While reviewing the best backpacks for women available at the moment, I selected the versatile two-in-one Gregory Tribute 70 bag as the best-on-test as a travel-conversion pack. It has all the space and features you need when you’re on the road, and is comfortable to carry on the trails.
Fully-featured zip-on daypack
Hidden passport pocket
Expanding pocket sequesters wet, muddy, and dirty clothes
Raincover doubles as a pack cover for air travel
Zippers connecting the day bag to the main pack don’t lock
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Packing for a long trip, when you’re constantly on the go and not basecamped in a single location, can be tricky. Luckily, that’s literally what the Gregory Tribute 70 is made for. It’s a nimble and flexible system: an integrated backpack/daypack that’s comfortable to carry in its entirety, or a bag that splits into a backpackable suitcase and daypack.
Aimed at travelers, the pack comes with a raincover that doubles as a pack cover when you need to check this bag in for a flight. The pack material is durable without being heavy, and the system is streamlined, low key and it doesn’t draw attention.
The base bag, which is the suitcase part of the system, has an oversized unzipping front panel for full access to the spacious main compartment. At the bottom of the main compartment is a full-length zip that opens a waterproof storage area that keeps the stinky stuff separate from the rest of your gear, and that expands as you fill it.
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Also inside the main compartment, a medium-sized zippered organizer compartment holds toiletries, while a mesh pocket that lays flat under the zipping flap at the top of the pack is ideal for stashing passport and cash.
With the bag zipped, compression straps that wrap over the front panel cinched down the load. Then, a fully-featured daypack zips and clips onto the base bag. Together, they carry on an adjustable frame with a broad waistbelt and articulated shoulders that make this pack very comfortable, no matter where you’re heading, including full-on backpacking adventures (we took it on a trip to South America, where the haul handles on both sides and the top of the pack made it easy to grab when hoisting the pack onto the top of a bus).
• RRP: $180 (US) / £200 (UK)
• Weight: 1.86kg/ 4lb 1.6oz (plus 204g /7oz for the rain cover)
• Volume: 70L / 4272 cu in
• Sizes: One harness size
• Colours: Bordeaux red / Mystic gray
In the field
The Tribute 70 managed to have space and organization for everything I needed for multiple week trips exploring Chile, Norway and Indonesia.
The main compartment is spacious, easy to access and ideal for keeping kit organized; foam in the sides kept propped open making it a breeze to load and also to locate gear inside.
But the main benefit of this backpack over others, is the ability to split it into two. When I wanted to leave my main pack in my hotel and explore unburdened, the daypack zipped off in a snap. The small pack has padded laptop and tablet sleeves, water bottle pockets, internal organizer pockets, and even a clip for a light. It was large enough to hold food, camera, water, and even extra layers shoved into the front stuff pocket. I also used the daypack as my carry-on when I hopped a flight. It’s minimalist, frameless, and without a hip belt, but a foam backpanel that gave it some structure. It’s not meant for carrying a heavy load for any distance but was well sized to stash a picnic and a beach towel.
The Tribute is made for wanderers, but I also used it for business travel and as a weekend bag. Clothes and other gear stay neat in the main storage area, and it was a lot more comfortable carrying this pack through New York City than a shoulder slung duffel, and way less awkward than toting a rolling a suitcase from train to the subway.
Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.
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