The most technical expedition pack available today offering time tested performance in every category: fit, support, accessibility, and durability.
- Auto-Cant harness system
- Adjust-A-Cant waistbelt
- Tri-density Flo-Form II waistbelt
- Flo-Form II shoulder harness
- Flo-Form II backpanel
- FOAM-X Flex framesheet
- Twin 7075-T6 aluminum stays
- Front pocket provides additional storage and pack access
- Top pocket converts to a fanny pack
- Side mesh pockets with ski tail pass-throughs
- Vinyl reinforced gear loops
- Full compression system
- Dyneema and 500d Cordura nylon fabrics
- Made in the USA
- Size Medium
- Volume – 106 l (6450 cu in)
- Weight – 3.5 kg (7 lb 12 oz)
- Retail – $500
Gregory makes solid backpacks here in the USA. The Denali Pro is their expedition sized pack. It won Backpacker Magazine’s Editors Choice Gold Award back in 2000 and has remained unchanged ever since.
The Gregory Denali Pro is a large pack to say the least. The pack is made out of a heavy duty dyneema and cordura fabric. It is a top loader pack that also has access points through the front pocket and the sleeping bag compartment as well. There are two axe loops and plenty of extra buckles and daisy chain loops to attach things to.
The are even two vinyl reinforced gear loops. The main pocket can extend up to allow the pack to carry up to 106 liters or 6450 cubic inches of gear. Top pocket converts to a fanny pack for day trips away from camp. This also give you a spare buckle if the main hipbelt buckle ever breaks. The top pocket also has a shelf to put your hydration reservoir. There are two side pockets that are reachable while wearing the pack and can easily fit a large water bottle. They also have ski tail pass throughs so you can carry your skis wit ease. All the straps feature compression options to secure your load.
The Top pocket has ample storage space. There is also a front pocket which is separated from the main storage by a zip up mesh separator. The sleeping bag compartment also has access from the outside and can be separated from the main storage by a zip in divider as well. The bottom of the pack has the virtually indestructible and waterproof Shelter-Rite fabric. The harness system is a tri-density foam waist belt, back panel, and shoulder harness. There is a flexible frame-sheet behind the back-panel and two aluminum stays. Best part about it all from my perspective is that it is made in the US.
This pack can carry everything. The comfort rating is up to 70 pounds and I can personally attest that it was comfortable even higher. The fabric choices have stood up to everything I have thrown at it; glissading, alder branches, granite rock, you name it. The nice thing about this pack is all the features. The fanny pack is nice, I really did not use it as that but it can be worn as a shoulder pack if you want to carry some things a little outside of camp. The compression straps on the bottom by the sleeping bag compartment are great for tents or sleeping pads or both. The pockets can accommodate water bottles well while also holding wands or tent poles at the same time. Like I said you really can carry a lot of stuff with this thing. I really liked the front pocket for both carrying things as well as accessing the main compartment. I did use ditty bags for this because it was easy to have things go everywhere when inside or when opening up this pocket. I did find the sleeping bag compartment opening a little small and generally just stuff my bag in from above.
The harness system works great. The Auto-Cant system moves really well when you do. Even with a heavy load I was able to be nimble. The tri-density foam works well at distributing pressure. The shoulder harness fit me well and the load lifters worked as advertised. The hip belt fit me okay. I have about a 31 inch waist and I think I can only shrink about 1/2 an inch more before the hip belt need to go down a size. I believe it is possible to mix and match some harness systems with Gregory. There is even a cutout on top for your head, it was even comfortable with a helmet on.
This pack is bomber. Fill it up, don’t think about it and just go. I have used this pack for over a dozen week-long trips and overloaded it. The pack has worked flawlessly. There is a bit of a weight penalty for a large pack like this, but with the weight you get the piece of mind that it is up for any challenge. I have no tear or rips in the fabric. You can tell it has been used but there is no loss of functionality after all the use it has been through. This is comfortable pack for heavy loads and long trips. A bit of overkill for a weekend trip, but as a guide I appreciated the extra space on week long trips. Price on the pack is $500 but there really is not many comparisons. I feel like it is fairly priced. As with all my reviews, your mileage may vary.
- Comfort, carrying ability
- Lots of straps and buckles to carry stuff
- Small sleeping bag compartment entry
- Aluminum Stay broke away from frame sheet (might be slightly my fault)
Long Term Check-In
This pack is still the bomb and still going strong. I added above that the grommet that held the aluminum stay to the frame pulled through. This is something that Gregory said they would warranty but I was able to fix it on my own.
Just a 2 locking nuts and bolts and 4 washers and I was able to fix it and possible make it stronger than before. I did both so I would not have to mess with it again. I believe this may have pulled out from three reasons. First, from lots of use. I have had it out for 15-20 week long trips. Second is that as a guide I am sure I had more than the suggested weight in there more than once. Third is that I like to pull down on the stabilizer straps a lot while I hike, that I am sure stressed out that connection a bit as well. While I was not happy to have this issue, I was not unexpected and was really a easy fix. Other than that, this pack is still going strong, I think it will last forever.