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Gregory Icarus 30 Review

Gregory Icarus 30 Youth Pack

Outfitting five children for backpacking is a daunting task. We tend to do day hikes more than over night hikes, yet when we do go out for an overnight in the backcountry, we want gear that fits children well making it comfortable for our children to carry real weight down the trail.

We tested the Gregory Icarus 30 this past summer and fall. We had intentions of taking a multi-day backpacking trip, but plans changed during the pandemic. We got a late start on our hiking and backpacking season so most testing occurred this fall.

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The pack was tested on several day hikes, including hikes of 5+ miles on steep, rugged terrain. It was also tested on an overnight family backpacking trip.

The Gregory Icarus 30 pack is a great crossover pack choice that can do double duty as a day pack and overnight pack.

Gregory Icarus 30 Youth Pack

Gregory Icarus 30

Tech Specs for the Gregory Icarus 30

  • Volume: 30 Liters/ 1831 cu. inches
  • Weight: 2.15lbs
  • Packed Dimensions: 23.5″ x 105″ x 9.5″
  • Hydration Compatible: Yes, up to 3L, no reservoir included
  • Fits Torso Length: 13″ – 18”
  • Fits Waist/Hips: 26″ – 49″ 
  • External Pockets: 4 outer pockets (2 stretch mesh, one front stuff, one top).
  • Material: 
  • Ages: We recommend 9-14
  • Max Carry Weight: 20lbs
Gregory Icarus 30
The Icarus 30 cinch down for a short day hike

Features

  • Versafit suspension with adjustable torso length
  • 4 inches of torso adjustability
  • Reflective loops for visibility at night
  • Sternum strap with emergency whistle
  • Front, over sized stretch mesh pocket with multiple webbing attachment points (one of our favorite features).
  • Trekking pole/tool attachment point with bungee closure system.
  • Reinforced, double layer bottom (great for kids who like to slide down rocks)
  • Bottom sleeping bag compartment accessible from above and below
Gregory Icarus 30

Overall Impressions

The quality of this pack is outstanding. Gregory used strong but supple fabrics and quality padding to make this a comfortable pack for children. It is thoughtfully designed to actually be used for hauling gear.

Gregory Icarus 30
Water bottle pocket sized well for a Nalgene, with a strap to hold it in tight.

The water bottle pockets were generously sized for large bottle–even Nalgenes fit quite well. We appreciated the stow and go pocket on the back of the pack, and the pocket in the lid.

The sizing and suspension were easy to adjust–even while out on the trail. Unlike many kids’ packs, this one fit my slender children well.

This pack has been receiving a lot of use in our family because my daughter likes using it as a day-hiking pack as much as she likes it for backpacking. The cinch straps on the sides make it easy to adjust depending on the load.

Best Uses for Gregory Icarus 30

This pack performs well as a day pack and overnight backpacking pack. Three of my children tested it out, and all found it comfortable when adjusted properly.

Day Hikes

For day hikes, the pack has plenty of space for snacks, layers, and drinks for long days on the trail. My kids appreciated the hydration compatible features, and we used one of our own reservoirs to make sipping on the go easier.

The waist belt and shoulder straps are also comfortable and easy to adjust for day hikes. We climbed a very steep mountain and my daughter found the pack easy to wear, even when scrambling over boulders in the alpine zone.

Gregory Icarus 30
Front view of the Icarus 30 showing the gear attachment points,
front stow and go pocket, and bottom compartment.

The back panel keeps the back breathable and comfortable in warm weather or challenging hikes. It has a mesh layer that lifts the pack away from the back for ventilation.

There is also a strap for attaching a pair of trekking poles to one side of the pack which is great for steep hikes where poles are essential.

Gregory Icarus 30
The pack is super handy for day hikes, especially
with all its pockets and straps for hanging essentials.

Overnight Backpacking

The great features that make the Gregory Icarus 30 good for day hikes also work great for overnight hikes.

I like to go by the rule that a child should carry no more than 20% of his/her body weight. This means that even for my oldest daughters, we would not ever put more than 16 lbs in this pack. The interior space has plenty of space for carrying gear, without overloading your child.

I find that larger packs can accidentally be overloaded just because there is so much space. Unless the child is only carrying down sleeping bags and jackets, the weight limit on Gregory Icarus 30 is is reached before the pack runs out of room.

Gregory Icarus 30
The Gregory Icarus 30 suspension system and straps

Because the frame is a flexible frame sheet, this is not a pack you want to put more than 20 lbs in or the suspension will not be supportive enough.

For our overnight trip as a family, we divided up the gear between six different packs. My husband and I carried the heaviest gear, water and food.

My daughter carried her sleep system (down bag, Klymit pad), clothes, and various snacks and water.

The U-Zip compartment on the bottom of the pack was super handy for quickly unloading the sleeping essentials when setting up camp.

I also really like that the bottom of the pack has 4 loops. Loops like this are super useful when strapping bulkier gear onto a pack (such as a folding foam mat, or tent parts).

Gregory Icarus 30
The Icarus 30 on a trip in the
White Mountains National Forest

Gregory Icarus 30: The Bottom Line

What We Love!

The Icarus 30 is a fantastic pack to use for both day hikes and backpacking. There are plenty of external pockets for snacks, maps, first aid kids, and water bottles while saving the interior for bulky, large items.

Gregory Icarus 30
The removable lid has two zippered compartments for small items.

The breathable back panel has made my daughter loves this pack as it is comfortable for all weather.

The torso length and straps were easy to adjust for different children’s sizes. Our 9, 11, and 13 year olds have all worn this pack comfortably.

We loved that there is a built in hydration port and sleeve–my children love to drink on the go and having the compartment separate makes it easy to use.

As a mom with a closet full of gear, I appreciate that this pack can serve so well for two different purposes—a pack that is light and simple enough for day hiking, but sturdy, comfortable, and large enough for overnight backpacking trips.

It is a win in my book!

We We Weren’t Crazy About

Waist belt pockets. I am a huge fan of waist belt pockets and this pack doesn’t have any. Gregory did put one on their larger junior pack (The Gregory Wander) but not this one. It is obviously a small problem, but would have been nice to have them.

The pack also only has a trekking pole attachment on one side. It is large enough to fit two poles, but have one on each side is my preferred way to carry pole.

Gregory Icarus 30
The upper trekking pole attachment point

Where to Buy

The Gregory Icarus 30 is available to purchase directly from Gregory Packs or on Moosejaw and Amazon.

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Gregory Icarus 30 Youth Pack Review

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