Gregory Endo 15L Review
Cons: Heavy, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Endo 15L is a burly workhorse of a pack that has almost every imaginable storage feature. With multiple storage compartments, internal and external zippered pockets, hip belt pockets, and even a removable tool pouch, this pack has a spot for everything on your packing list. Although it's definitely on the heavier side, and its hydration system performance falls just short of other models, the Endo is a solid performer definitely worthy of consideration.
Ease of Drinking
The Endo 15 is outfitted with a 3-liter Gregory 3D-Hydro reservoir with a Drylock bite valve at the end of the drinking hose. The Drylock bite valve is comfortable and is equipped with a push-button style shutoff switch to prevent water from leaking. While this design is certainly effective, our testers prefer other models with a rotating shutoff switch.
The pack's sternum strap includes a drinking hose clip and a magnetic attachment point to keep the hose and bite valve secure, similar to what is found on most other packs in our lineup. We found that the drinking hose may be just a bit on the short end, as some users with broader shoulders had trouble keeping enough slack in the hose to keep the bite valve attached to the magnet. This issue could be fixed by tightening the sternum strap to narrow the distance between the shoulder straps. While this was never a major issue for any of our testers, it is a minor inconvenience.
Overall, the flow of water through the 3D-Hydro hydration system is certainly adequate but is slightly outshined by some other manufacturers' systems.
Ease of Filling
The Endo receives average scores when it comes to the ease of filling up the water reservoir. Unlike most other packs in the lineup whose bladders have wide-mouth folding openings, Gregory's 3-liter 3D-Hydro is one of only a few models with a somewhat smaller circular opening. This design doesn't cause any issues when filling up from the comfort of your kitchen sink, but might be a little more difficult when filling from a lake or stream.
Another design feature that makes refilling the Endo 15 slightly less convenient as that the reservoir must be removed from a hydration sleeve that is somewhat buried within the main storage compartment, which is not as simple and straightforward as it is with packs that have a completely separate hydration compartment to house the reservoir. This factor is even more exaggerated when removing the bladder from a fully loaded pack.
Finally, the drinking hose on the Endo does not come with a handy quick-release button for seamless removal of the bladder from the pack. While this feature is only found on a handful of models in our lineup, it certainly is a huge convenience when refilling or cleaning the reservoir.
The Endo 15 is among the most comfortable packs in our lineup with its sturdy built-in wireframe capable of supporting heavier loads, its breathable mesh back panel, comfortable and adjustable hip belt, and shoulder straps with just the right blend of padding and breathability.
The Endo's internal wireframe construction helps keep the pack structurally supported when hauling a full load, and allows for an inch of airspace between the body of the pack and the moisture-wicking mesh back panel. While there is sometimes a tradeoff between a supportive pack and breathability, this combination does a good job of balancing support with ventilation. The shoulder straps also do well at striking this balance, with slotted foam construction encased in open mesh for a comfortable yet breathable balance.
One of the most intriguing features on the Endo 15 is the adjustable Shift RS hip belt. The hip belt is attached to a pair of velcro strips mounted to a small vertical sleeve near the bottom of the pack, allowing the hip belt to be adjusted up or down by approximately 4 inches. This allows users of different shapes, sizes, and torso lengths to dial in a perfect fit where the lumbar support finds the correct supportive position against your back, and the hip belt hugs your hips just right.
This feature can be important because as your pack load increases, it becomes more comfortable and more efficient to support most of the weight on your hips instead of with your shoulders. An improperly fitted back can make it difficult to achieve an ideal fit where both the hip belt and the shoulder straps are at the correct contact points on your body. The adjustable Shift RS hip belt is a unique one size fits all approach to customizing a comfortable and ideal fit. The hip belt also conveniently adjusts by pulling from your hips in towards your belly, rather than pulling from your belly out to your hips like on most other packs. We've found that pulling from your hips in towards your belly is more comfortable and efficient.
