Gear Review – Battle of the Packs – Gregory Baltoro vs. Osprey Atmos

gear review, backpacker, osprey atmos, gregory baltoro

Maybe you are ready to embark on your first backpacking trip into the wild. Or maybe you are an experienced packer that is looking to improve your gear setup. If you have started your research, the two quality backpacks that are surely going to show up in your searches are the Gregory Baltoro 65 and the Osprey Atmos AG 65. You most likely have already been eyeing them up at your local outdoor retailer. How do you choose though? They are both quality packs. Sure, tossing a few sandbags and walking around in the store will give you a general idea of the comfort, but once you live out of them, the pros and cons become much more evident.

Round 1: Lid

General top lid setup: Gregory has two compartments that run from vertically from front to back, while Osprey’s run horizontal on the back of the lid (see below).

View of both lid compartments unzipped. Gregory compartments are same size. Osprey’s lower compartment is large with the upper section being smaller.

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The underside of both lids. Gregory has a compartment on the inner lid which is nice. Comparing the three lid sections of the Gregory versus the two of the Osprey, we’d say the Gregory has slightly more lid volume.

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Ah, yes. The Osprey has a double lid. Why? Because the top lid is removable in the event that you wanted to carry a smaller load and cut volume off of your pack.

Another small detail that we find valuable is the Osprey zippers have large comfortable circular grips that make opening and closing effortless. Trust us, you’ll notice the difference.

Round 1: Lid

Winner: Osprey

Round 2: Body

A view of the inside of the main compartment bodies. Not much to gasp at here, volume on both is 65 liters, but you will notice one thing that is different. Gregory includes a daypack on the inside. This is a nice touch since it allows you journey off from your base camp and not have to lug around a large pack to carry a few items with you. It can also serve as a holder for your water bladder system (think camelback or platypus).

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Round 2: Body

Winner: Gregory

Round 3: Suspension

One of the most important parts of your pack will be the suspension. It controls the weight load of the pack and results in the overall comfort to your body. The winner of this battle could depend on the amount of weight you are carrying and how your body gels with the pack design. If you have been following us, you know we have been carrying the Baltoro for a few years. It has done an exceptional job. However, we have noticed a few benefits on the Osprey pack. This pack is ridiculously comfortable. It nearly just floats on your back. You can also see the back panel is much more ventilated which will keep the heat off of your back. Staying dry is always a benefit. The shoulder straps also seem to have more cushion in them and have proved to be more comfortable on our treks along the Appalachian Trail. You will also be able to tell a weight difference. The Gregory weighs a pound more at 5 lbs 10 oz and is known as a “beast hauler”. This is true, it handles 50-60 lb loads very well. For us, personally, we are usually in the 40 lb range and the Osprey handles it like a dream.

Round 3: Suspension

Winner: Osprey

Round 4: Hip pockets

This round wasn’t even a contest. You can see in the image below, the Gregory pocket can not hold our phone with a case on it. If you look at the second image, the Osprey holds the case with no issue and has room to spare. Also, hey Teddy! He likes to make a cameo from time to time.

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The Gregory has a weather shield zip pocket and the other side is a mesh compartment. Both Osprey pockets are the same and have the easy grip zippers on them.

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Round 4: Hip Pockets

Winner: Osprey

Round 5: Bottle Holder

The Gregory has a bottle holder that is hidden. It tucks into the bag itself and you can pull it out when needed. There is a tightener that can fasten your drink down to prevent it from falling out. Osprey does not have a dedicated drink holder but has dual purpose holders on both sides. We actually prefer them more. It allows you to grab your drink from different angles or be placed on either side of your pack. Also, if you aren’t carrying a bottle, it gives you an extra pouch to stash tent poles or a tripod.

Round 5: Bottle Holder

Winner: Osprey

Round 6: Front pack compartment

Two different styles here. The Gregory has a full zip compartment, and more importantly, a rain cover! Osprey does not include a rain cover with it’s bag. That is unfortunate, and (if you ask us) they should really look into changing that. However, picking up a rain cover isn’t going to break the bank, there are quite a few affordable options out there. To be completely fair, the Gregory runs $40 more than the Osprey and the rain cover is $30. In the end, it’s still less money. The Osprey has an open air stretchy mesh front compartment. Either version makes for a good place to stash your rain gear.

Round 6: Front compartment

Winner: Gregory

Round 7: Side Compartment

Another area with a major difference. If you look at the Gregory pack on the left, the side zipper opens around the front to convert the pack into a side loader instead of a top. This can come in handy if you need to grab an item out of the bottom of your pack and don’t want to take everything out from the top. The Osprey does not have a side loader feature, but it does have more storage compartments on each side. This offsets the front compartment not being enclosed and provides more volume for smaller items. If you pack your bag right, you should rarely need to utilize the side loader.

Round 7: Side Compartment

Winner: Osprey

Round 8: Sleeping Bag Compartment

Both bags offer a compartment at the bottom of the back to store your sleeping bag. We are able to fit our Mountain Hardwear 20 degree bag into both. If you look at both images though, you can see that the Osprey has more room inside. It’s a very tight squeeze to get the bag into the Gregory.

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Round 8: Sleeping Bag Compartment

Winner: Osprey

Extra round draw: both bags offer trekking pole attachments or ice tool loops.

 

Winner by Knockout: The Osprey Atmos 65 AGAvailable here.

We never expected this contest to be so clearcut, given that we’ve put hundreds of miles on our Gregory over the years. In the end, the features are much more user friendly on the Osprey. We still think the Gregory is a fine pack and you should try it on while shopping to see how it fits. Given our experiences testing both packs though, we will gladly be reaching for the Osprey when setting out on the trails this weekend.

Wilder Minds Rating

Osprey Atmos 65: 4.8/5

Gregory Baltoro 65: 4.3/5

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