Backpack Choice Dilemma

Hi guys!

Hope someone can share some input or experience here.

I am trying to take advantage of some price cuts for Black Friday to upgrade my old, heavy but trustworthy backpack. After weeks of reading up I have narrowed it down to the following three options (in my budget). My main aim for the pack is to cut weight (my current pack being 2.4kg and then durability). Just can’t seem to make up my mind. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

**Naturehike 65 + 5l **
Gregory Amber 60
Osprey Renn 65

There is also the Gregory Stout 65 but not sure if I should rather stick with a female specific design. I’ve not bought a female specific backpack before so would not know if it is going to make a massive difference. I guess as long as the torso is adjustable.

If it was purely a price thing I would not hesitate and go with the Naturehike but I am a bit worried about durability and longevity but maybe I shouldn’t be?

Any info or opinions would be gladly appreciated :slight_smile:

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The Osprey and Gregory packs are both far superior to that Naturehike pack.

The Osprey has no mesh stuff-pouch on the outside, but it does have very convenient forward-facing openings on the side mesh pouches which allows you to access a water bottle without taking your pack off. The Osprey also has a trampoline style mesh-back, which is very comfortable. Here’s a very thorough review: https://sectionhiker.com/osprey-renn-50-womens-backpack-review/

Other than that, they’re both great packs. The main benefits of the female fit are largely determined by the angle and height of one’s hipbones, the length of one’s back and the curve of the shoulder straps along the chest area. My wife love’s her Gregory Jade pack.

In conclusion, you can’t go wrong with either the Osprey or the Gregory packs.

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Amazing, thank you Arno!

I will read the review on the renn you forwarded. Thanks! The easy access to ones water bottle is a big plus and I think both also have the hydration pockets…

I will keep an eye out on of the two this coming weekend and hopefully it will be my pack for next weekends Cederberg trip.

Thanks again :slight_smile:

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@TrailHunter Here’s my 2c, having just gone through a long backpacking-purchase-research spiral 3months back…

Both are good packs. But I’d favour the Gregory if I were in your shoes. Reasons:
Floating lid. (great for adding bulky stuff if needs be)
Wishbone frame. (better distribution of weight, better balance)
Greater max carry capacity. (23kg vs 18kg-Renn)

The Osprey’s suspension system will be ‘cooler’ on your back though.

Other than that they’re quite similar. Raincover incl. Weight similar. Quality similar. Fabrics not far off, durability. Gregory pack I feel will give you more for same price-zone.

Perhaps pop into a shop near you and stuff a Renn full of 9-15kg of stuff, or what you’d typically carry (plus emergency extra) and see how it feels, for my part this was the ultimate test, though I overdid it with weight of course, but soon found which packs were ‘saggy’ or ‘mushy’. Gregory I think is mail order only.

hope that helps, may the force be with you…

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Hi Carl

Thank you so much for your input. Backpack and tent choices seem to take an insane amount of me going down a google rabbit hole…

With this thread I have at least ruled out my third option and know that between the Osprey and Gregory I will make a solid choice.

I have to say with what I’ve read the Gregory seems to be really well thought out and designed, I didn’t know about the added max carry capacity which will come in super handy for me so that is a biggy. Thanks! The Renn does seem to have better reviews overall.

I am on my way today to try on a Renn :slight_smile: Unfortunately Gregory is only online in RSA.

Thanks again, Carl :slight_smile:

I have guest quarters in the rabbit hole. It’s toasty in amongst my fantasies but the view’s a bit limited…

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If you can survive without hipbelt pockets the Osprey Eyja 58 has a really good reputation, and friends I know that own one are very happy. Female specific fit, Osprey’s warranty is pretty great, side accessible water bottle pockets, top brain if you want it, external frame and a great balance of weight to toughness.

In the Eyja’s favor, I’m pro easily accessible stretchy front pockets, in fact I couldn’t imagine having a bag without one at this point. These can never be too large :grimacing: but can also be small enough to be useless or just enough of a pain to access that it isn’t worth it.

The Gregory looks interesting, do the volumes match up with the gear you carry? I would double check on the Gregory site if they are still selling the model, I read somewhere the other day that they had discontinued a set around durability issues with the hipbelts, but can’t find the link now so essentially rumor.

