Backpacking is well my favourite pastime, whether or not it’s a single night time within the woods or a 2,600 mile thru-hike. It’s the greatest feeling to hold every part it’s essential to survive in your again then stroll out into the wilderness. Alongside the way in which you might be at all times sure to see and expertise some fairly superb issues.
Your backpack is arguably an important piece of drugs to think about when making ready on your backpacking journey. It’s your contact level to the remainder of your stuff throughout your whole journey. I’ve had the pleasure of attempting numerous packs and am fairly choosy in the case of what I like and don’t like.
When selecting a pack for backpacking journeys you will need to have your entire different gear in thoughts. As soon as you realize what sort of gear you might have, or wish to spend money on, you’ll understand how a lot area you want, how light-weight you need your pack to be, and what small options will work greatest together with your package.
That is my Gregory Katmai evaluate. I examined the 55L pack, nevertheless it additionally is available in a 65L regular and plus size. I’ll begin by saying that the Katmai was a pleasing shock! Right here’s what I assumed.
Gregory Katmai Evaluate Abstract
Gregory is a family identify in the case of backpacks. They try to make packs which might be “worn not carried,” they usually do that by way of revolutionary chassis methods that work together with your physique as you carry the pack versus towards it.
Gregory, together with many of the out of doors gear trade, has begun to position a larger emphasis on sustainability. They’ve an extensive pack repair program to assist maintain packs from getting thrown away. In case your pack shouldn’t be repairable on the finish of its life, Gregory recycles or repurposes varied parts of the pack!
The Katmai (men’s) and Kalmia (women’s) are two of Gregory’s greatest baggage. The Gregory Katmai is a traditional backpacking backpack with high, backside, and aspect entry factors. It boasts many attachment factors and pockets for gear, in addition to loads of storage on your water.
Since its inception, this bag has change into a staple for a lot of thru-hikers. It has many thoughtfully-designed options that make it stand out from fundamental packs that fall in the identical worth vary.
This bag evaluate offers you the whole breakdown of the Gregory Katmai Backpacking Bag!
Gregory Katmai Execs and Cons
- The suspended mesh again panel paired with auto-rotating shoulder straps, known as the FreeFloat 360 system, is comfy and ergonomic. An everyday backpack is fastened in place and strikes wherever your physique strikes. With the FreeFloat 360, the pack strikes by itself so it really works with you to remain balanced.
- The group and pockets on this pack are nice. I like the skin mesh and zippered pockets that give a number of easy-access storage choices whereas mountain climbing and touring.
- The Katmai comes with a rain fly and has a pleasant storage place for it to go when not in use.
- The stowable water bottle holder on the proper aspect of the pack, though a novel and intuitive characteristic, sort of sits proper the place your elbow goes. I hit my elbow many instances whereas testing the pack. It additionally isn’t fairly tight sufficient to carry a slim water bottle, so it might transfer round or fall out if you bend over. It was actually designed for a full-sized Nalgene bottle.
- This pack by itself weighs 4.68 lbs. I’ve spent a very long time refining my backpacking gear. I attempt to get my pack as gentle as potential whereas mountain climbing longer distances, and over 4 lbs is fairly heavy for a pack. As an illustration, the Osprey Exos I carried on the Pacific Crest Path weighs about 2.5 lbs.
Gregory Katmai 55L Backpack Specs
|Dimensions||28.7″ x 12.6″ x 16.5″|
|Max Carry Weight||45 lbs|
Is the Gregory Katmai Proper for You?
The Gregory Katmai is an superior pack for anybody seeking to get into backpacking. Though it weighs fairly a bit for a backpacking pack, it’s nice in the event you don’t fairly have all of your gear dialed in but.
The pack has loads of quantity to strive totally different gear setups and can be utilized as each a journey pack in addition to a trekking pack.
The FreeFloat 360 suspension system is nice as a result of it means that you can carry heavier stuff with out sacrificing consolation. The best way the pack strikes in your again is also nice to assist make a heavy load really feel lighter.
The Katmai pack is particularly made for males’s our bodies, and Gregory’s Kalmia Backpack is the sister pack constructed for ladies.
This pack shouldn’t be nicely suited to somebody on the lookout for an Ultralight pack. In case your gear is generally light-weight, you’ll most likely discover that you’ve got lots of additional room on this pack and will look to get a smaller, extra compact bag within the 2 lbs vary.
Gregory Katmai Options
Backpack Entry Factors
The Gregory Katmai permits entry into the primary compartment from three zippered entry factors.
