Gregory Baltoro 75 Backpack ReviewJuly 27, 2015
- Divided lid
- Two large zippered hip-belt pockets, one waterproof
- Sidekick day pack that doubles as a hydration sleeve
- “SideWinder” water bottle holder
- Integrated rain cover
- Pack is narrow at the bottom
- Limited color choices
The redesigned Gregory Baltoro 75 backpack is 12% lighter than previous models and is very comfortable when carrying heavy loads. It has a number of great features including a number of organizational options that add flexibility to its use. This pack is one of the best performing backpacks I have tested recently and should definitely be considered by those looking for a multi-day or expedition backpack.
The Baltoro 75 provides good overall comfort while carrying loads up to 60 pounds in a variety of conditions. The pack felt light and agile, even when carrying heavy loads. Good padding, great adjustment options, and a suspension system that facilitates movement creates a very competitive pack in its class.
The Baltoro 75 hip belt has a wide range of adjustment options, ensuring a secure fit for many sizes. It is easy to adjust, has good padding, and gives a wrap-around feel. I found great utility in the two large, zippered pockets—one mesh and one waterproof. It made me wonder why it took so long for a waterproof pocket to be added into a hip belt.
The Baltoro has a vented back panel that uses foam and silicone lumbar grip to provide comfort and help keep the pack from sliding during highly aerobic and fast-moving activities. The Baltoro uses an interchangeable, pre-curved EVA foam harness that provides better options for a more advanced fit.
The Baltoro 75 features three specific access points to the main compartment: top, bottom and a large U shaped entry in the front. These access points provide multiple packing and unpacking options and make for easy access to various parts of the pack. There is a vertical, external side pocket on each side that allows for additional gear storage, as well as a large, front-zippered storage pocket that also contains an inner-zippered mesh pocket that stores a rain cover and provides extra storage for items you need to keep particularly safe.
The Baltoro 75 comes with two large, zippered hip-belt pockets, one mesh and the other waterproof and large enough to store a small camera, smart phone, or GPS device. I loved the addition of this waterproof pocket—it eased my worry about electronics and other stored items getting wet.
The lid is different from any other pack I have tested. It has a divided lid with a zipper running widthwise across the top, as well as vertically (rather than the conventional, horizontal zipper we usually find on pack lids). This not only makes for a more elegant lid but also permits access without having to worry about the lid contents falling out. There is also a security pocket beneath the lid, another unconventional and unique storage option.
The Baltoro 75 comes with a stretch mesh side pocket on one side of the pack, and on the other side, Gregory has installed what it calls the SideWinder stowable ergonomic bottle holster. This is perhaps the best 1-liter bottle storage pocket I have tested on a backpack to date. The holster pocket allows you to store the bottle securely while easily accessing and replacing it on the fly. Alternatively, if you prefer not to use the SideWinder bottle holster it can be secured in the built in zippered pocket on the side of the pack.
The internal hydration sleeve on the Baltoro, is in fact a separate pack which Gregory refers to as the “Sidekick day pack.” It can do double-duty as the hydration sleeve for an up to 3-liter hydration bladder and a removable day pack for short side hikes or quick ascents.
The Baltoro 75 felt stable and performed like a much smaller pack with loads in the 40 to 50 pound range. The Baltoro remained comfortable and did not sway, shift, or float with heavier loads regardless of the terrain or method of travel. The Baltoro really felt like an extension of my body when scrambling or making steep ascents and never made me feel like I was carrying a heavily loaded pack, even though I was doing just that.
The Baltoro 75 proved bombproof even after weeks of serious use. The zippers, pockets, and fabrics all performed well and showed no damage. I had no issues involving durability while testing this pack.