Reviews You Can Rely On

Gregory Maven 65L Review

A comfortable and supportive suspension, a comprehensive feature set, and adjustability all in a lightweight package
Gregory Maven 65L
Photo: Gregory
Editors' Choice Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $250 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable and supportive, fully-featured with pockets and access points, adjustable torso and hip belt
Cons:  Mesh pockets lack durability
Manufacturer:   Gregory
By Elizabeth Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 7, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 14
  • Comfort and Suspension - 45% 8
  • Organizational systems - 20% 7
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Adjustability - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The newly redesigned Gregory Maven nails the suspension and wins our award for all-around comfort. The padding is cushioned and the frame effectively transfers loads off the shoulders and to the hips. Adjustable torso and hip belts make this model suited for getting a custom fit and we love that the Maven is still brimming with features like sleeping bag access, a wide-opening side access zipper, and an included rain cover, unlike many stripped-down lightweight packs. Weighing in at only 3.4 pounds, the Maven may suit you well if you want to trim the weight but not the features.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Gregory Maven 65L
This Product
Gregory Maven 65L
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$255 List$279.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$164.03 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$269.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
73
79
65
62
62
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Comfortable and supportive, fully-featured with pockets and access points, adjustable torso and hip beltComfortable, lightweight, supportive suspension, simple design, large pocketsOutstanding support under heavy loads, well-cushioned hip belt and shoulder straps, highly adjustable, durable materialsUltra comfortable, roomy, inexpensive, durable, can fit a bear can horizontally, low center of gravity, airy mesh frameUltralight, large stow pockets, comfortable even when fully loaded
Cons Mesh pockets lack durabilityNon-ventilated back panel, less organizational featuresHeavy, too tight side pockets, rigid and not suited for scramblingNot many bells and whistles, set torso adjustment points, no back stash pocketMinimal padding, fixed torso length, side pockets hard to load
Bottom Line A comfortable and supportive suspension, a comprehensive feature set, and adjustability all in a lightweight packageA durable bag with all the right pockets and suspension that will keep your back, hips, and shoulders comfortable all dayThe beast you want for substantial loads, this pack is highly comfortable and incredibly adjustable to many body typesThis simple pack combines comfort, volume, and price; it will take you anywhere and won’t break the bankThis super-light pack gets our award for Top Pick in Ultralight Design; it's made for the thru-hiker, and women who want to go light to go fast
Rating Categories Gregory Maven 65L Ultralight Adventur... Osprey Ariel 65 Osprey Renn 65 Osprey Lumina 60
Comfort And Suspension (45%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Organizational Systems (20%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
5.0
Weight (20%)
6.0
8.0
3.0
6.0
10.0
Adjustability (15%)
7.0
4.0
10.0
7.0
3.0
Specs Gregory Maven 65L Ultralight Adventur... Osprey Ariel 65 Osprey Renn 65 Osprey Lumina 60
Measured Weight (pounds) 3.4 lbs 2.7 lbs 4.8 lbs 3.6 lbs 1.8 lbs
Volumes Available (liters) 45, 55, 65 68 55, 65 50, 65 45, 60
Organization: Compartments Lid with two pockets, front pocket, side pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment Side pockets, front pocket, hip belt pockets, main compartment Lid with two pockets, front pocket, side pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment Lid, side pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment Lid, side pockets, front pocket, main compartment
Access Top, side, bottom Top Top, front, bottom Top, bottom Top
Hydration Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rain Cover Included Yes No Yes Yes No
Women's Specific Features Women's specific fit S-Curve Shoulder Straps Women's specific fit Women's Specific fit Women's specific fit and sizing
Sleeping bag Compartment Yes No Yes No No
Bear Can Compatible Yes - Vertical and Horizontal Yes - Vertical Yes - Vertical Yes - Vertical and Horizontal Yes - Vertical
Main Materials Nylon 500 Cordura 420HD nylon packcloth 600D polyester 30D Cordura Silnylon Ripstop
Sizes Available XS/S, S/M S, M, L, XL, Kids XS/SM, M/L One size, with adjustable torso XS, S, M

Our Analysis and Test Results

Gregory gives us a new version of the Maven as a lightweight option for those who don't want to sacrifice features or comfort. A combination of thinner fabrics and a slimmed-down frame shave the ounces while adjustable fit features, an included rain cover, and a slew of pockets make you feel like you aren't sacrificing just to save weight. With the new engineering of the frame, the pack carries weight so much better than the previous version that it wipes the slate clean when it comes to our testers' opinions of the Maven's comfort.

Performance Comparison


Our testers enjoy the Maven's comfort and giant pockets that fit...
Our testers enjoy the Maven's comfort and giant pockets that fit everything but the kitchen sink.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Comfort and Suspension


The previous version of the Maven had an issue with the padding buckling. In our opinion, based on our testing, the back padding was not attached to the frame firmly enough to provide a stable carry. However, Gregory nailed the redesign, and this pack now ranks near the top among the models we tested.


