Updated on April 11, 2016
2012 Gregory Jade 60 Pack Review
Earlier last year I was on the hunt for the perfect backpacking/ overnight pack. Having a petite torso between 15″ and 15.5″ makes finding the proper fitting pack difficult however after trying a few other packs I found the Gregory Jade 60. The pack had good reviews and Gregory, unlike most pack manufacturers, offered a womens specific pack in multiple sizes including XS.
I first tried on the Gregory Jade 60 at REI. As always, the helpful REI personnel filled the pack with some sandbags for weight, showed me how to properly adjust the pack, and let me walk around the store to test it. Before putting it on, I noticed it had a protruding heavily padded lumbar section. The purpose of this was to create ventilation by removing the mid back support however I found it to be quite strange feeling and uncomfortable while wearing it in the store. I also noticed that the shoulder straps did not have a lot of padding which is not what I’d expect from a pack made to carry 45lbs. Needless to say I didn’t purchase the pack that day.
After spending a few more months researching, and not being able to find similar quality packs that fit my torso length I decided to give the Jade 60 another try. Soon the pack got its first true test in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. With ten pounds or less in the pack, the protruding lumbar section does indeed feel awkward and uncomfortable on your lower back. However, when you go above 15 pounds and fill up the majority of the volume, the pack becomes more comfortable and the gap in the middle of my back allowed for good ventilation. However, even with the greater weight in the pack I still found myself taking the pack off and trying to push in or compress the lumbar section a bit.
The Jade 60 suspension system easily lets you shift the weight of the pack from shoulders to hips, resulting in the majority of the weight being supported by your stronger lower body rather than your upper back and shoulders. This is important for longer trips with a lot of weight to reduce back and shoulder fatigue. Although the shoulder strap padding is quite thin, when you adjust the pack weight to your hips through the hipbelt and lumbar support padding, the shoulder straps rest loosely on your shoulders, and thus the thicker padding is not needed.
The hip belt padding is a bit thin when compared to some other 60L packs I’ve tried on but that allowed it to be more form fitting and resulted in less sliding around and slippage of the hip belt while moving on the trail. Wearing this pack I didn’t notice any soreness or bruising from the lightly padded hipbelt and comfort wise they seemed pretty comfortable. The hipbelt for this pack also comes in a variety of sizes and they are interchangeable. Another feature of the hip belt are the two zippered mesh pockets. I’ve found these to be essential for having a few small important items within easy reach on the go.
The main compartment of the pack can be accessed from both the top and front which is great when you have to reach the items in the lower part of the pack. It has many pockets on the pack including a front vertical zipper pocket, the removable zippered top lid, the hipbelt pockets mentioned before and the two stretchy water bottle side pockets. It also has two ice axe loops and two bungee cord loops located midway down the pack on either side in line with the ice axe loops to secure trekking poles or similar gear. The pack is also hydration compatible with a thin nylon pocket in rear of main compartment.
Overall I am not keeping the pack as I am still not a fan on the protruding lumbar padding even though the performance above 15lbs was good. I would prefer a back panel that makes more contact along the entire length of my back and not leave such a large gap. For those who may not have a preference for the full back contact and don’t mind the weight, I would recommend this Gregory Jade 60 for use as a technical performance hiking and backpacking pack.
Check out this video from Gregory on the Jade Series of packs:
|Manufacturer Model||Gregory Jade 60|
|Model #||2012 Jade 60|
|Size||XS / 14″ – 16″Torso Length|
|Pros||Many pockets, durability|
|Cons||Weight, lumbar design|
|Best Uses||Hiking, Backpacking|
|Weight||3 lb 11 oz|
|Pack Access||Top and Front|
|Back Construction||JetStream™ LTS Suspension, ventilated and moisture wicking harness|
|Hipbelt||Womens specific interchangeable hipbelt with mesh waistbelt pockets|
|Hydration||Compatible, thin nylon pocket in rear of main compartment|
|Pack Compartments||1 primary, 1 vertical zippered front, 1 removable zippered top lid|
|Pockets||stretchy water bottle side pockets with pass-through compression|
|Materials||7001-T6 hollow aluminum stay, 210D double diamond ripstop and 210D x 420D HD flat weave fabrics|
|Additional Features||Ice axe loops, two cinch bungee cords on the front of pack|