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Gregory Optic 58L Review

This is a great borderline ultralight pack that performs well when used for lighter loads
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Price:  $210 List | $148.01 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Light-weight, good value, great features
Cons:  Poor support under heavy loads, fixed torso and waist belt
Manufacturer:   Gregory
By Adam Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 12, 2020
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 18
  • Suspension and Comfort - 45% 7
  • Weight - 20% 10
  • Features and Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • Adjustability - 15% 5

Our Verdict

The Gregory Optic 58 is a great pack for those looking to go light. Weighing in at around 2.5lbs, this pack is one of the lightest of the bunch, almost qualifying as a true ultralight pack. And as with all UL type packs, this pack features less structure in the suspension, and because of that, it won't be comfortable if you load it up much over 25-30lbs. However, if you are one who has streamlined your kit, this pack can offer a comfortable ride and has a great feature set to keep you organized on the trail.

Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison


The Optic was a great pack to explore the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
The Optic was a great pack to explore the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

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.

The trampoline style mesh back panel does a good job of letting out moist warm air from behind your back.
The trampoline style mesh back panel does a good job of letting out moist warm air from behind your back.

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.

Stretchy mesh side pockets make water bottles easily accessible.
Stretchy mesh side pockets make water bottles easily accessible.

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).

THe hip belt pockets are slightly smaller than many others but they are plenty large and usable for a few bars and a headlamp.
THe hip belt pockets are slightly smaller than many others but they are plenty large and usable for a few bars and a headlamp.

Weight


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.

Gregory smartly uses narrow webbing for its load lifers (and many other straps) to reduce the overall pack weight without sacrificing function.
Gregory smartly uses narrow webbing for its load lifers (and many other straps) to reduce the overall pack weight without sacrificing function.

Adjustability


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.


Value


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 and has common features that make organizing easy, so we feel this pack definitely is worth the price.

Conclusion


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 to cut weight and reduce their load. Keep this pack carrying less than 25-30lbs, and it performs great.

A highly recommended pack for those who have a pretty low "base-weight"
A highly recommended pack for those who have a pretty low "base-weight"

Adam Paashaus