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Join the quest for the perfect panel loading camino pack?

tarasis

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2019)
Portuguese (Porto) (2019)
Have now done 5 x 20+km and 2 x 30km walks with it fully loaded and would say I barely notice it, comfortable and snug. Weight I have ended with is 6.8kg

Cheers for the feedback, good to hear. I managed to try it out with a 3kg load and it seemed good (along with Osprey Stratos 34 & 36, Dueter something, and a couple of others … found they sat a little too low and swayed) . Had hoped it was a little smaller to be able to take it on as carryon.

Definitely prefer that Black and Orange over the Blue & Gray.

Will be my first backpack/rucksack of that type.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm back from walking nearly 1100 km on my latest Camino using the Ranger 35. It was very comfortable and carried the load well. I started out with about 14.5lbs without water.

For anyone who is interested in this pack it's now on sale for only $124! They are showing a regular price of $155, but when it was introduced, and when I bought mine in February, it was $185.

 

Hiker-jill

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte 2016
I'm back from walking nearly 1100 km on my latest Camino using the Ranger 35. It was very comfortable and carried the load well. I started out with about 14.5lbs without water.

For anyone who is interested in this pack it's now on sale for only $124! They are showing a regular price of $155, but when it was introduced, and when I bought mine in February, it was $185.

Trecile
I am confused by the "one size fits all"....is it somehow adjustable? What size torso do you have? Most backpacks that I've tried have been ordered specifically by torso length....and maybe a separate measurement for waist...So, I am curious...
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Trecile
I am confused by the "one size fits all"....is it somehow adjustable? What size torso do you have? Most backpacks that I've tried have been ordered specifically by torso length....and maybe a separate measurement for waist...So, I am curious...
No, it doesn't have an adjustable torso length, but fit me just fine. My torso length is 18".
I'm sure that @davebugg could explain how this pack is able to fit a range of torso sizes.
 

Hiker-jill

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte 2016
No, it doesn't have an adjustable torso length, but fit me just fine. My torso length is 18".
I'm sure that @davebugg could explain how this pack is able to fit a range of torso sizes.
Thanks...I am asking for my sister....I could probably wear it, because my torso is also 18"...but hers is 16".....
 
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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Update on the panel loader quest: I have just returned from a 300 km walk on the Francés, in hot weather, with my supposedly 25L Osprey Escapist. I have dared myself to do it many times but this is the first time I have actually done it. And it performed great! Not too full, just enough organisation, and she even sits up by herself so no falling over and no dusting the floor in the packing process.
I didn't miss the pole stowing thing, mostly because I use my Pacerpoles all the time so no need to stow them, but when I did, I just opened the waist belt and clipped them in there.
I had my water bottle in one side pocket where I could reach and replace it myself, my Birkenstock EVAs in the other, and layers and wet stuff in the mesh stash/kangaroo pocket. Small and frequent use stuff in the zipped sunglasses pocket, general stuff in the main compartment, urgent stuff like first aid, poncho, umbrella/parasol in the larger organising pocket. Hardly used the sleeping bag compartment opening, but when I did I was glad to have it. Clothes, sleeping bag and toiletries/laundry stuff was all separated in drybags and easy to get to without lifting everything out.
The back panel is the same as the Talon/Tempest and Kestrel/Kyte models and kept me cool enough without getting the pack soaked. Harness and waist belt very comfortable and the velcro adjustment helped get the perfect fit. And when I came home I just folded her into the washing machine!
I did cut the shoulder strap pocket off though, as it was too small for my glasses and mobile, instead I put a velcro strap around that part of the strap with a drinking tube clip to attach my umbrella/parasol to shield from the blistering sunshine. I also removed the helmet holder and cinching bungee to make it easier to use the front zip, since I would fill the pack anyway.
All in all I am very happy with her and still amazed at the capacity for such a small pack!
DSC_1100.jpg
 
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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Oh and by the way, the new season Osprey pack features a remake of the Manta 24 and 34L, and Mira 22 and 32L - all panel loaders with aircon backs and bells and whistles! Pricey though. My Escapist adventure makes it easier not to yearn for one.
 
