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Gregory Alpinisto LT 38 Review

A lightweight pack suitable for technical day climbing objectives but with a few challenging features
Gregory Alpinisto LT 38
Photo: Gregory
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Price:  $170 List | $169.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Relatively light, comfortable on technical alpine climbs
Cons:  Limited to lighter loads, some cumbersome or limiting features
Manufacturer:   Gregory
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 13, 2021
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48
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 10
  • Versatility - 30% 4
  • Weight to Volume Ratio - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 5
  • Durability - 15% 5
  • Features - 15% 4

Our Verdict

The Gregory Alpinisto LT 38 is a reasonable pack for technical climbs with lighter loads. It is not well suited to overnight trips or heavier loads as the suspension does not hold up, and the collar does not extend upward enough for extra gear (some packs in this size category are easier to overstuff, this one is awkward). This pack is a worthy companion for ski mountaineering and alpine climbs done in a day with lighter loads, but some of the features are fiddly, like the ice axe attachment system and the cinching elastic cord on the front. Overall this was not the easiest or most pleasing pack to use.

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Pros Relatively light, comfortable on technical alpine climbsComfortable, affordable, durable, fully featuredVersatile, simple, durable, well-pricedLightweight, simple, excellent pack for steep, technical terrainDurable, versatile, fully featured for all mountain pursuits
Cons Limited to lighter loads, some cumbersome or limiting featuresNot as lightweight as some packsLess features, some wonky strap designsLess durable, less versatile, no side strapsClosure system limits ability to overstuff, larger size less ideal for more technical routes
Bottom Line A lightweight pack suitable for technical day climbing objectives but with a few challenging featuresThis is an excellent pack for most mountaineering uses, excelling in comfort and versatility in all alpine terrainThis is a pack-of-all-trades well suited to a variety of mountaineering pursuitsThis is an excellent on-route climbing pack for challenging steep terrain in the mountainsThe Mutant series has been a favorite, and the 52 liter version fills an excellent niche for colder and longer climbs
Rating Categories Gregory Alpinisto L... Osprey Mutant 38 Black Diamond Speed 40 Black Diamond Blitz... Osprey Mutant 52L
Versatility (30%)
4.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
Weight To Volume Ratio (20%)
6.0
4.0
6.0
10.0
3.0
Comfort (20%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
Features (15%)
4.0
9.0
5.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Gregory Alpinisto L... Osprey Mutant 38 Black Diamond Speed 40 Black Diamond Blitz... Osprey Mutant 52L
Measured Volume (liters) 40 37 45 29 47
Measured Weight (pounds) 2.52 2.84 (without lid), 3.25 (with lid) 2.93 1.09 4.19
Measured Weight (grams) 1145 1288.2 1330 496.1 1899.4
Weight to Volume Ratio (grams per liter) 28.63 34.82 29.56 17.11 40.41
Frame Type Fusion Lite suspension, removable foam/plastic framesheet with horizontal stay Inner framesheet with aluminum stays Removable foam and plastic framesheet with 3 stays Foam pad Removable framesheet and dual stays
Fabric 100D High Density Nylon / 210D High Density Nylon 210D nylon with 420HD nylon packcloth on bottom 210d ripstop main, 420d abrasion Dynex ripstop 210D High Tenacity Nylon
Pockets 1 main, 2 zippered lid, 1 zippered internal, 1 hydration 1 zippered lid 1 main, 2 zippered lid, 1 internal hydration 1 main compartment, 1 waterproof top lid, 1 internal zippered 2 zippered lid
Hip Belt? Yes - padding removable, not belt Yes - reverse wrap hybrid EVA foam w/ gear loops and ice clipper holsters Yes - padding removable, not belt Yes - removable webbing belt Yes- removable
Removable Suspension Padding? Yes Removable framesheet and/or dual stays Yes Yes Yes
Lid? Yes - removable Yes - removable with stowable FlapJacket for lidless use Yes - removable Yes - removable Yes
Hydration System Compatible? Yes Yes - internal pouch with buckled hanging loop Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Alpinisto LT 38 is a reasonable mountaineering pack for the size but has some features which are hard to use and didn't excel in any of our tests.

Performance Comparison


The Alpinisto LT 38 is up for a big day skiing on Mount Baker.
The Alpinisto LT 38 is up for a big day skiing on Mount Baker.
Photo: Robin Pendery

Versatility


The Alpinisto is a decent pack for your 38-liter day-tripping needs. It is not very useful for overnight trips and doesn't pack easily enough to make us enthusiastic about recommending it for cragging days when you're pulling your rock gear in and out of your pack between climbs.

