Getting Back into Travelling with the Border Carry-On 40 from Gregory Packs


Now that traveling is becoming a little more comfortable, we are looking into doing a little more on this front in the upcoming year (fingers crossed). As we highlighted recently, we took a trip to Tennessee to not only see friends and family, but also to participate in a cool half marathon. And as we started dusting off our luggage for the first time in almost 2 years, it became evident that our bags were in much need of an upgrade. Lucky for us, Gregory had a few options in this realm, and we were more than happy to try one out on our trip and see how it went.

My guess is that if you are familiar with Gregory, it is probably due to their work in the outdoor space with hiking packs. I have numerous friends and family who have Gregory packs for their day, and overnight, outdoor excursions. Personally, I was less aware of their travel packs within their catalog. But, honestly, it makes complete sense. I mean, if a company creates reliable hiking packs with ease, the ability to translate that to a travel pack is completely logical. And we think Gregory nailed it with their Border Carry-On Pack.


I tend to start most of my reviews on anything with “looks”, and I think in that respect – the visuals of this pack really straightforward and classic. There is nothing really flashy that catches the eye at first – no crazy colors, no outlandish design – and we absolutely aren’t opposed to that. All fabrics in the bag are made from recycled content (bam!) which is absolutely wonderful to hear. It comes in two colors – a Tonal Black and Dark Forest Green. I’ll gladly take my flash in the form of function instead. And function is where Gregory is really dialed in.

The bag is primarily split into two compartments by a zipper in the middle. The right side is a fully zip-enclosed ActiveShield pocket (more on that below), and the left side is a more standard fully-zipped pocket and two smaller ones on the outside of it. This left pocket is the side that bumps up against your back when carrying, and has a 3D foam breathable backpanel to try to keep you as dry as possible when trekking around in it.


The outside of the Border Carry-On has even more storage possibilities. There is a laptop sleeve on the top, a shallow zipped-pocket on the top-front – perfect for small and accessible items, and a vertical zipped pocket spanning almost the entire frontside which itself has yet another zipped pocket inside. It’s a pocket extravaganza! The right side of the pack even has a mesh pocket for a water bottle that is specifically designed to be zipped up and hidden when not in use.


Even if you aren’t planning on travelling soon (totally fair), this pack is actually perfect to utilize as a running pack. The right compartment utilizes their ActiveShield technology. In layman’s terms, this side of the pact is built from recycled auto glass and uses an exclusive tech (Polygiene) that is seemingly created with the runner in mind. That’s not actually true, but the pocket is great for keeping dirty and/or wet (or sweaty) clothes / shoes in and separate from the other items in your bag. The Polygiene tech inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria – and thus keeps your actual clean clothes from getting that secondary-stink from your running (or otherwise dirty) clothes!


This is 100% a need for me. When we take weekend trips, I am often packing multiple sets of running clothes, and then stealing plastic bags from the hotel (ugh – I hate plastic) to separate my use running clothes from the rest of my bag. What I am doing is just a workaround on a bad situation, and even then it’s not a very good one. The end result is usually me needing to wash all my clothes when I get home (or even on my trip itself) as they start to get that faint stench of grossness to them. This ActiveShield compartment was a lifesaver on our trip. We were gone for four nights, and I utilized that compartment for three gross running outfits on the way home – it worked like a charm. It even has a zipper at the bottom of the pack that allows you to put clothes in, or take them out, without opening up the other part of the bag!


As far as comfort goes, I found the shoulder straps to be extremely comfortable and padded, especially when coupled with the adjustable cross body straps at the chest and hip. I lugged it between a few layovers and along the streets of Nashville for a few days – with no uncomfortable feelings along the way. When not using being worn on the back (by using the handheld loop straps on the top, bottom, or side), the hip belt and shoulder straps can be tucked away in the pack itself to stay out of the way. We found this prudent when going through security and avoiding having straps all over the place. One addition I wish the pack had is a small pocket on the front of the straps. Being able to put a phone or wallet there would be ideal for me – but it’s nowhere near a dealbreaker.

Overall, we were really pumped by the way that the Border Carry-On handled our recent trip. We foresee it filling this void for years to come!


Company: Gregory (Facebook | Instagram)

Items: Border Carry-On Pack ($169.95)

Construction (from website):

  • Weighs 2.93 lbs.
  • Measures 22″ x 14″ x 9″
  • External: 25% Nylon / 75% Recycled Polyester

Thank you to Gregory for providing us with a sample pack. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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