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Backpacker Magazine – 2010 Editors' Choice/Gear Guide

Gear Review: Gregory Z55/Jade 50

This pack has total load transfer, comfort, and a conveniently laid-out packbag.

by: Steve Howe

Gregory Z55 (BP Photo Department)
Gregory Z55 (BP Photo Department)

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Best All-Around
This pack rose to the top of a crowded—and very competitive—category due to its total load transfer, comfort, and conveniently laid-out packbag. The well-sculpted hipbelt, reinforced with polyethylene panels, perfectly wrapped our hips and lower back. That, combined with the soft, nonslip lumbar pad and the ridged and curved backpanel, creates the perfect combination of vertical stiffness, lateral twist, and forward flexibility. Result: awesome stability and big-load comfort.

With 45 pounds aboard, one tester scrambled rain-soaked terrain on Alaska’s Chitistone Goat Trail. Another tester, after trips around Abrams Falls and Mt. Le Conte in the Smokies, said, “I could throw this thing on and walk all day without any sore points.” And the versatile packbag, with-ice tool fittings, a helmet-capable front pocket, and twin hipbelt pockets that hold three Clif Bars apiece, can easily handle alpine duties as well as long trails. The Z55 is the men’s; the Jade 50 is for women. $200; 3,417 cu. in.; 3 lbs. 5 oz.

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FULL PRODUCT SPECS: Jade 50



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READERS COMMENTS

Anonymous
May 07, 2012

I am 5'3" and the pack sits comfortably on my back. However, I am less than happy with the shoulder straps. The cinch-buckle and strapping seems to be too far up the strap and my inner arms continually rub on them and are often pinched by the hardware. When I tightened the sternum strap to pull the shoulder straps together in an attempt to distance them from my arms, the non-detachable sternum snapped off the piping it was attached to.
Right now I'm not a happy camper when it comes to my Jade 50.

Ed Allen
Mar 28, 2011

Love this pack! It does not bother my 60 year old back problems and is getting ready for a nearly 50 mile Knobstone Trail through-hike in May. It easily handles my 35-40 pound week long load or a 25 pound weekender. Great versatility. Thanks Gregory and Good Choice BP!

Tom W
Jun 08, 2010

we have the Z35 ... smaller bro to this pack. Love it ... best day pack we have. Versatile. Hold snowshoes, ice ax, crampons, clothes ... all for day mountainteering trips to our local Sierra Nevada peaks. And love the logical layout and easy access through the back panel. Best designed pack we own. Gregory rocks! BD picked a winner!

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