Second posting: Field Test Report Gregory G Pack Rosaleen S.
- Big OOPS!
Sent this to BPL last night. I was probably thinking of the next three things on my to do list, as usual.
No worries over the wait. I'm just glad to get it in today, Sunday.
I appreciate your thoroughness. It sure beats an edit here, then, a few days later, an edit there.
I caught and already changed a few things when I saw my report posted to the list. They kind of screamed at me, like missing one Centigrade measurement and adding a section title. Some edits I thought were more style than content or fault related, but most I agreed with and used as written.
Two points that continue to be sticky: Hyphenated words and measurements: MS Windows didn't flag words such as underbrush OR under-brush. Running the report through the spelling checker on AOL E-mail, not only flagged ALL hyphenated words, but also all the Imperial measurements abbreviated as lower case letters. Such lb should be LB, according to this format. Of course, in the stone age, while I was learning, it was lb(PERIOD), or whatever the unit was. It seems to depend on which manual for writers one uses. These are among horses we beat before you joined, I suspect. I'm bowing to what the moderator group has posted on the BGT converter for our reports. If I turn in a document to my school or some college, I'll check which book they seem to be using. 8-)
Here is the rewrite:
Field Test: Gregory G Pack
Tester: Rosaleen Sullivan
Age: 53 years
Height: 5' 9" / 1.75 m (torso for pack fit purposes 17 1/2" / .44 m)
Weight: 190 lb. / 86 kg
E mail: rosaleen43 (at) aol (dot) com
Home: Eastern MA, USA
Date: May 27, 2003
After car camping since childhood, I started backpacking with my son's Boy
Scout Troop over 15 years ago. Of course, I learned from the perspective of the
heavy gear that the troop used for a group of rough and tumble adolescents.
Since then, I've backpacked off and on, mostly in New England, usually within
Massachusetts. After two herniated discs, I began to think that I would have
to give up backpacking because ground sleeping was too painful. As I started
lightening my load, I discovered hammock camping and found I could handle 100
mile (160 km) or more treks. My most memorable trips have been backpacking to
the bottom of the Grand Canyon for my fiftieth birthday and a stretch of the
AT from its midpoint in Pennsylvania to northern Virginia. My style is
gradually getting lighter, but I doubt I will ever make "Ultralight" status. Hiking
with the Scouts and my old heavy gear, I averaged 12 miles (19 km) in a
weekend. With the newer lighter gear, 12 miles (19 km) in a day can be easy and
Other backpacks used: Camptrails Convertible, Kelty Flight, Moonbow Gearskin,
and an unknown brand external frame backpack from a discount store.
Manufacturer: Gregory Mountain Products <http://www.gregorypacks.com>
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Listed weight: 2 lb 7 oz/1.1 kg
Weight as delivered: 2 lb 12 oz/1.26 kg (scale in a business)
Volume: stated as 2900 cu in/48 l
Color: "True Blue"
Pack Style: Lightweight internal frame top loading backpack with removable
lid, and non-removable harness, hip belt, and frame/stays.
Wayne Gregory of Gregory Mountain Products insists that pack fit is critical
for pack comfort. He was very informative and gracious to work with over the
phone. Unfortunately, the size small that my torso length would indicate, did
not fit. Wayne agreed to send out a medium G Pack for me to test. Because
we had to wait for an overseas shipment, my test start was delayed. For those
who want more detailed information, I have copied this information from the
Initial Report to the end of this Field Test.
I still find the G Pack to be aesthetically lovely. The "True Blue" seems
like a deep "jewel blue." It is constructed of 30 denier silnylon in most of
the body. The bottom and back panels are 210 denier black rip stop and most of
the straps and mesh are dark gray. The color scheme is appealing, and would
catch my eye from the store shelf. However, color schemes tend to diminish in
importance when a pack is strapped to my back, where I can no longer see it.
Then, how it feels loaded and carried on the trail is what is important. This
pack is rated to carry up to 25 lb (11.34 kg).
