I’ve always wanted to be a Park Ranger, exploring the wilderness for a living. I guess being a Dyrt Ranger is a pretty good substitute, especially since I got the opportunity to review the Gregory Maven Backpack recently. I have to admit, I was a little reticent to try out a new backpack. My my current pack was trusty, familiar and had been with me on so many adventures. It had seen me through my longest hikes, to the most interesting places, and mostly, it was my first. It was going to take a pretty amazing pack to get me to forsake my good ol, patch-covered Kelty. I can safely say I will never use that Kelty again.
Not only is the Gregory about 100xs lighter (obviously that’s a literal, scientific calculation), but it has so many features that set it apart. The first I noticed and loved was the horizontal water bottle holder.
Trying to reach behind you and pull a bottle upward while walking is on par with an Olympic event, especially after you’ve spent 10 sweaty hours out on the trail. This pocket makes it so much easier and less of a gymnastics routine to get a drink. This alone would sell me on the pack. But let me sing more of its praises. The sunglasses wrangler on the shoulder strap is so flipping handy, I can’t believe I haven’t seen one before! The water bladder holder doubles as a day pack, which I love because, duh, it’ll hold your water when you go off on an adventure. The material on the pack all seemed nice and durable. The padding was comfortable and it was so easy to adjust to fit me. The pockets on the hip belt are always welcome! I had to hand-craft one for my old pack, I was glad to see them on this pack ready to go. The only thing with them is if you are a little bigger in the hips, you do have to use awkward t-rex arms to reach over/back to zip them up. Also some of the label on the adjustment tab for one started coming off.
Not that it’s the end of the world, you just expect new things to stay new for a little while. The included rain cover was PHENOMENAL! Normally when a pack comes with a rain cover it will only cover your pack. Anything you have attached to the outside is screwed. This cover was spacious! My camp shoes, ground pad, etc. did not have to worry about the rain.
Things I do miss from my old pack: A few more pockets so that it’s easier to keep your gear organized and find items in a hurry. I understand this lack of pockets helps keep the pack weight down and I would rather have my pack lighter than pocket-y. I also missed my front zipper so I didn’t have to pull everything out of my pack to find something. A few other less awesome things: The sizing on the website was a little confusing, it was hard to know if the sx/sm, sm/md sizes were for the hip belt or back panel. Honestly, I’m still not sure, but I’m leaning toward back panel. I did view this through a mobile platform, so it may be better on PC. Also, the bigger volume size packs are only offered in blue or gray. The colors are nice looking, but I wish an aqua, pink, or purple was available too. I can hike long distances and be feminine too, but maybe I’m the only one that feels that way though. These misses are small and I’m honestly thinking of using this pack as my luggage for vacation in a few weeks. If I do, I’ll post pictures. And I will definitely be using it on future trips.