The only minor drawback we found with this system is that under really heavy or awkward loads, the main body of the pack can sag where it is attached to the hip belt, since the two are only connected by a sleeve with velcro strips. Under almost all typical hiking conditions, we didn't have any issues with it and appreciated its comfort and convenience.
With a hefty 15 liters of overall storage space and a multitude of different pockets, sleeves, and storage compartments, the Endo 15 wins our Top Pick Award for Best Storage and Organization.
The Endo is equipped with almost every possible storage feature that we've seen on a hydration pack. Not only does the main storage compartment house the 3-liter 3D-Hydro hydration bladder in a secure sleeve, as well as a removable tool pouch and three mesh pockets, but it has still enough space to hold enough cargo for full-day adventures. We were able to fit a jacket and a pair of shoes, or a beach towel and a jacket, or multiple extra layers within the main storage compartment with room to spare. This compartment's fully-opening U-shaped zipper makes packing and accessing bulky items a breeze.
Above the main storage compartment is a smaller, externally accessed zippered pocket that is a convenient spot to stash your keys, wallet, and phone, or some extra snacks. This pocket's distinct location near the top of the pack is simple to find and is an easy way to keep essential items easily accessible.
The second storage compartment near the front of the pack opens wide with a two-thirds length U-shaped zipper and houses two mesh stuff pockets, a keychain clip, a padded sunglasses case, and a surprising amount of additional storage volume. The Crash Pad sunglasses case is completed lined with a soft material and is protected by foam padding on all sides.
The outside of the pack has a larger stuff pocket with reflective trim, built-in keeper loops for a bike light and for a helmet, and the top of the pack comes with cinch straps to help stabilize your load. Finally, the Shift RS hip belt has two zippered pockets for easy access to your keys, phone, snacks, compass, or headlamp, and the left shoulder strap has a small bungee loop to quickly stow away your sunglasses while on the move.
Each of the external zippers comes with a comfortable molded zipper pull, and each of the webbing straps comes with a plastic keep loop to aid in managing slack.
At a measured 2 pounds, 5.9 ounces, the Endo 15 is one of the heaviest packs in our lineup. With all of the high-end features built into this pack, it's not surprising that it comes with a bit of a weight penalty.
While there are certainly some well-built and nicely equipped packs in our review that weigh up to half a pound less than the Endo, these lighter packs don't have the same comfortable and supportive wireframe and back panel, don't have the abundance of storage and organization features, and don't have the same 3-liter water capacity. Keep in mind that if you're carrying a full 3-liter reservoir (3 liters water = 6.6 pounds) and a full 10 to 20-liter backpack (another 10 to 15 pounds), you probably won't be noticing a half-pound or even a pound difference in pack weight, and might be glad you have the extra features to optimize your experience.
Ease of Cleaning
With its small circular opening, the 3D-Hydro bladder that comes with the Endo 15 is not as simple to clean as are other reservoir models that have wider folding openings. This model cannot be flipped inside out as other models can, which makes cleaning them in the dishwasher a possibility. True to its name though, the 3D-Hydro bladder does have some three-dimensional structure to it, making it feasible to squeeze in a bottle brush for cleaning.
One additional extra feature that comes standard with the 3D-Hydro system is a Quick Dry Hanger to help simplify hanging and drying the bladder after cleaning it.
The Gregory Endo is comfortable, supportive, has a large 3-liter water capacity, and has the best storage and organization options that we've seen on a hydration pack. While it definitely carries a somewhat higher price tag to match its high-end features, it definitely represents a solid value for users who are looking for all the bells and whistles. Users who can sacrifice certain creature comforts and storage features and just want a simpler pack can find a better value with other models, but the Endo provides a lot of bang for the buck.
The Gregory Endo 15L offers everything you could want in a fully-featured hydration pack, including comfort, support, and a slew of storage pockets and compartments. Earning a Top Pick Award for Best Storage and Organization, the Endo is a heavy-duty workhorse ready to take you on your next adventure.
— Nick Bruckbauer