ProView – Gregory Women’s Kalmia 60 Plus Size
When I heard Gregory was coming out with a line of plus sized backpacks, I had two thoughts: “about dang time!” and “I hope they are good”. I’ll admit that these two thoughts were accompanied by a hearty serving of skepticism as well. So I jumped at the chance to try out these packs for myself and see what works, what doesn’t, and if Gregory delivered on their promises to create a pack that finally fit plus size bodies.
Gregory Women's Kalmia 60 Plus Size
Product Name: Gregory Women's Kalmia 60 Plus Size
Product Description: The Kalmia's FreeFloat 360 suspension flexes, rotates, and moves with your body, providing a revolution in backpacking technology. Adventure ready with durable, recycled nylon material, streamlined organization and odor reducing technology. It’s time to hit the trail.
Offer price: MSRP: $299.95
The Gregory Kalmia 60 is Gregory’s answer to the growing cry for plus size outdoor gear. It is a well crafted, dynamic pack that felt like it was truly made with the plus size hiker in mind. It has thoughtful organization and functionality that makes it the perfect choice for hiking and climbing in different terrains. Truly a new industry standard.
- Awesome fit/Very comfortable
- Thoughtful functionality and design for different types of adventures
- I LOVE the bottle holster for one-handed on-the-go water bottle access – tucks away when not in use
- U shaped zipper on the brain – makes it harder to access without taking the pack off
- Rain cover sold separately
Plus-size people, myself included, are used to just making do with whatever outdoor clothing and gear we can find. We often have only one choice, in one color, or we have to venture over to the men’s section and see if we can find a XXL that will fit. While many outdoor companies are putting their focus on creating plus size clothing for outdoor enthusiasts, their efforts will be in vain if we don’t have access to plus size gear as well. This means backpacks, climbing harnesses, ski boots, and other accessories or gear items that are necessary for adventuring.
My time outdoors is spent rock climbing, backpacking, mountaineering and hiking. I was able to try out the Gregory Kalmia 60 backpacking pack for a weekend trip to soak in some fall colors.
I’m a tall gal at 5’10, but I’m all legs. I’ve got a short torso and big shoulders so finding packs is always hard because I’m a small/medium torso size but need a bigger hip belt. My fix in the past has been to buy a S/M pack and a separate, removable hip belt and attach the two.
I tried out the small/medium Kalmia 60 and it was the perfect size for my torso and I was able to buckle it with room to spare while still being able to access the pockets on the hip belt. The shoulder straps were comfortable and didn’t dig in and I liked the extended angle of the shoulder straps for my broad upper body. The shoulder straps are longer than a straight sized pack so they really hugged my torso in a way that I haven’t experienced from a pack before. The ventilation panels seemed like they would work well, but it was fall when I used this pack so I’ll be interested to try it out in summer when I’ll need more ventilation.
I loved the look of the Kalima 60. The pack itself is sleek and the color was a dream. I liked that I could tuck in different straps or features that I wasn’t using. The pack had a ton of features, but you wouldn’t know it at first glance which made it look less “busy” than a lot of packs out there.
The Kalmia 60 had all the features you’d expect for an overnight or multi-day trip and then some. My favorite feature that I’ve never seen on a pack is the side stash pocket for a water bottle. I’ve never been able to access my water bottle without fully taking off my pack so this was a game changer. I love the extra roomy hip belt pockets as well. I don’t use water reservoirs but the pack had several features that would make using one easy.
The Kalmia 60 had a pretty standard weight for other backpacks of similar size with a base weight of 4.7lbs. The design of the pack really helps with functional packing and I was able to evenly distribute the pack in a way that carried nicely on my back.
I think this pack will be a workhorse for me when it comes to shorter multi-day backpacking and climbing trips. It wears really comfortably on my plus size body and allows a good range of motion for both flatter trails and trips with a little more elevation. I also really like that I can pack it in a way that doesn’t interfere with my helmet. A lot of backpacking backpacks don’t work well with wearing a helmet because they come up higher in the back and I lose range of motion of my head from my helmet hitting my back. This pack allowed me to look up and around without bonking my pack over and over.
The pack is constructed well and the material feels very durable. I will have no reservations about taking this pack out in more rugged areas or the rougher, rockier terrain of some of the central Oregon mountains.
Friendliness to the Earth
I’ll admit I didn’t know much about Gregory’s sustainability practices before doing this review. In my research I found that they have worked to change their packaging to using more biodegradable products and improve shipping efficiency which results in less reliance on air services for delivering products. Their packs come with a lifetime guarantee and are designed in a way that leans more toward repairs and less toward fully replacing packs when something happens. They are also working on expanding their initiative to recycle packs when people are ready to part with them, reducing the chance of products ending up in a landfill. They also have a statement on carbon neutrality but no data to show.
The Final Word
The Gregory Kalmia 60 will be my new go-to backpack for shorter multi-day trips for both backpacking and mountaineering. I loved the fit, comfort and functionality and feel that they really put the research into making a pack specifically for plus size bodies…Finally!
About the Gear Tester
Megan Banker is a plus size chiropractor, climber and mountaineer in Portland, OR. She is passionate about inspiring people of all body sizes to live a bold, adventure filled life. When she’s not operating her wellness practice she is adventuring and traveling with her partner Andy. Follow her journey on Instagram @pdxoutdoorchiro