Day Hikers Drink Up: Gregory Juno 24 Hydration Pack
The constant battle between over-packing and under-packing, it’s a nightmare. The build-up for a day hike seems ridiculous, but the anxiety can creep in about how much to carry. “What if the 3L hydration reservoir isn’t enough?” or “should I pack an emergency layer?” Let’s get real — when there’s extra room, the inclination is to pack more, just in case. Carry whatever your heart desires — under 20 pounds — with the Gregory Juno 24. A hydration pack with an efficient weight-bearing suspension system is ideal for hot, humid day hikes when a lot of water is a must.
The Gregory Juno 24 Specs
The Gregory Juno 24 is a one-sized pack, fitting 14- to 19-inch torsos and 27- to 47-inch waists. Adjustable straps sit at the hips, chest, and shoulders to custom fit the Juno 24 to the wearer. The shoulder and hip harnesses are perforated EVA foam which flexes and moves with the wearer to avoid hindering movement or creating uncomfortable rubbing in common problem areas like underarms and hips. A perimeter alloy frame wrapped with moisture-wicking mesh keeps the pack directly off the user’s back. It allows the breeze to slip between the pack and your back.
The perforated material covers the points of contact. Otherwise, the pack is 100% nylon: a 210D Honeycomb CryptoRip nylon and a double-layered 420D High-Density Nylon cover the pack’s bottom panel for added durability.
Twenty-four liters is usually plenty for a day. The pack has a large internal pocket with a small mesh pocket and an inner sleeve with a SpeedClip hydration hanger for a reservoir. It has three mesh pockets, one on the front and dual side mesh pockets, and two quick-stash zip pockets on the hip belt. Attaching trekking poles and any extra hardware is convenient with the dedicated attachment and bungee closure system.
The Juno 24 was my first Gregory pack, and my first impression lingered between confused and curious. It didn’t seem like 24L; it felt much smaller. After I turned the pack over in my hands a few times, I noticed the storage volume hides in the design; this hiking hydration pack exposed itself the more I put in it.
The bladder’s material seemed of lesser quality than the Nathan, Osprey, or Camelbak bladders I’ve used previously. Unlike other reservoirs, Gregory’s 3D Hydro reservoir has a flat rear panel that lays flat against the pack’s back panel. The front of the reservoir is a rounded 3D ‘pouch’ with a circular fill opening at the top.
Initially, I was worried about how the 3D design would perform over time. Would the water’s weight constantly pull forward and downward on the upper seams rather than supporting the load equally?
The 12-Mile Test
Wearing the Gregory Juno 24 on a warm, humid post-rain hike proved to be a breezy affair. The pack weighs less than 2lbs, and I added an extra 10lbs of food, water, first aid supplies, trekking poles, extra socks, and a camp towel for the 12-mile hike through the Austin greenbelt.
Twelve pounds has never felt so light. The wide hip straps have a perforated EVA foam lining that did not rub or chafe my hips. The ActiveFlex Perforated shoulder harness and sternum strap helped make the hydration pack feel light and secure, like an extension of myself. There were no hot spots or an unnatural distribution of load.
Initially, I was skeptical of the unique bladder shape, but it held up after numerous day trips into the Texas Hill Country, filled to the brim, only empty after a full day outside. The tube’s length caused a slight delay in delivery, but the bite valve’s opening is wide. After the delay, the bladder delivered a generous volume of water.
The reservoir tube threads through a port in the center of the pack’s top. It then travels through a series of accessory loops on a shoulder strap and eventually mates with a magnet on the sternum strap. With the tube at full length, the magnet was not strong enough to hold it in place. It wasn’t much of an issue for me, though, and it’s easily mitigated by cutting the tube to length or stuffing the excess in the pack with the bladder. The magnet-based system is a relatively recent and welcome addition to hydration packs, which formerly only used clips to anchor the bite valve.
The Gregory Juno 24 functioned superbly as a hydration pack for day hiking. The issues I had with it were minor:
The first was a lack of a rain cover, standard on many models. Secondly, the dual side pockets weren’t wide enough to accommodate Nalgene-sized bottles. This does make some sense since this is a hydration pack, but I would have liked the option to carry an electrolyte drink in a Nalgene in addition to plain water in the bladder. And, finally, the magnet and bite valve issue.
Gregory Juno 24 Pack Review Conclusions
The shortfalls of this hydration pack were not a deal-breaker for me. The Juno 24 is a pack I’d return to again and again for day hikes because of the incredible fit, and the 24L volume provided more than enough space for provisions for my dog and me. Avid hikers in dry summer conditions would find the Gregory Juno 24 hydration pack to be a dependable day pack with room for essentials, with a suspension system to match, and capable of carrying enough fluids for double-digit distances on foot.