When you’re choosing a backpack, you should consider what trip you are going on. If you have read my blog before you probably know for what trip I’m preparing for, if not, here is a link to a blog post where I describe my upcoming trip. I had a backpack, but it was too heavy, so I needed to get another backpack. In this blog post I wrote about my considerations for buying the Gregory Paragon 58. In this blog I will write about my first impressions. I’ve gone on a few hikes with it with my thru hike gear and water and some food. The total weight of the pack was about 12 Kg (26,.5 pounds).
This pack has been designed to fill the gap between ultra light packs and the standard comfortable pack so it has a full suspension system.There is a raincover, a daypack/hydrationsack and a sleeping bag divider. The weight of the pack is 1620 grams. Which is quite a lot for a thru hike, but there are ways that you can strip the pack. You can remove the rain cover (112 grams) and the daypack (122) grams. A cool feature is that you put the sleeping bag divider as the top pocket, so you can save a bit more weight. I didn’t go for the top pocket option and after stripping the pack the weight is 1434 grams (3.3 pounds).
The suspension system is the all new Aerolon system. It has a good ventilated back and the the I like the most that you can adjust the hip strap. If you’re like me, a big guy, about 2 metres long, the hip pockets can be a bit too far back so if you want to get something out it, it’s not that easy. The shoulder straps are a bit wider then normal in my opinion, for example, it’s a bit wider then the Gregory Stout. It’s also possible to adjust the backpanel so if you’re tall like me, you can make it to fit your length. In the gallery you can see the suspension system.
It is a top loader with bottom access for a sleeping bag. It would have been nice if there was a zipper on the side for quick access but that would make the pack heavier. The top pocket is quite big. You can fit a lot of stuff in it. The hip pockets are a bit small. It would have been better if they were a bit longer for power bars, a mobile phone or something like that. It is a bit irritating during a hike. At the front of the pack is are large mesh pocket. This was one of the things I like in a pack. You hang wet things in it and dry it out while hiking. It’s very easy to open and close the main compartment and it is wide enough. The side pockets are decent. The right one also has the side entrance, but this is not the case on the left. It would have been nice if it was on both sides. You can attach your tracking poles to the outside of pack, but you have to put both on 1 side. I prefer to put the poles on the left and right side of the pack for balancing your weight. In the gallery you see it.
The price of the pack is 220 euro’s in The Netherlands. This is my opinion a realistic price for what you are getting. Alltough, I’m not sure why you’re getting the extra stuff on it. It’s designed for thru hikers that want more comfort in the suspension system, but their still trying to save as much weight as possible. The raincover will never be used. Partly for the weight of it and partly because a raincover will not protect your pack if it rains all day. Both problems can be solved with a heavy duty trashbag. The daypack is actually a very nice one! Better then what I was expecting, but I don’t need it.
After a couple of hikes a like the Gregory Paragon 58. The thing I like the most is the suspension system and the weight when it’s stripped. I think it’s far more comfortable then for example the Osprey Exos 58 which is 250 grams lighter. You also get a sense that the material is a lot stronger. The price is a bit high when you’ll strip it and there are a few things a didn’t like that much like the hip pockets and how to attach your tracking poles to it.
I’ll be doing more trips with this pack and then I’ll write a full review on this pack. When you are buying a pack, always try it on. This one fits me very good but that doesn’t mean it will fit you.
PS, I’m writing this review on 26th februar 2017 and the Paragon isn’t available on the European Gregory website. It is available on the US site, but you will need a VPN for this to view.
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