You can carry all the tools you might need for a day of general mountaineering, from crampons to ice tools to skis, which makes it versatile in terms of specific activities but less so in terms of length.

The Alpinisto is well suited to a variety of mountain sports, but...
The Alpinisto is well suited to a variety of mountain sports, but limited to day trip or lighter loads. We did appreciate the gear loops for the times we were skiing on a glacier.
Photo: Robin Pendery

Weight to Volume Ratio


This pack is reasonably light for the roughly 40 liters of carrying capacity it provides. It has quite a few more features compared to some of our favorite packs in this same size and use category, which reduces its overall score in this metric because it's a bit heavier.

The main compartment does not have an extension collar to facilitate over-stuffing this pack with gear for the hike to basecamp, and we found this to be limiting and ultimately difficult to pack and cinch closed, even when it was packed to capacity.

The Alpinisto 38 could manage most of our official Test Load, but...
The Alpinisto 38 could manage most of our official Test Load, but the weight was a bit much for it and the side straps too short for a full length foam pad.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Comfort


The Alpinisto performs well in a technical climbing environment due to the supple backpanel. It has a layer of foam integrated into the pack itself and an additional removable plastic and foam panel with a single horizontal stay. This is different--usually if a pack has a single stay, it will be aligned vertically. The softer overall suspension limits this pack to day trips and lighter loads (Gregory recommends no more than 35lbs).

The load lifter straps that rest over the top of the shoulder straps are placed awkwardly and often slide out of place making the fit less precise and reliable.

The Gregory Alpinisto LT 38 rests flush against your back for...
The Gregory Alpinisto LT 38 rests flush against your back for excellent ease of movement in alpine terrain.
Photo: Cassandra Marohl

Durability


The Alpinisto is made of generally lighter weight materials, slightly less durable than some of our favorite packs in this category, and more specifically in the 40-liter size range. However, this is ok because it's designed more for day use rather than the heightened use and abuse of overnight trips. The fabric is still durable enough to resist abrasion, with more durable fabric in high-use areas or spots commonly exposed to sharps like crampons and ice tools.

The front of the Alpinisto is reinforced to withstand sharps and...
The front of the Alpinisto is reinforced to withstand sharps and scrapes, but the rest of the pack is made of lighter material.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Features


The Alpinisto has a lot of features — and many of them were disappointing. The ice tool attachment system is too thick, making it hard to thread through the head of the tools. The main compartment doesn't extend upwards, but the brain does — a lot — which is a bit of a mismatch in design and makes for awkward packing and carrying when loaded to capacity. The front bungee system is, in theory, one we like for crampons and other things, but the cinching mechanism was confusing. The lid secures with a single hook on a long leash of webbing anchored to the front of the pack, which flops around and must be secured over the top of your crampons if you're carrying them in those front bungees — awkward. The side straps are too short to secure a full-length foam sleeping pad. The brain is removable, but the buckle has an extra metal catch to secure it in place, which is ultimately just fiddly, and it is placed in a spot where it overlaps awkwardly with the shoulder and load lifter straps. Overall we were disappointed with the geometry and design of this pack.

The cinch system on the front elastic was confounding.
The cinch system on the front elastic was confounding.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Some things we liked include the reinforced ski carry straps at the bottom of the pack on both sides, very confidence-inspiring in their durability and secure carry. We also appreciate the completely modular hip belt — you can remove just the padding (with its handy gear loops), or you can remove the entire belt (though this is fiddly). The floating hip belt padding is also a design many people like for the minimal use of foam and the customization of fit. We didn't have a strong preference for either design.

There is an internal zippered pocket with key clipper that we liked.
There is an internal zippered pocket with key clipper that we liked.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Value


The Alpinisto is a more affordable mountaineering backpack. However, considering the issues we discovered with the features and overall design, as well as the limitations that it has in versatility, we do not consider this pack to be a great value and would steer readers to a slightly higher priced product that will deliver more versatility, durability, and function.

Conclusion


The Gregory Alpinisto LT 38 is a pack we have been intrigued by for a while. Field testing, however, revealed a number of design flaws that we were less psyched on. That said, we liked the back panel design a lot for technical climbing movement, and if you find that this pack fits you well and is precisely the size you want, you may really appreciate it. It will do all of the mountain sports; it just isn't quite as graceful in regards to features as are many other packs.

Racking up for the North Ridge of Black Peak with the Gregory...
Racking up for the North Ridge of Black Peak with the Gregory Alpinisto LT 38. A good choice for a long day out.
Photo: Maryanna Brown

Lyra Pierotti