The Gregory Stout 65 is a well designed pack with a limited feature set that can get you out on the trails with no problem. There wasn't much about it that we found to be outstanding, but there was no metric in which we found it to be lacking when compared to other packs in its class. It's comfortable enough for mid-length trips and its mesh rear pocket, excellent lid design, and large water bottle pockets help make it a great pack for the price. The pack is very similar in design to the similarly priced Osprey Volt 60, but aside from the slightly larger capacity and cheaper price tag, we preferred most features of the Volt.
Gregory Stout 65 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great value, decent weight, simple and effective design
Cons: Nothing stands out, some small unnecessary straps, dark interior
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This is a very well rounded pack. We liked just about everything about it, even though not much stood out. One of the things that does actually set it apart is the lid, which we particularly liked the design of, as well as the placement of the included rain cover pocket.
Suspension and Comfort
While the Stout 65 does feature thick and comfortable foam on the straps and back, we found the suspension to be a bit underwhelming. It was reasonably comfortable across the weight range that we tested, but the thick padding and foam layer against the back seemed to be a bit too bulky. We slightly preffered the more streamlined suspension on the Osprey Volt 60, which this pack is otherwise quite comparable to.
Features and Ease of Use
The pack features one main large compartment which includes an optional divider that we rarely use. The side water bottle pockets are large, but it's a little bit difficult to retrieve the bottles yourself without removing the pack. The mesh pocket on the back of the pack is perfect for storing items that you want accessible such as a rain jacket, and the zippered pockets on the waist belt are actually larger than we're used to, which we found to be a nice touch.
The lid of the Stout is very well designed. It has one main pouch, accessible from the side/top, and a smaller pouch accessible from the bottom, which is nice for storing small valuables. The lid's opening is a large u-shaped zipper that you can open from both sides, meaning the whole top of the lid easily opens to reveal the contents. This is a bonus for gear accessibility, but you do have to be careful, as it's easy for small items to fall out if the pack isn't perfectly straight and still.
This pack isn't particularly light, but at four pounds, we found that it was a respectable weight for the price and feature set. The newer model of the Osprey Volt 60 weighs 4.5 pounds, so the Stout 65 does have a slight advantage in this category.
As with other packs in its class, the Stout is one-size-fits-all. The frame size is easily adjustable to fit different torso sizes via a simple Velcro system, although the waist belt has a fixed size, it fit all of our testers without a problem. It features a reverse pull strap with the buckle on a pulley system, which makes it very easy to cinch down. Gregory claims it will fit a 24 inch waist, but we suspect that it would not be a great fit if you're on the smaller side.
For longer outings (not just an overnight), all but the lightest of packers will appreciate the 65 liter carrying capacity of the Stout. This no-frills model can get you from hut to hut, hostel to hostel, or as far into the backcountry as you want to go.
This is a very straightforward pack at a good price. It doesn't have any bells or whistles, but it has the essentials for a pack that can get you out on the trail. It costs $190, which is more than a more basic pack like the Osprey Rook 65, but it is built with extra pockets and a more adjustable lid. It's a high quality pack, so if this feature set suits your needs, the value makes this a good choice.
It's hard to go wrong with this pack, because there's nothing wrong with it. If you want a relatively simple pack without breaking the $200 mark, this is a great option. Although we liked many of the features just slightly better on the similar Osprey Volt 60, this pack was a close second. We did like the lid and pack cover pouch better on the Stout, and it is a slightly bigger pack for $10 less. If you value that extra space or just want to save a bit of money, this is still a great pack that will serve you well.
— Ben Skach