When it comes to backpacking, companies like Osprey, Deuter, and Gregory are all household names in the outdoor community. Known for their outdoor gear, such as backpacks, these 3 brands are a popular choice for beginner and expert campers alike.
If you’re just getting into the world of outdoor adventures, you may be asking: which brand is best?
Depending on who you ask, you might get different answers. Some may prefer Osprey for their legendary warranty, Deuter for their environmentally friendly philosophy, or Gregory for the high-tech technology they offer.
Today, we’ll be doing a five-point comparison between the 3 brands. This comparison will be divided into the following categories: Quality, Warranty, Price, Design, and Availability.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at Osprey!
Starting out in 1987, Osprey has been supplying backpackers all over the world with quality packs ever since.
Currently, the company’s headquarters are in beautiful Cortez, Colorado, although the majority of the packs are produced in Vietnam.
Arguably one of the most popular backpacking brands in the world, Osprey packs can be seen on just about any trail. Let’s take a look at how it ranks in our 5 categories.
There’s a reason Osprey is so popular. Mike Pfotenhauer, the founder, started out as a backpacker who created custom packs for other hikers and campers before taking his most popular designs and marketing them for mass production.
Currently, Osprey packs are made in Vietnam but don’t let that dissuade you. Mike stayed on-site with his production team for four years to teach them how to create his backpacks the way he envisioned. If you’re looking for a rough and ready pack to take with you on a 6-month long thru-hike, you can’t go wrong with Osprey.
Osprey is known for its legendary warranty. Here it is, word by word from their website:
“Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhauer.”
With a warranty like that, it’s no wonder Osprey is so popular. When you make a purchase with them, it’s a purchase that will last a lifetime.
Osprey backpacks tend to be in the mid-level price range, making them accessible to just about everyone. The reasonable price coupled with the lifetime warranty makes it hard to say no to an Osprey pack!
Not only is Osprey known for their superior quality, but they are also popular for their innovative designs! The suspension systems found on their packs are among the best in the industry and they offer neat features that vary from pack to pack, including removable lids, compression straps, and expandable hip belts.
One of the many reasons Osprey backpacks are so popular is their availability through major retailers. Virtually all outdoors and hiking stores carry at least one Osprey pack–most of them carry several! This makes it easy for people to try on in the store, another factor when deciding on which pack to buy.
Osprey finishes with a near perfect score in every category. It’s undoubtedly one of the premier names in the hiking industry–now, let’s take a look at one of their most popular backpacks!
One of Osprey’s most versatile packs, the Osprey Packs Kestrel 48 Backpack was designed to be a lightweight backpack that would be suitable for any environment. Coming in at 3lb 8oz, it’s fairly lightweight compared to other backpacks in its class and has a volume of 48L, which is an ample amount of room for anything from a day hike to a multi-day trip.
Unsurprisingly, the Kestrel 48 is designed with comfort in mind. The airscape back panel keeps your back ventilated and cool while the hip belt keeps weight off of your shoulders to ensure maximum comfort. The hip belts come with handy pockets so you don’t have to reach into your pack every time you want a snack. A few other neat features include the integrated rain cover, removable sleeping pad straps, and reverse compression straps.
- Stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment
- Stretch woven front pocket
- Tool attachment loops
- Adjustable harness for your torso
- Zippered sleeping bag compartment
- Top pocket
- Airscape back panel
- Hip belt with pockets
- Built-in rain cover
- Removable sleeping pad straps
- Reverse compression straps
Want to know more? Check out more info about it over on Amazon!
Now that we’ve gone over Osprey, let’s take a look at another big name in the backpacking world: Deuter.
Deuter is a German brand that has been crafting gear since 1898. Originally consigned to supply backpacks for the British Royal Mail, they moved on to creating backpacks for the military and then eventually, for backpackers.
Headquartered in Germany, Deuter is undoubtedly an environmentally friendly brand. A portion of their proceeds on certain backpacks go towards preserving the Bavarian Alps and they make a conscious effort to use sustainable products and practices.
Deuter is another brand that has sourced their production to Vietnam. Like Osprey, they deliver high-quality backpacks that can stand up to the elements. However, unlike Osprey, they focus on eco-friendly materials. Their materials are naturally sourced, so if you shop with the environment in mind, Deuter is the brand for you.
While Deuter may reign supreme in eco-friendly initiative, their warranty leaves a little to be desired. Titled “The Deuter Promise”, the limited lifetime warranty is essentially just your run of the mill regular warranty.
Deuter will repair or replace your backpack if the defect is based on material or manufacturing errors. They do not guarantee repairs or replacements for normal wear and the warranty is considered null and void if a third party fixes the backpack.
While it’s not a bad warranty, it certainly isn’t anything special and is one of the main reasons users prefer companies with superstar warranties like Osprey.
