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Gregory Jade 33 Backpack Review

The Gregory Jade 33 is a ventilated women’s backpack with an adjustable length frame that has enough volume for lengthy day hikes.  It has a women’s specific hip belt and shoulder harness.  It weighs 43 oz and has comfort features common to larger packs.

Gregory Jade 33 Backpack

Comfort
Weight
Suspension
Features
Adjustability
Sizing
Durability

Perfect Women's Day Pack

The Gregory Jade 33 is a ventilated and adjustable-length backpack with a women's specific fit. It's available in a wide range of sizes and has features usually found on much larger backpacks such as side panel access in addition to a top drawstring closure and lid.

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Specs at a Glance

  • Volume: 33L
  • Weight: 43 oz (rain cover 2.4 oz)
  • Gender: Women
  • Type: Internal frame
  • Ventilation: Ventilated suspension
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Exterior pockets: 5+ main
  • Torso sizing: XS-S: 14”-17”, S-M: 15”-19”
  • Waist sizing: 27”-46”
  • Max carry weight: 25-30 lbs.

Backpack Storage and Organization

The Jade 33 is a top-loading backpack with an attached top lid sewn to the pack.  There is an additional U-shaped front zipper to allow additional, access to the main compartment.  The main compartment easily handles a large amount of stuff, keeping you well supplied through summer and cooler spring and fall hikes.  The main compartment also has a hydration sleeve and ports for the hose.

The Jade 33 has a U-shaped front zipper that provides panel access top the pack’s interior.

The top lid has a reasonably sized pocket on top with an additional pocket w/ key fob on the underside where the pack cover is stored.  You can certainly store the pack cover elsewhere if you prefer to keep other items in there.  I like to use it for insect repellent and sunscreen.

The side water bottle pockets are made with a sturdy, stretch mesh.  They will each hold a 1-liter Nalgene bottle, but it’s difficult to reach back, pull one out, and return it while wearing the pack. I can do it with 24 oz SmartWater bottles, however, since they have a smaller diameter.

The side and front mesh pockets are made with a heavy-duty and durable mesh.

There are two generously sized hip belt pockets which easily hold snacks, a medium-sized cell phone or small camera, a thin pair of gloves or any number of other small items.

There is a stretch pocket on the front of the pack, a pretty standard item on most decent packs, that you can use to store layers and damp items like a water filter.

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The Gregory Jade 33 is an adjustable-length daypack, so you can really dial it to your torso length and get a good fit with it. The adjustment system is a simple rip and stick mechanism that lets you raise or lower the shoulder straps to match your torso length.

The Jade 33 is available in 2 sizes.  The XS-S fits torsos 14-17” and the S-M fits torsos 15-19”. While those are wide ranges, I’d still recommend sizing measuring your torso length before purchasing, just to be on the safe side.

The Jade 33 is an adjustable length, ventilated women’s backpack

This pack has a women’s specific shoulder harness with a sternum strap that has an integrated whistle and hydration clip.  The left shoulder strap also has a bungee designed to hold sunglasses.  I like this feature quite a bit.  I only like to wear sunglasses when I absolutely need them in the bright sun.  As soon as I hit the shade, I want to take them off. It nice to have a place to put them without having to stop and take off my pack to store them.

The Jade 33 sports Gregory’s FreeFloat ventilated suspension with a 3D comfort cradle hip belt with dynamic flex panels.  What does that all mean?  It means that it’s pretty darn comfortable and it moves with you quite well. The Jade 33 has a distinct and dynamic feel that moves with you, like an extension of your body, rather than a rigid backboard.

The hip belt padding is sturdy enough so that you don’t feel things in your hip belt pockets poking you.  How well does the ventilation work?  For me, there is a significant improvement over a pack with just a ventilated foam cavity.  I had been skeptical about if I would notice a difference which I do.  Yes, my back is still sweaty, but I don’t feel like I could take off the shirt and wring it out.  The hip belt is well padded and covered with a coarse, breathable mesh.  The belt webbing is a generous length.

The top lid pocket has plenty of storage for essentials.

The shoulder straps have the same coarse mesh found on the hip belt and the back panel.  I find it a little abrasive on my neck with some shirts, but it’s not a big negative for me.

The Jade 33 is pretty spare when it comes to compression straps and external attachment points, which is the norm for a pack in this volume range.  There is one trekking pole holder with elastic cord at the top and a web loop at the bottom to hold the shafts, and a single tier of compression straps on the pack’s sides. The lack of external attachment points is probably the biggest negative on this pack, limiting it to three-season use when you don’t have to carry extra traction for winter hiking and snowshoeing.

Comparable Women’s Daypacks

Make / ModelVentilatedAdjustable-lengthPrice
Deuter Futura 28 SLYN$150
Deuter Trail Pro 30 SLNN$155
Gregory Jade 33YY$170
Mystery Ranch Scree 32NY$189
Osprey Sirrus 36YY$170
Osprey Mira 32 Hydration PackYY$180
Osprey Tempest 30NY$140
REI Traverse 35YN$139

Recommendation

The Women’s Gregory Jade 33 has proven to be a great daypack and I’ve very happy with it.  It’s not the lightest day pack out there, but it’s not the heaviest either and I don’t think shaving a few ounces off a day pack is that important.  I’m not carrying that much weight anyway, so comfort is more important to me.

There’s a color for everyone whether you like bright red, more feminine aqua or good old neutral gray.  I guess you can tell from the pictures which category I fall into.  I appreciate that Gregory offers neutral colors in women’s gear.

There is one other thing I wish Gregory had added.  On the upper compression straps, there is a little plastic thing that keeps the extra webbing under control.  I really wish they had put this on the shoulder strap webbing as well.  I have 11” of extra webbing hanging from the shoulder straps which ends up slapping me in high winds.  I’ll probably trim them down to a more reasonable length.

Disclosure: The author purchased this backpack.

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About the author

Wanda Rice has been backpacking since the late 1980’s. She has climbed the New Hampshire 48, the New Hampshire 48 in winter, the New England 67 and is working on the New England Hundred Highest and the Four-Season 48. Wanda also teaches for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Mountain Leadership School, the AMC New Hampshire Chapter Spring and Winter Schools as well as the AMC NH Winter Hiking Series. She leads day and overnight trips for AMC NH year-round and loves mentoring new leaders. She is a gear junkie, a self-proclaimed Queen of Gear Hacks and loves sharing her tips and tricks with others. Wanda lives in southern NH and is looking forward to moving closer to the mountains in the next few years.

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3 comments

  1. Hi: I enjoy your reviews very much. They give a lot of pratical information. As a woman, I like to know what equipment is the most suitable for me……
    This review of the Jade 33 is of special interest since my day pack has seen better days.
    …just a note about your spelling of coarse…. maybe spell check is to blame… but coarse has a different meaning…. check it out…
    Keep up the good reviews .

  2. I have a two year old Jade 38, and it is a very comfortable pack, handles heavy DSLR and telephoto camera gear (in a padded camera + lens insert) with very decent though not fabulous front panel accessibility to the main chamber. The best front panel accessibility award goes to the Mystery Ranch Cairn (women’s version of Scree) 32, with slightly worse but still very good comfort in carriage. Both packs get used a fair bit. The Scree/Cairn is the one I recommend to photographers. Your fit may vary ;)

    Photography specific packs are sold, and they have almost uniformly poor carriage due to “one size fits all” philosophy. These generic photo packs are meant for a trip through the airport at most, not for long hikes over rough terrain. Of course – your fit may vary ;)

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