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Hi :slight_smile:

SO my old heavy trustworthy backpack I am upgrading now didn’t have any hip belt pockets and I have to say I was excited with the idea of finally getting a bag with hip belt pockets. Done are the days of trying to find ways of strapping and connecting my phone pouch and small 35mm camera :smiley: So hip belt pockets is a tick for me! The Eyja looks great though! And again, Osprey as a brand seem to be solid and everyone who has one seem to be happy.

I have never actually seen a Gregory pack up close so if I go with that model then I am definitely taking a chance.

Volume wise I am looking for 60 - 65l range since this bag will mostly be used for 2 - 6 day trips with lightweight tent included.

I will go read up a bit about the hip-belt issues, see if I find anything. Thanks for the note one that! :slight_smile:

Hey there Cecilia,

Definitely learned something from this thread, also haven’t ever seen a Gregory pack up close, so would very much like to hear your verdict if you do decide to go with it.

On pack size though, I have a Venus hiking pack from First Ascent, which is 55 + 10 L (but looks like they have a larger one in the Jupiter which is 65 + 10L) and would highly recommend. It comes with zip secured hip belt pockets, which easily fits my iPhone 8 Plus - so should fit your 35mm camera.

Good luck!

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Hey :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for the response. I was aiming to reply to this thread somewhere next week after testing out the new pack, will definitely still do that.

After much consideration and back and forth I ended up going for Gregory Stout 65. The Osprey Renn looked amazing and the reviews seem stellar, the pack it self when going to try it on just didn’t sit 100% with me, going to sound strange but it felt like I wanted something more solid. I wonder if it might have something to do with the max carry capacity that @Carl was talking about earlier in the thread. It seems like the Renn is an amazing pack and could see the comfort benefit but not for me.

I also looked at Capestorm, Kway and the Volt 65. Also all have some really cool features. I love the Kway’s side pockets and the Capesorm overland seems really durable.

The reason for the Stout 65 vs the Amber 60 was purely capacity. The extra 5l will come in handy for longer trips. And the reason for going for the Stout and not the female specific Jade was carry capacity and that I don’t think the difference between the freefloat and trailflex suspension was too big. At least what I have read up on. Again, I have also not seen or actually fitted a Gregory pack…

I guess I am going with my gut here so I will see if I am right by the end of the weekend :slight_smile:

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Looking forward to hearing the feedback :wink: :+1:

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I think you made a good choice Trailhunter, I actually started eyeing out the Stout myself as a stellar option, of course, I also like to think of it’s name in both English and Afrikaans, don’t know which I prefer.
Look forward to hearing feedback too…

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It’s definitely most of the answer. I’ve found too that those with the ‘trampoline’ type carry started feeling mushy as the weight increased, even something like the Osprey Aether AG range, which should handle up to 27kg. They bounce. Some folks like that. So, comes down to structure too. Stout has a wishbone style frame with a cross stay, should be nice and solid.

…as you can see, I’m overweened on arcane details, we’re all probably heading into the world of “one pillow’s not enough but two are too many”… :grin:

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Just a quick update on my new Gregory Stout 65 backpack (@carl from now on my pack will definitely be called Afr. STOUT and not stout).

Off the bat the pack has a good balance between being lightweight but still feeling sturdy. With a couple of easy adjustments the pack was fitting snug and super comfortable. With all the lovely features, hip belt pockets and handy sleeping bag compartment to help keep things organised, handy hydration sleeve and very spacious upper (inner and outer compartment). I ended up using the front mesh pocket a lot and the side water bottle holders are easy to reach and one can tighten your bottle in there so that it doesn’t slip out. The pack felt very sturdy (which I was looking for) and the quality of the material, so far, seems hardy. We did a lot of bushwhacking down some off the beaten track and the bag doesn’t have one mark or scratch on (can’t say the same for my bed roll though). All the straps are super easy to adjust while it’s on and back frame is nice and ventilated.

Gregory’s service was also amazing, they went out of their way to get the pack to me before my trip which was much appreciated.

