Gear Review: Gregory sage pack 35L: At the risk of losing all my street cred (crag cred?), I have to tell you that this is my first ever pack. You may remember me, I’m your friendly city-gal turned rock climbing blogger. So as far as backpacks go I’ve owned, like, a super cute black Marc Jacobs one, oh, and this really adorable polka dot one I got from Forever 21. But I realized pretty quickly that all that stuff wouldn’t last a day in the woods (and though my friends are too nice to say it, it was probably kind of embarrassing).
Everything You Need To Know About Gregory Sage Pack 35L
I was sick of borrowing from friends or from my husband whose pack fits me really awkwardly. It was time to upgrade. I knew I wanted a climbing backpack specifically designed for women, and I knew I wanted something with side or bottom entry zippers (I may be a city gal, but I wasn’t born yesterday), and come on, of course, I wanted something that was at least kind of cute.
This is what lead me to Gregory packs. With their women-specific packs and simple design aesthetic, I knew I’d find my match. I have to be honest though, based on sight alone, the Sage pack was my last choice amongst all their packs, however, now it definitely tops my list. Here’s how it went from the bottom to the top:
I love the fit because it’s made proportionately for a woman’s body. I got a size small, I’m 5’3″, average weight, fairly curvy in the hips, and it was an excellent fit. I felt like the waist and chest strap really fell where they should, and it was easy to get an even weight distribution thanks to their 3D suspension technology. There are lots of adjustment straps, so you can customize them to fit your own unique shape.
One downside to the fit for me is that on hotter days when I’m wearing a tank top, I found it to be a little chafing on the shoulders after wearing it for a while (even when I had the bag perfectly adjusted to the sweet spot). I think they could use a different fabric there and it would really improve the feel. I do otherwise like the fabric and find that it’s pretty breathable, so that’s a plus.
This climbing backpack isn’t really a looker. She’s really all about functionality (and I’ve learned to love that). In terms of colors, I wished that they had made this backpack a little more vibrant. I like the grey and pink, but I’m not loving the other colors as much (I actually own the light blue, shown below, and it also comes in a “rosewood red” which is like a cranberry). It’s not the sleekest pack in the world, and its appearance is pretty traditional but what you give up in sleekness you get back in performance where it really counts.
After all, you do forget all about “cute” when you’re huffing your way up a steep approach. I have the 35L and it also comes in two larger sizes, 45L and 55L.
This is of course where this backpack shines. First off, it could definitely fit all my gear for a day of sports climbing. I do usually have a partner to help share the load, but if needed, I could carry the rope across the top of the bag, and still fit harnesses, shoes, draws, chalk, and snacks in the main compartment, water bottles in the side mesh pockets, helmet hooked to the outside, and still have plenty of space in the outer pockets for all the other essentials for a day in the woods.
One of my favorite features is the zippered pockets on the waist belt, which make for quick and easy access for small things like your phone, headlamp, lip balm, etc. I also really like having the water-resistant top outer pocket on the top of the bag. It’s a great comfort knowing you basically have a built-in dry bag on your backpack just in case. The climbing backpack also comes with its own matching rain cover which is very easy to put on.
And there is also a super-secret pocket on the side of the bag which I also really enjoy. It’s great for things you’d like to tuck away so that when your friend reaches into your pack they don’t get some kind of gross surprise (your P-style, your tampons, your sweaty handkerchief, dirty socks…). Or if you’re not gross like me, it’s also a good place to store your valuables like your wallet, or passport.
Other specs that may be of interest:
- Intuition 3D Suspension
- Size small: Vol: 35 L Wt: 1.36 kg / 3 lbs 0 oz Torso: 41 – 46 CM / 16 – 18 in
- Side and bottom compression
- Dual ax/tool attachment points
- 3 mm gauge wire was used for the wishbone internal frame suspension
- 7 mm EVA foam for a waistbelt
For all the functionality you get from this pack, I’d say it is a great price at $179. It’s definitely a pack that you will have for years to come, so I’d say you will get your money’s worth just based on quality alone. I’ve also seen it online for as low as $130, which I think is a steal for this pack.
It’s a keeper. This bag is kind of like your childhood friend who you never really thought of “that way”, but then all of a sudden you’re like, “Woah, they’ve got some serious moves AND they like foreign films? Hmm, they are actually kind of hot”, and then you end updating, and they make a solid dependable partner. And then you get married and have lots of babies, and they’re great parents to your children. It’s totally like that. OK, what I’m trying to say is that I really like this bag and would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a versatile, solid, all-around pack.
So what do you love about your favorite pack? Is it love? Let us know, and leave a comment below!