The G Pack features a "bucket pocket" that is sewn into the back panel sides,
made of a rip stop center with mesh side panels. This wraps around the front
and has a top center strap that buckles to the top of the back panel, plus
two more that radiate on a diagonal from the sides up towards the back. It is a
top loading pack that has a drawstring closure, and an inside hydration
bladder pocket. The only outlet for a drinking tube seems to be out of the
drawstring closure. It also has a removable top pocket with over the shoulder
accessible zippered opening.
The pack's back panel is interesting. Gregory calls it a "sport back panel
with chimney ventilation." It looks and feels different from any other pack
I've used. It features a thick pad that sits on the user's lower back and two
separated pads above it. The channels between the bottom and side pads look
like an inverted "Y," and are supposed to allow chimney effect airflow. If our
summers in the Northeast continue their hot and humid trend, that will be a
most welcome feature. So far, this spring, it has been cold and rainy most of
the time. I expect to better know how I like it as a hot weather pack by the
time the Long Term report is due in September.
Looking at the harness system, I find elongated "S" curved shoulder straps
and a tapered belt, foam filled, with an outer covering of black rip stop nylon
and an inner surface of mesh. I'm hoping this inner mesh surface will wick
away perspiration and allow it to evaporate before the harness develops a nasty
odor. The daisy chain style loops on the front shoulder harness allow for
adjustment of the sternum strap. The load lifters and waist belt stabilizer
straps add to the pack stability and the user's comfort.
The literature enclosed with the pack claims that the frame consists of an
hourglass shaped flexible frame sheet. Feeling through the material, I can feel
the shape and flexibility. I can also feel the center stay, which is listed
as hollow aluminum. This literature also gives advice on pack fit,
adjustment, and loading, along with repair and guarantee information. It is
rather well done, other than some straps being depicted inside the bucket pocket
instead of outside.
G Pack Test experiences:
My early impressions of this pack were that it is well made and could be
really comfortable on the trail. With personal illness and our unseasonably cold,
rainy, miserable New England spring, I've managed several day hikes and two
"stealth" overnight backpacking trips in Eastern Massachusetts. These included
one trip to the Middlesex Fells, several trips to nearby Boy Scout camps, the
Bay Circuit Path, and other local trails. I had hoped on a three day
backpack, but it just was not possible in this time period. Close to sea level,
of the elevations I hiked did not reach 700 ft (213 m). I did manage to find
terrain that included slippery log bridges for water crossings, flooded
trails that necessitated a bit of crashing through overgrown foliage, rocks, and
steep enough terrain to drop the hiking poles and use my hands to facilitate
negotiating the trail. I was very pleased that the G Pack felt stable and
neither impeded my travel nor upset my balance. I have enough old injuries that I
travel slowly and carefully over rough terrain. A physical therapist told me
not to make "any sudden moves." Well, I classify both jumping from rock to
rock and falling to be in the "sudden move" category. I can't judge how the pack
would perform in more rigorous conditions, but I felt secure in my personal
level of agility and balance.
The longest hike in a single day was about 7 miles (11.27 km). For most of
these hikes, I carried between 18 and 22 lb (9-10 kg), with my food and other
"smellables" in a "Stealth Can," a lightweight animal resistant canister. For
one 3 mile (5 km) day hike (full gear), I accessed a commercial kitchen scale
and added water containers until the pack weight reached 25 lb (11.34 kg). On
that trek, I had some pinching sensation in my right Gluteus area. After
adjusting the pack and some clothing, it went away. I could not replicate that
problem, so I am left wondering if it was a clothing issue, like a wrinkle, or
related to sitting through a weekend training at Scout camp.