If I have any updates on the bag on longer upcoming hikes I will update here :slight_smile:

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@TrailHunter
After reading the article about Gregory packs I bought the Jade 63.
I love my pack.
Best decision ever!

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Lots of rabbit holes…

Im re-reading and re-assessing my options for an upgrade. Weight is important, comfort important and durability important. reliability/warranty I guess are laborious down here in SA.

Im down to three packs:
Osprey Aether 70 - 2.7 kg
Gregory Stout 60 - 1.6 kg
Granite Gear Blaze 60. - 1.4kg
Im not convinced yet that Im ready for a backpack without a separate sleeping bag accessed compartment (Granite Gear). I get that removing the zip here saves weight.
But it means I need to redefine my packing system and Im not sure Im ready for that.
All three fill the requirements and thrash my existing pack, all three are expensive, and should last long.
Yes point taken loosing 1 kg off me is easier than 1 kg off equipment (theoretically)

I like the idea of the after support for Osprey and supposedly its the most comfortable, but thats a Kg heavier, so my thoughts are whilst Im here go for the lightest…

A few cents…
Just try on the Aether 1st. I get the impression you carry a hefty load from time to time and when I burrowed into the pack tunnel I found that even though Osprey call it a “load hauler” (Americans love their little tag lines…“your go to pack for load hauling and those long weeks pathfinding in the back country” may the gods have mercy on us all) it was very mushy and wobbly on my back once I stuffed it to over 20kg. Now I did that as an experiment as I rarely go over 17kg, still, it was to check stability.
Word on the street is the AG system is being discontinued and that it’s very squeaky when you walk. Each step. This mostly for the Atmos. Check it out. Would drive me mad.

I was at City Rock this last weekend looking at Vaude sleeping bags and had a brief look at the their Vaude Astrum Evo 60+10 pack. Looked burly and sweetly priced too. Online at Mountain Mail Order.

Have definitely hiked with a few people who have complained about never being able to locate and stop whatever was squeaking in the bigger Osprey packs.

I was feeling the lack of organization in the mornings on a single volume pack doing the Fish the other day, and then had several zippers die on things due to the sand and was appreciative of not having any on my bag again :sweat_smile:

Starting to wonder if the adjust-ability in the Ospreys, which is fantastic, is also their achilles heel in some way. For everyone I meet who has theirs setup perfectly and is beaming, there is someone who can’t get it right and just seems overwhelmed by all of the things you can change. Feels like there might be a contradiction inherent in these really rigid and overbuilt frames having movement and adjust-ability built into them all over the place. Tough one to balance, don’t envy the designers!

The three pack options are quite different, and hence your priorities would inform the choice. If you can get it, in my opinion the Granite Gear is a no brainer, as it is top-rated internationally and its pack weight to max load capacity is great (1.4kg and 22kg). You have likely done your research, so I will not spell out in detail the differences. As usual, I recommend fitting on the packs in-store and go with the one that looks, feels and smells right.

But in short: Osprey is most comfy and has max load of 27kg, likely strikes a good balance with the number of zips and compartments and buckles. But it is heavy. Gregory has too many zips and compartments for me, but some people love it (it has a u-zip that opens like a suitcase). If you can handle the max load capacity of 18kg, the Gregory is likely the Goldilocks option. Granite Gear is top-rated internationally and wins in most metrics (that I value), but you might not get good service/repairs as they arent present in SA. And it doesnt have as many zips etc.

For the record once again, I own an Osprey Aether 60 AG and it is the most comfortable thing - it really shines for heavier loads and feels like a limousine. No regrets. Yet, I bought another pack yesterday, the Osprey Exos 48, as my pack weight has come down a lot over the years and I feel this suits me better. Going to test it out on a 7 day hike starting tomorrow (Rim of Africa Traverse 3). But I am keeping the Aether AG for heavier loads (eg 4 season trips where I carry 2 sleeping bags and a heavy tent).

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I honestly think that weight saving in the pack you use is abit of a waste. Rather try and save weight elsewhere. Sure, you can spend a load on the granite gear, but it’s only made of 100 and 210 denier materials. In my opinion, not durable enough to be a long lasting durable option. In my experience 210 and 400D is the minimum fro durability.

Just my 10c

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