an open mesh that breathes and wicks moisture well enough.
An Ultralight tubular aluminum perimeter-frame (w/ "leaf-spring lumbar pad and anti-barreling support") helps disperse the load weight, but be warned, this pack does not like to be loaded down. If there is a fair chance of loading up occasionally with heavier loads over 25-30lbs, we would recommend getting a slightly heavier pack that can support the weight.
Features and Ease of Use
As far as pack feature-sets go, the Optic has got one of the best configurations. Whether you are used to the more traditional big siblings of this pack or are new to backpacking, the features are easy to get used to and help keep your content organized.
The top-lid is easy to stash items you need to get to quickly but is also removable to make the pack even lighter. (if that's a priority, and with this pack, it should be). Zippered hip belt pockets, albeit not the largest, help keep a few snacks at hand while on the move, and the stretchy mesh front pocket is a great place to stuff a rain layer or a toiletries bag and trowel for quick access when nature calls. Front and top-loading, side water bottle pockets are convenient and do their job well. The pack also comes with an optional pack cover and "storm flap" (a single layer of nylon to act as the cover to the pack-top in place of the lid).
At 2.5lbs, this pack almost slides into the ultralight category If finding a "lightweight" pack is paramount, but you want a fully padded waist belt and shoulder straps along with a suspension to transfer some weight, the Optic is a great pack to consider. As mentioned, the lightweight does mean the support it provides is somewhat lacking, but if this is understood and the pack used as intended, this pack does an incredible job.
The Optic comes in three separate sizes to fit different torso lengths, and each one fits a range of three inches. The shoulder straps and waistbelt are fixed, and do not have a huge range to play with. However, get the right fit, and maximum adjustability is unnecessary.
Gregory has been a leader in the pack game for decades, and that experience shows with the Optic. For the right customer, this pack is pure gold. It supports a fair pack weight, has common features that make organizing easy, and we feel this pack definitely is worth the price.
The Optic is on the cusp of being called an "Ultralight" pack. In fact, Gregory even refers to it as just that. However, the framed suspension and fully padded hip belts and shoulder straps give more support than most "UL" packs. This pack will work well for those that have taken a hard look at what they carry and reduced their load with cutting weight being a high priority. Keep this pack carrying less than 25-30lbs, and it performs great.
— Adam Paashaus