The shoulder straps are well-connected to the frame itself, which in turn is closely tied to the hip belt, allowing for much better load transfer. The load lifters are tied directly to the top of the frame and transfer the weight well up off the shoulders. When our tester loaded the pack with 35 pounds, the weight rides comfortably all day with no sagging. The Maven, like other Gregory packs we have tested, has a prominent lumbar curve. This seems to fit some users well while causing immediate discomfort in others, so we recommend trying it on before you buy.

The pack stays in place and feels comfortable even when twisting...
The pack stays in place and feels comfortable even when twisting, bending, and climbing.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

The suspension is built of a perimeter frame with foam padding covered in mesh in between. It is held up against your back, but the foam is perforated for a bit of ventilation. You'll get more breathability from a pack whose suspension is held off your back in places, but the Maven's back panel offers more breathability than those that don't have the perforated foam.

The shoulder strap and hip belt padding also use this perforated foam covered by a cushy mesh. They are rigid enough to provide support but don't feel hard. We really like how the hip belt is of a one-piece design that wraps smoothly around the hips and holds the pack weight close to the body.

The perimeter frame and padding look similar to the previous model...
The perimeter frame and padding look similar to the previous model but are more securely attached for better load transfer.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Organizational Systems


The Maven is one of a small class of packs that focuses on being lightweight without sacrificing those pockets and features that you love. Retained in this 3.4-pound pack are a two-pocket removable lid, hip belt pockets, sleeping bag section, rear stash pocket, and dual side pockets, plus a variety of compression straps and lash points.


The side pockets are enormous and can easily fit two 1-liter water bottles or a whole host of other items. Because they are made of a stretchy mesh, they hold your items securely, whether full or mostly empty. One concern is with the durability of the mesh used on the back pocket as well as the sides. Our users put a hole in the mesh after only a few days of on-trail use, and based on our research; others have experienced this same issue.

A chair, a liter of water, a filter... so many things can fit all...
A chair, a liter of water, a filter... so many things can fit all together in the large stretchy side pockets of the Maven.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Two of our favorite features of the Maven are the giant zippered side-access opening and the included rain cover. A large u-shaped zipper, running almost the entire length of the pack, offers access to items you forgot you were going to need during the day. The rain cover is large enough to accommodate an external sleeping pad and seals tightly around the bag. We also appreciate the small touch of using a light-colored fabric inside the lid to make it easier to see small items inside.

The previous model came with a removable hydration sleeve that is also a small daypack, but the new version removed this feature. Sadly, we miss having a little day pack for town excursions and trips from camp to fill water. Another feature offered by the previous version of the Maven that the updated one lacks is the hip belt pockets that move with the hip belt when you adjust its length. This helped keep the pockets from being placed so far back on folks with larger hips, but in the big picture, it is not a huge loss to the pack's organizational features.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Weight


Weighing in at 3.4 pounds in a size small/medium, the Maven lands in the middle range of our lineup, while its multitude of features ranks it on par with packs weighing a pound more. Not only is its feature-to-weight ratio favorable, but with the newly designed suspension, the comfort-to-weight ratio and its ability to carry 40-pound+ loads well are impressive for the low weight.


In the end, aren't you the one who decides how heavy your pack is?
In the end, aren't you the one who decides how heavy your pack is?
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Adjustability


Ranking high in our test for adjustability, the Maven offers four inches of torso adjustability in each of the two sizes offered. Adjustable torsos in packs sold in multiple sizes like the Maven allow for the improved fit of a sized pack along with the flexibility and fine-tuning capabilities of a sliding torso adjustment. We found the velcro attachment fairly easy to move, although not as smooth as those that slide on webbing.


The hip belt lengthens by four inches on either side with a three-inch wide section of padding extending out to offer comfort to women with wider hips. The Maven's shoulder straps are a bit on the short side and may not fully wrap under the arms of those with broader shoulders or larger chests.

The new suspension sits up against the back but includes perforated...
The new suspension sits up against the back but includes perforated foam and mesh for a bit of breathability.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

A variety of compression straps, removable lashing straps, and a removable lid give you the option to cinch down a less full pack, shave ounces by taking off unnecessary components, and straps on bulky items that won't fit inside.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Value


The price of the Maven isn't unexpected. For the technology, lightweight materials, and a plethora of features, we wouldn't presume to pay less than right in the mid-range of other similar models. And with the high-performing comfort and support offered by the new suspension design, we find a lot of value in the Maven.

Conclusion


A comfortable, fully-featured, and lightweight pack is hard to come by, but the Gregory Maven manages to keep all the pockets and access points while saving weight with an airy frame and thinner fabrics. Durability may be sacrificed with these lighter materials, but that is to be expected in packs of lower weights. The padding is light yet firm, and now, with Gregory's re-working of the suspension, it is ready to support 35-pound loads for all-day comfort. The Maven is a great pack for anyone who wants a little of everything: lighter weight, all the pockets, ability to carry moderate loads, and adjustability.

We love a pack that is comfortable enough that you don't necessarily...
We love a pack that is comfortable enough that you don't necessarily remove it for every break on the trail.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Elizabeth Paashaus

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More