Gregory Facet 55 Backpack Review

Gregory’s ultralight pack features a simplified design with uncompromised ventilation and comfort

Table of Contents

2 lbs. 8.8 oz. (size small)

45, 55L

Impressive ventilation and comfort for an ultralight backpack.

Few fit adjustments; thin materials lack durability.

One of the most well-known brand names in packs, Gregory is well known for its spacious and feature-rich designs that are designed to hold everything, except for that kitchen sink. The truth is that less is more, particularly when speedy travel and long distances while on the trail. The brand new Facet (and the men’s Focal) is taking this idea to heart, and features an ultralight, simplified design that can get the job done, while weighing at less than half the weight of most backpacks used for overnight trips. I had the pleasure of testing Facet 55 Facet 55 while trekking in Southern Patagonia, and was amazed by its comprehensive support and comfort, airflow and organization despite its reduced design. Below, I’ll discuss my experience with Gregory’s latest ultralight backpack. To compare it against its competitors check out our reviews on the most popular backpacks for backpacking along with ultralight backpacks.

Performance

Carrying Comfort

Despite its minimal design, I found Gregory Facet to provide a very comfortable experience when carrying it. Gregory states the 55-liter model’s limit for load of 35 pounds (the 45L’s weight is 30 lbs. ) This is the amount I hardly exceeded on our expedition through the Rio Electrico Valley. The Facet was loaded down with an overnight bag, tent as well as pad, stove, fuel layers, as well as food for four days The Facet was a great job of distributing the weight, thanks to its aluminum frame and cross-stay made of fiberglass. Many ultralight backpacks reduce the weight of their aluminum frames or opt for an elongated plastic or foam back panel, but I believe that the Facet’s extra support is worth the extra ounces.

I also found the Facet’s suspension hipbelt, as well as shoulder straps extremely comfortable for a lightweight backpack. The mesh back panel suspended (Gregory refers to it as “FreeFloat”) It was gentle and supple to my spine, while the ComfortCradle hipbelt was shaped to my midsection, without pressure points or hotspots. Incredibly, I’ve had the exact opposite experience with an earlier version of the full-featured Osprey Aura AG The hipbelt on the Aura is bigger and more robust (and probably more comfortable) but it was too tight to the body in a way that was uncomfortable and was pushed in my abdomen. The bottom line is that this is a good example of less is more and I’m not a snob with the Facet 55’s comfortable carrying.

Weight

The weight of your pack can be a difficult topic: On the one hand, additional pounds on your pack translate to more ounces of weight in your body, something that most ultralighters attempt to reduce to the minimum. On the other hand the extra weight of your pack generally leads into increased support and ease. For instance 30 pounds in a sturdy rig may be less burdensome than 20 pounds for the ultralight bag. Which side of the spectrum will be down to your personal preferences and experience level. Strong and well-conditioned hikers will typically be able to use a minimal backpack (especially when carrying light loads) but the majority of backpackers would appreciate a more robust (read larger) design.

At 2 pounds 8.8 grams for the small size for women the Gregory Facet 55 is a very nice middle-ground in the weight-to-weight equation. It’s considerably lighter than traditional overnight bags The top of the line Gregory Deva 60, for example weighs 4.25 tons 10.2 grams for small size, and the Osprey Aura AG is in at 4 pounds 5.4 grams. However you can get much lighter with backpacks like that of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400 (1 1 lb. 15.7 15.7 oz) and Gossamer Gear Mariposa (1 lb. 13.4 oz. for the small size). With a weight of approximately 2.5 pounds it weighs in at around 2.5 pounds. Facet 55 is a part of ultralight packs for middle-road use which include those from REI Flash 55 (2 2 lbs. 10 oz.) as well as Osprey Eja 58 (2 lbs. 11.5 oz. ).

Organization

Similar to its weight, the Gregory Facet 55’s organizational design is a good compromise between full-featured backpacks and ultralight ones that are stripped down. It has one entry point into your main storage compartment (via at the upper) and six pockets on the outside that include an lid as well as two hipbelt pockets, as well as three dump pockets that are externally accessible. For the 20 to 35-pound weight which the Facet is built to hold it will provide everything you’ll need. I found the right place to store all of my belongings without being lost among the sea of sleeves, zippers or compartments. This is a typical experience I’ve experienced with other packs. In contrast I really liked the lid (a often overlooked feature in ultralight bags) to store items such as my camera, phone, satellite phone and a hygiene kit. It is important to note that the Facet also includes hanging space and a hydration compartment however, most times, I put my reservoir on the highest point inside the primary compartment, for ease of access when it’s time to refill it.