It’s arrange like a typical top-loading pack with a drawstring closure and a lid pocket. That is fairly commonplace for many backpacking packs. Typically this may be irritating in the event you’re attempting to get to a chunk of drugs not positioned on the high of the bag, however that’s the place the opposite entry factors come into play (which many different baggage don’t supply)!
It has a zippered backside sleeping bag compartment, which has a detachable nylon divider that provides you the choice to separate the gadgets on the very backside from the remainder of the pack.
Then there’s a nifty side-access zipper that permits you fast and quick access to the within of your pack. It is a frequent characteristic for digicam backpacks in order that photographers have entry to their gear at a second’s discover, and it’s a welcome addition to a backpacking bag!
A aspect entry pocket means you might have one other methodology of reaching your gear so that you don’t must utterly unload your pack to get to issues deeper down or pressed towards the perimeters (I’ve skilled this difficulty with previous backpacks I’ve owned and it’s a complete ache)!
Subsequent to the aspect entry pocket there’s a stealthy one-hand water bottle holder that may be tucked away when not in use. I touched on this earlier, however one difficulty I’ve with this design, though I needed to like it, was that I typically hit my elbow on my water bottle when mountain climbing! I want it was positioned elsewhere so it was extra comfy!
On the bag’s different aspect is a stretchy mesh pocket nice for snacks, poles, a rain jacket, or one other water bottle. The entrance outdoors of the pack has a stretchy mesh pouch and a small zippered pocket.
On each side of the pack, there are two adjustable buckled straps to connect issues to the aspect of the pack in addition to compress the pack if you’re not carrying as cumbersome of a load.
The underside of the pack additionally has buckled compression straps to connect a tent or sleeping pad. There are additionally two spots on the pack to connect trekking poles or an ice axe for winter adventures. A lot of these straps are important to a great backpacking pack!
The lid pocket consists of three totally different compartments. The smallest one on the highest holds very small issues like keys, a pockets, and sun shades. The principle pocket within the lid is nice for straightforward entry to issues like lunch or snacks.
Trying Inside The Pack
Once you open the highest, you’ll discover a pocket on the underside on the lid the place Gregory has positioned the bag’s rainfly. I opted to truly transfer this to a different place within the bag and use this pocket as a substitute for my small toiletries.
Within the bag, there’s a sleeve for a hydration bladder with a SpeedClip. Until you already personal one, I sometimes suggest getting the hydration bladder made by the corporate of the bag you’re utilizing. On this occasion, Gregory’s 3D Hydro 3L Reservoir.
One in every of my favourite comfort options of this pack is the outsized hip belt pockets. All sides can simply match regular-sized iPhones and Android telephones. The opposite pocket is ideal for fast snacks or your headlamp.
I really like having huge hip belt pockets in order that I don’t must take my pack off to get snacks or pull out my telephone to take an image whereas on the path.
The harness of a pack is the entire issues that contact your physique whereas carrying it. This consists of the shoulder straps, the hip belt, the sternum strap, and the again panel.
That is most likely one of the best a part of the Katmai. They built-in a FreeFloat 360 system with a suspended mesh again panel and auto-rotating shoulder straps.
The FreeFloat 360 is fairly superior. Most corporations sew their shoulder straps proper onto the physique of the pack, however Gregory attaches the straps with rivets that enable them to rotate as your physique strikes aspect to aspect.
I’ve carried lots of packs and was very excited after I had this loaded up for my first hike. It made the pack really feel a little bit lighter and the way in which it moved together with your physique made it really feel extra like an extension of your physique versus a static object in your again.
The shoulder straps themselves are thick and nicely padded. Gregory made them rounded on the perimeters in order that they don’t dig into your shoulders.
The precise again panel is a suspended mesh panel on an aluminum body with fiberglass horizontal stays. I like mesh again panels as a result of they conform to your again completely versus a conventional pack that sits stiff proper up towards your again. It additionally permits air to stream between the bag and your again, serving to maintain you cool and fewer sweaty.
Gregory calls the hip belt their 3D Consolation Cradle. The again panel extends down into the hip belt making a seamless mesh panel that hugs you all the way in which round your hips. It’s padded and sits actually properly in your hips.
For backpacking, this type of hip belt is superb. It feels safe round your physique and does a great job of taking weight off of your shoulders. Since it’s one mesh panel all the way in which down the again there isn’t any place the place the pack can pinch you.
