|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – April 2008
The year's best packs, boots, tents, jackets, and sleeping bags. Period. Plus, a never-die headlamp, a life-saving beacon, a back-saving ultralight chair, and more innovative, trail-tested gear.
Gregory Baltoro 70
Got a big load to carry? Put it in this ultra-comfortable pack and forget about it.
Gregory overhauled its pack line for 2008, dropping up to a half-pound from every model. The cream of the crop is the Baltoro 70. We thrashed it through Utah's pack-eating slot canyons. Took it out for light-load weekends in the Rockies. Carried it on Idaho ski-touring trips. One editor even used it on his honeymoon trek of Nepal's Annapurna Circuit. Finally, we crammed it full of gear and water in Great Sand Dunes National Park. On every trip, every step of the way, the Baltoro wowed testers with its comfort and stability. The key feature is its harness, which consists of a molded foam hipbelt and shoulder straps. The system automatically adjusts to the angles of each hiker's body, giving a custom-fit feel and impeccable load transfer. Dubbed Auto Fit Suspension, it makes 50 pounds feel downright feathery. The pocket configuration is smart, not busy, enabling you to organize items you need throughout the day. Our gear editor, who used the women's version (Deva, $249), said: "It's light enough that I wouldn't think twice about using it on an overnight, yet supportive and stable enough to cram it with a week's worth of gear–a load monster that fits like a dream." $269; 5 lbs. 9 oz.; (800) 477-3420; gregorypacks.com.