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005 Why Dad Chose the Gregory Backpack in Blue for the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on March 27, 2014
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Bob Ward

Fiction author with a zest for adventure travel. Blogs, tweets, videos, and pins for research and fun. He also hosts Ward's Adventure Travel Research & Trip Journal, a weekly podcast available on EFN, iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and more.

Dad got a pack! We had a great time inspecting it during this podcast episode.

  • Make: Gregory
  • Model: Baltero 65
  • Color: Prussian Blue
  • Size: Medium
  • Capacity: 67 Liters (3,966 Cubic Inches)
  • Weight: 5 lbs, 10 oz

He explains that he chose the blue only because he knew my pack was grey, and getting them confused on the trail might have been a possibility. After being fitted (professionally, by Colin), he kept coming back to the Gregory as the one he felt most comfortable in. Clearly, design aesthetics played a key role as well, as the Gregory is a well-rounded, fully-functional pack, and all of the pockets and storage compartments held considerable appeal and ultimately gave sway to his decision. The shoulder harness construction was narrower, and curved more fittingly to his body, which he points out made an impression, too. All in all, the most important factor in his decision was the knowledgeable help he received from Colin (who is himself hiking the AT, thru-hiking, that is, and departing next week). Colin also added 30 lbs of sand to the pack, so dad could get a feel for carrying a load. Dad made it clear that at other stores he visited, the salespeople merely pointed to the packs and told him to try on whichever he felt suited his needs, and when he was ready to buy, they’d be waiting for him at the cash register. It’s an over-simplification, but considering the knowledge deficit that most sales people have regarding proper fitting of backpacks, they’re generally not much help anyway. I have always gravitated to Fin & Feather in Iowa City for their excellent camping department, and it seems dad is now in full agreement with me that F&N is the best store we have in our area. Up in Minneapolis, REI is great! There is also an Active Endeavors (or used to be) in Des Moines, and they were always good, too. Last point on dad’s pack–and this again proves Colin’s value as a pack fitting expert–is that the hip belt was upgraded to a Large to more properly fit dad’s manly physique. I feel sure that had he went and bought the Gregory Baltero from another store, or online to save money, he would have ended up with both a medium pack, and the medium hip belt included by default, which would have been an improper fit. So Colin earned respect!

With tax, dad spent $350.

My backpack is the Mystery Ranch Glacier, and the specs are very similar to dad’s, except mine is 4,200 CI and weighs in at 6 lbs, 10 oz. ┬áMine is grey, but as I told dad, a blue option was not available.

We talked a lot about hiking, and both of us have started! We lay plans to hike with each other at least one day a week until August. Mid- to late-August seems our likely target for hiking the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Forest.

We talk about the following other topics:

  • Muscle beach studs
  • The new Sea Happy intro plug
  • Making sand bag weights
  • The electronic food scale
  • How not to succeed in weighing stuff
  • How much dad weighs in medieval “stones”
  • The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club maps I ordered
  • Dad’s new poop trowel
  • Stopping dad’s loud nose breathing
  • Thru, Section, and Circuit hiking in Shenandoah
  • Thru-Hiker “Season” at Shenandoah is June
  • Shenandoah is a dry mountain top
  • So where do we find water?
  • Dad got his new AWOL guide
  • Verifying our training regimen with mom
  • More over-thinking our training regimen
  • Trail etiquette with dogs
  • Mooning anti-dog-lovers on the trail
  • Camping at Cat’s Back
  • Hiking Hog Barn Road and camping at West Pond
  • Woofy and the Fonz run wild
  • 11 o’clock backpack hike this Saturday
  • Were Bryson and Katz suffering?
  • Are we going to suffer?
  • Or stay in luxurious Shenandoah shelters?
  • Beef Strokin’off
  • Walking staffs and cork grips
  • Possibility of bump up trip to May
  • No
  • August or bust
  • How to eat whatever’s in front of you
  • Benefits of caloric restriction
  • Meds to reduce inflammation
  • How to cure yourself of wanting cream pies
  • Pizza Ranch and McDonald’s
  • McDonald’s landfill trash
  • Plan for next week

Last note…

For some reason, it took me from 6 am to 4 pm editing and producing this particular episode. The end result is great! But given my initial dream of never editing anything, it seems I’m getting carried away trying to make them perfect. Something’s got to give, because I needed to be working on Kip Stone stuff.

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