Gregory Stout 75
- Lightest in the test set
- Least expensive
- Comfortable for most back shapes
- Seam vulnerability
- Pliable back padding can bunch over time
- Vulnerable mesh water bottle sleeve on sides
The Gregory Stout 75 tied for third in this test set. Its biggest draw is its lightweight, allowing it to anchor the ultralight backpacking corner of this set. Its biggest challenges also stem from its ultralight design, with thinner fabric allowing greater possibility for seam or fabric failure.
The Gregory Stout’s advantage in this comfort lies mainly in its light weight; at 3 lbs and 2 oz, it is nearly a pound lighter than the next lightest. It is also a well-build harness, with no seams in the upper or mid back and a good ventilation system running throughout to keep cool air running to the back. There is a small bump in the lower back padding, but this didn’t prove to be an annoyance during testing. The torso length is easily adjustable.
The Gregory Stout 75 takes full advantage of its 75 liters of volume with its wide body. There is an optional divider in the body compartment and gear straps on the bottom of the bag which increases its storage potential. There are two entries into the body compartment—a zippered access on the bottom and a cinch closure on top under the brain. There is a mesh sleeve on the back of the pack that keeps rain layers accessible. Between the two lateral buckled straps on either side and the two sets of vertical buckles straps (the gear straps on the bottom and the brain straps on top), the Stout is able to exercise a high degree of compression and expansion to accommodate under- or over-packed loads without shifting.
The waist straps on this pack bend at the waist to provide a basic level of pivot, aiding stability. The height-to-width ratio seems about perfect for a backpacking trip’s worth of gear, and the wide mouth makes packing easy. Its balanced center of gravity, plus its expandability, makes this bag easy to pack so that it carries with balance and stability.
The buckles on the Stout are made out of plastic, but it is beefy plastic that inspires confidence. The water bottle sleeves on either side of the pack are very large and are made out of a mesh that will snag and tear eventually. The fabric used on the body compartment is thin, but seams are reinforced and well sewn; if there is one area for concern, it’s the thinness of the joint between the shoulder harness and the sliding panel used to adjust the torso length.
There are two hip pouches on the waist strap, both waterproof. In an effort to shave a few grams, the Stout doesn’t include a whistle on the sternum strap. There is also a very long water bladder sleeve on the interior of the body compartment. There are two gear loops on the back of the pack, both of which have a small and medium sized loop to attach trekking poles or an ice axe to.
How We Tested It
The packs in this test were used throughout the winter and spring of 2017, during day hikes and overnight backpacking trips from 1-4 nights, with mileage hovering around a dozen miles a day. Tests were conducted on Maryland’s Western Shore, in the Olympic Range of Washington State, the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest, and in the central Sierra Nevada. This geographic diversity of conditions allowed for a look into each pack’s strengths and weakness. Each pack had at least 20 pounds in them, and some had as much as double that.
For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our Best Weekend Backpacking Tents of 2017 and Best One Person Backpacking Tents of 2017, along with our sleeping bag tests and stove tests, as well as other related hiking and camping gear tests.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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- Type of Backpack: Expedition Pack
- Volume (unverified): 75 L
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