Is New Gregory Baltoro Backpack an Improvement?

As you probably know, Gregory Baltoro backpack series has been around for many years, and it has been updated many times in the past. The latest version is very different from the previous, but is it really improved?

In short, the new Baltoro packs have the following new features:

  1. The torso length is fully adjustable.
  2. The hip belt fins are also adjustable.
  3. The back panel is completely redesigned.
  4. The lid pockets are completely different.
  5. The hip belt pockets are larger.
  6. There is no rain cover (on some market areas).
  7. There is no day pack included.
  8. There is no detachable lumbar pad.

All the features mentioned here apply also to their Gregory Deva packs that are the same but gender-specific versions for women.

So I am not presenting all the features of these incredibly well-built Gregory Baltoro packs. I am focusing on the differences between the previous and the new version.

Is New Gregory Baltoro Backpack an Improvement top picture.
New Gregory Baltoro Backpack.

The torso length is fully adjustable

In the new Gregory Baltoro and Deva packs you have a Velcro hook and loop connection. So just break it, and then slide the harness to your desired position. The picture below shows that you have some markers to guide you.

Then press the back panel to re-engage the connection, and you are done. This allows for the perfect fit in the given torso range. Without doubt, this is supposed to be an important improvement.

Adjustable torso length.
Adjustable torso length.

The range is 3 inches (7.6 cm). But note that you have three sub-sizes, S, M, and L, and after that you can still use this torso adjustment.

In the old version there was just an option to attach the shoulder harness to one out of two possible positions. So this was not a fully adjustable system, and also the access to this feature was not so user friendly.

You might want to see this video before you continue, it is about both Baltoro and Deva packs:

The hip belt fins are fully adjustable

You have fins that can be re-positioned dependent on the body size of the user. So this is again a Velcro connection, just detach the fin and move it to desired position, and then press to re-engage.

You have markers to guide you (visible in the picture below), so that you choose the same position on both side. This was not available in the previous version. So this is yet another improvement.

Adjustable hip belt fins.
Adjustable hip belt fins.

There is 3.5 inches (9 cm) range for adjustment on each side, so this is 7 inches (18 cm) in total.

The back panel is completely redesigned

In the previous version the back panel is with cutouts in the foam, and this is covered with a mesh. The new back panel is completely different and possibly more breathable than the previous. See how it looks:

New back panel.
New back panel.

But this is still the same design in the sense that the pack close to the body, as suitable for heavy loads, and it cannot be described as a ventilated backpack. So I am undecided here.

The lid pockets are completely different

In the new version, there are two zippered external pockets on the lid, one on top of another. The lower is much larger. There is also one more zippered pockets on the underside of the lid.

In the previous version, these two top pockets were with side access zippers, and they were overlapping. There pocket on the underside is the same.

So is this better or not? I am undecided here. Perhaps I would rather have the new version because the main pocket is truly large and this would make it more functional, while you still have two more smaller pockets there.

The hip belt pockets are larger

The new backpacks version has larger hip belt pockets, and this is pretty obvious. They fit with the new hip belt that looks wider. So this looks like an improvement.

However, in the previous version, one of these hip belt pockets was waterproof. This is not so in the new pack.

There is no rain cover

This is something controversial. If you check on Amazon-US, the pack is without rain cover. But in EU, on Gregory site it is listed as included. The same is with some other sellers in EU.

So go figure, I am not sure why they needed such a confusion. The rain cover should be included everywhere or nowhere. The previous pack was with a rain cover, so this is not an improvement.

The day pack is not included

In the previous model, the inner reservoir sleeve was removable, and it was equipped with shoulder straps to use it as a fully functional day pack.

There is no such feature in the new Baltoro. The inner hydration sleeve is standard now and fixed of course. I am confident in saying that this is not an improvement.

There is no detachable lumbar pad

In the previous version this pad was in place to adjust the lumbar padding for your body shape. It is missing in the new pack where lumbar area is a continuous part of the hip belt padding, see the picture.

Some people might miss the previous removable lumbar pad, so I would say this is also not an improvement. But the new lumbar padding is so nicely done that for many users this will not be a big deal.

New hip belt and lumbar zone padding.
New hip belt and lumbar zone padding.

Please see more here:

Summary

In my view, this new version of the Gregory Baltoro backpacks series looks much better than the previous one. You have a full adjustability of the suspension system. This applies to both torso length and the hip belt padding. In addition, you have that FreeFloat A3 suspension design that allows the pack to move with your body.

So the pack appears to be improved in several ways. But…

I have seen complaints that the mentioned Velcro connection on the shoulder harness and also on the hip belt does not hold. It tends to slip. This is not so great for a pack designed for heavy loads. You need a rock solid pack for such a use, and the previous Gregory Baltoro was such a pack.

On the other hand, you have seen about missing day pack and rain cover. In any case, both versions are available on Amazon and also at REI.

All in all, the time will show how this new series performs. So if you have your old and reliable Baltoro pack, do not rush to order the new version yet.

Thank you for reading. For more texts of this type please check in the category Trail Gear here in the site. Read in my separate text how this pack compares with the Deuter Aircontact X pack.

Bookmark this site and keep as a reference, you will always have new texts added here. Please use the comment box below if you have questions or comments.

 
Me on Jalovec.Hi, I am Jovo, the founder of this OutdoorsFAQs site and several other outdoor sites. I have been mountaineering for almost 40 years already, and I have created this site to use as a reference for various questions that I receive in my sites. Being a theoretical physicist by profession, I tend to base my answers on facts and on my own personal experience.

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