Past OR future Camino
Many and many more.
Update on the panel loader quest: I have just returned from a 300 km walk on the Francés, in hot weather, with my supposedly 25L Osprey Escapist. I have dared myself to do it many times but this is the first time I have actually done it. And it performed great! Not too full, just enough organisation, and she even sits up by herself so no falling over and no dusting the floor in the packing process.
I didn't miss the pole stowing thing, mostly because I use my Pacerpoles all the time so no need to stow them, but when I did, I just opened the waist belt and clipped them in there.
I had my water bottle in one side pocket where I could reach and replace it myself, my Birkenstock EVAs in the other, and layers and wet stuff in the mesh stash/kangaroo pocket. Small and frequent use stuff in the zipped sunglasses pocket, general stuff in the main compartment, urgent stuff like first aid, poncho, umbrella/parasol in the larger organising pocket. Hardly used the sleeping bag compartment opening, but when I did I was glad to have it. Clothes, sleeping bag and toiletries/laundry stuff was all separated in drybags and easy to get to without lifting everything out.
The back panel is the same as the Talon/Tempest and Kestrel/Kyte models and kept me cool enough without getting the pack soaked. Harness and waist belt very comfortable and the velcro adjustment helped get the perfect fit. And when I came home I just folded her into the washing machine!
I did cut the shoulder strap pocket off though, as it was too small for my glasses and mobile, instead I put a velcro strap around that part of the strap with a drinking tube clip to attach my umbrella/parasol to shield from the blistering sunshine. I also removed the helmet holder and cinching bungee to make it easier to use the front zip, since I would fill the pack anyway.
All in all I am very happy with her and still amazed at the capacity for such a small pack!
View attachment 64779


I see no reason why they should not be - but are all rucksacks female, like ships? If not - and there are two (or more - I am nothing if not ‘woke’) genders - how does one tell the difference

Anyway - I’m delighted that you have found something which really works for you.
 
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Deleted member 67185

Guest
I see no reason why they should not be - but are all rucksacks female, like ships? If not - and there are two (or more - I am nothing if not ‘woke’) genders - how does one tell the difference?

In 1970’s UK working-men’s-club humour (I know I’m talking to a smaller and smaller audience by the word...) we could compare the brain size (what I know as the lid), but happily those days are gone and I wouldn’t know where to start nowadays.

Anyway - I’m delighted that you have found something which really works for you.

A lot of the gender-differentiated backpacks adjust the width of the backpack at the shoulder girdle and waist areas. The size (spine length) choices are also somewhat adjusted for smaller increments between small to large. Additionally, many manufacturers will incorporate a shoulder harness that is shaped to better fit a larger chest area.

Testosterone and estrogen pheromones are optional. :)
 
Past OR future Camino
Many and many more.
A lot of the gender-differentiated backpacks adjust the width of the backpack at the shoulder girdle and waist areas. The size (spine length) choices are also somewhat adjusted for smaller increments between small to large. Additionally, many manufacturers will incorporate a shoulder harness that is shaped to better fit a larger chest area.

Testosterone and estrogen pheromones are optional. :)
[/QUOTE

Dave - I was counting down slowly from ten and expecting you to come in with a technically unimpeachable answer before I got to one.

You didn't let me down.

I’ll have to mark on the calendar when you’re over here waking with Mrs Bugg.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
My Escapist is a unisex or male biking pack in theory but I am tall and broad shouldered and have a short back for my height so it fits me very well. Her name is Stella though 😁
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
My Escapist is a unisex or male biking pack in theory but I am tall and broad shouldered and have a short back for my height so it fits me very well. Her name is Stella though 😁

Stella. . . I love it :)

There are a lot of male hikers that have started using female specific packs. The biggest reason is that they seem to fit better around the chest area. The narrower cut to the packs profiles also seems to be preferred.
 