The design of the hip belt makes it so you may’t take away it. This may be problematic when taking a pack like this on airplanes, as a result of it doesn’t tuck out of the way in which. I’ve tried to place an Osprey Atmos (related hip belt design) into an overhead storage bin for a couple of minutes earlier than I had to surrender and gate-check the bag.
The final piece of the harness is the chest strap. It strikes up and all the way down to get the strap in the proper place and has an built-in whistle in case of emergency.
For me, one of the vital enjoyable points of backpacking is tetrising your entire gear into your pack. The pockets on any pack are one of the vital necessary issues to think about when shopping for a backpacking bag.
The Katmai has seven exterior pockets—nicely, seven and a half, in the event you depend the tuck-away water bottle holder.
The lid of the pack has two outdoors pockets. The smaller one on high is for gadgets like keys, pockets, and permits. The principle lid pocket is sweet and roomy, though the rain cowl saved within the pocket beneath the lid sort of eats into this area.
They put a zippered pocket on the very outdoors of the pack with a mesh sleeve inside. I like this pocket as a result of it’s very accessible and massive—I ended up placing my camp footwear on this pocket.
On high of that pocket, Gregory put a small stretchy mesh pouch. I really like this sort of pocket as a result of they’re so handy to place no matter you need in it and the stretchy mesh holds every part in.
I already touched on the 2 hip belt pockets however I’ll say once more this stuff are nice! They’re so huge you may match every kind of nicknacks in them.
The Katmai is an enormous pack, making group all that extra necessary. Gregory does a great job with the entire totally different pockets on the skin of the pack that allow you to maintain necessary gadgets out of the litter of the primary compartment.
The underside entry for the sleeping bag is nice and the zippered aspect entry additionally helps to not must dump the contents of your pack out.
I reside in bear nation and plenty of of my favourite locations to go backpacking require me to hold a bear canister. As a lot as I hate attempting to suit it into my pack (they’re heavy and hulking) the Katmai can match one of many huge dimension canisters simply. You’ll be able to retailer it in the primary compartment or match it beneath the lid pocket and safe it down.
Gregory Katmai Evaluate
Supplies: What’s It Made Of?
The Gregory Katmai shouldn’t be constructed from typical backpacking backpack supplies. The supplies used within the Katmai are a nod to Gregory’s dedication to sustainability.
The principle pack physique is manufactured from a mixture of 210D nylon and 420D nylon. Of the 210D nylon, 40 p.c is recycled nylon. The 410D nylon is 45 p.c recycled. The liner of the pack is a 135D polyester that’s 45 p.c post-consumer recycled as nicely.
The body is constructed from aluminum with horizontal fiberglass that stays for anti-barreling.
The again panel and the straps are made with Polygien Keep Recent Know-how, an odor management air mesh remedy that inhibits the expansion of odor inflicting micro organism. Though the mesh helps to maintain you again much less sweaty whereas backpacking, your again nonetheless does sweat and that is superb to maintain the again panel of your pack stink-free.
Gregory topped all of it off with a PFC-free DWR coating. With time, the DWR (sturdy water repellent) coating wears off your bag. Conventional DWR finishes are petroleum-based, and once they rub off resulting from rain, they get into the watersheds and might hurt vegetation and animals.
Nevertheless, the PCF-free coating used on the Katmai don’t include environmentally dangerous chemical substances!
Consolation: Is It Straightforward To Put on?
The Katmai is a really comfy pack to put on. The suspended mesh again panel conforms to the form of your again, and the auto-rotating shoulder straps maintain the pack balanced in your again and assist stabilize you whereas strolling. The hip belt hugs your hips making it really feel like an extension of your physique.
I’ve been carrying Ultralight packs just like the ULA Circut for the previous few years and I forgot what it was like to hold a totally padded full-suspension backpacking pack! I actually loved it.
The Gregory Katmai is a strong pack when it comes to workmanship. Gregory used high-quality supplies for every part on the pack.
The buckles, the straps, and the zippers all appear very sturdy. Gregory paid consideration to the little particulars and put the thicker materials at high-stress factors on the pack.
General I really feel like this pack will final me a very long time!
Type & Aesthetics
The evaluate wouldn’t be full with out speaking in regards to the aesthetics of the pack.
The Gregory Katmai is available in 2 colours: Volcano Black and Blaze Blue. The blue is a brighter, enjoyable choice, whereas the black is sleeker and blends in a little bit extra.
The Katmai seems clear but rugged. The compression straps and the trekking pole and ice axe loops make it appear to be a backpacking pack.
I had the Volcano Black shade for this evaluate, and I actually just like the purple inside! It sort of made the bag pop a little bit extra when the pockets have been opened up.
Gregory Katmai Equipment
There are a number of equipment that you simply may wish to purchase alongside the Katmai. I at all times suggest getting equipment from the identical model as your pack if potential, so listed here are my high picks from Gregory!
Gregory 3D Hydro 3L Reservoir
The Katmai comes with a SpeedClip and a compartment for a water bladder. This Gregory branded bladder matches completely into the pack but in addition comes with Gregory’s fast connection methodology. If you’re going to be utilizing a water bladder whereas backpacking, the Gergory branded ones offers you one of the best match within the Gregory pack.
Gregory Nano 14
The Katmai comes geared up with NANO join, a system of inside toggles that means that you can connect the Gregory Nano 14 to the within of the pack.
The Gregory Nano is a small easy drawstring closure pack that’s excellent as a small day pack. Whether or not you’re strolling round a brand new metropolis or bagging a fast peak out of your campsite, it’s at all times good to have a smaller bag so that you don’t have to hold your 55L pack round for a shorter journey.
Gregory Katmai Alternate options
Listed here are a number of product choices which might be much like the Gregory Katmai 55L, and the way they form up as compared.
Mountain Hardware PCT 55L Backpack
This heavy responsibility backpacking bag is one other nice 55L pack. Roughly the identical weight and dimension, this pack serves related features to the Gregory Katmai, however presents a bit totally different group.
I really like that this backpack has two massive similar aspect pockets which might be excellent for water bottles. They’ve a high and aspect entry choice, which is extraordinarily handy for sliding out your water bottle.
A full trampoline backpanel supplies assist and air flow, and the hip belt offers additional stabilization to your pack.
This pack has a very distinctive entrance compartment that’s virtually like a mini pack on high of the backpack. I like this concept as a result of you may put the entire stuff you want throughout the day on this entrance compartment so that you don’t must root round the primary compartment to search out these necessities.
It additionally has a backside entry level and sleeping bag storage space, however doesn’t have a aspect entry level just like the Katmai does, which is a bummer.
General it is a fairly related different to the Katmai with some design variations which might be as much as choice!
Deuter Aircontact Core 50 + 10 SL Pack
The Deuter Aircontact (men’s and women’s) is a smooth but purposeful bag that gives lots of nice options for a backpacking bag.
It is a base 50L bag that may go as much as 60L with its expandable collar on the primary compartment. It has a number of exterior straps to connect gear like trekking poles and a sleeping pad, and options elastic mesh aspect pockets for water bottles.
A entrance stretch pocket and high zip pocket present further group on your gadgets, nonetheless this one does present general much less pockets and group than the Katmai or PCT packs.
The entire straps are adjustable and constructed from comfy padded supplies, and over 50% of the pack’s materials is recycled!
General it is a nice newbie bag whereas determining your favourite gear, as you may develop it to suit extra in the event you want and fix issues to the skin of the bag.
Gregory Katmai FAQ
What Type of Guarantee Does Gregory Provide?
Gregory presents what they name the Gregory Lifetime Guarantee. It covers every part apart from regular put on and tear, unreasonable or abusive use, and improper cleansing or storage.
It’s a great, not nice guarantee. It primarily covers you if the workmanship or the supplies are faulty if you get your pack. In comparison with the All-Mighty assure (they are going to change or restore and pack for any motive from any period) that Osprey presents on their packs, this isn’t a terrific guarantee.
Does Gregory Ship Internationally?
Gregory ships to in all places in the US, Alaska and Hawaii included, in addition to to Puerto Rico and Guam. Right now Gregory doesn’t ship internationally. Nevertheless, many retailers carry Gregory each on-line and in brick-and-mortar shops.
Gregory Katmai Evaluate Abstract: Closing Ideas
The Gregory Katmai was a really nice shock. The pack is nicely thought out and ideal in the event you’re on the lookout for a pack that you could possibly simply as simply tackle a backcountry journey as they might on a tour of Europe.
The FreeFloat 360 is the true better part for me. The consolation on the again and the way in which it strikes together with your physique are superior and I liked mountain climbing with it!
In case you are on the lookout for an Ultralight pack or one thing to tackle a thru-hike, I might look elsewhere. The Katmai is just a bit too heavy—nevertheless it’s nice for shorter backpacking journeys.
General I preferred this pack. The Katmai is a good choice for individuals simply beginning on their backpacking and touring journeys. So have enjoyable, and keep in mind to at all times go away it higher than you discovered it!
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