The Gregory Jade Z 65 backpack is part of Gregory’s Technical Series of backpacks that are manufactured to withstand the rigors of mountaineering, backpacking and all mountain use. The Jade Z65 boasts Gregory’s newly designed waist-belt that effectively transfers the load off of your back and onto your hips for maximum comfort on the trail. The Jade Z 65 is manufactured with hollow aluminum stays, to cut weight and still provide the strength needed for all mountain use, while the double diamond ripstop and seam taped zippers work together to provide protection from the weather. With the added features of a ventilated and moisture wicking harness and waist-belt, gear loops, exterior pockets, a waist-belt pocket and an all access front zip, the Jade Z 65 can organize and carry most any load. Below is a complete list of all the features of the Gregory Jade Z 65 backpack:
Upon receiving the Gregory Jade Z 65 backpack, I removed it from the box and immediately noticed the light-weight feel of the backpack. At just over 4 pounds for a size large, I remember thinking that if the Jade Z 65 backpack could really easily carry 45 pounds and provide 65 liters of storage, I would be impressed. As I inspected the backpack, I noticed that the backpack contained seam taped zippers, two (2) waist belt pockets, a large lid pocket, dual water bottle pockets and a large external pocket. The Jade Z 65 also contained top and full front access to the inside of the backpack, along with dual hydration ports. The back panel of the backpack contained an advanced ventilation system that seemed like it would be helpful with venting heat away from your body.
I began utilizing the Gregory Jade Z 65 backpack, while backpacking and guiding in the Ozark Mountains of Northern Arkansas and Southern Missouri. As I began to pack the Jade Z 65, I was impressed with the full access front zip that provided another option when packing, besides the normal top load system. As I packed my sleeping bag, tent and other items into the backpack, I was impressed how the Jade Z 65 easily swallowed these items, leaving plenty of room for other essentials. The floating top lid was easy to pack and had plenty of room and the large exterior pocket was able to carry a large amount of gear. I also liked having a pocket on both sides of the waist belt that allowed me to store my camera, snacks and other small items and provide easy access.
Once the Jade Z 65 was fully packed, I began to carry the backpack through the canyons and up the mountains of the Buffalo National River and the Richland Creek Wilderness. The Jade Z 65 proved to be easy to adjust and allowed me to find just the right fit. As I carried the Jade Z 65 through the wilderness, I found the Jade Z 65 to be very comfortable and the Jetstream waist belt system to be easy to adjust and fit to my waist. The Jade Z 65 also allowed me to transfer the weight of the load inside my backpack onto my hips and tailbone and not on my shoulders, thus adding to the comfort of the backpack. I found the ventilated back panel to vent extremely well, which allowed the heat to escape from my body during highly aerobic situations, which also added to my comfort.
As I continued to utilize the Jade 65, I began to really like some of the subtle features of the backpack. For example, the dual water bottle pockets each have a strap and a clip that can be easily manipulated over various size water bottles to make sure that they are always secure. Having used various backpack in the past, along with various brands of water bottles, I have discovered that not all water bottles will fit nicely into these pockets and have had bottles fall out of the pockets on various occasions. This was never an issue with the Jade Z 65.
During various trips utilizing the Jade 65 in increment weather, I became a big fan of the seam taped zippers, which did a great job protecting my gear from light rain, snow and many early morning frosts. I found that I became addicted to the two (2) waist belt pockets, which made it very easy to store a small camera, snacks, bandanas, buff’s or any other items that you might want to access quickly or on the move. After reviewing the Jade Z 65 for several months, I will be sad to review other backpacks that do not offer this feature.
After months of use backpacking and guiding through the Ozark Mountains, the Gregory Jade Z 65, proved to be both tough and durable. The Z 65 , while a little dirtier, showed no signs of wear and continued to perform well. The straps, zippers and buckles all continued to work flawlessly and the double diamond ripstop still looked great and had sustained no rips or tears of any kind.
Cleaning the Gregory Jade Z 65 backpack proved to be quick and easy, as on most occasions, I used a clean damp cloth to remove the dirt, debris and light mud. When I did get the Jade Z 65 really dirty, I simply washed it in my bathtub with a soft brush, soap and warm water to remove the caked on mud and grime. I then hung the backpack in my garage and let it dry out over the next couple of days. When dry I stored in my gear closet with the rest of my outdoor gear.
The Gregory Jade Z65 is a great choice for any backpacker and outdoor enthusiast. This pack is super light, comfortable, tough, durable and has tons of pockets to help you store and organize your gear. I really liked the dual hip-belt pockets and the removable lid, that can be very handy as a little day pack when taking those side trips from base camp. The dual hydration ports and tool attachments help with flexibility is usage and the Jetstream suspension and excellent ventilation give this backpack and super comfortable ride. Add a little more padding in the shoulder straps and this backpack may be the perfect technical pack.