I have not had much success in finding a lightweight pack that can be
comfortable and accommodate carrying a Bearikade animal resistant canister, so I was
curious how the G Pack would perform carrying it. For my last jaunt during
this test period, I packed the Bearikade inside the G Pack and made sure that
the load was as close as I could determine at 25 lb (11.34 kg) by my bathroom
scale. While the pack was well stuffed, even strained looking, I have to say I
was quite comfortable. With just a little less weight and the smaller,
lighter "Stealth Can," I could forget that I was wearing the pack, as compared to
being comfortable at 25 lb (11.34 kg).
Without having blistering summer heat, it was hard to judge the effectiveness
of the "chimney ventilation." I did try wearing different clothing on
different days. I was comfortable wearing Frogg Toggs in the rain while the
temperature was in the 40's F/ 5 C. I had some dampness in my clothing from what I
thought was perspiration that condensed as it hit the cold rain suit. I didn't
feel I was testing the chimney well, with the jacket between the pack and me.
So, with the heaviest and stiffest load, I trudged up and down 3 miles (5
km) of (all) hills wearing an old poncho in the pouring rain. It is not a great
distance, but the conditions were miserable. The old poncho held up for the
first * mile (.8 km), but I was soaked before I reached my car. My back felt
dry, sheltered by the G Pack, and I felt I had good ventilation.
Interestingly, while I did not plan to test the water resistance of the pack during
run, I found water beaded up on the outside of the pack, and the poorly
protected contents of the mesh pocket were wet to damp, while the inside of the pack
itself was dry. I will probably want to explore water resistance more before
the Long Term Report is due. I generally plan to use at least a plastic trash
bag as a cover, but after experiencing other packs having material that
seemed to absorb and hold water, I was delighted to find there is at least some
repelling of water here.
I had some concerns as to whether or not the fit of the curved shoulder
straps would awaken my past problems with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. So far, this
has not been a problem. I will continue to try to be aware of this as a past
issue for me, and also try to remember the exercises prescribed with the first
This is my first experience with a pack mainly constructed of silnylon. I
was concerned that stuffing the pack with the Bearikade, then crashing through
underbrush, packing and unpacking, and just hauling it around would take a toll
on the pack. A store clerk remarked that it didn't look like it would last
long. I thought I spotted a wear area from the lightweight canister, but it
proved to be a dust imprint. I can find no damage to the seams from stuffing
the pack or tears of abrasions from tree limbs and brush. I really expected
some wear after the water forced bushwhacking, at least. The G Pack, so far,
I've heard some comments about the front "bucket" pocket. Some people
question why design one large wrap around pocket, rather than three smaller ones?
Also, I saw a question about whether or not items fall out of this large
pocket. My take was the bucket was different, rather than bad or good. An
advantage is the large pocket allows a wider range of items to be stored. Also, a
damp fly has more room to spread out for drying. I can fit a reflective pad for
my hammock in it, freeing interior pack space for other items. Because there
are two straps that cross the bucket pocket, left and right of center, there
is a system for cinching available to allow some separation of items, in
addition to supporting the pocket. The top edge of the "bucket" is elasticized and
there is a third strap that buckles into the top of the pack and both cinches
the pack length and supports the top center of the pocket. I didn't have a
problem with anything falling out, and the side straps effectively corralled a
spare water bottle stowed in what effectively becomes a side mesh pocket.
Likes V. Dislikes:
Lightness V. Strength
Top Loader (I need to get over this, my problem, after being spoiled by a
panel style pack)
Lots of Straps (Something else I need to adjust to. The straps help with
the compression, strength, and stability. These features can be especially
important when loaded up for a long haul between resupply points and traversing
Awkward to pack with a Bearikade. (But it can be done, and I couldn't
get the Bearikade to fit or be comfortable at all using some of my other packs.)
There isn't anything I truly dislike, so far. The G Pack is just different
from what I'm used to, something that can be intriguing. I'll know before the
end of summer about other issues, like how I adjust to it on extended hikes,
how it smells, and how quickly I can pack it up with more practice.
