This spring, Gregory came out with a snazzy new line of eight daypacks with what the company calls Bio-sync, a suspension system modeled after human tendons. In short, the shoulder straps and each side of the hip belt have two swaths of fabric that attach to the main body of the pack. The goal: to allow the pack to move with you, not against you.
We tested the line's largest women's pack, the Gregory Maya, a 17-liter job designed for long day hikes, running or cycling excursions. The verdict: thumbs-up on the suspension. The pack had an uncanny way of molding to our backs and moving with us, with next to no chafing or discomfort even during long days on the trail. A vertical compression strap helped rein in the load so it didn't flop around -- a plus for high-octane activities like trail running.
The pack is available in one size, and our testers who ranged in height from 5 feet, 4 inches to 5 feet, 7 inches, all reported that it fit well. The general consensus was that it would probably be too small for someone taller than 5 feet, 9 inches, but that is the nature of many daypacks for women.
The pack rats among us were also pleased, because there's a dedicated pocket for virtually everything -- a fleece-lined zippered pocket on top for your sunglasses, an interior mesh pocket for valuables, external mesh pockets for water bottles, an expandable pocket on the outside for stuffing layers, and hip-belt pockets for energy bars, just to name a few.
There is also a dedicated pocket for a hydration bladder, which is not included. The U-shaped zipper on the back panel makes it a cinch to insert and remove a hydration system, and our testers could easily thread the hose through an internal opening and out over either shoulder.
There was one potential downside to the Maya. When the pack is completely stuffed, it can turn into more of a tube shape, owing to its soft material and lack of internal frame. Some testers didn't mind the tube sitting in the middle of their backs, but others found it uncomfortable. Another downside was the lack of stylish color options (in our opinions). Aside from turquoise, there's Barbie pink or boring beige.
That said, the pack was remarkably durable for being relatively light -- 1 pound, 11 ounces. It didn't tear after being dropped and banged around repeatedly. (We play hard around here.) Because it can mold to your back and move with you, it is ideally suited to activities like running, but it can also be used as a multi-purpose pack, for cycling or hiking. It's a great buy for someone who needs a light, comfy pack for a number of different sports. And since there is no internal frame, it stows easily in a suitcase for travel.
SNEWS Rating: 4.0 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $99