The Stout 45, a new pack for 2015 from Gregory, is aimed at weekend warriors and light weight backpackers who are working towards going lighter and faster. Gregory has been producing packs since 1977, but does their experience still translate into great backpacks? Let’s have a look.
About the Stout 45
The Stout 45 is built upon a very light weight frame, paired with thick generous padding. This comes together to make a light weight, but comfortable pack. The framing itself is thin, and almost wire like, and is ran through the back of the pack. They call this the TrailFlex suspension, as it flexes a bit as you hike, but doesn’t collapse under weight. The pack is built from a durable polyester, and comes equipped with a removable lid as well as an included rain cover that stashes inside its own pocket. The main compartment is a simple gap opening with a cinch and compression strap for sealing it up. Oversized pockets on the adjustable hip belt, as well as a large lid and stash pocket on the rear allows for organization. The pack retails for $169, and weighs 3 lbs 3 oz for the medium size (large available at 3 lbs 6 oz).
What I liked
Despite having a thin, lightweight frame, the Stout 45 managed to carry everything I could possibly stuff into the backpack with no problems at all (I stuffed that thing until I could barely cinch it closed!). It not only handled the weight, but it transferred the load straight to the hips while leaving my shoulders tension free. The frame eliminates any bulging against the spine that may become a problem in lesser packs, while the generous padding along the back and hips provides squishy goodness, while also helping to keep the pack in place. It comes together to make a supremely comfortable pack, that doesn’t weigh you down.
The pack offers up plentiful pockets for those who are inclined to organize. The two large hip pockets hold even larger cameras and snacks, while the top lid works great to hold items you will need to access often. A large stash pockets works for rain gear and layers, and a hidden pocket under the lid does a great job of hiding wallets and phones. A dedicated rain cover compartment always comes in handy. External straps allow you to over pack the backpack by strapping tents or sleeping bags under the pack. Two large, adjustable pockets allow you to store water bottles, bear mace, tripods, and other gear as well.
The pack cinches down nice and tight, providing wiggle free backpacking even across rocky terrain. The stability it provides reduces fatigue by means of reducing the inertia you’re working against while walking.
The value here is quite impressive. $169 for a pack of this build quality and weight isn’t bad at all and it’s also one of the best values on the market right now. The materials are rugged, and thick enough that they’re going to last years of abuse.
The smaller size influences better packing and leaving unnecessary items at home, while also providing a less top-heavy pack which improves stability and safety.
What I didn’t like
The lid pocket sits at an angle and has a very low zipper, making items stored inside susceptible to dumping out if you’re not careful.
The smaller lid pocket on the front is quite prone to hanging up on my particular pack, requiring two hands to avoid the situation.
I can’t seem to find a key ring attachment anywhere, but luckily the internal hidden pocket works well enough to keep them safe.
The smaller size is somewhat restrictive, creating a challenge in areas that require bear canisters or lots of heavy warm layers, but luckily the external straps allow for over packing.
The Stout 45 is an impressive piece of equipment for the weekend warrior or those who are dedicated to packing fast and light. The build quality is excellent, providing durability and comfort well outside its price range. A built-in rain cover (another bonus), plenty of storage/organization, and exceptional comfort and flexibility makes this one of the best packs that we’ve tested. Keep an eye on the items that are stored inside the top lid, and the Stout 45 is an exceptional backpack.
For more information, check out The Stout 45 on Gregory’s website.
Big thanks to Gregory for providing this great piece of equipment for review. A breakdown of our rating system and our full disclosure can be found on our about us page.
If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to post below or send us an email.
By request, here are a couple photos of the bottom compartment.