31 responses

  1. Guthook
    September 9, 2011

    Wow. Nice to see Granite Gear is back in the running with new packs. The Vapor Trail and Nimbus Ozone seemed to have been around forever without any major changes. The Nimbus Ozone was what I took on the AT way back when, although I could have easily gone with a Vapor Trail. Those packs are really well built, and I really love their simplicity. At the time I thought a pack with no lid and no extra internal compartments would be a pain, but using that Nimbus Ozone for several months made me really rethink what I needed in a pack. No I never use lids or multi-compartment packs.

    The Blaze AC seems more like a replacement for the Nimbus Ozone… which weighed 3 pounds and had a solid frame sheet like this one seems to. And it's about time! More people need to pack mammoths in their bags, I imagine.

  2. Earlylite
    September 9, 2011

    A little bit on the heavy side, but I really like the way this pack uses a ultralight style design with the front and side pockets. It also carries beautifully. Granite Gear has another pack coming out called the Crown (after the triple crown) and I think that one will be lighter weight. My mammoth really likes this pack too because he can see out the back mesh pocket.

  3. Guthook
    September 9, 2011

    It'll be interesting to see how the large mesh front pocket changes the sights on the AT. It was such a distinctive sight to see either a z-rest or a tent in the back compression straps on the Nimbus Ozone and Vapor Trail. Really, it's a perfect place for either of those things. But if you have a bunch of stuff in the mesh pocket, a sleeping pad or tent on top of that would make accessing the pocket a little less convenient. That's always my gripe about having the stretch cord over the mesh pocket on ultralight packs in general, but I guess people get around that inconvenience plenty often.

  4. Earlylite
    September 9, 2011

    I've seen lots of people put gear there too, but it's really not a good place for it since it pulls the weight away from your back. That's what I like about the side compression system on this pack – there is now a 3rd tier of compression so you can get some more clearance above the side pockets and the top compression straps make it possible to put a pad or tent on top horizontally.

    Of course – it doesn't really matter how thru-hikers pack because when they get their trail legs, they're effectively hiking a marathon a day. As long as they're under 25 pounds, they fly.

  5. newguy
    September 9, 2011

    Looks pretty nice, but you aren't kidding about the hideous color scheme. I don't need to impress anyone with pretty gear on the trail, but brown, black, blue, and orange all on one pack? Reminds me of when you see cars driving down the road with mismatched body panels and primer.

  6. My Life Outdoors
    September 10, 2011

    I agree on the color…I gagged a little when I saw that first picture. At least it's not gray…everything I own is gray!

  7. Grandpa
    September 10, 2011

    Everything I own ends up kind of gray after a few days on the trail. I wonder why?

  8. Philip Werner
    September 10, 2011

    A touch of grey makes even the dirtiest hiker look distinguished. I'm sure it suits you.

  9. Grannyhiker
    September 12, 2011

    I definitely wouldn't call a pack of almost 3 pounds lightweight! Also, I didn't see any mention of how well it carries a bear canister.

    I'd be curious to see a comparison with the ULA Catalyst, which is about the same weight.

  10. Earlylite
    September 12, 2011

    I consider anything under 3 pounds to be lightweight and this clears that bar. If I can get someone who's carrying a 4 to 5 pound pack into a sub 3 pound pack without forcing them to switch to an unknown like a UL pack, I'll count that as a victory. There's a lot to be said for an unlimited return policy for people nervous about money.

    I tested the Blaze with a backcountry cache bear canister and it fit fine. That's good for about 6 days of food. I can't compare it against a ULA catalyst because I don't have one – maybe someone else can pipe in. I suspect that the Blaze is considerably larger though, with its huge extension collar.

  11. gruevy
    September 18, 2011

    I like the color scheme, crazy as that may sound to you all.

  12. zoso
    December 9, 2011

    Yeah, I have to agree. I actually really like the color scheme. How can you love spending time in nature and think brown is a hideous color? I got the A.C. 60 in brown/green and much prefer the earth tones of these packs to the bright flashy overly "modern" designs of most packs these days.

