Have you ever bought a lottery ticket and before you get back to your car you’ve already planned on how you’re going to spend your new found fortune?
Getting your hands on a new backpack brings similar dreams, minus the riches. As soon as you get the backpack into your car, you’ve planned out your next 5 years worth of adventures. Traveling to places that you have only seen on movies, hiking trails in faraway lands, and taking adventures that you’ve only read about but never imagined were possible.
Finding a backpack that’s a trusted companion that lasts for 10 years worth of epic adventures is the ultimate goal. But, where do you start?
We’ve decided to take a look at two brands that are well respected in the backpacking game. Gregory vs Osprey face off in a head to head battle of the backpacks. You’ll find both brands on the backs of backpackers from the Pacific Crest Trail to the hostels of Thailand.
The question is, which one is right for you?
Table of Contents
- What style backpack do you need?
- Outdoor backpack comparison
- Carry On Travel Backpack Comparison
- Daypack Comparison
What style backpack do you need?
Are you challenging your mental and physical fortitude and attempting to complete Pacific Crest Trail? Embarking on the dream trip of a lifetime and heading to SE Asia to run the hostel circuit? Or do you just need a daypack for the commute to work?
There are 3 main styles of backpacks to choose from.
- Backpacking pack
- Travel pack
The style of the backpack is just as important as the backpack itself. Use a daypack on a long-term backpacking trip would be silly and using a 65-liter backpack on the ride to work makes zero sense.
Buying Backpacks Online
Before purchasing a backpack online be sure to check the seller’s return policy. If they don’t have a return policy where you can send it back unused for a full refund, avoid it. You can read every review and research a backpack for countless hours, however, the true test is throwing it on your back full of gear and seeing how it feels.
Outdoor backpack comparison
Outdoor backpacks are found on trails all over the world. They tend to range anywhere from 45 liters up to 75 liters and are designed to hold a sleeping bag, hiking gear, and cooking supplies. Their large size is necessary due to the large amount of gear that’s necessary to be completely self-sustaining outdoors, for days on end.
Gregory Baltoro 65 vs. Osprey Atmos 65 AG
Both of these backpacks are 65 liters, however, each company offers sizes that are larger and smaller. These large capacity backpacks are designed for a long distance backpacking trip or an epic hostel style adventure. With the large size, you’ll have the ability to bring everything that you need to enjoy a month long hike in the wilderness or 3 months in the jungles of SE Asia.
The weight of a backpack is the first thing that most people consider when choosing a hiking backpack. Considering that these packs are made for long-term backpacking adventures, every ounce counts. A large load capacity combined with a comfortable fit is what makes or breaks a backpack and the initial weight will make a huge difference in overall pack weight. The Atmos is a slightly lighter backpack, saving you a couple ounces when compared to the Baltoro 65, however, both backpacks are extremely similar in pack weight, coming in at under 5 pounds.
- Osprey Atmos 65 AG weighs 4.56 pounds
- Gregory Baltoro 65 weighs 4.84 pounds
The material of modern backpacks is a far cry from the standard canvas bags of the past. Modern synthetic materials offer long-lasting durability and comfort. Both of these backpacks are durable, tear resistant, and water resistant. They use Nylon on the outside of the pack and have a thick reinforced bottom, which is the most common place to notice wear and tear.
- Gregory Baltoro 65 uses 210-denier high-tenacity nylon/210-denier Honeycomb CryptoRip HD
- Osprey Atmos 65 AG uses High-tenacity nylon/mini-ripstop nylon
The size of the backpack goes a long way in determining the comfort of carrying it on your back. While a backpack should be large enough to hold all your gear, you don’t want it to feel awkward and keep you off balance. The Atmos is taller while the Baltoro is a shorter but similar in width and depth. They both have a 65-liter capacity, so they’ll carry a similar amount of gear in terms of volume.
- Gregory Baltoro 65 is 25.2″ x 15.0″ x 9.5″
- Osprey Atmos 65 AG is 34″ x 15″ x 16″
The suspension system may be the single most important advancement in modern day backpacks. The gold standard of backpacks is a suspension system that makes your back feel like you have very little weight on it, even under a full load. The challenge is finding a balance in freedom of movement and shock absorption. While nobody has figured out the perfect suspension system, they’re getting better and better every year.
