Gregory Jade 28L Review
Cons: Runs small, heavy, easy to overstuff for average day hike needs
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Gregory Jade 28L
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|Pros||Large capacity for versatile uses, great back ventilation, adjustable torso, included rain cover||Great features and pockets, easy to use, adjustable torso length||Great ventilation, backpack-like comfort, useful pockets and attachments, well built, intuitive use||Great access to your gear, big pockets, simple yet versatile||Shockingly lightweight, padded shoulder straps, useful features, packs into own pocket|
|Cons||Runs small, heavy, easy to overstuff for average day hike needs||Water bottle pockets are a bit small, front stow pocket is a bit small||One size only, heavy||Unsupportive hip belt, not the most breathable back panel||No hip belt, small overall size, no back padding - can feel contents|
|Bottom Line||Look no further for one of the most comfortable daypacks in our test group for heavy loads and big days out||This pack can comfortably do-it-all with excellent features, strong durability, and impressive adjustability||All the comfort and security of a full backpack in a bite-sized daypack||A durable, versatile pack that's both easy to use and easy on your wallet||An ultralight solution that doesn't cut out all the comfort and features|
|Rating Categories||Gregory Jade 28L||Osprey Tempest 20||Gregory Juno 24L||REI Co-op Trail 25...||Osprey Ultralight S...|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Specs||Gregory Jade 28L||Osprey Tempest 20||Gregory Juno 24L||REI Co-op Trail 25...||Osprey Ultralight S...|
|Measured Weight||42 oz.||31 oz.||31 oz.||30 oz.||4 oz.|
|Back Construction||Crossflow suspension||AirScape backpanel; large spaced horizontal padding bars covered by large-holed mesh||VaporSpan ventilated mesh||HDPE framesheet||Lightweight nylon|
|Hydration||Internal hydration sleeve||External hydration sleeve||Internal hydration sleeve||Inner hydration sleeve||None|
|Rain Cover||Yes||No||No, but DWR finish||Yes||No|
|Outside Carry Options||External stretch pocket, trekking pole holders, ice axe attachement, sunglasses loop and bungee, hip belt pockets, hydration hose clip||Lidlock helmet attachment, trekking pole quick-stow, large stretch front pocket, ice tool loop with bungee tie-off, side pockets, hip belt pockets, sunglasses shoulder stow, bike light loop||Lare exterior stretch pocket, 2 stretch side pockets, 2 zippered hip belt pockets, 1 zippered pocket, hiking pole storage, ice axe loop||Pole fasteners, side mesh pockets with elastic enclosure||Side pocket|
|Materials||210D nylon body, 420D nylon bottom||70D x 100D nylon body, accent and bottom 420HD nylon packcloth||210D Honeycomb Cryptorip nylon, 420D reinforced bottom||Recycled nylon||40D Nylon ripstop|
|Notable Features||Adjustable torso length, internal pocket, cinch straps, sunglasses quick-stow||Helmet attachment, trekking pole quick-stow, sunglasses quick-stow, bike light loop, shoulder strap pocket, stowable ice axe loops||Sunglasses stow loops, hydration hose attachment, trekking pole attachment||Ability to add REI Trail 2 Waistpack for more storage, contoured foam harness, raincover included, bottom is reinforced to be abraison resistant||Packs into its own pocket|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Gregory Jade 28 pack comes in two sizes: XS/S (16 to 18-inch torso) and S/M (18 to 20-inch torso). We tested the XS/S which has a slightly smaller volume (26 liters compared to 28) and is also a few ounces lighter. This pack is made with a 210-Denier nylon body and 420-Denier nylon bottom and has a host of features, including a rain cover, sunglasses storage system, and hip belt pockets.
The Jade 28 received one of our top scores for comfort. Out of the many packs in our review, it is one of the most comfortable when loaded down thanks to the FreeFloat suspension. This means that the pack transfers the load onto your hips to keep your shoulders feeling comfortable all day long. The trampoline-like back helps to distribute the weight against your back so that there aren't any pressure points. Bonus points because no matter how you pack you won't have anything digging into your back! This type of back panel also promotes airflow so that you don't get too sweaty back there. It has a comfortable, body-hugging fit with one of the plushest, load-bearing hip belts out of any we tested on a daypack. The Jade had padding in all the right places to wear all day long.
