About The Brand: Gregory
Firstly let’s start this blog talking about the sale of Gregory, this will help you understand why you might not have heard of Gregory before. Back in 2010 a company that used to go by the name of Clarus bought Black Diamond for $90 million and the underdog rucksack brand Gregory for $45 million. Clarus shortly changed their name to Black Diamond and started to really push the development of the BD and Gregory brand. In 2014 Black Diamond did something special, they managed to sell an unknown rucksack company (especially in the UK) for an eye watering $85 million! But how did they do this? And in the space of four years? Well it was quite simple, they stripped the brand back to its roots and committed themselves to what Wayne Gregory set about doing in 1977, it’s time for a Gregory history class… At the age of 14 Wayne Gregory designed his first backpack for a Boy Scout project. Shortly after he met Andy Drollinger who is the founder of Adventure 16 or A16 as its known today (and probably back then). Over the next couple of years Wayne would hang around the A16 factory buying materials and creating his own backpacks, which eventually got him his first job at A16. In 1970 Wayne started his first company called Sunbird which specialised in external framed rucksacks. In 1973 he called it a day due to his frustrations and the limitations of external frames. He became a freelance designer for the outdoor industry designing sleeping bags, tents and technical apparel. It was from his freelancing that he noticed a lot of up and coming brands working on “soft pack” rucksacks and completely ditching the external frame work. Seeing this technological breakthrough he decided to get back to his first love, rucksack design, and in 1977 Gregory Packs was born. When Wayne started Gregory he didn’t want just to build and sell rucksacks he wanted to improve the experience and comfort of rucksacks. He spent years designing and redesigning packs. He would talk tech with his customers, getting their feedback and using that to build the Gregory heritage, he wanted to know first-hand what worked and what didn’t. Wayne soon realised that in the backpack business fit was king, he has pioneered many firsts which we take for granted in our backpacks today. Gregory was the first company to build their packs in different frames, harness and waist belt sizes; and most importantly the first (and only) rucksack manufacturer to develop a waistband system that adjusts to fit different hip angles which automatically improves load transfer. Gregory also developed the first centre-locking bar tack which is a stitch that ends and locks off on the centre of a seam instead of the side (which a lot of modern packs still do) this gives increased strength at major stress points. It’s because of these steps that Wayne and the Gregory team took that made them stand out from other rucksack brands, Gregory are noted for their innovative design, ergonomic fit and an obsession with quality which they proudly still have today. When Black Diamond took over Gregory it was these key values that they kept and even improved. That’s the main reason why you probably haven’t heard of Gregory, they haven’t mass produced themselves like a lot of other rucksack brands, they have kept their product's core values at heart. Here’s a cool video that sums up Gregory’s “ethos”:
Weekends: When Real Life Begins from Gregory Packs on Vimeo.
The future looks bright when it comes to Gregory and knowing that Samsonite have Gregory under their umbrella it’s only going to get better! Now the history part is explained, we would like to talk briefly about our three favourite packs from Gregory. Let’s begin shall we?
Miwok & Maya Day Packs from Gregory from Gregory Packs on Vimeo
Z & J Ventilated Packs from Gregory from Gregory Packs on Vimeo
Baltoro & Deva Backpacking Packs from Gregory from Gregory Packs on Vimeo
There we have a little insight to the rucksack brand Gregory! Have you got a Gregory? How long have you had it for? And most importantly what’s your favourite feature? Just comment below!