Should you’ve bought a backpack within the final three or 4 years, you most likely have an excellent pack. Even price range packs are higher than most prime of the road packs have been 15 years in the past. Except you’re radically switching packing methods from ultralight to kitchen sink or vice versa, there’s not a lot purpose to consider upgrading.
The Granite Gear Blaze 60 although may be an exception.
I’ve been testing the pack for a pair months now, on many day hikes loaded with, nicely, something I may cram within the pack to gauge its weight-hauling, and, lastly on a pair overnighters together with a latest butt-kicker within the Sierra that noticed 13 mile days and plenty of elevation achieve.
That is essentially the most well-rounded and versatile pack I’ve utilized in latest reminiscence, one which deserves a severe look from anybody dipping a toe into new backpack land.
At first, the pack doesn’t look an entire lot totally different than GG’s flagship Crown2, a light-weight pack that we love and have beforehand really useful. However the Blaze is a extra sturdy pack with a number of hidden tips that in a short time earned the highest spot in my gear closet.
My Blaze (dimension lengthy) weighs three.1 kilos, almost a pound greater than the comparably sized Crown2, however that additional weight is greater than made up for by the load-hauling this pack supplies. I hiked two full days, roughly 9 miles every, via Maric Nation trails with 55 kilos loaded into the pack, not together with water bottles. Although I did expertise some minor creaking within the body on the second day, the pack by no means felt overloaded, the load stayed centered, and the load balanced completely by the thick, padded hipbelt.
GG packs have a tendency to hold a bit greater on the again and it is a godsend on the subject of balancing a heavy load, at the least for me. The Blaze centered its weight over my iliac crest (the tops of the hip bones) naturally and simply, and higher than any pack I’ve ever worn. That’s, I believe partially as a result of engineering of the pack, but in addition as a result of the torso size is well adjustable. Slots within the prime part of the plastic framesheet (not detachable) permit for straightforward motion of the shoulder straps up or down to fit your physique form.
This, mixed with GG’s glorious ReFit hipbelt system, that enables the person to take away the belt and alter the size shortly and simply, makes for one of the best carrying pack in the marketplace. It carries weight extra successfully than some burly framed Thriller Ranch packs I’ve used.
That’s the necessary stuff, however this pack has two very cool tips up its sleeve that make it versatile and price contemplating even in a sea of nice packs. First, it has a comparatively commonplace drawstring opening on the prime that can swallow a automobile, however hidden alongside the entrance of the pack is an enormous vertical zipper that allows you to get on the contents with out digging from above. All packs ought to have this, I’ve been screaming from the rooftops about it for years.
Then, there’s the miracle floating lid. Like many light-weight packs, the highest lid unclips for those who don’t wish to use it. Not like another pack I’ve used, the lid will be connected to the entrance of the shoulder straps to make use of as a chest pack to steadiness weight in a novel setup. I’d by no means considered wanting this in a pack earlier than, but it surely’s superior when you get used to it.
Second, the lid attaches simply to the eliminated hipbelt and makes an enormous roomy fanny pack that’s so snug I could use it as a standalone fanny pack. This can be a far simpler system than prime lids that flip into mini-backpacks. On my most up-to-date multi-day journey as soon as I made camp I popped the lid off, made it right into a fanny pack, and hiked a pair miles up a stream to fly fish.
Every thing else is commonplace. Large roomy water bottle pockets, a stretchy pocket working the entrance of the pack, a whistle on the chest strap. The ripstop outer materials is far harder than that used within the Crown2, and offers the pack a sturdy, four-season really feel. Although it weighs simply three kilos.
That is my new go-to pack. I think about it is going to be for a decade. It’s that good.
$270 • BUY
Extra packs we gush over
The Osprey Aether 60 weighs a full two kilos greater than the GG Blaze, however carries weight equally nicely and boasts a terrific floating lid that turns into a backpack. $290
The GG Crown2 is far lighter and a bit cheaper than the Blaze and can also be a terrific pack. $200
Wanna be the best child on the path? ULA packs are legendary for his or her high quality and their thru-hiker following. The Circuit is their mid-tier all-rounder. $255