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DwainS

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances(2020)
Trecile, it only takes 10 seconds total to get to tbe interior...only 5 seconds more than a zipper. I'd call that a moot point. :)
just what I was thinking. i'am new to backpacking and looking for one for the camino this year. When I was reading the comments when they say it takes longer to get in a top loading were they talking about 5 minutes, 5 seconds or whatever. Everyone in these forums say don't rush while on the camino but it seems like theres a race to get into a backpack and be able to get things in and out as fast as you can. Quite hilarious actually. You took 30 seconds longer than my backpack, i'am the winner.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
just what I was thinking. i'am new to backpacking and looking for one for the camino this year. When I was reading the comments when they say it takes longer to get in a top loading were they talking about 5 minutes, 5 seconds or whatever. Everyone in these forums say don't rush while on the camino but it seems like theres a race to get into a backpack and be able to get things in and out as fast as you can. Quite hilarious actually. You took 30 seconds longer than my backpack, i'am the winner.
It's just that I'm lazy, and don't like to mess around with drawstrings and buckles more than I have to. 😂
 

Keith H

Member
Past OR future Camino
😱
I’ve got the Gossamer Gear as a travel pack and for 1-2 night hikes. I love it. It’s been on several long haul flights and 2 hikes so far. Easy access, comfortable, very functional.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I just came across a couple of new(ish?) panel loading backpacks from Gregory.

The Citro for men comes in 24, 30 and 36 liter sizes. Has a mesh trampoline style back and weighs 2.02 lbs / 916 g , 2.09 lbs / 948 g , and 2.27 lbs / 1.03 kg respectively


The Juno for women also comes in 24, 30 and 36 liter sizes. Weights are 1.93 lbs / 875 g , 2.06 lbs / 934 g , and 2.28 lbs / 1.03 kg.

The dimensions of both the men's and women's packs should qualify for carry on on most airlines.
 

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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Though I have found a cracking panel loader, I still keep an eye on the latest bright and shiny things, so if you have been wondering about the new Osprey Talon and Tempest bucket zip openers - the closest thing to a panel loader without actually being one - I have taken one for the team and ordered an Osprey Tempest 34 just to have a look. I have posted my highly un-scientific findings on my blog, with photos and an old Tempest 30 for comparison. I also ordered and returned a Tempest 24 and decided it was too small for me to carry my (small) kit, but it might be the perfect pack for someone going minimal or having the main luggage forwarded.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I did buy the Gregory Juno 36 last year when I still thought that I'd be able to walk in 2020. It's waiting for me to take it on the Camino in a corner of my bedroom.
I love everything about it - color, size, zippers, pockets, and ventilated back panel. Can't wait until I can put it to use.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I did check out the link and it looks brilliant - just what I'd want if I didn't already have my trusty fellow Escapist Stella, who has proved her camino worthiness. I really wanted to love the new Tempest so I could have one as a treat for sitting tight through several postponed/cancelled walks, but alas, it was not for me. It annoyed me that there weren't more photos of the new features though so I got one and took some myself 😄 Hope you get to take Juno for a spin soon.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
I like my new Gregory Jade 38, an older women's model, so cheaper on sale than the new one. It is a little fiddly, with the number of fastenings that I have to get accustomed to, but it is a panel loading model, and I love the large pockets on the waistbelt. They are so much more useful when walking than the large side pockets which I cannot reach. I have purchased a sturdy plastic bottle which holds a cup of water and fits into a waist belt pocket, so I can go longer between stops to adjust my water supply. And the other waist pocket is useful for several smaller things that I like to have to hand. No, it is not particularly comfortable. But I am sad to admit that I have not had a comfortable pack since the demise of the external frame hiking pack, which worked for my frame. Or maybe it is just that my frame was younger in those days.
 
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Hiker-jill

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte 2016
I did buy the Gregory Juno 36 last year when I still thought that I'd be able to walk in 2020. It's waiting for me to take it on the Camino in a corner of my bedroom.
I love everything about it - color, size, zippers, pockets, and ventilated back panel. Can't wait until I can put it to use.
Do you like this Gregory pack better than the Ranger???
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Do you like this Gregory pack better than the Ranger???
The main attribute that I like better about the Juno than the Ranger is the trampoline style back panel. I'll have to get back to you after I've done a Camino with the Juno to tell you how it truly compares with the Ranger.😉
 
