The driving philosophy behind Gregory rucksacks is the same today as it was when Wayne Gregory made his first product in the late 1970s: the pack must maintain its comfort and stability by effectively transferring the weight onto the hips. The latest offering from Gregory uses the extremely well-contoured Response LT back system to transfer the load to the hipbelt and the Trail Smart Packing system, to help you organise your gear better. On paper the Contour 60 looks ideal for a wide variety of hill and mountain treks.
The highlight of this pack is the Response back system, which perfectly rests against the torso thanks to its contoured shape, made from four layers of bonded material, called Monobond Architecture. This contouring is also evident on the hipbelt and to a less extent on the shoulder straps. In addition the hipbelt fins rotate independently from one another, which allows them to more readily adjust to your body shape. The body contact areas are covered in mesh and sculptured at the waist to allow air to flow around the lower back more easily. Finally there is a wire frame inside the pack, to transfer the load to the hipbelt.
Get the Gregory Contour 60 on your back, and the quality of fit and comfort provided by the Response back system is instantly pleasing: it just feels right as soon as you put it on. It’s also a narrow pack, so there is good freedom of movement for your arms when using trekking poles or just scrambling around.
Apart from being comfortable and stable on your back, a rucksack also needs to provide an efficient means of storing gear while maintaining access to it during your trip. The Gregory Contour 60 boasts a Trail Smart packing system, which comprises of three sections: the main compartment, called the Camp section; a large front pocket, called the Trail section; and some easy-access hip pockets, called the On-The-Go section. You get a front zip for entry to the main compartment, and the two side stash pockets can be combined with the compression straps to attach trekking poles to the side of the body. The top opening of the pack is covered by a very large lid with a huge external pocket that’s entered via a zip, and a roll-top design closure. This all works really well and means that most people will be able to find a way to stash their gear effectively and to preference.
There are some niggles, though. The lid is extendible vertically and the effect of this is that if you store something heavy in the large lid pocket, the lid can drop forward over the pack if the main body isn’t fully loaded. This is a common drawback of many packs and something I personally don’t like as inevitably the lid drops forward when you least want it to, and can allow rain to enter the main compartment.
In terms of weight there are 60 litre rucksacks that are lighter than the Gregory Contour 60, but they don’t boast its features. In terms of cash, the Contour 60’s price tag of £175 is comparable with other fully featured packs of this capacity, but again there are simpler sacks at a lower price.
Capacity 60 litres
Fabric 420D and 100D Robic
Back lengths S, M, L (men’s Contour); XS, S, M (women’s Cairn)
The Gregory Contour 60 certainly raises the bar in terms of comfort and functionality, but there are lower-priced and lighter options out there, making this an excellent rucksack but not necessarily the first choice for everyone.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine April 2013