Gregory Mountain Paragon 58 Backpack
Loading-up is done through the top and a full-length zipper gives another option for access and retrieving gear. A sleeping bag can be carried in the base of the pack separately from the main compartment. This model also includes sleeping pad-straps.
The Gregory Paragon 58 now features upgraded suspension and improved ventilation built into the back. An integrated non-slip seamless hip belt allows for precise weight-bearing adjustment around the hips. It also features a very useful choice of 7 various-sized extra pockets for storing quick-access gear.
The updating design work has gone far to ensure you can fine-tune this pack for accurate fit and good performance. Ideal for carrying around 40-50 pounds comfortably.
For those looking for a mid-range backpack with all the best extra functional features, this is a sound choice.
Adjusts to fit torso
Adjustable hip belt
Nice size main compartment
7 extra pockets (two for water bottles)
Sleeping bag hatch
Good back ventilation
Buyer friendly price
Some hikers prefer a trampoline back support with ventilation
Designed for men, the volume is 58 liters with a main compartment and 6 pockets, an internal frame, torso length adjustability, designed-in ventilation, an adjustable hip belt, load lifters, a rain cover and when empty, the pack weighs 3 lbs. 9 oz.
There is a version for the ladies - the Maven 55. The shoulder specs and adjustability are a little different to accommodate the female form.
Pockets and Carrying Capability
You have three ways to access packed gear. Through the top, through a mid-section side zip system and through the sleeping bag compartment. Access is convenient and easy, and there is more carrying power through 6 pockets.
The two side pockets are made from mesh and can carry a 1-liter bottle of water in each pocket. The mesh pocket on the right side has an easy access slit which makes retrieving a bottle very easy. For those that might worry that the bottle can slip out while walking, it can be anchored securely with a security loop.
The left mesh pocket does not have side access and its design means you may well have to take off your backpack to retrieve a bottle from this pocket. This is a small inconvenience in exchange for the pocket being secure for carrying an extra bottle.
For those looking to put compression straps to use, the straps can be routed through the two side pockets for extra lift and weight distribution.
At the front is a good-sized stretchy mesh pocke, perfect for carrying wet kit, a raincoat or anything which you prefer to carry outside of the main compartment.
The rain cover has been relocated in this updated pack and is now found secured in an inner pocket in the pack top-lid. It's very quick and easy to access when the rain starts falling. Inside the main compartment, the Gregory Paragon 58 features a useful hydration pocket.
The hip belt features two large pockets; they are not the usual mesh design - these are hard-faced and therefore more waterproof and durable. The pockets are closed with secure zippers and good for carrying a phone, wallet, GPS or other useful gear.
Last is the sleeping bag hatch which gives access to gear stowed into the bottom of the pack. The hatch has a designed-in sleeping bag shelf which is secured with dowels. The shelf can be removed to extend the main compartment. User feedback points out the sleeping bag hatch is versatile and good for carrying other types of gear, such as a camping tent.
Frame and Suspension
The Gregory Paragon 58 has an adjustable hip belt, as well as full-length torso adjustability. These features allow the wearer to focus on an exact comfortable fit.
Both shoulder straps are fitted to a Velcro panel at the back. The panel can be moved down or up to achieve an exact fit. When adjusting is completed, the Velcro panel will lock into place and it won't move even when the pack is fully loaded.
Adjusting the hip belt is similar to the on-the-fly belt adjusting system used by Osprey backpacks. This feature is popular because needing to adjust a belt while walking is a commonplace situation. At the buckle ends of the belt are two tabs that slide back and forth for adjustment. With Velcro bases on each tab, you can pull the tabs free, adjust the belt and refasten the Velcro tabs. Keep in mind when you adjust the belt, it will also reposition the hip pockets.
This updated pack allows a greater flow of air for the back and while the back area is not a trampoline style mesh pad, it has good air flow.
There is a nice spring feel from the wire perimeter frame system, and to deter load barreling, a cross-brace is designed into the back area. This feature prevents gear stowed into the pack from pressing into your back.
Compression straps are a must for a good performing backpack and this pack has 2 tiers of straps. The designed-in angle of the straps allows the load to be pulled upwards onto the body core. This takes weight away from the hip belt and gives a subtle good shift for weight-bearing.
Both straps can be fed through or over the water bottle pockets on the sides, giving a good upwards pull for shifting weight.
The Gregory Paragon 58 also has two straps at the bottom for securely holding a rolled-up sleeping pad. Unlike the previous Paragon model, these two straps cannot be removed.
The top-lid has a draw-string closure and this is very handy for carrying a hiking jacket or even an extra stuff sack. Also, in the lid area, you'll find a rope strap that allows for securing all types of extra gear.
Comparison to Similar Backpacks
Another very similar model, including the price tag, is the Osprey Atmos 65 but it is 1 lb. and 1 ounce heavier.
The Gregory Baltoro 65 offers good stability and equal performance though it is 4 bs 13.4 oz. and the buying price is a little higher. Also, this model cannot be adjusted for torso fit.
Another pack that compares favorably for comfort and performance is the Osprey Aether AG 60. This product can be adjusted for the torso and it weighs in at 5 lbs 3.2 oz. The price is just slightly higher than the Gregory Paragon 58. However, this model cannot be adjusted for fit via the hip belt.
In terms of the price difference, the Deuter Aircontact Lite-50+10 is cheaper than the Paragon 58 and while it features torso adjustment, it does not have an adjustable hip belt.
The Gregory Zulu 65 is probably the most equally performing backpack when factoring in the same price tag for both. it is few ounces heavier and it can be adjusted for torso fit but the current model does not feature an adjustable hip belt. Apart from this missing feature, it is on a similar par with the Paragon 58.
It is surprising how much gear can be stowed in the main compartment, carried in external pockets and strapped to the pack.
The Paragon 58 performs equally well against other popular brands and is often lighter to carry. Performance, stability and comfort are very good. In terms of durability, there is not any concerning feedback from users.
This is a good pack, very on par with other brand models in this size range but with a cost-friendly price tag. Certainly worth considering as an addition to a hiker's multi-day hiking gear.