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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
... aaand I'm back on this thread. Just came home from a 4 week walk with my Talon 33 and am thoroughly sick of packing and unpacking a top loader. Tried the new Osprey Tempest 34, the bucket opening new model, before I went but it seemed too long in the back for me. Now looking at Gregory Maya 30 which is also quite long on paper - anyone have it and know if that back system is rigid or squishable? And are Gregory packs generous or small for their literage? My Escapist is a little tight for anything but the most minimal of kits so it seems I need something slightly bigger. Any tips on different panel loaders or experiences with the Maya gratefully received. Thanks in advance!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
... aaand I'm back on this thread. Just came home from a 4 week walk with my Talon 33 and am thoroughly sick of packing and unpacking a top loader. Tried the new Osprey Tempest 34, the bucket opening new model, before I went but it seemed too long in the back for me. Now looking at Gregory Maya 30 which is also quite long on paper - anyone have it and know if that back system is rigid or squishable? And are Gregory packs generous or small for their literage? My Escapist is a little tight for anything but the most minimal of kits so it seems I need something slightly bigger. Any tips on different panel loaders or experiences with the Maya gratefully received. Thanks in advance!
Have you looked at the Gregory Juno packs? I don't find my Juno 36 to be long in the back.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Have you looked at the Gregory Juno packs? I don't find my Juno 36 to be long in the back.
Yes I have, it is high up on my list of potential candidates, but I do worry that the frame will creak at some point. Out of interest, how long is the back on it? My ideal pack will be about 50 cm and most Gregory ones seem to be nearer 53, 54.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Yes I have, it is high up on my list of potential candidates, but I do worry that the frame will creak at some point. Out of interest, how long is the back on it? My ideal pack will be about 50 cm and most Gregory ones seem to be nearer 53, 54.
I'm not sure exactly how to measure it, but it seems to be about 53.5 cm.
 

Swift3

Member
Past OR future Camino
CP, Porto to SdC, May/June 2016
Yes I have, it is high up on my list of potential candidates, but I do worry that the frame will creak at some point. Out of interest, how long is the back on it? My ideal pack will be about 50 cm and most Gregory ones seem to be nearer 53, 54.
You'll have to convert inches to cms but here are the torso length figures for their packs. Click on "size chart", then scroll to the model you're interested in. 50 cm is roughly 19 11/16 ", call it 20 " The Juno is a single size and according to the specs from Gregory accommodates a max of 19" (
Fits Torso14" - 19" / 35.6 - 48.3 cm
) and the Jade only has a SM/M length torso (adjustable 15-19") so that wouldn't work, but the men's Zulu in a M/LG (18-22") might be perfect. I have the Zulu35 with the brain, used in the the Portugese, rode and packed like a dream. And no squeeks!
https://www.gregorypacks.com/packs-bags/day-packs/juno-36-126884XXXX.html?dwvar_126884XXXX_color=Lunar Grey&cgidmaster=
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm not sure exactly how to measure it, but it seems to be about 53.5 cm.
Thinking about this more, and I'm not sure that I've measured correctly. Do I measure the entire back of the pack, or measure from where the shoulder straps attach?
 

Swift3

Member
Past OR future Camino
CP, Porto to SdC, May/June 2016
Thinking about this more, and I'm not sure that I've measured correctly. Do I measure the entire back of the pack, or measure from where the shoulder straps attach?
This may help. I think it depends on where your packs shoulder straps attach/how your pack is constructed. See here: https://besthiking.net/how-to-fit-backpack/ Manufacturers specs should give that number. Gregory says the Juno 36 is a single size torso that fits torsos: "14" - 19" / 35.6 - 48.3 cm". https://www.gregorypacks.com/packs-...gidmaster=packs-activities-day-hiking#start=1
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@C clearly Yes, I love it too - the comfort, the size, the features, being able to reach my waterbottle and replace it, and having the poncho in the top pocket where I can open the zip and pull the poncho out without breaking a stride - but it has to be carefully packed and it is a pain trying to find anything and having to pull most of the stuff out to get to whatever I am after. When the new Talon and Tempest came out with the bucket zip it felt like Christmas!, but sadly the rigid back system is a bit too long for me and I could feel it in my neck. I might still try it again in future because it does do everything else my current Talon does ...
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
it seems to be about 53.5 cm.
Yes that seems right. I mean the whole back system, the max length of the pack. When I fasten the waist belt, 53-54 cms means a rigid back would stick up well above my shoulders and stop me from looking up etc ... I know, it's a tiny thing but it is something I would avoid if I could. I have actually trimmed the back panel of my Talon M/L (used to be my husband's and he needs the longer back) down an inch or so and restitched the top of the sleeve it is in, so now it fits me perfectly. Might be time for me to ditch the back length criteria though to try some more packs. I guess it depends how it sits with the hipbelt etc as well.
 
