Gear Review: Gregory Sage 55 Backpack
The Gregory Sage 55 is a women’s internal frame pack made for the female body. I highly recommend this pack if you are a petite hiker because Gregory provides their packs in XS (do keep in mind you must order the XS online, retailers do not normally carry this size). The Sage comes in three different volumes: 35, 45, and 55 liters. I carried the 55 pack my entire thru-hike and intend to carry it on my future adventures.
This review will focus primarily on the Gregory Sage 55 XS.
Click HERE for information on the 45 and HERE for information on the 35.
Always something to keep in mind:
Try the pack you intend to purchase in an outfitter before purchasing online. I always recommend buying online for a better deal. I took a risk by purchasing the XS because stores don’t usually carry this size. After trying on the small I knew I needed something that fit my body better. I like trying on at REI because the stores provide a measurement system to accurately size your body and weights to put in the pack.
SPECS for Gregory Sage 55:
Brand: Gregory Mountain Products
Retail Price for all sizes is $199.00
Extra Small (XS):
Volume: 51 L
Weight: 3 lbs 4 oz*
Torso: 14 – 16”
Volume: 55 L
Weight: 3 lbs 6 oz*
Torso: 16 – 18”
Volume: 59 L
Weight: 3 lbs 10 oz*
Torso: 18 – 20”
The weight limit is 33 – 35 lbs for all sizes.
*When it comes to weights provided on an online website or even a retail tag, take this information with a grain of salt.
Weight on website for Sage 55 XS: 3 lbs 4 oz
Measured weight: 3 lbs 8 oz
Pack Style: Internal Frame with 4 mm gauge wire
Intended for: Female, Hiking, Backpacking
Waistbelt: 10 mm EVA foam
Back Panel: Intuition 3D Suspension is a cross-ridged, moisture wicking, mesh back panel
- Water-resistant roll top style top pocket (the zipper folds underneath, shown below)
- Side stash, zippered quick access pocket
- Large zipper at bottom to access main pack body
- Waist belt mesh pockets on both side
- Side mesh pockets
- Zippered Pocket underneath top pocket (shown below)
Compressions: Side and bottom compression
- Dual axe/tool attachment points
- External hydration access
- Color-matched raincover
Gregory Warranty: Gregory offers a lifetime warranty but only from defects in materials or workmanship, not regular wear and tear.
Test Subject Information:
Weight: 115 pounds (at beginning of thru-hike)
I hiked with one Gregory Sage 55 until I reached New Jersey. In New Jersey, I switched my old Sage 55 for a new Gregory Sage 55.
The two characteristics I recall was the extra hip cushion and the perfect fit. My previous bag was a REI Flash and a size small. I would always have huge bruises on my hips after using that pack even for a few days. I knew I needed a pack with extra hip cushion and the Sage 55 definitely provides that. I also think I purchased the REI pack without knowing my true size being an XS. I also like how small the shoulder straps are; they are not overwhelming.
Pros of the Gregory Sage 55:
Great hip cushion was a must for me. I loved how padded my pelvic bones felt. I never had bruises on my hips from this pack
The shape is not as long as an Osprey bag of the same liter size. The Sage 55 is wide. I liked the shape because I can fit it underneath the seat on a plane. I liked that I could bring it hiking as well as other types of travel with ease.
The top pocket, or as what some would call a brain, had a different design than average packs. Although the top pocket was not removable, the pocket had a lot of room, waterproof top coating, and a zipper in which folded to hide zipper access (pictures show above).
When it came to rips, my Gregory Sage 55 was extremely durable. I only had a small hole in which I could easily sew. I never had rips or tears with the straps or hipbelt. With my first Sage 55 however, my clamp to cinch the bag broke while in the Smokey’s. That’s only 200 miles! I replaced it with a Walmart clamp but Gregory would have replaced it for free. This did not happen on my second pack.
Cons of the Gregory Sage 55:
The stock rain cover that came with the Sage 55 is not top notch. Whenever I had a full winter pack, the cover would not cover my entire pack. I replaced mine with a Sea to Summit one early in my hike.
Deflation in Hip Cushion
When I received my replacement pack in New Jersey, the first thing I noticed was how much deflation had occurred in the waist belt cushion on my old pack.
Not Much Ventilation on Back
Lucky for me, I hiked through Pennsylvania during a heat wave. The back panel did not provide much ventilation. From this, I would recommend Gregory’s alternative back panel called the CrossFlo. Gregory’s Z 55 backpack has this technology (it is very similar to Osprey’s breathable back).
The mesh side pockets would not easily accommodate a Gatorade bottle. Even if one did fit, I was not able to easily reach the mesh side pockets for retrieval.
Based on my own experience, I have rated this pack on a 1-5 scale, 5 being the best rating.
I give the comfort a 5 at first and then a 3 after wearing it for 3 months. The waist belt cushion does deflate after constant, every day wear. I did not realize the deflation until I replaced my old one with a new one.
The design is wider instead of tall. It made my pack look smaller and was able to fit in smaller quarters (such as underneath an airplane seat). However, I have to knock down a point from perfect for the back panel. I would prefer a more breathable back. I knocked it down a half point for the side mesh pockets. They are not big enough to hold a Gatorade bottle and nearly impossible to reach for one if it did fit.
Durability is given a four for the deflation in the hip belt cushion. I never had any issues with ripping which is more than I can say for some of my fellow hikers.
This is the first pack that fit my body wonderfully. I have been very satisfied with the fit. However, the fit is perfect for my body but maybe not yours. It’s so important to try on packs with some weight before purchasing to determine the best one for you!
I’m not one to buy gear at full price. You might call me cheap or frugal but that’s just how I spend my money. This pack was expensive for me. Was it worth it? Yes, every 200 of those dollars. I feel like I got my money’s worth.
Different back panel for more ventilation:
If I could go back again, I think I would purchase Gregory’s other pack on the market, the Z 55. The Z 55 looks very similar to the Sage 55 but has the CrossFlo back instead of the 3D Intuition Suspension (check out illustrations above).
More Packs in XS:
Osprey Ariel 55 (also comes in 65)
REI Flash 58 Pack (One liter more than the Gregory Sage 55 and lighter!)
Granite Gear Aji 50 Ki Pack (comes in short)
OVERALL RATING: 4.3 out of 5
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I have this pack and the straps roll all
The way around and dig my shoulders. People on the AT and FL Trail always question me about it saying it had to be defective. I Contacted Gregory only to be told it wasn’t a defect but not “fitted” property. I was fitted at an outfitters specifically to Ensure it was right as suggested by Gregory. Live and learn.
What Do You Think?