Gregory’s A3 Suspension
Baltoro uses Gregory’s A3 proprietary A3 suspension system, which stands for Automatic Angle Adjust. The shoulder harness and the hipbelt panels adapt to different body shapes to maintain the balance of the load. There’s also a lumbar support that allows adjustment based on the shape of your lower back.
Osprey Atmos AG Suspension
The Osprey Atmos 65 AG uses Anti-Gravity suspension, hence the name Atmos AG. It’s a trampoline style suspension system in which the entire back panel is suspended, along with the hip belt. This allows for the weight to be evenly spread out across your entire back and waist. This elevated suspension system gets rid of sweaty backs, pressure points, and high friction areas.
You can talk all you want about liters and dimensions, however, the real world test is how much you can fit into the bag. Both of these backpacks have one main pocket for the lion’s share of your gear and exterior pockets for smaller items. The Osprey has the upper hand in terms of exterior pockets, however, they both hold their own in the storage department.
- Osprey Atmos has a large compartment, dual zippered pockets on the top lid, front stretch mesh pocket, hipbelt pockets, and side mesh pockets for water bottles
- Gregory Baltoro has a large compartment, dual zippered pockets on the lid, security pocket underneath, hipbelt pockets, and water bottle holster on the side
Fit and adjustability
The fit and adjustability of a backpack go a long way into making your adventure as enjoyable as possible. The fit is as simple as finding the proper size backpack and adjustability is the different ways you can tighten it in all the right places. Both backpacks offer flexible hipbelts, shoulder straps, and multiple sizing options.
- Both offer flexible hipbelts, shoulder straps, and multiple sizing options
Gregory Baltoro 65
The newest version of the Gregory Baltoro 65 is lighter in weight than previous models with an improves design. It is still slightly on the heavier side, however, with the added features it’s easy to see past the pack weight with the extra features. The comfort and suspension of this backpack are where it really shines, handling large loads with ease and a packed weight feels lighter than it really is.
- 3D AIR HIPBELT AND SHOULDER HARNESS: Gregory's PreCurve technology and multi-density foam construction combine to eliminate hotspots and relieve pressure in sensitive areas. The 3D AIR mesh wicks away moisture, increasing overall comfort.
- WISHBONE INTERNAL FRAME: A high-strength aluminum frame defines the perimeter of the back panel, preventing the pack from losing its shape and keeping the load close to your center of gravity.
- FREE DAYPACK: Removable hydration sleeve converts into fast and light SideKick Daypack with shoulder harnesses and accessory pocket.
- CUSTOM FITTED RAINCOVER: Included rain cover stows in a quick access zippered pocket on underside of the top lid.
- Easy access with top and front openings
- Comfortable with a heavy load
- Strong suspension system
- Have to remove the pack to hang trekking poles
- Color fades over time
- Not an ultralight backpack
Osprey Atmos 65 AG
Osprey Atmos 65 AG uses the revolutionary Anti-Gravity suspension system that provides excellent breathability, as well as, load stability. The contoured fit makes it comfortable from the tops of the shoulders all the way down to the belt. The stiffeners at the top of the straps offer great weight distribution and don’t weight down the shoulders.
The innovative design makes a long distance hike enjoyable. The suspension system offers comfort and breathability on the trail and this pack is popular choice amongst long distance hikers.
- Anti-Gravity suspension - feels like you are carrying less weight than is in your pack
- Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment allows you to stow your poles in steep terrain or whenever you need your hands free
- Adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt to dial in perfect fit
- Internal hydration reservoir sleeve accommodates up to a 3L reservoir
- Excellent weight distribution
- Comfortable shoulder straps
- Easy access
- Waist strap has excess length
- Not considered ultralight
- Uncomfortable for loads over 45 pounds
Carry On Travel Backpack Comparison
People are traveling more than ever and the idea of less is more is gaining momentum. These travel backpacks are made to fit in the overhead bin and hold everything that you need for any trip. While you won’t be able to pack 8 pairs of shoes and every outfit in the closet, you can carry everything that you need. Once you get used to traveling with a carry-on, you realize the beauty of not having 9 bags and avoiding baggage claim, it’s the best.
Osprey Farpoint 40 vs Gregory Compass 40
Both of these travel backpacks have a 40-liter capacity and most importantly are carry on compliant. They are designed with the minimal traveler in mind and offer multiple organizational options once the bag is unzipped.
