(M); 20-22 in. I do think the Osprey’s stuffit is a better call than the zippered front pocket just because it allows things to be dried and doesn’t cut in to the pack capacity. This is the one I would suggest getting. The other thing that I'll say is that Gregory's customer service is awesome. Any help would be appreciated.

Edit: don't be fooled by those who say the Gregory is "heavy." Weigh the packs and winnow the contents. I want this to be my last multi-day pack (for the time being it will have to double duty on short trips as well), so your thoughts would be much appreciated. Press J to jump to the feed. My Baltoro 75 is awesome. And we would not be as mentally or physically able if a serious emergency arose. I’ve also reviewed the Osprey Xenith 88 (the women’s version is the Xena 85), also an excellent pack for really heavy loads. Compact.

Tips, trip reports, back-country gear reviews, safety and news. They’re similar packs in terms of functionality but I think the Baltoro provides a bit more organization and, for me, a more comfortable ride. I've got the older model of the Baltoro (the 65), and it's ridiculously comfortable, even loaded up. Won’t go wrong with either of them though. Tie this to multiple motivators (being smart and savvy, having more fun, having time to fish, whatever you sense they’ll respond to). Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Osprey Aether 70 Gregory Baltoro 75 Deuter AirContact Pro Mountain Hardwear South Col Kelty Coyote 85 Weight 5 lbs. Even though I told them my pack was probably well out of warranty, they shipped me a loaner pack to use while I sent mine in for repairs. Would I go with the less-expensive pack? You’ve probably looked at the features of all of them, but my point is that picking those comes down to personal preference. I would rather spend $350 now, rather than spend $220 two or three times because I made a bad choice. Email it to me at michael@thebigoutside.com. (I think my squeaky Aether was an anomaly). Wow! When adults carry the kids’ excess (injuries or special circumstances excepted), the kids are denied this valuable inner experience.

Love the pack. If you like what you see here, please help me continue producing The Big Outside by making a donation using the Support button at the top of the left sidebar or below. Weight (Metric) 2330 g 2420 g 3180 g 1720 g 2210 g Sizes S, M, L, XL S, M, L S/M, M

Whichever one fits you best. I have not used the Mountainsmith Apex 80, though I have used other Mountainsmith packs. I really like the pronounced lumbar pad which follows the counter of the small of my back. 5 oz. The Gregory and Deuter have removable lid pockets that double as a fanny pack.

For heavy rain, some packs include a built-in waterproof cover that stores inside the pack (from our list, the Gregory Baltoro 65, REI Traverse 70, and Gregory Paragon 58 have this feature).

Especially if you try to pack lightly, I'd suggest looking into smaller bags (perhaps the Z55 or Atmos). 3 lbs. The Baltoro is super comfortable, but the Aether is a decent bit lighter and still pretty comfortable.

Notify me of follow-up comments by email. On long trips with the Aether I found myself needing to move the load from my shoulders to my hips on occasion but with the Baltoro the load feels more a part of my body. Honestly it is basically five liters. You’re choosing among three packs that are all the flagship backpacking packs for those companies, so the distinctions between them are fine, and you’re not likely to be disappointed with any one of them (as long as the pack fits you well). I want comfort, and will be willing to save a little longer and pay for it. Got a question about hiking, backpacking, planning a family adventure, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside? Thank you for your support.

I took it into my local REI and it turns out the pack is too large for me. I rarely carry more than 35 lbs. My Aether, which I loved, developed a mind numbing squeak in the aluminum stays after a few years and because I wasn’t able to repair it, and didn’t like ripping it off my back and yelling at it on the trail, I moved out of it to the Baltoro. I have the Gregory, but started out thinking I wanted a Deuter. But the Baltoro’s angled positioning of the side pocket for a water bottle is inspired. I’ve led Girl Scouts on backpacking trips and cannot imagine either letting the kids’ parents pack for them or letting them get on the trail without confirming they’ve packed “to our list” – a list the kids feel ownership of because they created it together. Yeah…it’s a little heavier but that can be compensated for by lightening your load or doing some extra squats in the gym.

Beyond that, loading the adults to excess could potentially diminish the kids’ experience or safety in other ways: Let’s face it, most of us could not be the same person in camp after a day of carrying a monster load. I need the larger pack as the scout troop my son is with does multi-day trips, and we end up carrying all the stuff the boy’s parents over-packed (plus I’m not experienced enough yet to be able to pack myself perfectly).

That said, it's heavy. If you like the Osprey Xenith 75, but it is a little too much pack for you, check out my in-depth review of the Osprey Aether. For Backpackers who Hike with Camping Gear in their Backpack.

The three on my list are: Gregory Baltoro 75, Osprey Aether 70/85 (the Xenith only fits torsos starting at 18), and the Deuter Act 75+10. If you're only carrying for yourself, I would get something lighter, possibly the Osprey.