Gregory Backpack Review: Ritter of Yesterday, Miwok 18 of Today

Gregory Mountain Products has been around since 1977, officially founded by Wayne Gregory.  The company has made some great backpacks over the decades. In fact, my first backpack was a Ritter model by Gregory.  This great internal frame pack was purchased in the early 90s at a local outfitter in Denver. After 17 years of hiking and snowshoeing, the Ritter model held up nicely.

Gregory’s hydration-friendly Miwok packs are another slice of legacy for my snowshoeing future.  I fully expect to have both packs 17 years from today.

side by side Gregory backpacks white background: L Miwok 18 R: Ritter

The hydration-friendly Gregory Miwok (L) and my decades-old Gregory Ritter (R) are pictured here.

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About the Miwok Series

While the Ritter and the Miwok 18 are two different backpacks, they both exhibit the same sturdy Gregory versatility that I have come to appreciate over the years.  Although the Miwok isn’t geared for cold-weather conditions, it performs flawlessly in freezing weather.  While ‘shoeing in sub-zero temperatures, my hydration reservoir didn’t freeze.  I also used an insulated sleeve (like this one) for the reservoir hose to prevent it from icing up.

Regarding features, the Miwok offers a flexible, bounce-resistant fit with plenty of storage. Though first reviewed in 2010, many features have remained consistent over the years or have been modified for improved performance.

Fit and Bounce on Trail

Throughout the day – as the reservoir is emptied and gear is removed – the Miwok can be pulled in closer to the body with its internal on-the-fly compression features.  Doing this helps prevent pack bounce while active on the trail.

Beyond its compression features, the Miwok highlights the Gregory Bio-Sync Active Trail Suspension (ATS) technology, which allows the pack and suspension to move with the body while in motion. This feature exemplifies how Gregory has improved its internal frame packs over time.

My Ritter was a “first-of-its-kind” pack with the evolution from external to internal frames.  Now, the Bio-Sync ATS technology is a set of flexible tendons that attach to the shoulder harness and waistbelt to the pack’s body.  Along with the ATS technology, the Miwok offers a breathable foam backpanel to help alleviate moisture and increase comfort on the back.

Read More: Choosing a Backpack: Features to Consider for Snowshoeing

Belts and Straps

Gregory has also emphasized its harness and waistbelt in the Miwok 18 backpack, including an adjustable torso and sternum strap. Also, the shoulder harness now comes with a Sunglass QuikStow for quick access to your active lifestyle sunglasses, and the hipbelt includes dual zippered pockets. Moreover, the Miwok 18 is also available in a plus size with extended-length shoulder straps, hip belts, and additional fit revisions to accommodate larger body shapes.

With as much time and history within the Gregory brand, the packs have become more human-friendly.  Gregory packs, especially the Miwok,  always seem to come through for all body types and activities, no matter the brutality on the trail.

Storage

In addition to the suspension and straps, the Miwok 18 has enough space in its expandable front pocket for a hydration reservoir AND extra gear. This backpack has 1,098 cubic inches of volume (18 L) and weighs one pound, eight ounces.

Miwok features for storage:

  • Hydration pocket with SpeedClip hydration hangar
  • Expandable front, stretch-mesh pocket with buckle closure
  • Side mesh pockets
  • Top zipper pocket with a soft liner to protect valuables and interior security pocket
  • Trekking pole or tool attachment with bungee closure

Read More: What To Bring When Snowshoeing: Top Accessories for the Day Hiker

Overall

The Miwok 18 is part of the long line of Gregory backpacks built sturdy and versatile.  Though not a specific winter pack, it performs well for snowshoeing. The suspension allows for movement with the body, and the harness and hipbelt are adjustable (with a plus size version available) to accommodate a wide variety of body types. Moreover, the storage options have day-pack benefits for the everyday snowshoer.

The Miwok 18 is available in three colors – flame black, reflex blue, or vivid red, and at a reasonably low price of 109.95 MSRP. Learn more information at Gregory Mountain Products or purchase the Miwok 18 at Amazon.

What is your favorite feature of Gregory’s Miwok 18 backpack? What is your review? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

This article was first published on Dec 18, 2010. It was most recently updated on July 18, 2022. 

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