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Gregory Maven 65L Review

The Maven is a lightweight, adjustable pack loaded with all the features of a much heavier bag.
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Price:  $250 List | $249.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Lightweight, fully featured with pockets and access points, adjustable torso and hip belt
Cons:  Back padding buckles uncomfortably, mesh pockets lack durability
Manufacturer:   Gregory
By Elizabeth Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 5, 2019
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 16
  • Comfort and Suspension - 45% 4
  • Organizational systems - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 7
  • Adjustability - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Gregory Maven proves to be a good option for lightweight backpackers carrying loads under 25 pounds but ultimately is not as comfortable as we would like for a pack billed at being ready to carry 50-pound loads. 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 dual-duty day pack/hydration sleeve, and an included rain cover, unlike many stripped-down lightweight packs. Weighing in at only 3.37 pounds, the Maven may suit you well if you want to trim the weight but not the features.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Gregory Maven 65L
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $249.95 at Backcountry$255 List$134.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$202.46 at Backcountry
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Pros Lightweight, fully featured with pockets and access points, adjustable torso and hip beltComfortable, supportive suspension, simple design, large pockets, durable, customization from manufacturerDurable, comfortable even with heavier loads, streamlined features, great attachment points at outside of pack, integrated rain coverHuge main compartment, customizable compression straps, super lightweight, comfortable with heavy loads.Comfortable, plush padding, wide range of fitting options and adjustments, good number of pockets, easy-to-remove top lid,
Cons Back padding buckles uncomfortably, mesh pockets lack durabilityNon-ventilated back panel, less organizational featuresMain compartment is a little narrow, water bottle holster is awkward, requires thoughtful packingDark material makes pack contents difficult to see, hip belt difficult to adjust, rigid padding might not last over time.Large, spring loaded waist band is hard to get into, suspension can feel bulky, expensive, hip belt can sag uncomfortably on some users
Bottom Line The Maven is a lightweight, adjustable pack loaded with all the features of a much heavier bag.The ULA Circuit is a durable bag with all the right pockets and suspension that will keep your back, hips, and shoulders comfortable all day.The Kyte 46 is a small, but mighty pack, built for a more advanced user. The comfortable wear allows you to tackle rough terrain with ease.The Blaze does the unthinkable with the combination of a lightweight pack that can haul heavy loads and still feel comfortable.This pack has stood the test year after year with its robust feature set, comfortable straps, and a strong yet light suspension featuring an incredibly ventilated back panel.
Rating Categories Gregory Maven 65L Circuit Osprey Kyte 46 Blaze 60 Osprey Aura AG 65
Comfort And Suspension (45%)
10
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4
10
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9
10
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9
10
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8
10
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7
Organizational Systems (20%)
10
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6
10
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8
10
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4
10
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6
10
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8
Weight (20%)
10
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7
10
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8
10
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7
10
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8
10
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4
Adjustability (15%)
10
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8
10
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4
10
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7
10
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5
10
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9
Specs Gregory Maven 65L Circuit Osprey Kyte 46 Blaze 60 Osprey Aura AG 65
Measured Weight (pounds) (medium) 3.37 lbds 2.68 lbs 3.42 lbs 2.63 lbs 4.65 lbs
Volumes Available (liters) 35, 45, 55, 65 68 35, 45 60 50, 65
Organization: Compartments Lid, front pocket, side pockets, dual front pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment Side pockets, front pocket, hip belt pockets, main compartment Lid, mesh side pockets, hip belt pockets, lid pocket, front mesh pocket, internal sleeping bag pocket, main compartment Lid, front pocket, main compartment Lid, front pocket, side pockets, dual front pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment
Access Top, bottom Top Top, bottom Top Top, side, bottom
Hydration Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rain Cover Included Yes No Yes No No
Women's Specific Features Women's specific fit S-Curve Shoulder Straps Women's specific fit Women's Specific fit & sizing Women's specific fit
Sleeping bag Compartment Yes No Yes No Yes
Bear Can Compatible Yes - Vertical and Horizontal Yes - Vertical tight fit yes Yes
Main Materials Nylon 500 Cordura 210D x 630D Nylon 210D HD nylon Nylon
Sizes Available XS/S, S/M S, M, L, XL, Kids XS/S, M/L Short, Regular XS,S,M
Warranty Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime

Our Analysis and Test Results

Gregory brings us the Maven as a lightweight option for those who don't want to sacrifice features. A combination of thinner fabrics and a slimmed-down frame shave ounces while adjustable fit features, included rain cover, and a slew of pockets make you feel like you aren't sacrificing just to save weight. A unique design makes the adjustable hip belt decidedly more functional than many for those with larger waists.

