Review: Gregory’s Deva 85 Backpack

I wish I had known what I know now about backpacks and trying on backpacks after working a summer at MEC and of course, after spending two years with the Gregory Deva 85 backpack. That said, I’ve taken the Deva on all of the same trips my tent has been on so this pack has a lot of sentimental value to me. I have learned a lot of tricks and tips to pack her better and not use the spindrift as much as I was when I first started using it. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering purchasing the Gregory Deva 85L backpack:

 

Features & Benefits:

First the specs: the Deva itself weighs 2.8kg (6.2lbs). The main body is composed of 630-denier and 210-denier high-tenacity nylon. The bottom of the pack is made of 1,000-denier nylon and vinyl, allowing the bottom to be highly water resistant. This provides peace of mind when setting the pack down in any weather conditions. There is a pre-curved women’s-specific 3D harness, adjustable shoulder harness, and pre-curved dual-density foam hip belt. It comes in 3 sizes: extra small, small, and medium. The small bag’s volume is 85 liters, fits a 40-46cm (16-18in) torso, and its hip belt extends from 55-71cm (22-28in).

backpack review 2

You have access to your belongings from the front, top, and bottom of the bag. There is a front pocket to stash the items you need quickly when your pack isn’t on. The ‘brain’ of the pack detaches to use as a small daypack or fanny pack. A small mesh pocket on the hip belt was a great spot for my lip balm. As luck would have it I didn’t need my lip balm as much because I had easy access to two of my water bottles. When your pack isn’t completely full, it cinches down.

I have carried 40 to 50 pounds of gear in this pack regularly. Thanks to the women-specific features, I haven’t had to contend with rubbing points or pinch spots. If I pack it appropriately, I can go many days with out pain in my shoulders, back, or hips. It is supremely comfortable to wear.

gregory deva 85 backpack on a snowshoe adventure

 

Problems & Solutions:

The sleeping bag compartment doesn’t fit any of my sleeping bags, whether they’re packed loosely in a garbage bag for waterproofing or stuffed in a compression sack. No matter though, as I have found plenty of other items to pack into the compartment.

As with any backpack, the Deva is only intended to be water resistant not waterproof so be sure to pack accordingly. I tend to line the pack with one large garbage bag and then pack items like clothing and my sleeping bag in dry sacks.

I tend to overpack and/or not pack well with 85 liters to work with. Be vigilant with you packing list or buy a smaller pack and force yourself into packing more lightly.

At C$400 this is an expensive pack. MEC has similarly large packs under its own brand at more reasonable prices (i.e. under C$200).

 

Who Should Buy The Gregory Deva 85:

A person with the shoulders and hips of a ‘typical’ female, who isn’t cost conscious, and wants space to be self-sufficient for a big multi-day backpacking trip.

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