A few months ago, we were fortunate enough to be approached by a fellow lover of travel, Damian Honeysett. It has been incredible to watch his journey and receive this amazing feedback from him about our award-winning backpack, Baltoro.
Firstly, I just wanted to thank you for giving me the incredible opportunity to put the Gregory Baltoro 75 to the test and to be a part of an awesome team and company! I really appreciate it.
I have used a few different types of ‘expedition packs’ in the past, all for three to seven-day hikes, nothing more than that. In those brief periods of time, I was wishing to take the pack off because of the back stiffness and how uncomfortable the pack was. I also find that the zips, compartments, and other features never seemed to work seamlessly. The compartments were always large and sometimes seemed to serve no purpose so the moment that I put that Gregory Pack on my back, which was around 33 kilograms to start off with I had no major issues.
Firstly, it trumped all the niggles that I had with previous packs. From the many compartments to the hardy U-Zips, it really made life so easy! So, the “general pack requirements” the standardised things, if you must, to me were all things that Gregory Packs seemed to really take the time to think through. They have developed all these little modifications and ideas that just make the pack that much better. It really is a comfortable pack on the shoulders.
It did take some trial and error with tightening and loosening to find the perfect fit but once I achieved that it was almost as if I had no pack on my back at all. My walking partner who joined last minute walked with a different backpack. His pack was five kilograms lighter than mine, at a minimum, and he suffered from aches and pains in his back and feet. He also has some bruising on his hips. This is pure proof of the superior quality of Gregory Packs.
Now, at times I suffered from hip chafe and bruising as well. They were quite bad at times; however, most of the time it was because of the heat which creates moisture and friction between the hip belt and the skin. I do not know the possibilities for developing a hip belt/harness that is slightly wider, but that would possibly allow for added comfort as this may evenly distribute the friction, so it is not concentrated in one area.
Overall, I was really chuffed with the pack, it became home and something I was comfortable with having on my back for three months! I also wanted you, Gregory Packs and the people who may be reading this, to know that one day my bag essentially went flying into a river and yet everything was dry inside. The exterior of the bag also dried within a few hours. It went through cattle fences, barbed wire, and got scratched on rocks. This bag has been sat on, slept on and much more. It really did stand many tests and survived in great condition.
So, what next?
I do still plan to do some local adventures such as Grand Traverse and similar local hikes. Although I am currently working on the next big adventure, of which will require extensive planning. I wish to really immerse myself in South Africa and continue engaging with people on the ground, doing some humanitarian work, and some expedition’s while walking. I wish to keep up this vision of fully immersing myself in the land and culture, then the plan would be to expand through to the rest of Africa. If Gregory Packs wishes to continue a collaboration, I will send through the finalised adventure plans and await their recommendation for which pack I should use next!