Performance Comparison


The lightweight  yet fully-featured Maven is a good option for those who are carrying light gear but don't want to sacrifice pockets.
The lightweight, yet fully-featured Maven is a good option for those who are carrying light gear but don't want to sacrifice pockets.

Comfort and Suspension


Gregory lists 50 pounds as the max carry weight and, while we didn't expect to comfortably carry that much, we did expect a bit more performance from the suspension and straps. Our testers found the frame itself to be supportive of loads around 35 pounds yet felt that the weight wasn't adequately transferred around the hip belt, putting added pressure on our lumbar area. 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 bend in the padding at the lumbar is not the natural pack design but a buckled piece of material that couldn't stand up to even light loads.
The bend in the padding at the lumbar is not the natural pack design but a buckled piece of material that couldn't stand up to even light loads.

The back panel is well ventilated with the pack itself held away from your back, but we were disappointed by the performance of the foam padding that contacts the users back. It's our opinion that it is attached to the frame in such a way that it shifts around and buckles under use, even with lighter loads. Our users found this uncomfortable and difficult to adapt to. We researched reviews on other sites but didn't find mention of the same issue so we don't know if this is a common problem or potentially a recent design change. We did see other users mentioning discomfort in the lumbar area but not with enough detail to indicate a recurring issue with the padding buckling. In our opinion, based on our testing, the back padding is not attached to the frame firmly enough to provide a stable carry.

While we didn't love the way the pack carried weight, we actually found the padding of the hip belt and shoulder straps very comfortable and durable. Even after a week's use on the trail, the padding maintains its form.

One of the two side pockets has a side entry  making water bottle access easier  yet still a bit tight.
One of the two side pockets has a side entry, making water bottle access easier, yet still a bit tight.

Organizational Systems


The Maven is one of a small class of packs that focused on being lightweight without sacrificing those pockets and features that you love. Retained in this 3.37-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 big stretchy pockets are great for stashing a lot of gear but the thin mesh easily snags and tears.
The big stretchy pockets are great for stashing a lot of gear but the thin mesh easily snags and tears.

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.

Two of our favorite features of the Maven are the included rain cover and the dual-duty hydration sleeve/summit bag. The rain cover is large enough to accommodate an external sleeping pad and seals tightly around the bag. By designing the hydration sleeve to be a removable day pack, Gregory adds functionality and convenience. We used the day pack daily when going to fetch water from camp.

The hydration sleeve is also a lightweight day pack that we got a ton of use out of; from water hauler to airport carry-on.
The hydration sleeve is also a lightweight day pack that we got a ton of use out of; from water hauler to airport carry-on.

Weight


The Maven's weight, at 3.37 pounds, puts it in on the lighter end of the models in our test while the multitude of features ranks it on par with packs weighing a pound more. We do wish the comfort to weight ratio was a bit better. The Maven's comfort ranked lower in our test than other packs of equal or lighter weight.

Adjustability


Ranking high in our test for adjustability, the Maven offers 4 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 in such a way to allow the pockets to move forward along with the padding. Users with larger waist sizes will appreciate not having to reach behind their hips to access these pockets. 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.

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

Value


The price of the Maven isn't unexpected, for the technology, lightweight materials, and a plethora of features, along with the Gregory lifetime guarantee, we wouldn't presume to pay less than right in the mid-range of other similar models. However, our tests revealed that you can find a more comfortable pack that weighs the same or less for a similar price so we feel there is better value one of those other models.

If you are looking for a lightweight pack  don't discount the Gregory Maven  but compare to the comfort and features of other models to find just the right fit for your needs.
If you are looking for a lightweight pack, don't discount the Gregory Maven, but compare to the comfort and features of other models to find just the right fit for your needs.

Conclusion


A fully-featured yet 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, designed to support heavier loads, however, an issue with the padding buckling and shifting caused significant discomfort and instability for our testers. This pack may be a good fit for some but we would hesitate to recommend it to our friends.


Elizabeth Paashaus