When it comes to price, Deuter is comparable to Osprey. Most of their backpacks fall into the mid-level price range, a remarkable feat when you consider that Deuter goes the extra mile to be eco-friendly.
Deuter features innovative designs and a top of the line suspension system. However, they have been known to sacrifice carrying capability for comfort. The tube-like shape of their bags enables them to be stuffed to capacity, but this can prevent their backpacks from laying evenly on your back.
Although not as popular as Osprey’s, Deuter is still a well-known brand. You can find at least one type of backpack, if not more, at your local outdoors or hiking store.
While Deuter trails behind Osprey in a few categories, they are still a solid brand with high-quality products. If you care about the environment, this is the brand for you. Now, let’s take a look at one of their more popular packs!
The Deuter ACT Trail 30 Hiking Backpack was created with comfort in mind! The AirContact back system utilizes an open pore structure to decrease perspiration by 15% when compared to similar packs. The flexible Delrin u-shaped frame is contoured to provide stability while conforming to your every movement.
Made with a 50-50 blend of Microrip-Nylon and Super Polytex Polyester, the Deuter ACT Trail 30 is durable while still maintaining a light weight. It offers cool features like a built-in rain cover, specialized compartments for a hydration system, and numerous exterior pockets.
- AirContact back system
- Delrin u-shaped frame
- Built-in rain cover
- Hydration compartments
- Exterior pockets
- U-shaped two-way zip opening
- 50-50 Microrip-Nylon and Super Polytex Polyester blend
- PU coating
Last but not least on our list is Gregory.
Since 1977, Gregory has been making quality hiking packs. What originally started out as a boy scout project when Wayne Gregory, founder of Gregory, was 14 turned into a full-fledged adventure once he decided to start his new business after working as a freelance designer for other outdoor brands.
A staple of the backpacking world, let’s take a look at how Gregory scores in our 5 categories.
There’s a reason Gregory has been around for so long–when it comes to quality, they mean business. Gregory is consistently always looking for new ways to improve their backpacks, including pioneering the center-locking bar tack, a stitch that ends and locks off on the center of the seam instead of the side for increased strength at key stress points. You don’t have to worry about your backpack breaking down on you in the middle of a rough hike–Gregory has you covered.
LIke Deuter, Gregory also offers only a limited warranty. This warranty covers manufacturer defects and very little else. If your backpack is damaged due to normal wear and tear, they’ll fix it for you–at a price.
Although not an unreasonable warranty, it pales in comparison to Osprey’s legendary lifetime warranty. We give it a 3/5.
Gregory backpacks tend to run a bit more expensive than Osprey and Deuter, although that can vary depending on the size and color of the bag. While they are worth the money, this can make them a little too expensive for your average hiker.
Gregory features some revolutionary designs, including being the first and only manufacturer to develop a waistbelt system that adjusts to fit different hip angles. If you shop with Gregory, you can be certain that you’re getting a pack that was well thought out and designed with care.
Similar to Deuter, Gregory backpacks are fairly popular and can be found in most popular outdoors and hiking stores. You may not find as many as you would, say, Osprey packs, but they are there.
The Gregory Mountain Products Zulu 55 is a backpack that is packed with features! Featuring an updated CrossFlo suspension system, dual-density hip belt, and shoulder harness foam, this pack offers maximum load comfort. It was also obviously made with functionality in mind. The Zulu 55 has a floating, removable top pocket with a zippered security slot, front bucket pocket for quick storage, and multiple tool/pole loops, among other things.
At 55L, the Zulu 55 offers the sweet spot in carrying capacity for extended trips. It’s large enough to store all the gear that you need but not so big that it becomes a burden to carry. At 3lbs, it’s not the lightest pack out of there but its many features more than make up for it.
- Front u-zip main compartment access
- Bottom sleeping bag access panel
- 2 side water bottle pockets
- Sunglass stash on shoulder pocket
- Hideaway tool/trekking pole loops
- CrossFlo suspension system
- Dual-density hip belt
- Padded shoulder harness
- Floating top pocket with zippered security slot and key clip
- Front bucket pocket
All 3 brands create high-quality backpacks that will serve you well on the trail.
However, the best backpack brand for you will depend on your needs.
Go with Osprey if…. You want a backpack that will outlast you.
While Osprey offers high-quality backpacks at an affordable price, its real selling point is in its warranty. Once you purchase an Osprey, it’s a purchase that will last a lifetime.
Go with Deuter if… You are an environmentally conscious shopper.
Deuter’s eco-friendly practices and use of materials are admirable and make it a popular choice among those who love Mother Nature. The fact that a portion of proceeds goes towards preserving the Bavarian Alps helps too!
Go with Gregory if… You want a backpack with neat features and conscientious design.
Although Gregory backpacks tend to be more expensive, they are well worth the money. The quality and design of their backpacks make them a useful pack to have with you on the trail.
Got a preference? Let me know in the comments!