One of the most competitive segments of the outdoor industry is, without a doubt, the daypack market. There are literally dozens of companies that make daypacks, many of which are quite good. To stand out in such a competitive field, usually, a company has to do something extraordinary to capture day hikers’ attention. That’s exactly what Gregory did when it released its line of Citro packs for 2017, creating a surprisingly versatile bag that does many things very well.
I’ve been using the new Citro 25 for a few months now and have found it to be an excellent backpack for use in various environments. It is perfect for 25-liters of capacity to take everything you need for a day out on the trail without being overly bulky or cumbersome.
The pack includes several pockets for keeping your gear organized and features a front stretch stuff pocket and dual trekking pole and tool attachment loops. In fact, one of the things I like most about this pack is the variety of options it comes for keeping everything you’re carrying a safe, convenient, and easy to access place. There is even a dedicated place to store your sunglasses on the harness that keeps them within easy reach yet safe and secure throughout a hike.
Gregory ships the Citro 25 with a 3-liter hydration bladder, which came as a bit of a surprise to me. Most packs of this size typically ship with a 1.5-2 liter reservoir, so it was nice to discover a larger model inside instead. The bladder is easy to get in and out of the pack, even when it is full, sliding nicely into its dedicated hydration sleeve. The company has even included a magnetic sternum strap that holds the bite valve in place while walking.
Made from sturdy 210D ripstop nylon, the Citro has been very durable so far. I’ve seen a few reports online of hikers saying that they saw some wear and tear after using it for a while, but my model has held up well, with only a bit of dust and dirt from the trail to indicate that it has been used regularly.
The materials used in making the bag are also water-resistant, which comes in handy if you’re caught out in a surprise shower. But, the bag isn’t waterproof, and heavy rain can soak its way through if you’re not careful. It would have been nice to have an included rain cover, but it is easy to add one if you live in an area where moisture is plentiful.
One of the more surprising features that Gregory managed to squeeze into its Citro daypacks is a spring steel suspension. Dubbed the Vaporspan suspension, this addition to the bag is designed to help keep hikers cooler while carrying a heavy pack out on the trail.
The suspension is definitely a nice touch, and it is rugged and durable, to be sure. I found that it helped my back to stay ventilated when things start to heat up, but as with most packs, you can still expect to sweat when the bag is resting on your back.
That same suspension is tough enough to carry fairly heavy loads, but the Citro 25 lacks much padding in its shoulder straps and hipbelt. This never made the bag uncomfortable to wear, but I wasn’t packing it to the 25 pounds (11.3 kg) capacity that Gregory recommends as the top limit. I get the sense the bag could easily carry more weight than that, but for longer hikes, I’d probably want a larger, more well-padded pack if I’m going to be hauling that much gear around.
Tipping the scales at 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg), the Citro isn’t especially heavy, but it also isn’t amongst the lightest daypacks you’ll find either. Most bags that are lighter than this one probably won’t come with such a sturdy suspension, large hydration reservoir, and durable fabrics either.
In other words, for its size and features, the weight of the Citro wasn’t especially troubling in any way, although those who are ultra-conscious of every ounce that they carry will probably want to look elsewhere. The rest of us will find the Citro to be comfortable, spacious, and versatile enough for hiking, peak bagging, or even travel.
The Citro 25 is nicely priced at $129.95, which makes it a bargain for day hikers looking for a great backpack but wouldn’t mind a little cash left over to spend on some other gear too. The Citro series also includes a 20-liter model and a 30-liter pack as well, so if you need a little more or less room, there are options available.
Find out more at gregorypacks.com.
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