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Backpacker Magazine – June 2010

Gear Review: Gregory Makalu Pro 70 Backpack

A single compartment backpack that hauls big loads.

by: Steve Howe

Gregory Makalu Pro 70 (
Gregory Makalu Pro 70 (
The large lumbar pad is great for load transfer. (
The large lumbar pad is great for load transfer. (

Capacity 4,200 cu. in./70 liters
Sizes 3 unisex; 16 to 22 in.
Weight 4 lbs. 15 oz.
Price $299

See More Do-It-All Backpacks
[lightweight load monster] 
This single-compartment sack is essentially a minimalist mountaineering pack. The goal: Haul big loads with utmost efficiency. The payoff: One tester carried 60 pounds while leading a wilderness-therapy program in Utah, and praised the excellent load transfer. The key is the lumbar pad. “It lets me put almost all of the weight on my hips, and the rubber coating makes it stick,” says another tester.

Fit is exceptional, and each shoulder strap pivots independently on the frame, which enhanced stability during glacier post-holing, ski approaches, and rock scrambles. The barebones, top-loading packbag is strictly for nonfussy packers, which suited a tester who carried it in the Sierra and up Denali. “Just open the top and dump in bulky items,” he says.

Other testers wished for another access option and/or more outside pockets; there are a few alpinist-friendly features (like gear loops and a crampon patch), but just two external pockets (huge mesh ones for your water bottles). Bonus: Even after grindy canyon-hauling and weeks of carrying sharp tools, the ultralight Spectra fabric (similar to Dyneema) showed little wear.

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Sarah H.
Jul 06, 2010

Have you ever tried a Gregory? I carried an old Jansport for about three years before I sucked up and dropped $300 for a Gregory (I have an Electra.) This was the best purchase I've ever made. I can slug my pack around all day and not get sore, tired shoulders the way I did with the Jansport. Often you really do get what you pay for - this is definitely one of those situations.

Jack Chiles
Jul 01, 2010

Hmmm, the Jansport Carson holds more than 80 litres, weighs 4 pounds, 12 ounces and costs $70 at a prominent on-line distributor. The Carson has a sturdier frame, carries more weight and will probably last longer.

Did I mention it costs one-fourth (1/40) of what the Gregory costs?


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