My Gregory Deva 60L Women’s Backpack is my home away from home. I love it.
Meet Thelma & Louise
I’ll write about Louise someday (she’s a super-secure anti-theft bag from Pacsafe that keeps my electronics safe) but today I want to tell you about my main squeeze, Thelma. Thelma is a 60L workhorse from Gregory that can handle everything I own and still be comfortable to carry. I can’t recommend this pack highly enough.
The Gregory Deva 60L Backpack
Gregory built the Deva for backpacking rather than travel, which suits me just fine. As far as I’m concerned, schlepping is schlepping. The finer points of the various schlepping systems are lost on me.
I’m often carrying everything I own on my back for hours, either on metro systems or walking to some weird treehouse lodging, so I appreciate a lightweight pack that can comfortably carry a heavy load. Travel packs usually have stowaway straps and more organizing features, but those things aren’t important to me. Also, I love the versatility of having a trail-ready pack for hiking use.
The Deva comes in a 60, 70, or 80-liter capacity, and also comes in three torso sizes for women of different heights. I find the 60L to be perfect for my needs. It holds everything I need with room to spare but isn’t too big for me to manage easily. Fully packed, mine weighs about 15 kilos which is within the checked bag allowance for every airline I’ve ever flown. (It is too big to carry on).
Features of the Gregory Deva 60L Backpack
- The shoulder harness and hip belt pivot automatically at each of the four attachment points, so the pack stays comfortable no matter how I move.
- It comes in three torso length sizes (women-specific)
- Everything is adjustable for a custom fit and to get the weight properly seated on your hips.
- The shape of the lumbar curve feels great on my body.
- It stays in place on my body and doesn’t chafe my hips or lower back like other packs have.
- The frame is sturdy yet incredibly lightweight.
- The padding is super generous, and it stays soft, cool, and comfortable.
Accessories and organization features
- The hydration sleeve doubles as a removable day pack. It’s nearly weightless and surprisingly comfortable for everyday use — especially since you can convert the sleeping bag straps from the main pack into a waist strap for the daypack (It took me three years to figure this out. You are welcome.)
- The custom-fitted raincover fits its own stow pocket. I use the raincover to protect the pack during air travel. With a little ingenuity, you can put it on backward to protect the straps.
- The pack unzips wide open for easy access in hotels and hostels where you’re not fully unpacking.
- A roomy pocket on the hipbelt holds items you want at your fingertips. The rain cover will stuff in there, too, which I find very convenient.
- The outside zipper compartment is huge — I usually keep my yoga mat and sandals in it.
- It has a stowable water bottle “holster” that you can actually reach while wearing the pack. (I don’t use this much because I’m checking the bag, but it’s very cool for hiking).
- The top compartment has three zippered pockets, big enough to hold my fleece jacket, raincoat, hat, and all my power cords.
- The compression straps snug things into place really well; my gear will fit into this 60L pack more easily than it used to fit in a 65L one. To use them, loosen all the straps before you load the pack, then pull tight to compress everything.
- I especially love the wide strap across the top of the pack that securely keeps everything inside even during airport handling.
Backpack fitting tips
- If you’re not sure of your torso size, use the Gregory fitting guide or visit an outdoor store like REI where you can try one on. But really, if you’re very short get the XS/SM, if you’re very tall, get the MED/LRG, and if you’re neither of those things, get the SM/MED.
- The video below shows how to adjust the shoulder harness and other fit features to make the pack fit your body.
- The first time you put the pack on, lengthen the shoulder straps while you focus on getting the load to sit on your hips.
- The hip belt should sit right at the top of your pelvis (top of belt 1″ above your iliac crest) with the straps tightened snugly around your hipbones (not above them). If the belt is snug enough, the pack will stay more or less upright even with the shoulder straps fully loosened (although it will be leaning away from your body)
- Pull the loose ends of the shoulder straps down and back to tighten the shoulder harness, but don’t make it super tight. You never want to feel like the weight is dangling from your shoulders or pulling them back — the shoulder straps mostly stabilize the top of the pack rather than carrying weight. They should sit naturally against your body.
- Secure the chest strap to relieve any pressure on your shoulders, but don’t make it overly tight.
- The small straps between your shoulder and pack are called “load lifters.” Tightening them gently and keeping the shoulder straps slightly loose ensures the load will sit on your hips. If you wanted to shift more weight to your shoulders, you would loosen the load lifters and tighten the shoulder straps. But don’t do that unless you are trying to solve a problem, like your hips are chafing.
Is the Gregory Deva 60L the right pack for you?
The Deva might be perfect for you if:
- You want to carry lots of stuff in relative comfort
- A well-organized and well-built pack appeals to you
- You want a versatile pack you can use for hiking as well as travel
- You don’t mind checking a bag
- You’re hoping to find a lightweight daypack in addition to a full-size pack
- You just love little matching accessories like a daypack and rain cover with their own special places to live inside the pack (I’m not gonna lie, I love this stuff).
The Deva might not be right for you if:
- You want to travel with a carry-on only
- You prefer the cleaner look and tuckaway straps of a travel-specific pack
- You are more of a suitcase traveler. Hiking backpacks aren’t a good choice if you carry clothes that need to be neatly folded, for instance.
Here’s an in-depth video review that will introduce you to all the Gregory Deva 60L backpack features. The reviewer focuses on hiking rather than travel, but as I said, schlepping is schlepping.
Hungry for more travel gear? Check out my five favorite travel doodads at this link.