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Review: Gregory Women’s Kalmia 60 Plus Size

By: Megan Banker + Save to a List

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. 

Get your Gregory Kalmia 60L here.

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.

Fit/Comfort

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.

Three images of a person wearing a large maroon backpack in the woods.
Get your Gregory Kalmia 60L here.

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.

Look/Style

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.

Features

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.

Three images of a large maroon backpack. One shows the back with the hip belt, two shoes a person wearing the hipbelt from the side and showcasing the water bottle holder, the third shows the person wearing the pack from the side.
Get your Gregory Kalmia 60L here.

Weight/Packability

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.

Function/Performance

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.

Durability/Construction

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.

Two images. The left shows a person sitting on a cliff. The right shows a person wearing a large maroon backpack walking down a wooded trail away from the camera.
Get your Gregory Kalmia 60L here

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!

A person wearing a large maroon backpack while walking away from the camera on a leaf-strewn, wooded trail.
Get your Gregory Kalmia 60L here.

This review was originally posted on DirtbagDreams.com. Are you an Outdoor Industry Professional? You may qualify for pro deals with Outdoor Prolink. Learn more here.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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