Selecting a Gregory Pack

 How to choose the right style and size Gregory pack!

Since 1977, Gregory has been making innovative, high-quality backpacks for a variety of outdoor pursuits. Utilizing cutting-edge materials and progressive design, as well as a comfortable and supportive fit, Gregory is an industry leader for performance outdoor packs. Gregory is a top pack choice for mountaineers, climbers, backpackers and other outdoor adventurers, so whether you are looking for your first pack or your next pack, Gregory is an excellent choice to take you where you want to go as well!

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Pack Categories:

Gregory makes a variety of different packs that fall into a few specific categories. Each class of pack that they make has specialized features and design to give you everything that you need for a given activity and nothing that you don’t!


Alpine (30 to 60) liters-


These are high performance packs specifically designed for the rigors of alpine climbing, mountaineering, or backcountry skiing.  The Alpinisto line of packs, which are specifically designed for climbing and mountaineering, are no-frills and are constructed with only necessary technical features like crampon holders, ice tool attachments and a removable waist belt. The Targhee series is designed for skiing and features ski-carry attachments, avalanche tool organization pockets, and other ski specific design elements.




 Backpacking (40 – 85 liters) –


The largest packs that Gregory makes, 40 to 70+ liters, are specified as backpacking packs. These packs, like the classic Deva series for women and Baltoro series for men, are large capacity packs meant to carry a heavy load efficiently. They feature heavy-duty molded harness and waist belt straps, as well as external organizers and durable construction. A few recent additions to the Gregory backpacking category are the Contour series for men and the Cairn series for women.  These packs feature ultralight materials and innovative design features like compartmentalized packing to efficiently carry weight, as well as new harness and waist belt designs. If you want lightweight features in a large capacity pack, the Contour and Cairn series packs are excellent choices. 


Hiking (25-40 liters) –


For shorter adventures where you don’t need to bring as much gear, like day hikes and summer overnights, Gregory has smaller capacity packs with streamlined features. The classic Z series packs are light, durable and fully featured, and are perfect for day hikes and overnights. For those ultralight hikers looking for a thru hiking or light overnight pack, the larger packs in the Miwok series and Maya Series for women are streamlined and trimmed down so that you can hike efficiently.



 Active Trail (<20 Liters) –


Gregory’s active-trail packs are designed with speed and fluid movement in mind. For trail runners, a pack only needs to hold water, a few bars, and a shell. These packs are light and unobtrusive, so that you can travel quickly in the mountains. For longer trail runs or peak-bagging, the smaller Miwok packs and women’s Maya packs are also great for carrying gear efficiently and are superlight.






There is even a Gregory pack for your daily commute to work or school, or for when you’re travelling! With practical everyday organization pockets and laptop carry compatibility, the everyday series of packs from Gregory are perfect for helping you carry what you need around town. Additionally, Gregory has a line of travel bags, which feature the same level of commitment to quality design, premium materials and functionality as the other packs that they make.



 Pack Capacity:

Each category also features a range of capacity sizes. After you’ve selected the right style of pack for the kind of activity that you need it for, you can choose a pack with a capacity that matches your personal packing style, the amount of gear that you need to bring along with you, and your personal preference for a larger or smaller capacity pack. It is important to remember that if you choose a pack that has a large volume, you will likely fill it with gear.This can lead to bringing along more gear than you need. Pick a pack based on how packable your gear is and how much you feel like you need to bring with you to feel comfortable on a trip.

Torso Length and Pack Size:

While it is important to choose the right capacity pack to assure that you can carry the gear that you need, as well as the right style of pack based on the activity that you will be using the pack for, the most crucial attribute to consider when selecting a new pack is the size! A pack that fits properly will effectively distribute the weight of your gear onto the structural elements of your body —your hips and shoulders— which is more comfortable and efficient. A common misconception is that pack sizes are determined by a person’s height. However, the crucial measurement to attain in order to distribute weight properly onto the hips and structure of the body is, in fact, torso length.

 Determining Torso Length:

 -First and foremost, grab a tape measurer and a friend to do the measuring.

-Identify your Iliac Crest, which is the ridge of bone on the top of your hip. If you have trouble finding it, you can start at your belly-button and trace straight around to find the top of your hip. Trace your hand around from the Iliac Crest to the same height on your back to provide a point of reference for your partner to measure to.

-Pinpoint your C7 vertebrae, which is easily distinguishable as the large bump at the base of your neck. Bring your chin to your chest and the C7 vertebrae will protrude.

-Start with with your head forward and place the end of the tape measurer at the C7 vertebrae. Straighten your neck, and have your partner measure down the length of your spine to the height of your Iliac Crest.

-The length between these two anatomical reference points is your torso length!





Once you have determined your torso measurement, refer to the size chart included on each Gregory pack on Each size for a given pack covers a two to three inch range of torso lengths, so it is easy to find the right size for your measurements. Torso length varies from person to person, so height does not determine pack size. For example, someone who is 6’7” can have the same torso length and require the same pack size as someone who is 5’7”! Finding the right Gregory pack for your torso will ensure that you are comfortable and your pack weight is distributed properly.




Waist Belt and Harness Sizing:

An additional variable to look at when choosing a pack is how the waist belt fits. Because the waist belt carries 60 to 80 percent of the pack weight, it is important that it fits you securely. Ideally, when your waist belt is buckled and tightened, there should be roughly 3 to 6 inches of webbing between the foam portions of the belt.  This allows you to tighten the belt if you need, or loosen the belt if you need to wear additional layers during cold weather. In Gregory’s lines of larger backpacking packs, such as the Baltoro and the Deva feature their Response AFS suspension system, in which the harness and waistbelt are highly adjustable and interchangeable for an additional level of precision fit. For Gregory’s lines of lightweight packs such as the Miwok series or the Fury series, where you will not load the pack up with a significant amount of weight the waist belt is built for support rather than serious load transfer, therefore there may be more space between the sides of the hipbelt than larger packs. Gregory does a great job of sizing their waist belts proportionately to the size of the pack, so if you’ve measured your torso properly and selected the right size pack, your waist belt should fit you well. However if you have a specific question about the waist belt on the pack that you want on, or you’re concerned that the stock waist belt might not fit your particular measurements, our experts are available to help

 Women’s Specific Fit:

Since Gregory has always put a unique focus on finding the best fit for their customers’ distinct body shapes, they have developed a specific fit for women. Since many women have narrower shoulders, as well as identifiable nuances in torso and hip shape, a men’s pack may not fit properly. When some women use a men’s specific pack, it may not sit correctly on the hips, which will hinder effective weight dispersion to the structure of the torso, the shoulder straps may not sit securely on the shoulders and may feel like they are falling off, and the padding on the back of the pack may not make proper contact. Gregory created versions of most of their packs with a women’s specific fit to address these common anatomical distinctions, but without compromising quality and performance. The Gregory Jade (now “J”), Cairn, Deva, and Sage series of packs are all nearly identical to their respective men’s counterparts —the “Z”, Contour, Baltoro and Savant series— but with minor fit adjustments.

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Once you have taken these steps to determine your torso size, you can find a Gregory pack for any type of adventure! Check out our fantastic selection of Gregory packs here at, or contact us if you have any additional questions about sizing and fit.



Published:May 10, 2014

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