Continuing Test Plans:
My school job will soon be over for the summer, and our weather can't stay
bad forever. I expect to continue with day hikes plus several treks lasting
between three days and a week in the interval of June to September. We have
three trails of over 90 miles (145 km) within a three hour or less drive in
Massachusetts. I will be looking for durability, comfort over longer hauls, water
resistance, and pack stench or, preferably, lack thereof, in the summer heat.
I also will be developing a personal system of faster loading with the animal
resistant canisters. Canisters are more difficult to work around than a nylon
Again, thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and to Gregory Mountain Products for
this testing opportunity.
Pre-test Background, (repeated from the Initial Report):
This pack has a fixed suspension, making absolute fit critical. Wayne
Gregory, president of Gregory Mountain Products, insisted on personally speaking to
each tester to insure proper fit. Well, I had to be the fly in the ointment.
With telephone coaching from Wayne, my husband determined my torso length as
17 1/2 in (.44 m). That would correspond to a size small pack. That is what
I first received. It didn't fit, so I took it to a friendly Gregory
retailer. An associate there agreed that the pack didn't fit me, and kindly
me with the appropriate Gregory fitting device. He measured 17 in. We
located a medium Gregory pack in another style that seemed too big in torso fit,
but, he was able to adjust the length so the harness and pack to fit me. Because
Wayne, like many other manufacturers, was at the big Outdoor Retailers show
around the end of January, I wasn't able to speak to him again until early
February. He preferred sending me a size medium G Pack to having me bow out of
the test, or having me try to do bit of surgery and attempt to alter the
backpack. Unfortunately, that delayed my testing until they received a new shipment
of packs from overseas. My replacement pack, size medium, arrived here about
March 20, 2003.
The up side of all of this is an opportunity to increase the knowledge base
for Gregory Mountain Products. With a fixed suspension system, and three pack
sizes available, the torso match was judged to be critical. Then I came
along. I happen to be big boned and broad in both the hips and shoulders. It
isn't practical to sell these as custom packs, with harnesses matched to
individuals. Will the person whose torso measured for a small, but doesn't fit the
harness, be comfortable in a medium? Will factoring in the girth of hips and
shoulders be needed in future fittings? Can a torso length be matched with
weight and predictions made on fit? Does spine compression that is part of the
aging process coupled with two blown discs factor in to a problematic fit? It
seems that I may be able to be a part of that determination. At any rate,
perhaps starting with a torso measurement, and then trying on backpacks, is the
best short term answer.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Looks good to me. Please upload.
I use MS Word to check through the docs. As for "underbrush"
it has it as one word. As for the lowercase lb or uppercase, I don't
really take note of that becuase the reader will know what you mean
regardless and that's all that's important.
The comma stuff is all just suggestions. They are kind of a peronal
pet-peeve with me so I'm always watching out for them, expecially in
my own reports.
Jamie D. in AZ
--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, rosaleen43@a... wrote:
> Big OOPS!
> Sent this to BPL last night. I was probably thinking of the next
three things on my to do list, as usual.
> No worries over the wait. I'm just glad to get it in today, Sunday.
> I appreciate your thoroughness. It sure beats an edit here, then,
a few days later, an edit there.
> I caught and already changed a few things when I saw my report
posted to the list. They kind of screamed at me, like missing one
Centigrade measurement and adding a section title. Some edits I
thought were more style than content or fault related, but most I
agreed with and used as written.
> Two points that continue to be sticky: Hyphenated words and
measurements: MS Windows didn't flag words such as underbrush OR
under-brush. Running the report through the spelling checker on AOL
E-mail, not only flagged ALL hyphenated words, but also all the
Imperial measurements abbreviated as lower case letters. Such lb
should be LB, according to this format. Of course, in the stone age,
while I was learning, it was lb(PERIOD), or whatever the unit was.
It seems to depend on which manual for writers one uses. These are
among horses we beat before you joined, I suspect. I'm bowing to
what the moderator group has posted on the BGT converter for our
reports. If I turn in a document to my school or some college, I'll
check which book they seem to be using. 8-)
> Thanks again,