Today the majority of backpacking bags have hipbelt pockets which is why this one from Facet 55 is no exception. These pockets are great for quick access to the essentials however, the pockets were a bit tiny to comfortably fit the size of my iPhone 11 (with case). This is a frequent issue I’ve encountered with many hipbelt pockets and one that could easily be solved by pack makers (on contrary phones are bound to be smaller). However, the pack comes with three spacious stretch-mesh pockets, which are great to keep or access layers as well as snacks and an drinking water filter and much other items. Additionally, the Facet is adamantly devoid of the sleeping bag compartment this is a choice in design that I completely agree with. My opinion is that sleeping bag compartments serve to increase bulk and add to a flimsy packed bag.

Ventilation

If there’s a single area in which this Facet 55 especially excels over other ultralight packs, it’s its ventilation. With the FreeFloat suspended mesh backpanel Gregory has created the Facet to create a channel for air to flow through the bag and its body. This is a typical design that is found in all backpacking packs however, it is one of the first items to be eliminated in the case of weight savings (as for the Hyperlite Southwest that has solid Dyneema on rear). Additionally, the backpanel is constructed with an anti-bacterial fabric that can withstand growth, which reduces the odors that develop over time. If you are planning to backpack in the summer or who sweat frequently it is recommended to use the Facet (and men’s Focal) is among the most effective ultralight backpacks for venting.

Weather Protection

I had the pleasure of testing my Gregory Facet55 during my trip to Southern Patagonia, a mountainous region known for having some of the worst weather in the world. While Southern Patagonia was a disaster it, this Facet 55 put up a solid defense that kept my gear dry even in the midst of a raging rain and rivers that were waist deep. The materials of the pack–from the base and body to the inner lining — are treated with a tough water repellent finish that makes water adsorb and then roll off, instead of soaking through. Furthermore, our bag came with a rain cover, as well as a removable weather flap that covers the drawstring at the top in the event that you don’t have a lid (ultralight is a good option to reduce weight by keeping the lid in place).

Although I had no problems with the Facet’s weather protection, you’ll need to be more careful when you’re planning to go out in extremely wet conditions. One of the most affordable options is to line the inside of your bag with a sturdy trash compactor bag. This will shield your gear from water that may get through its DWR treated fabric. However you can put on a waterproof rain cover. Our pack included one, but they’re available as a separate purchase in case you’d like to spice things up with a stylish colour or style. Additionally, waterproofing is the primary reason ultralighters love Dyneema packs such as that of the Hyperlite Southwest keeps moisture out, without the extra burden of a trash case or raincover as well as the closure with a roll top provides extra security.

High Quality of Build and Long-Term Durability

Density of material is usually measured in terms of deniers which is usually associated with strength and weight. That is, the greater the denier the more dense, heavier and lasts longer the fabric. In keeping with its ultralight design, the Facet has a thin material of 100-denier high-density nylon in the body of the pack and 210-denier for the base. Contrast this with Gregory’s top of the line Deva comes with a mixture of 420- and 210-denier nylon for the body and 630-denier for the base. It’s not difficult to figure out that you’re giving the benefit of a lot of toughness in exchange for an ultra-light design.

However, among ultralight packs within their price, Facet’s material is pretty good for the price. Its REI Co-op Flash ($199) makes use of 100 – and 420-denier nylon as does it’s Osprey Eja-58 ($240) utilizes 100-denier nylon on the bottom and body with 400-denier nylon being with a pattern all over. If you’re ready to up your spending, Dyneema is known for its high strength-to-weight ratio. It is often used in top-of-the-line ultralight bags (such as the mentioned Southwest as well as the Zpacks Arc Blast). If you’re a committed weekend warrior or are planning to go on a multi-week through hike, a sturdy case can be built for the Dyneema pack. For casual backpackers, or those who go only a handful of times per year The Gregory Facet will be able to do the job. Despite having logged dozens of trails miles and hundreds camp hours–including contact with sharp branches and sharp rocks, our Facet hasn’t yet been able to withstand even a single hole.