When packing a carry on bag for a trip, whether it’s for one week or one year, the weight of the pack makes a huge difference. Certain airlines have a size requirement and others have a weight requirement, so every ounce counts. In this instance, the Gregory compass wins by a landslide, weighing just over a pound less than the Farpoint.
- Gregory Compass weighs 2 pounds
- Osprey Farpoint weighs 3.16 pounds
The material that a bag is made with is often filled with numbers and letters that don’t make a lot of sense to most of us, at least not us. The important thing is that whatever material they use, that it lasts in overhead compartments, being constantly placed on the ground, and standard daily wear and tear. Both these bags are made with reinforced nylon that is tear, water-resistant, and durable.
- Osprey Farpoint 40 is made of 210D Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop with a 600D base
- Gregory Compass is 40 made of 420D Ripstop Nylon with an 840D base
When talking about the size carry on travel bags, if they don’t fit into the overhead bin or comply with airlines carry on rules it defeats the purpose. While carry on rules vary greatly, these bags sizes meet most, if not all, carry on requirements.
- Osprey Farpoint is 19″ x 14″ x 15″
- Gregory Compass 40 is 23.25″ x 13.5″ x 9.75″
Getting in and out your backpack may seem like it’s not that important, but it is. Top loading backpacks were all the rage in the beginning and then travelers realized digging through all your gear to get a pair of socks at the bottom of your bag is a major pain in the ass. This spawned the area of front zipped backpacks that you can open like a piece of luggage, a simple yet intuitive advancement.
- Gregory Compass 40 has a full zipper on the back of the bag and a top pocket
- Osprey Farpoint has a full zipper on the front of the bag and a top pocket
Neither of these bags are waterproof, however, both are water resistant. What does that mean? It means that they can handle little rain every now and then, but if you’re going to be somewhere tropical, then a waterproof cover is the way to go. Waterproof covers are thick plastic covers with elastic that wrap around your bag and they pack down to the size of a soda can.
- Both travel backpacks are water resistant
The hipsters of travel may scoff at the idea of bringing technology on an overseas trip, but the reality is, technology isn’t going anywhere. A laptop is the modern day toolbox and most of us can’t leave home without it. Having a laptop pocket that fits your favorite laptop and prevents damage is a lifesaver.
- Gregory compass has a padded laptop pocket that sits against your back
- Osprey Farpoint has a laptop pocket, however, it doesn’t rest against your back
Osprey Farpoint 40
The Osprey Farpoint 40 is a practical travel backpack with a modern design. Made with 210D nylon and a reinforced bottom, the design is built to last. It has a large zipped main compartment with lockable sliders, an outer zipped pocket, and mesh zippered pockets on the inside so you can organize your smaller stuff.
The 40-liter size may not sound like enough room, however, once you get used to traveling with less, the experience becomes more. This backpack works for a 2 week trip to Hawaii or a 2 year trip around the world. You get great value for your investment and the lifetime warranty gives you peace of mind.
- Large panel zip access to main compartment
- Stowaway backpanel, harness and hipbelt with zippered rear flap for protection
- Laptop and tablet sleeve secure in lockable compartment
- Dual front mesh pockets
- Lifetime warranty to replace or repair the bag
- Strap, belt, and harness can all be zipped away
- Comfortable under a full load
- When the main section is full, not a lot of room in the front compartment
- The laptop pocket is away from your back
- Back gets sweaty
Gregory Compass 40
If you’re an active adventurer who appreciates value and simplicity the Gregory Compass 40 is an awesome backpack to consider for stop and go experiences. It’s fully equipped with a padded suspension system and adjustable shoulder and sternum straps for easy carry. It comes with top and bottom compression straps allowing you to make the most out of the available space.
- DEDICATED LAPTOP COMPARTMENT: External-access padded 15-inch laptop compartment with tablet sleeve.
- ORGANIZATION OPTIONS: Top accessory pocket with key clip and internal zippered mesh security pocket. Zippered mesh organizer pocket inside main compartment. Single main compartment with U-zip backpanel access. Separate expanding bottom compartment.
- GRAB HANDLES & PADDED SHOULDER STRAPS: Multiple grab handles for overhead or under seat convenience. Padded backpack straps with padded backpanel.
- ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Padded front panel. Side compression straps. Dual daisy chains. Reflective logo.
