Backpack advice: yes/no to sleeping bag compartment

Hello :slight_smile:

Need advice for buying a new backpack. To simplify, after lots of research, have narrowed it down to:

  • Gregory Jade 53
  • Gregory Octal 55

Both look appealing, and love that the Jade is just over 1,5kg, and the Octal is even more appealing at 1kg. But my biggest concern with the Octal is the lack of a dedicated sleeping bag compartment in favour of the lighter weight.

I’m currently using an Osprey Sirrus 36, but need something with more space. Really love the fit and suspension, and suspect the Jade will fit similarly.

So despite the Sirrus’s size, packing is always simplified with the easy access to packing my sleeping bag in the zippered bottom compartment. I’m worried that I will miss having this feature on the Octal, even with the extra space. No separate compartment means that I’ll have to take everything out of my bag first before accessing it. Is this even something to worry about, or am I over thinking this?

I know the Osprey Eja/Exos also has no sleeping bag compartment. How important/relevant is it to have this feature?

Another concern with the Octal is how close it sits on the back. As someone who runs warm, I’m worried this might bother me on long hot days.

I guess the choice comes down to comfort vs light weight, but would appreciate any in put!

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…Not hard to over-think it, you’re not wanting to make a mistake-purchase and so infinite details boggle the brain. I suppose it ultimately comes down to what kind of hiker you are, though saving weight is always a plus…ie Are you the type who needs to carry as little as possible coz you’re clocking x many miles, logging it all, bagging peaks, crushing the trail etc, or are you on the other side of the spectrum, carrying steaks and taking a leisurely approach? Perhaps in the middle? If you’re moderate then take the moderate pack. I get the feeling that the weight shaving trend is run by reasonable folks who, on the one hand, have a practical and realistic approach driven by experience particular to their requirements and tolerance for suffering and, on the other hand, gear 'n gram obsessed ant-fuckers who all think Rambo is a wuss.

I find access to a pack helps with the enjoyment of being out and about. It means I don’t faff as much and pack less like I’m in a tetras competition. I also use the bottom access for a wet flysheet that can be pulled out and set up in the rain, leaving the rest of my gear inside. I notice the Jade also has a U-Zip access, nifty, Jade also seems to made of tougher material. Ultra-Lightweight packs have a tendency to die sooner.

Just reading your post shows you have more doubt over the Octal than the Jade. 1.5kg for a 53L pack is not bad at all. And, seems the Jade is more like what you’re used to. If what you’re doing works for you don’t shift unless you have to…though I’m not too sure why one would be a ‘cooler carry’ than the other; but then I have not studied them up close as you have.


In addition to the sleeping bag compartment, the Jade also has a U-zip which basically gives you access to all of the central contents of your bag. I absolutely love that feature on my Gregory Zulu.


Simple answer - go on a hike and unzip the compartment and see how it feels for you.
Your osprey is quite a bit smaller, so that might not provide you the solution.
I find the compartment better for stability and structure in the rucksac when its not full. Whereas you have the smaller pack so could take that instead.
Another lesser detail is putting a sleeping bag in the bottom and carrying someone off the trail works better when the sleeping bag doesn’t ride up - both minuscule and probably irrelevant points.

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My take (Having used neither of these packs, so with a grain of salt :sweat_smile:) is that I have never needed my sleeping bag in a rush. It comes out at the end of the day, normal last actually. So by the time I’m getting out a sleeping bag I have probably taken out my tent/mat/cook-kit/food and puffy. Which means my pack is 90% empty and it is not exactly hard to find. It also tends to go in firstish in the morning, need to get it out of the way so I can pack up the rest easier.

So from my perspective an extra pocket for it is just weight, a smaller/less flexible main compartment and another zip to fail. If they actually made them waterproof I could see it, but at the moment it strikes me as a heavy drybag.

But for context I’m a single compartment outside stretch pocket pack user, and that works for me but might not for you. But I wouldn’t let that be the deciding factor between packs personally.

Between those two pack, the Jade is gaining the extra weight by jumping up to far higher denier fabric, nice for the bottom. Which theoretically should last longer. I have seen some complaints about the hipbelt on the Octal tearing off, where as the Jade doesn’t seem attached in the same way.


Hey Arno, I’m curious, which size Zulu do you have?
(…many these Gregory packs are well thought out, I think superior to Osprey…)

I’ve got the 40L, which is perfect for long day hikes and light overnight missions, however, if you’re specifically looking for an overnight bag, go for the 55L. It has the forward-facing water bottle access and sleeping bag compartment, which adds a lot versatility.

Either way, EXTREMELY comfortable, brilliantly designed pack!