The Gregory Jade 38 was my first pack from Gregory, and the one I still use most frequently. I find it to be perfect for day hiking as a photographer who takes some extra gear. I spend long hours even on shorter trails and can fit all of the snacks and clothing I need, plus a camera and a blanket in the main compartment.
But really, it’s all about the pockets.
My number one feature on a pack is what we call “speed pouches” in my family. The Jade 38 has two zipper pockets on the hip-belt for easy access to two very important things: my giant iPhone 7 Plus which is oftentimes my main camera on the go, and my new obsession, Bolt Energy Chews from The Probar. I don’t have to take off my pack to get to either of these essentials while I’m cruising along on the trail. There is also a mesh side pocket on both sides of the pack with buckles to secure their contents. I use one for my Nalgene and one for shoving my Mountain Chicks buff in and out of when I switch between it and my hat!
I keep my Lifestraw and my Yaktrax in the front stretch mesh pocket, which could fit a lot more than just those two items because it stretches a lot. Behind it is the zipper pocket where the rain fly is stored, which comes with every Gregory Pack (hollaaaa!). Something that took me a while to discover was the upside-down U-zipper main access that makes access to the contents in the main compartment super easy. Yes, I was only aware of the drawstring top access for a while. I felt like I had a whole new pack when I discovered the U-zipper. HAHA!
The top compartment is my other favorite because it is where I store my puffy jacket AND my waterproof layer. They fit perfectly, I have easy access to them, and the pack looks great when that top pouch is full anyway (but thats the photographer in me!). I also keep my headlamp and a few extra bars in the pocket on the underside of the top compartment.
I haven’t mentioned the frame yet only because I don’t think about it much. That is what happens when a pack is super comfortable and designed well. The 3D suspended mesh back panel provides awesome ventilation so I don’t get all sweaty under the pack. The foam layering in the lumbar area makes the back comfortable even when its loaded down with 30 lbs of gear.
This pack fits my 3L hydration pack, has a place to securely fasten my trekking poles, and is made with high-quality reinforced fabric so that I don’t tear my pack with my trekking poles. That’s a real concern for someone like me! So, if you are looking for a roomy pack for your day hikes that will last you for years to come, I suggest making the investment in a Jade 38. You won’t be sorry you chose Gregory.