11 Oct Featured Gear Review: Gregory’s Jade and Zulu Backpacks
Looking for a new backpack? Read our review on Gregory’s Jade and Zulu backpacks!
This year we put Gregory’s latest packs, the Zulu & Jade, up to the test of a busy summer season with Yosemite’s #1 rated guide company. Here’s our take on how they did out there in the wilderness.
Here at Lasting Adventures, we have been long time fans of Gregory Mountain Products. With over 20 years under our belts of taking youth and adults alike into the Yosemite wilderness, we’ve come to rely on Gregory’s durable design to get us through trip after trip. Needless to say, the Jade and Zulu had a lot to live up to!
We demoed the Men’s Zulu 65 liter as well as the Women’s Jade 63 liter. Here are some of the features and specs of the two packs. First of all we dug the colors and super sleek yet roomy design. Compared to the bulkiness of traditional backpacks, Gregory hit the mark here with the streamlined appearance of these packs. Immediately we noticed the front bucket pocket. It is a mesh material that expands and contracts with easy open access at the top.
We knew this would be perfect for stuffing that extra layer of clothes once the day starts to warm up, or the odds and ends of loose gear without making you look like that sloppy backpacker you saw down the trail (you know we’ve all been there!). We couldn’t wait to get started! Soon after Jade and Zulu’s arrival, we put them to the test…
Trip #1: Yosemite Falls
Zulu & Jade joined us on a 3 day/2 night trip up to Yosemite falls, across the rim of the valley then finally down Snow Creek. Anyone who has ever hiked out of Yosemite Valley knows that it’s brutal. The only way to go is up! We started the trip with a 3.8 mile hike and 2,600 ft in elevation gain to camp at Upper Yosemite Falls. Like I said, brutal.
One HUGE perk of their design is the CrossFlo Suspension. This basically feels like a trampoline on your back. While you’re sweating and contemplating jumping from the edge of the cliff, this feature is keeping your back nice a cool, while allowing you to carry the pack weight comfortably on your hips.
Trip #2: Young Women’s Program
The heart of Lasting Adventures is our Youth Summer Camp Programs. This year we were excited to launch our first ever all female program aimed at building the confidence of young women in the outdoors! We of course had to take Zulu and Jade along with us. This was the true test as this program was 12 whole days out in the backcountry! They crossed rivers, summited mountains and even endured the kids resting on them during the occasional afternoon siesta.
You can tell these packs were designed for long distance comfort.The young women who carried them throughout the 12 day program enjoyed all the options they had for packing. Our youth participants not only carry their own personal items, but they also carry group gear, including bear cans, water filters, stoves, cook kits and more! 63 & 65 liters were more than enough to accommodate this trip and the Front U-zip main compartment access panel allowed them to utilize every inch of space and retrieve buried items when needed.
Trip #3: May Lake Overnight
Last but not least, we found the Jade and Zulu to be perfect packs for the weekend getaway. We gave first time backpackers these packs for a quick trip we were doing up to May Lake.
It did begin to sprinkle on us as we arrived at the trailhead so we were glad to have the built in rain covers as well as zippered security pocket and key clip as we rushed to pack up our things. Luckily for us it cleared up for the rest of the weekend!
So there you have it! Around here the life of a pack is rarely boring and thus we rely on the top quality products produced by Gregory. Both packs are generous in space and excel in comfort. Whether you’re a long time backcountry pioneer or simply getting into the world of backpacking, we highly recommend Gregory’s Zulu and Jade Series.
– Your friends at Lasting Adventures