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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
The Juno is a single size and according to the specs from Gregory accommodates a max of 19"
Thank you - I was looking at the Gregory models yesterday and the Maya and Juno measurements are given as 53.3 and 52 respectively, both one size, but the fit chart says they fit up to 19" backs. They must be meant to stick up above the shoulders in order to help pull the straps off for comfort; I find that is not really necessary with the low weight of a camino pack. It seems I need to find or order a Gregory and try it in person!
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@trecile or other Gregory owners - do the packs run large or small, in your opinion? Turns out the Juno 36 isn't available in the UK, so the Juno 30 and Maya 30 might be the same volume as my Escapist, in which case there is no point in investing in a similar size.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
I've just got back from a short camino using a Beast 28 Ultralight Technical Backpack (there are significant discounts available if you search around).

On the whole the Beast gets a plus from me, the half clamshell design was excellent and made packing much easier. It has all the features you would expect from a hiking bag including attachments for a bladder/hiking poles. I added some lacing onto the daisy chain so that I could temporarily stow a jumper/wet waterproofs whilst walking. Big front pocket worked well for things you want easy access to. It's fairly roomy and the space is very useable. Good sized side pockets that hold a water bottle.

The downsides, it's up against your back which might be a problem for some and there's not that much adjustment possible. Padding on the waist band and shoulder straps is minimal but I found it to be fine. It's definitely a bag for travelling light, when I was loaded up with water and food I started to notice the pack/lack of padding more. If you overfill it I suspect you'll break the zips and there aren't any other straps to keep it together (it's not the kind of pack you can overfill and just half close the lid). It is a lightweight pack (680g) and whilst it is fairly robust I am not sure it will be something I'll get years of use from.

I think this pack is around 50cm from shoulder strap to base when loaded. There's some extra height but it's curved away from your neck. However, this pack like another top loading pack I have of a similar size catches me in the small of back in a way I can't seem adjust to get right (it's ok if I keep the pack very light but adding a 2kg of food & water seems to make it not so ok). Although I like having a smaller pack I think a bigger 40/45l pack suits my body better and don't the back niggles I've had with smaller & lighter packs.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Well, I took one for the panel loader team and found a very reasonably priced Gregory Juno 30 to contrast and compare to my Osprey Escapist 25, which so far is the best I have found. In short: They are exactly the same back length (the unsquishable part), 50 cms, and take the same amount of stuff - the Escapist is deceptively roomy for 25L. The features are largely the same: front mesh bucket pocket, small items pocket, dual compression straps on both sides, rain cover in a zipped pocket (E25 at the bottom of the pack, J30 under the bucket mesh), but the Escapist has zippered sleeping bag access as well as a zippered organiser panel, while the Juno offers a rigid frame and a ventilated back. Having walked around for a bit with each, with exactly the same stuff in it, I am torn. I think I can feel the edges of the Juno trampoline mesh thing rub against my shoulder blades, and though I can see the air gap at the back, I can also see it on the Escapist, basically because the ridged panel isn't glued to my back. So I am unsure how much of a difference the ventilation system would make in real life. Also the Juno side mesh is less stretchy and the material feels stiffer, but then it is brand new and the Escapist has been through a lot and been in the washing machine, which is another bonus ...
Bottom line for now is that I am thinking it's not worth spending more money on something so essentially similar. (Also the E25 is a nice blue and the J30 is dark grey, not that it matters of course.) If I didn't already have the Escapist though, the Juno would be just about perfect!
 
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