Gear Review: Gregory Avenues I-Street Backpack
For the past few years I've been on the hunt for the perfect all-around backpack. It had to be the perfect Goldilocks bag: great for both a weekend get away or a week-long trip overseas. In my search, I've come across a lot of options, which all seemed to be overpriced, overly technical, or just simply overly colorful. It wasn't until a recent walk-thru of the LA Men's Market that I stumbled upon Gregory's new Avenues pack series.
The Avenues I-Street is the largest of the Gregory Avenues packs, which were designed to be a great crossover pack from city to travel adventures. The I-Street measures in at 30 liters, which, for me, is just the right amount of space for my various travels.
The Avenues series was designed with city life in mind and is made from a waterproof tarpaulin fabric making it tough as hell, thus keeping your goods dry when you get stuck in the inevitable thunderstorm storm.
The roll-top closure also makes it great for easy on-the-go access and the single closure means no unnecessary buckles, straps or tie-downs adorn this pack. It also has a secondary compartment that fits a 13" MacBook perfectly, keeping it protected from potential scratches and dirt.
What I Love
One of the things I love most about this bag is that there are no frills. It's clean lines, single pocket and solid color make it both functional and fashionable. I got this bag just before our trip to Costa Rica, which was great because we caught the tail end of the rainy season and even though we ended up in a few storms all of my gear remained perfectly dry.
Beyond the waterproofing (which is pretty much a must for any traveler) the bag is tough as nails. Mine has been dragged along the ground, stuffed in the back of pickup trucks and handled by airline staff (who could care less about how your belongings are handled) and it still looks perfectly new.
What's Not To Love
My biggest complaint with this bag is that when it's packed full to the brim it becomes pretty uncomfortable to wear around for longer than 30 minutes. The only other complaint I have is that the empty weight is a bit more than desirable. Weighing in at 3.3 lbs. it's about 30% heavier than other bags of the same size on the market. The weight is likely due to the waterproof tarpaulin fabric, which I can't stress enough how amazing it is, but you do compromise weight.
Should You Buy It
If you're OK with the extra weight and don't plan on stuffing in an extra pair of jeans on your travels, then yes, the Gregory Avenues I-Street backpack is absolutely amazing. The waterproof material, durability and overall design of the backpack make it a must have for anyone traveling big or small.