Sustainability

Like many outdoor companies by 2022, Gregory has taken a obvious step towards environmentally friendly materials and designs. The Facet is a waterproof finish without any harmful chemical (otherwise called PFC-free DWR) and offers a long-lasting lifespan that does not require maintenance or repeat application. Additionally, the fabric of the pack are recycled to a 45-percent rate. Through these steps, Gregory claims to have reduced the Focal and Facet’s footprint by 29 percent. This includes reducing the carbon emissions and water pollution, smog production and the use of energy. We believe that the most effective way to help the planet is to reduce what you use (do you really require another backpack?) or purchase a used. However, if you’re planning to purchase something and you want to buy from businesses that make an effort to improve the health of our environment.

 

 

Sizing and Fit

The Gregory Facet women’s pack is available in three sizes including small, extra medium, and small. I went with small size (my normal size in backpacks and clothes) and the bag provided a fantastic all-round fit. In contrast to other models Facet isn’t a feature-packed model. Facet isn’t equipped with an adjustable torso length , or hipbelt. However, it didn’t cause any issues for me. I was able to alter the fit with the shoulder straps and load lifters. The sternum strap easily slides across an incline. However, Gregory states 3 sizes for Facet are able to accommodate a broad variety of body sizes (from 26-48 inches. at the hip , and 14-20 inches. in the upper torso) It is important to note that you achieve more adjustability from models like Deva or Maven. Additionally, the majority of lightweight packs from smaller brands such as Gossamer Gear and ULA offer an array of fitting options, which includes the option of customizing the size of your hipbelt and your torso.

Men’s Gregory Focal 48 & 58

In our review we tried our women’s Facet 55, however Gregory offers men a similar style as well. Focal (which is available in a 58L and 48L version). It’s the Gregory Focal 58 has three liters more capacity and weighs slightly less (2 pounds. 9.3 oz. in the size smaller) It can be found in three male specific sizes. It comes in the blue color scheme instead of the red of the Facet. The overall design is the same, with the 35-pound weight limit, and the price is similar at $240.

What We Like About

  • The perfect balance of carrying comfort and organizing features that are decently light weight.
  • Amazing comfort for loads less than 35 pounds due to the just-right (not too heavy, not too sleek) suspension system with backpanel, hipbelt as well as shoulder straps.
  • Suspended mesh’s backpanel provides much more airflow than ultralight packs and is a fantastic option for hiking in warm weather.
  • Just enough organization, with 2 hipbelt compartments 3 stretch-mesh dump pockets, as well as an adjustable lid with an internal and external zippered pocket.

“What We Never Do”

  • Thin nylon (100 and 200D) will not withstand wear and tear, as thicker nylon , or Dyneema.
  • The hipbelt pockets were not able to accommodate the iPhone 11 (with case). We could get it inside with a bit of effort, but would like a larger model.
  • With a limit of 35 pounds it’s not a good backpack for those who prefer to carry everything except your kitchen’s sink.
  • It is possible to reduce weight more by using packs that weigh less than 2 pounds like Hyperlite Southwest 3400, Hyperlite Southwest 3400 or Zpacks Arc Blast.

Comparative Table

PACKPRICEWEIGHTFABRICCAPACITIESAccessPOCKETS
Gregory Facet 55$2402 lbs. 8.8 oz.Nylon (100D and 100D and)45, 55LTop6 exterior
Osprey Eja 58$2402 lbs. 11 oz.Nylon (100D and 400D)38, 48, 58LTop6 exterior
Hyperlite Southwest 3400$3551 lb. 15.7 oz.Dyneema (50D 100D)40, 55, 70LTop3 exterior
ULA Circuit$2802 lbs. 5.3 oz.Robic nylon (400D)68LTop5 exterior
REI Co-op Flash 55$1992 lbs. 10 oz.Nylon (100D and Nylon (100D &)55LTop9 exterior
Gregory Maven 55$2503 lbs. 5 oz.Nylon (100D and Nylon (100D &)45, 55, 65LFront, top6 exterior

