The Gregory Targhee 32 (designed for half to full-day tours) was the Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde pack of this test. The feel, comfort, and overall experience of using the pack was superb, particularly tours that didn’t require skis or an ice tool to be strapped to the pack. However a few glaring design issues prevent this pack from being rated higher alongside the Kode and Haute Route.
Comfort/Fit The Gregory Targhee carries weight exceptionally well thanks to its padded shoulder straps and ergonomic design.Of all the packs tested, this one felt the best on the shoulders near the grueling tail end of a long day out. The hip belt is also padded and well balanced.
Ski/Snowboard Carry The Targhee 32 is equipped to carry skis in both diagonal and A-frame positions. The A-frame carry system works as advertised and the back panel allows for easy access with a pair of skis strapped to it in this manner. However the diagonal carry system leaves a lot to be desired. The distance between the upper and lower carry strap attachment points is too small which caused a pair of skis to sway back and forth when kicking steps up a snow couloir, even with the ski straps fully tightened. Gregory needs to move the higher of the two diagonal carry straps up towards the top of the pack to correct this issue.
Features A separate avalanche gear pocket, stowable helmet carry net, and back panel zip give this pack some excellent organizational variety. The pack also features a large goggle pocket, which makes it easy to fit a pair of goggles as well as a few other items inside. A zippered hip pocket makes for a convenient place to store a candy bar or energy gel.
Ease of Use The clip style ice axe/tool carry system can be difficult to use when attaching an axe with a leash looped through the axe head hole. This may or may not be an issue depending on what type of leash you use for you snow tools. Also the hydration bladder sleeve is located in the back panel, which requires the hydration hose to cross through the back panel opening, leaving it prone to entanglement with gear items. Other than those items, the pack functions well. The back panel opening is large and the zippers are easy to grab with a pair of gloves on.
Durability The Targhee 32 is solidly built with thick ski straps and should hold up to several years of abuse. No durability issues were noted during testing.