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Hands-on Gear Review
Gregory Salvo 24 Review
Cons: Heavy, no front mesh pocket, only 2 side compression straps limits lashing options
Bottom line: One of our favorite packs, which is also super comfortable for use on long days.
The Gregory Salvo 24 is the most comfortable day pack we reviewed and is ready for your every adventure, wherever your journey takes you. Stretchy water bottle pockets, a bright and generously sized front pocket, and large panel-loading main compartment are convenient and easy to use. The shoulder straps and hip belt push its comfort score to the max, with thick, perforated foam. The perimeter backstay with stretched mesh encourages air flow and prevents a lot of back sweat. Our testers preferred the this contender's comfortable back panel over the similar one found on the Osprey Stratos 24 because it consumes less internal volume. Unfortunately, however, the Salvo's perimeter stay has its own problems, as it focuses wear along the pack's edges, causing undue wear relative to the rest of the pack. Further, the comfortable air ventilated back panel brings the detriment of extra weight and drives the Salvo's score below high scoring award winners like the Osprey Talon 22 and Deuter Speed Lite 20. Overall, the Salvo was one of our favorite packs and the one we'd take reach for long hikes on warm days.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Salvo 24 quickly became one of our favorite packs and is ultra-comfortable.
Of all the daypacks we reviewed, this contender emerged as the most comfortable for several reasons. For one, the shoulder straps and hip belt were incredible. The perforated foam used in the mesh enclosed shoulder straps and hip belt handled weight really well and provided adequate breathability, even when it was hot. Load lifters fixed to the vertical perimeter back-panel stay helped suck the bag into your body, allowing for a secure fit. The back panel itself allows for maximal air flow by stretching mesh across the perimeter stay. This is similar in design to that used on the Osprey Stratos 24, but unlike the Osprey, the back panel on the Salvo doesn't noticeably interfere with the packs internal dimensions, nor does it interfere with good load distribution. Of all the packs in this review, the Salvo is the one we'd choose to carry moderate loads for long periods of time.
Though we praise the comfort laden features, these cost a lot on the scales. The Salvo is the second heaviest pack in our review and weighs 38 ounces. For reference, that's 12 ounces heavier than the Editors' Choice winning Osprey Talon 22 that is more versatile and slightly cheaper. If low weight is your primary concern, we'd recommend the Granite Gear Virga 26 that weighs an astonishing 16 ounces. Further, frameless backpacks like the Virga, REI Co-op Flash 18, Talon, and Deuter Speed Lite 20 are far more packable than this pack. This is an important consideration if you plan on packing a daypack in a larger piece of luggage while traveling.
The Salvo employs a fairly minimal design with limited external straps and pockets. The pack works best for hiking and non-technical uses. Two high compression straps can hold a climbing rope if needed, but work better to hold things like trekking poles. The pack has an adjustable ice axe loop and top buggy attachment as well as two bottom compression straps. We ranked it just below the Osprey Talon 22 in terms of versatility because the Talon has a helmet holder, front stretchy pocket, and the lack of a back panel makes it easier to bring along inside a checked bag or backpacking pack. In the same way, the Deuter Speed Lite has many more carrying options that let it work well for climbing and some skiing. While the Salvo isn't quite as versatile for outdoor sports, it is the best pack in this review if you need to carry a laptop from time to time. While we normally prefer a true laptop backpack, the Salvo works pretty well for this purpose.
Ease of Use
This pack is incredibly easy to use and will hold everything you need for long days out. The outer fabric of the talon is incredibly water resistant. While Gregory claims that it is waterproof, we let water run over the front of the pack for an hour and it eventually soaked through. However, it kept contents dry from quick splashes, and even being held in the shower for about 10 seconds. This is the only pack in this review that uses water resistant material. The Osprey Stratos 24 has an integrated rain cover, but we really appreciate the Salvo because it adds peace of mind without added bulk or hassle.
Another feature to note is that the top zipped pockets are generously sized and lined with a smooth neon fabric that is soft to the touch; this helps to distinguish items hidden within. The interior of the pack contains a hydration sleeve and zipped mesh pocket with a key clip, while the panel loading design opens nice and wide for easy access to items hidden at the bottom. The water bottle pockets are stretchy and easily fit a standard 1 liter Nalgene. The shoulder strap has a hydration hose retainer and a super cool holder for your sunglasses.
The pack itself is made with a fairly durable nylon fabric that didn't show much wear after several months of daily use. While the materials themselves seem durable, the design of the pack itself made our testers hesitant to sign off on the bag's long term durability. Notably, the perimeter back panel stay creates a rigid point of contact along its edges. Experience with other pieces of gear tells us that anytime you put nylon against a hard object and subject it to excessive cyclical wear (as happens on the the edges of a backpack for instance), you are bound to wear through the nylon eventually.
Thankfully, Gregory was aware of this fact and reinforced the nylon along the bottom edge of the stay. This high wear area contacts the ground every time you set the pack down. Along the rest of the edges, however, we expect the nylon to eventually wear through. Also, it is easy to imagine tearing the mesh back panel if it were to be pressed agains the sharp edge of a snowshoe in the back of your car, for instance. In the end, we expect the Salvo to withstand the rigors of use if proper car is taken to protect its edges and mesh back panel.
Consider the Deuter Speed Lite, Osprey Talon, or [Arc'teryx Cierzo 18] if you need a little more durability.
The Gregory Salvo is an excellent mid-sized pack for your next adventure. Use it to explore canyons and summit mountains. We loved using it for long days of hiking, as a laptop bag around town, and for weekend adventures. The air ventilated back-panel makes it great for warm climates where back sweat is an unpleasant reality.
The Salvo 24 retails for $115, and in the opinion of our reviewers, is worth every penny. If you are on a budget, save $15 by picking up the Editors' Choice winning Osprey Talon 22.
When it comes to the important features that a daypack should have, the effort that went into designing this pack is apparent. The combination of the stretched mesh back panel, shoulder straps, and hip belt caries weight really well and makes this pack the most comfortable of any in the review. Flashy color and striking design features catch the eye and were the subject of many inquiries from passersby concerning this pack. Some testers wished that this pack had a couple more side compression straps for extra lashing options and others prefer packs with front mesh pockets. Overall, we were all impressed with the quality and design of this pack and recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind carrying a few extra ounces to achieve maximal carrying comfort.
The Salvo comes in 18, 24, and 28 liter versions. We reviewed the 24 liter version and found it the perfect size for most long days in the hills.
Be sure to take a look at the women's version of this pack that's called the Sula and comes in the same sizes, but is offered in more vibrant colors.
— Jeremy Bauman
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