Gregory Contour 70 Backpack ReviewJuly 2, 2013
- Large rolltop seam-taped lid
- Integrated rain cover
- Large front dump pocket
- Side stash security pocket
- External hydration sleeve
- Water bottle pockets hard to use
- Hip belt pockets are very small
- No U shaped zipper access for main compartment
- Padding on shoulders and hip belt could be thicker
The Gregory Contour 70 backpack is lightweight, comfortable and provides some good organizational features for weekend and extended-weekend trips. A few minor improvements would boost this pack’s rating even more.
The Gregory Contour 70 features their Trail Smart Packing System with organization for Camp, Trail and On-the-Go. It provides main compartment storage, a large front zippered pocket that contains individual pockets inside, and a large dump pocket. The pockets made organization easy and made camp, trail and on the fly access a breeze. The Contour also comes with an external hydration sleeve, which makes access to a hydration bladder quick and easy.
The pack features two zippered hip belt pockets, but they are both very small and would not store my iPhone, or even a small digital camera. These pockets were good for a couple snacks, however. The large “roll top style” lid comes with a seam-taped zipper and provides great waterproof storage for a variety of items.
The pack also comes with a side stash, zippered quick access pocket that is located behind the water bottle pocket on the right side of the pack. While I usually find these a waste, this one is a bit larger than others I’ve tested which made all the difference in terms of making it an effective pocket. The Contour comes with two side water bottle pockets, but the material used for these pockets has very little stretch, and therefore they did not expand outward, forcing them to share space with the main compartment. When the main compartment is full, getting 1-liter bottles in and out of these pockets is a real hassle; so much so, that I broke off the lid of one of my bottles trying to extract it.
The Contour incorporates a much lighter weight hip belt and padding than most packs in this category. While this works well and provides good comfort in most instances, I found the hip belt could use a bit more padding when carrying loads over 40 pounds. The belt is easy to adjust and will mold well to your body.
A contoured back panel with breathable spacer mesh and ventilated air channels allows good airflow. This provided sufficient airflow in a variety of conditions. The breathable, molded foam on the back panel and shoulder straps were comfortable and easy to adjust, but a bit more of it on the shoulder straps would have increased comfort for carrying heavier loads.
The pack was very stable and comfortable carrying loads in the 30- to 35-pound range in a variety of terrains, including the occasional scramble. It did not shift or float regardless of the terrain. When carrying loads in the 40- to 45-pound range, the pack did begin to float and slide a bit on my hips, causing me to have to adjust it from time to time. Based on this performance, 45-50 pounds would certainly be the maximum comfort level.
The Contour 70 provides good, overall comfort while carrying loads up to 35-40 pounds in a variety of conditions. The pack’s lightweight feel, lightweight padding and easy adjustments make it comparable to packs in this class of packs in terms of comfort, but for those wanting a 70 liter pack capable of comfortably carrying 50 pound loads, the Contour 70 may not fit that bill.
The Contour 70 proved durable, even after weeks of intense use. The seam-taped zipper on the lid continued to perform well and, other than a few scratches, the pack showed few signs of wear.