Read Before You Buy: Gregory Maven 45 Backpack for Women Gear Review
I got my Gregory Maven 45 L about a year ago. I was looking for a lighter and smaller backpack than my solid but heavy Deuter Aircontact 50+10.
I had a few backpacks on my radar based on online reviews, but it just happened that I found this pack on sale and decided to get it right away. I am delighted I did.
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The first test for the backpack was three weeks on Crete in February ‘18. Yep – I was able to pack three weeks worth of clothes, gear, and food into it! It got me through some 300 km and some crazy weather.
With the 45 liters capacity it is perfect for overnight hikes or week-long treks. If your gear is really compact, you try to use it for longer trips.
Gregory is more than 1 kg lighter than Deuter which made for quite a difference. When you have the two packs next to each other, you can see right away where it comes from. Deuter is made of thick, durable fabric that will serve me for ages. Gregory’s walls are made of a much thinner and delicate-looking material.
I am not easy on my packs – I throw them on the ground, I sit on them, lean on, and so on. I don’t fuss too much, and I need them to survive such treatment.
The three weeks of Gregory on Crete was quite the test. The terrain is very rocky, sandy, and harsh. I encounter heavy rains and very strong winds. And yet – after all that time, the only damage I’ve noticed was on the mesh pocket, nothing on the pack itself.
Gregory Maven 45 L Tech specifics:
WEIGHT: 1.39 kg
DIMENSIONS: 18 x 63 x 36 cm
RAIN COVER WEIGHT: 0.096 kg
MAX. CARRY: 18 kg
VOLUME: 45 L
BODY: 210D cryptorip nylon & 100D high-tenacity nylon
BASE: 210D high-tenacity nylon w/135D high-density polyester reinforcement layer
HARNESS/HIPBELT/LUMBAR: 135D high-density embossed polyester
LINING: 135D high-density embossed polyester
Gregory Maven 45L: Comfort
I like how comfortable the pack is. I’m extremely sensitive to touch (thanks to my fibromyalgia), and I need proper padding and soft touch on my hip bones or shoulders. Gregory is fantastic in how soft it feels. The moment I put it on – even when filled to the top, it feels light and small.
The various straps are narrow (to save on weight I’m sure) but work well in adjusting the fit. Sometimes I had some issues in figuring out precisely the height of the pack, but after trying different settings, I could fit the bag perfectly.
The backpack never felt off-balance or swinging. I could climb, jump, and never worried about the backpack falling or pushing me to the sides.
Gregory Maven 45L: Suspension system
Here’s the way Gregory describes their Aerolon suspension system:
For me, it translates into a very comfortable and well-fitting pack. It’s light, but I don’t feel any compromise in the comfort department. I also enjoy the ventilation this system provides. No sticky and hot pillow against your back!
Thanks to the unique wishbone-shaped aluminum frame, the backpack doesn’t feel rigid or boxy but stays flexible and moves with the hiker.
Gregory Maven 45L: Rain protection
The backpack is equipped in a detachable rain cover, stored in a front pocket (below the mesh). It works fine as long as you don’t have anything attached to the backpack. As I was carrying my tent on the outside, in one of the side pocket, the cover had problems with covering all well. The cover is not attached permanently to the backpack, so you need to use a strap and clip it behind the back. The problem is, it’s not flexible, and there is no length control. So when I was using the cover over a tent, the strap was just too short. There was no way to use the cover by itself in high winds - I almost lost it once – so I used extra straps to hold it together. This issue should be addressed – if you offer pocket to store sleeping mat or tent, you need to figure out how to make rain cover which covers the extra stuff.
If you don’t have any big items attached, then the cover is just fine.
Gregory Maven 45L: Packing and carrying things
The whole point of the backpack! I found the backpack more than enough. I loved the elastic mesh pockets on the sides and front of the pack. There is no problem with fitting a bigger water bottle or even a tent into the side pockets. The big front mesh holds a rain jacket, a map and other stuff you need ready access to.
The top lid (brain) has two pockets. The lower, bigger one has a zipper all around making access easy. It doesn’t have any hidden under pocket for a wallet but I can live with that. The pockets are big enough to carry a wallet, sun screen, a headlamp, some snacks and other bits and pieces we like to have close-by. There is a key clip there as well.
Gregory Maven has two hip belt pockets, one mesh and one solid fabric. I find them roomy and perfect to store small things needed close-by like a lip stick, knife or tissues.
Another storing thingy is a special elastic to hold your sunglasses. As I wear glasses all the time, I find it annoying to change one pair of glasses for the other when I hike, so I tend to just use a baseball cap for sun protection. But this loop made it easier for me to exchange one pair with the other. Normally, I would have needed to take my backpack off, find the protecting case, change, etc. It’s too much of a fuss.
Additional useful thing is the closing system. It’s a very simple quick-release pull which makes opening the main compartment a breeze.
There are multiple bungees and compression straps on the outside to attach trekking poles or other gear as needed.
Take a look below what other high-quality backpacks of similar size (40 - 50 L) are out on the market:
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Gregory Maven 45 L - Downsides
A definite downside is the rain cover not adjusting to extra gear attached to the backpack. If you make your backpack with the ability of attaching a tent or a sleeping pad on the outside, the rain cover should be able to work with that. It would have been enough to make the strap linking the two sides of the cover behind the back adjustable or stretchy.
I haven’t found any other downsides. The tiny tears on the mesh is nothing special, as I already said I’m not delicate with my gear - I probably threw it on a ground with sharp rocks or maybe it snugged on a branch. This pack is phenomenal and when I add that I scored it on a sale for less than $100… awesome.
Edit: Maven in Portugal!
I’ve just returned from a month-long trek across southern Portugal on the Via Algarviana trail. Gregory Maven backpack was my constant companion and did an excellent job. I managed to stuff all I needed in it and, as before, it was a very comfortable load carrying. Take a look below at a few new photos:
Edit #2: Maven in Ireland!
Another season of hiking and the backpack was as good as always. I managed to pack a whole month worth of food, gear, and clothing in it, and it didn’t disappoint! This a truly great piece of gear.