Part of Gregory’s Backpacking range, the Baltoro is a big pack with a relatively low weight (2.66kg). The innovative dynamic back system has independently rotating hipbelts that move with your body to allow a natural walking motion. With plenty of pockets and easy main body access from the top, bottom and front, it’s well designed for backpacking.
The Baltoro sports numerous pockets, from a large one on the lid to a foldaway water bottle pocket on the side (which, happily, is accessible when walking), two side pockets on either side, a large pocket on the front, and two snack pockets on the hipbelt. All sport stiff, water-resistant zips, but given the non-waterproof fabric and unsealed seams, it’ll still leak. The real news, though, is in the back system. Gregory’s Auto Fit Suspension (AFS) system is meant to move with your body, transferring weight to your hips without stifling your natural gait. The auto-fit waist belt pivots independently so the pack stays upright as you move, but it only takes a pull of the stabiliser straps to steady it up for rougher ground. It’s also available in three sizes.
On the hill
Sacks of this size are about carrying big, heavy loads in comfort, and in this respect the Baltoro excels. It allowed great freedom of movement, and I saved energy by not having to work so hard to keep stable. To say that this is a great carry is an understatement – it is one of the best on test. The glut of pockets were good for the many little things you take on a backpacking trip. I liked having snack access from the waistbelt pockets without having to remove the sack, and I liked being able to get into both the main body compartments without unpacking completely. What I also appreciated is that when not full, this pack compresses down superbly for a stable load whatever you have in it. Unfortunately, there is no rain cover. The fabric is also thinner than some others here, so it feels a touch insubstantial and flimsy. Still, that’s the trade-off for the lower weight.
Stated capacity 70 litres (unextended)
Trail tested capacity 85 litres
Back lengths S, M, L
Materials Double Diamond 210 ripstop nylon/630 HT nylon
Made in China
Stockists in the UK 30
Stockist details (01273) 487509; www.gregorypacks.com
Verdict: The Gregory Baltoro 70 is a great sack for multi-day UK use that offers a very comfortable way to carry heavy loads. Lots of pockets are great for organising gear, but the pack feels less substantial than others and you still need to buy a rain cover or use waterproof stuff sacks despite the water resistant fabric. It won ‘Best in Test’.
Review by Ben Winston
First published in Trail magazine April 2009