Why Is Osprey Better than Gregory and Deuter?

Osprey, Gregory, and Deuter are three major brands in the outdoor backpacks industry. You can compare their packs from various points of view, and these are presented here in the text.

I would point out the following criteria, in no particular order, and with my votes as follows:

  1. Variety of models – Osprey.
  2. Features – Osprey.
  3. Functionality – Deuter.
  4. Durability – Deuter.
  5. Carry load capability – Gregory.
  6. Ventilation – Osprey.
  7. Gender specific designs – no winner.
  8. Price – Gregory.
  9. Warranty – no winner.

From this it appears that there is no clear winner. But there is more to this, so keep reading.

Featured picture showing packs from the three brands.

Variety of models

I am pretty sure that Osprey is without a match. It is hard to follow all those new packs that they launch season after season, and also their new modified versions of the existing series. Gregory is on the second place, and Deuter is the last here.

It is very interesting to point out one example with Deuter. They had their best series Futura Vario on the market for a number of years. Yet very quickly the largest of them, Futura Vario 60+10 pack was discontinued. The remaining Futura Vario 50+10 and the corresponding SL version for women remained for a few years, and now they are also discontinued.

However, they launched their new Futura Air Trek series which is almost the same as the Futura Vario. The differences listed in my separate text are really not substantial. More or less this is the same pack. So it appears that their designers are running out of ideas.

But when you see Osprey and Gregory, you get a completely different impression. There is a small caveat here, and this is related to the ventilated design which they were developing recently, more below. This allows them to bring more and more new models to the market.

Features

Regarding features, I am sure that no other brand can match Osprey. The best example of this you can see in their new Osprey UNLTD series. This is by far the most advanced on the market and with the number of features that cannot be matched.

You can see a bit more in this video, but follow also the link above to read more:

However, it is a different question if you really need all these features. On the other hand, more features mean more weight, so these are heavy packs.

Functionality

All three brands make very functional packs, and this is related to features mentioned above. But I feel that there are a few things that should be discussed separately.

Expandable collar: So this is just one out of many possible features in a pack, but in my view it is very important and this is why I feel it should be pointed out.

This means you can have +5, +10, or even +15 liters of extra volume when needed. Regarding this particular feature, Deuter is a true champion. More about it is in my separate text about Deuter’s expandable collars.

Inner divider: Many packs of these three brands come with a separate bottom compartment, and then you usually have an inner divider that separates the upper main compartment and the bottom compartment.

But it is only in Deuter’s packs that here you have a true divider with a zipper. So smaller items from the upper compartment cannot slide into the bottom one. Osprey’s and Gregory’s design of this divider are inferior to Deuter.

Durability

I bought my first Deuter pack in 2003 and it is still in a very good state after climbing many mountains. You can see it pictured on many summits in my mountaineering site. My feeling is that it is indestructible.

But I also have their newer Deuter Futura Vario 50+10, and I am pretty sure that it is not as durable as my old pack. In any case, regarding durability, I would rather rely on this German manufacturer than on any other.

Carry load capability

Regarding this feature, Deuter makes smaller packs, so they are not a match for those of Osprey and Gregory. These two are neck and neck, perhaps a small advantage would go to Gregory.

To see what I mean, see this gigantic Gregory Mountain Products Denali 100 pack and also Osprey Aether Plus 85 Men’s Backpacking Backpack, both are shown below.

Ventilation

Until about 7-8 years ago, regarding ventilation, my choice would be easy. It would be Deuter. This is because of their ventilated back panel design that was the best possible on the market.

I have discussed this design also in my text about backpacks that doesn’t make your back sweat. So Deuter launched this trampoline-style tensioned mesh ventilated design several decades ago in their Deuter Futura backpacks. It seems it was under some patent protection, so this was the only design of that type on the market for many years.

But in the recent years both Osprey and Gregory have been introducing this design in their packs, and I have to admit that they have surpassed Deuter with it.

So which would be the best? It is hard to say, and there is no clear winner here, but perhaps I would go for Osprey if I have to choose. Some of its packs, like the Osprey UNLTD AntiGravity, even have hip belt ventilated, I do not know any other brand with such a detail.

Gender specific designs

All three brands have separate packs for men and women. Osprey and Gregory give them different names, so you have: Osprey Aether & Ariel, Osprey Atmos & Aura, etc. Similarly you have Gregory Baltoro & Deva, Gregory Zulu & Jade, etc.

In the case of Deuter, they simply make separate SL (slim line) models that are for women. So in my view, there is no clear advantage here for any of the three brands.

Price

All three brands make top-quality backpacks and the prices are to match. But my overall impression is that you can still find less expensive packs from Gregory than from the other two brands. I may be wrong of course.

Warranty

These are expensive packs so warranty is important. But the situation may not be so clear here. See what you have and then decide yourself:

Does Deuter have lifetime warranty?

At their sites they write about a lifelong repair service.

For EU customers they offer “a 2-year guarantee from the date of purchase … in addition to the statutory warranty claims. …Within this two-year warranty period, through product repair or replacement, we eliminate all defects due to material or manufacturing errors free or charge.”

For US customers they offer to “repair any Deuter pack free of charge, no matter its generation or the reason for damage or defect. Regardless of how many trail miles it has seen, we’ll attempt to stitch it up for many more adventures to come. If this pack is deemed to be truly at the end of its trail life and is irreparable, we’ll replace it with the closest comparable pack.”

Do Gregory Packs have lifetime warranty?

On their site they write “We build our products to last a lifetime and that’s how long we stand behind them. We guarantee that this product will be free from defects in workmanship and materials for as long as you own it…”

Further they write “In 1996, we put our money where our mouth is and launched the Gregory Lifetime Guarantee. This guarantee is still in place today and is included with any product you purchase from us.” 

So the answer is yes, they offer a lifetime warranty.

Do Osprey bags have warranty?

On their site, you can find these words from the owner:

“Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge — whether it was produced in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhauer.”

Here is a bit more about Osprey’s All Mighty Warranty:


Final thoughts

In view of all mentioned above, it appears that quite generally, none of the three brands has a big advantage. But this is only if we assume that all the criteria discussed above have the same value, importance, and “weight”. Also, we all have different preferences and I am sure many of you may vote differently.

On the other hand, when you choose a backpack, then you are focused only on the features that are essential for you. So some of the voting criteria mentioned above may be meaningless.

Regardless of what is described above, I see (my favorite) Deuter as a brand where designers seem to be running out of ideas. They made a great step forward with the ventilated design several decades ago, but I have not seen any breakthroughs later on. Their new Futura Air Trek series is almost the same as the discontinued Futura Vario series.

Gregory has been launching quite a number of packs with better and better ventilated suspensions. In this respect they are completely comparable to Osprey. Both these brands have clearly benefited from the original Deuter’s design.

Now compare this with Osprey. In the past 7 years or so, they were developing and redesigning their anti-gravity (AG) packs and this was a design that is unlike anything on the market. It was about “wearing” a pack and not carrying it. You may like it or not, but this was a great innovation.

With their latest UNLTD series, they introduced the revolutionary industry-first 3D printed Fitscape Lumbar with a Carbon DLS Technology.

So they are developing the backpacks industry and create new directions by introducing new technologies. This is why, in my view, no other brand is currently even close to Osprey.

In any case, thank you for reading, and let me know what you think, there is a comment box below. Bookmark this site and come again, you will always find new informative texts added here. Have a nice day

 
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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