- Adjustable shoulder and sternum straps
- Padded back
- Only accessible from the back
- No rain cover included
- Back gets sweaty
There are times when you want to take a casual morning hike within a short drive from home and you don’t need to pack everything plus the kitchen sink. These are the perfect trips to consider a daypack as a way to bring a water bottle, some snacks, and other essential items. Daypacks are similar to the backpacks that we all used in middle school with improvements made for the outdoors.
Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack vs Gregory Zulu 30 Daypack
These packs are made for a casual day hike and offer most of what you get out of a larger hiking backpack in a more condensed size. We’re going to break down the differences in the Osprey Daylight Plus and Gregory Zulu 30.
A daypack is meant to be used for a day or overnight hike if you’re feeling a little wild. The Osprey Daylite is a clear winner here, weighing over a pound less than the Zulu 30. Keep in mind, the Zulu plus is 10 liters larger, so with a larger bag comes more weight.
- Osprey Daylight Plus weighs 1.23 pounds
- Zulu 30 weighs 2.7 pounds
A daypack isn’t going to see the same amount of abuse (under normal conditions) as a hiking or travel backpack. That being said, it should still last you a couple of years.
- Osprey Daylight Plus is made of polyester
- Zulu 30 is made of 210-denier nylon and 100-denier nylon
The clear winner here is the Zulu 30, simply due to the fact that it is larger in volume. The Daylite Plus still has plenty of room for everything that you need for a day hike, it’s just a smaller pack.
- Osprey Daylight Plus is 18″ x 10″ x 9″
- Gregory Zulu 30 is 21.5″ x 13″ x 8″
The frame type for a day pack is less engineered than a hiking backpack, for obvious reasons. Considering that a day pack is just that, meant for a day, the suspension is often overlooked. Being a larger pack, it makes sense that the Zulu has CrossFlo suspension while the Daylite is frameless (and smaller).
- Zulu 30 has CrossFlo suspension
- Daylite Plus is frameless
Osprey Daylite Plus
This backpack is made with polyester material, has dual adjustable shoulder straps, an adjustable sternum strap, and a waist strap. The back is padded to make big loads easier on your back and the small pocket on the front is perfect for a cell phone, earbuds, or whatever you need quick access to.
The main compartment has a wrap around zipped enclosure and a padded sleeve for any electronic devices. There are mesh water bottle holders on either side of the backpack. This backpack has pockets for everything, all the bells and whistles, and is an Osprey product worth checking out.
- Large panel loading main compartment provides accessibility to inside contents
- Dual stretch mesh side pockets provide additional storage options
- The multi-function interior sleeve can be used for either a Osprey Hydraulics reservoir or tablet; Attaches to a variety of compatible Osprey packs
- Front Panel Shove-It Pocket is Great for stashing a light rain shell and other smaller items
- Only weighs 1.23 pounds
- Comfortable fit
- 7 pockets on the outside
- Water bottle falls out easily
- Rain cover sold separately
- Won’t sit flat on the ground
Gregory Zulu 30
The Gregory Zulu 30 is an updated version of the Z series with a well-designed body. The ventilation provides you with a cooling effect on hot days and doesn’t compromise the stability of the backpack. The 30-liter size is on the larger end of daypacks and weighs in at just over 2 pounds, not bad for a 30-liter daypack.
The front of the pack has a stuff pouch that can be tightened or loosened with side straps. The clips on the side of the bag work great for trekking poles or any other gear you need to clip. Overall, the firm suspension handles a 20-25 pound load comfortably, the material is durable, and Gregory will replace anything that breaks.
- VENTILATED SUSPENSION & TOP ACCESS: Updated CrossFlo Suspension. Hybrid top loading panel access to main body
- AMPLE STORAGE TO ORGANIZE YOUR TRIP: Zippered pockets on exterior and interior of hybrid panel access. Two external stretch water bottle pockets
- FREE RAIN COVER & EASY ACCESS TO IMPORTANT GEAR: Dual quick-access waist belt pockets. Trekking pole attachment points double as ice axe loops. Integrated rain cover
- KEEP YOUR ACCESSORIES HANDY: Interior security pocket with key clip. Sunglass stash on shoulder harness
- CrossFlo suspension (no sweaty back)
- Easily accessible side pockets
- Includes a rain cover
- Sternum strap comes off the rail
- No bottom compartment
- The harness isn’t adjustable