Gregory’s latest pack, the unusually named Stout (perhaps the designer’s favourite beer?), is one of the best of those tested, with an excellent design and a reasonable price. It handles heavy loads really well. Gregory says it’s for 21kg loads. Actually it’s comfortable with quite a bit more. This is due to the back system: a curved internal frame and a thick stiffened hipbelt. The length of the padded sections of the hipbelt can be altered for a good fit, which is really useful. The hipbelt is lined with mesh and there are two mesh panels running down the back with a ventilation channel between them.

The shoulder harness isn’t adjustable but there are three different sizes (back lengths) available in the men’s 65-litre Stout and three in the women’s version, the slightly smaller Amber 60. The Stout is a pack for those who like pockets for organising gear. It has nine roomy external ones. There’s a large open-topped pouch on the front with a zipped pocket on the front of it and a smaller pocket that holds the rain cover inside it. Unusually the two lower side pockets are made of solid fabric rather than mesh.

Another unusual feature is the internal hydration sleeve as this can be removed and used as a small daypack for trips away from camp. It has a drawcord top and shoulder straps. The main compartment is easily accessed via a front panel that unzips from the bottom upwards.

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Reviewed in October 2015 issue