Gregory Maven 65L Review
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
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Gregory Maven 65L
|Price||$249.95 at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$255 List||$279.95 at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at REI|
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|Pros||Comfortable and supportive, fully-featured with pockets and access points, adjustable torso and hip belt||Comfortable, lightweight, supportive suspension, simple design, large pockets||Outstanding support under heavy loads, well-cushioned hip belt and shoulder straps, highly adjustable, durable materials||Ultra comfortable, roomy, inexpensive, durable, can fit a bear can horizontally, low center of gravity, airy mesh frame||Ultralight, large stow pockets, comfortable even when fully loaded|
|Cons||Mesh pockets lack durability||Non-ventilated back panel, less organizational features||Heavy, too tight side pockets, rigid and not suited for scrambling||Not many bells and whistles, set torso adjustment points, no back stash pocket||Minimal 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 package||A durable bag with all the right pockets and suspension that will keep your back, hips, and shoulders comfortable all day||The beast you want for substantial loads, this pack is highly comfortable and incredibly adjustable to many body types||This simple pack combines comfort, volume, and price; it will take you anywhere and won’t break the bank||This 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||Circuit||Osprey Ariel 65||Osprey Renn 65||Osprey Lumina 60|
|Comfort And Suspension (45%)|
|Organizational Systems (20%)|
|Specs||Gregory Maven 65L||Circuit||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|
|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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Elizabeth Paashaus