The Gregory Targhee 45 hits the nail on the head in just about every category. It’s the only pack in this test with a height adjustable lid and full back panel access, which shoots it to the top with regards to storage and access. Unfortunately, access to the avy pocket takes an additional step, and the pack’s outer material showed signs of wear after several days in the backcountry.
Comfort/Fit The Targhee 45 has adequately padded shoulder and hip straps, and a semi-rigid back panel. Overall the pack carries weight just fine.
Ski/Snowboard Carry Thick, durable tail loops make for a solid, durable A-frame carry option, but the Targhee 45 also features a diagonal carry system and will carry a snowboard as well.
Features As mentioned, the full back panel access and adjustable top lid make for a great combo. The body compartment cinches closed with a large, plastic loop, which was easy to grab ahold of even with thick gloves on. Multiple pockets in the lid and hip belt add to the Targhee 45’s storage options. Also, the Targhee was the only pack to integrate the hydration hose into the shoulder strap to help protect it from freezing.
Ease of Use Overall the Targhee 45 is easy to access and easy to use. Like the Ortovox Peak 45, the waist belt adjusts from the hips by pulling straps inwards instead of outwards. Note that the avy pocket zippers run underneath the vertical carry straps, which made it tougher to access the avy pocket in a time pinch.
Durability A small hole was worn into the exterior fabric of the avy pocket after only about six days of use due to skis being carried in the diagonal configuration and pinching the fabric between them and the shovel blade which was in the pocket. Besides that, the straps and buckles on the Targhee 45 are thick and burly and should stand up to years of abuse.
Skier, runner, and author Ben Conners has been exploring the Rockies since he was a kid. Growing up in the Vail Valley, Ben spent his winters carving turns and summers backpacking in the Holy Cross Wilderness. Ben authored a guidebook on ski mountaineering Colorado’s high peaks and lives with his wife in south-Denver.