That being said, we found that the sizing runs a bit small. One of our testers, who is 5 foot, 4-inch with a 17-inch torso, had to return the XS/S size (16 to 18-inch claimed torso range) for the S/MD size instead (18 to 20-inch claimed torso range). For this reason, we think it's important that you try this pack on for size before committing. However, the frame is adjustable so within the sizes there is some wiggle room for getting the perfect fit.
The Jade is packed with features that make it a pretty versatile bag for anyone who needs to carry more than the average amount of gear on a day hike — or the person who heads out on a winter snowshoe and wants a large capacity for extra layers and food. This pack has compression straps on the side which could be used to strap skis to your pack if you're into that kind of thing. The stretchy overflow pocket and handy sunglasses quick stow loop make it easy to shed and don layers as you need. The whistle on the sternum clip and included rain cover are excellent emergency additions that preclude you from having to remember to bring them each time you go out. The two hip belt pockets are roomy enough for an oversized smartphone and snacks, which we very much appreciate.
While the Jade is a versatile bag, its large capacity makes it easy to overstuff. Schlepping around more gear than you need on a day hike could lead to being less comfortable after all. However, if you're discerning about what you pack, and need lots of room for extra winter layers or your kids' stuff, you can get away with carrying tons of gear comfortably during a long day.
This daypack weighs 41 ounces in the size that we tested (42 ounces in the bigger size), making it one of the heavier bags. That's not totally surprising, considering that it also boasts one of the largest volumes (28 liters), and a hefty wireframe suspension system.
There are often tradeoffs when selecting outdoor gear: if you're looking for something lightweight, it might be made of thinner, less durable materials. In our minds, the Jade strikes a good compromise between weight and durability. The 200-Denier material will last longer than a pack made with 100-Denier but isn't as heavy as something that uses a 600-Denier packcloth. The Jade may be a bit on the heavier side, but you'll reap the reward of durability in the long run.
Ease of Use
The Jade 28 is one of the easiest, most intuitive packs to use during a hike. It has a large, U-zip opening that made grabbing that hidden jacket at the bottom a cinch. The large, meshy pouch on the outside is perfect for stashing a map or extra layer. The two side pockets were some of our favorites out of many packs — they were deep enough that our water bottles and bear spray didn't fall out when we bent over. The hipbelt pockets are large enough to put essentials in and out without hassle. The pack is also adjustable in several helpful ways. Not only is the Jade available in two sizes, but it also features an adjustable frame that allows you to customize the fit for your torso even further. This feature is pretty unique to the daypack line-up.
While the adjustable frame is nice to customize your own bag, we found the Jade to run small. Not only do we think the lack of any size above a "medium" is a bit constricting for women, but we also found that this pack adjusted to taller torso lengths is less comfortable to wear. This is mostly due to the instability of the small amount of velcro connection that is left when we extended the harness to these heights. That said, the Jade is one of the only models we tested that has helpful load-lifting straps. The hip belt also has a lot of room to expand to fit a variety of hip sizes and shapes, which we appreciate. Overall, the Jade has some great adjustment features for a custom fit and is one of the easiest packs to use.
We are impressed with the construction of this pack earning it high marks for durability. We could find little in the way of durability complaints online and didn't experience any firsthand during our testing.
The bottom has a double layer of nylon, which will help with longevity, and that's a good thing because after a couple of months' use it is looking a little scuffed.
This daypack is one of the most expensive bags in this review. However, for what you get in comfort and versatility in a large-capacity bag, we think this pack is worth it. If you want to be comfortably supported while carrying a heavy load, we think you'll be very happy with this bag.
We knew we'd enjoy the Gregory Jade 28 as soon as we tried it on in the store, and it didn't disappoint in the field. It can hold a ton of gear, was super easy to use, and is among the most comfortable options, particularly when weighted down. It might be a little bit too big for those who do shorter hikes only, but if you're into all-day, fully loaded affairs, then the Gregory Jade is the way to go.
Gregory makes the Jade pack in a variety of sizes. The 28 that we tested is the smallest, and then it goes up from there: 33, 38, 53, and 63-liter options are all available.
— Madison Botzet & Maggie Nichols
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