The Contest

The two best-known pack experts, Gregory and Osprey often meet in the middle in their designs. Osprey’s Osprey Eja 58 is the closest competitor of that of the Gregory Facet 55, with the same features (including suspended mesh back panel) as well as a load limitation (35 pounds. ) as well as the same price ($240). The two packs differ apart from one another in a variety of ways. First , The Eja 58 is slightly heavier and bigger in comparison to that of the Facet 55 (to the extent to 3oz. in addition to 3L) and is made of the more durable accent material of 400D (however the base is less durable , with just 100D). Also, the Osprey is only available in two sizes, but it offers four inches of adjustment in the torso. This could be useful for those who are particularly tall or short hikers. In contrast to the Facet the Osprey is also available in a 38-liter model, which is the perfect size for overnight trips or days hikes that require gear. We haven’t had the chance to test the latest version of the Eja however, it’s a stunning design that definitely can give the Facet an uphill battle for money. It’s impossible to be wrong with either, but the final choice could depend on availability. At the time of writing the packs are both difficult to obtain in the market.

Its Facet 55 is relatively lightweight at just 2 pounds 8.8 pounds, however If you’re counting ounces, you’ll pick a model similar to that of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400. It weighs only 1 2 pounds 15.7 grams for the White model The Southwest 3400 cuts some weight thanks to Dyneema fabrics of the highest quality as well as a more compact suspension and lid-less design. It’s impossible to match the durability and waterproofing of Dyneema which makes the $355 Southwest is a good choice when you plan to thru-hike for months at a stretch or want your bag to endure season after season of heavy use. However, you’ll lose a lot of ventilation when you use the sturdy Dyneema backpanel (which does not compare to that of Gregory’s suspension mesh) however, and we would prefer the Facet’s better arrangement.

Between that between the Hyperlite Southwest as well as the Gregory Facet is an equivalent design of similar to the ULA Circuit. The Circuit is among the most sought-after backpacks on the Pacific Crest Trail and with the reason that it costs 40 dollars more expensive than Facet it comes with high-quality, robust (400D) with waterproof fabric throughout, the capacity of 68 liters (although we think that this might be somewhat exaggerated) and weighs at only 2 pounds 5.3 grams. In spite of its light weight it’s ULA is also a great choice for ease of use, with weight distribution through a suspension hoop foam frame and aluminum stays. The Circuit’s archaic, cushioned backpanel isn’t quite as good as the level of ventilation that you get with the Facet and the organization is hampered somewhat due to the lid-less design. The ULA is a very durable and suitable partner for serious thru hikers however, the Gregory is certainly more modern and will appeal to the weekend warrior or recreational crowd.

REI Co-op’s own brand is a one-stop shop for value and Flash 55 is no exception. At just $199, the REI Co-op flash 55 is a comfy and beautifully designed ultralight backpack that weighs less than one ounce heavier than Facet (2 2 lbs. 10 oz.). Similar to the Gregory Flash, it is available in three sizes and can carry the weight of up to 30lbs however it substitutes the suspended mesh back panel for padded foam which provides a more luxurious feeling, but lacks airflow. It also lacks ventilation. Flash 55 also features a unique Packmod system, which allows users to adjust pockets and straps to tailor or simplify their load (removing all accessories results in 7 oz. weight reduction). The Flash is a fantastic value and is a great pack for people who enjoy playing with gear, however REI does not compare to Gregory, the specialist in packing. Gregory in terms of performance and comfort when carrying.

The last but not least of them last but not least Gregory’s Maven ($250) It provides a major improvement in terms of comfort and comes with about a half-pound less that the Facet. It is available in 45, 55 65-liter capacity The Maven’s upgrades include a more robust bottom (420D as opposed to. that of the facet’s 210D) as well as a rain cover with integrated and a second side-zipper that connects into the primary storage compartment, adjustable torso length and a sleeping bag storage compartment with a removable separator. There’s also an upper limit of 50 pounds for load which is an impressive leap over the Facet (35 pounds.). With this long list of high praise, it’s impossible to ignore the worth and capabilities that comes with the Maven. But, as we mentioned earlier, less is typically more, and you’ll need to decide if you’ll actually use the extra options. One of the things we liked about this Facet was its ease of use.