  13. granite
    January 7, 2012

    Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing on your feed and I hope you write once more soon!

  14. Lucid
    January 29, 2012

    Thanks. Its a nice review detailed.

  15. S. W. Johnsey
    February 14, 2012

    Where was it made?

  16. Gary
    February 25, 2012

    What kind of hydration system fits in the blaze 60 ..it is very tight ?

  17. Gary
    February 25, 2012

    What kind of hydration system fits in the blaze 60 ..it is very tight ? What size bladder too

  18. Philip Werner
    February 26, 2012

    It really shouldn’t matter what size or brand you use. Pack the filled bladder first and your gear will conform to the space it doesn’t take up.

  19. Gary
    February 26, 2012

    Unfortunately, it is a very tight bladder holder and my platypus does not fit. Pack is great but hydration is key

  20. Alina
    March 27, 2012


    If you had to choose between this one and the Crown VC 60 which one would you choose and why? They look pretty close to me.
    Thank you.

    • Earlylite
      March 30, 2012

      Really depends on how much weight I’d carry. Over 20 pounds, I’d likely go with the blaze AC. It also has an adjustable frame, and I’d go with that if I couldn’t get the Crown to fit perfectly.

  21. Family Guy
    April 9, 2012

    Phil – again thanks for the reviews!

    Quick question and not sure if you can answer this: what is the length of the padded portion of the shoulder straps? 18″? Thanks as always in advance.


    • Earlylite
      April 9, 2012

      I’ve returned the loaner pack from GG. Try calling their customer support line.

  22. andy
    June 28, 2012

    I use a tump line on my ac60. Its just a 7inch strap with a fold back buckle sown on each end.
    When i feel like bringing the load forward at the top i wear the line over my forehead. This just relieves the fatigue on my shoulders when carrying weight at the limit of this packs comfort capacity. The tump line is attached to the load lifter straps . I have undone the stiching where the load lifter straps fold over to make it easier for the ends to pass through the tump line buckles. If you want to get an idea of the difference this can make just try manually pulling the load lifter straps forward and up toward your forehead as you walk. I dont use it all the time as you cant turn your head when carrying a pack this way but it does give a third point on the body where weight can be loaded.

  23. Kit Stolz
    June 27, 2013

    Tested it with a bear canister…which fits sideways by the narrowest of margins. Had a previous Granite Gear pack of similar design which ultimately failed at those seams, but this still seems to me the best all-around pack on the market, and I bought it.

  24. john
    July 5, 2013

    thanks for the review. I haven’t seen much info as to the upper limits of the blaze’s frame. my torso is 23”; I have a 21” NF pack which is comfortable enough until I max the volume, and it’s too heavy. no stores in my area carry the blaze, trying before buying is out. what do you think about the blaze for longer torsos? the pic of the frame shows to holes cut above the 5 adjustment slots; could they act as a 6th point for extending the pack’s frame? thanks!

  25. Boris
    October 14, 2013

    Just want to share my 2 years experience with the pack. Don’t want to re-iterate good points like comfort, etc. However, during this time of moderate usage (never overloaded) the folllwong failures occured:

    1. Frame sheet – broke in half, cracks seen in 3 additional areas.
    2. Plastic cord attachments – 3 broke in half. Repaired by inserting a piece of webbing and sewing the cord to it – pretty labor intensive.
    3. Cord broke. Replaced it by thicker cord. Not great as it is hard to run it through the plastic fitting.

    I’ve had Vapor Trail for about 10 years (and loved it) – no issues. This thing is not even 2 years old!


    • Philip Werner
      October 14, 2013

      Have you tried to excercise your guarantee?

  26. AngryGerman
    December 23, 2013

    I utilized this pack for my AT thru-hike and many other excursions having an overall excellent rating for this pack with the exact minor issues Boris mentioned above. Granite Gear has excellent customer service and squared me away when I had issues. Pack carries well up to 30lbs and is manageable up to 40lbs with a bit of minor adjustments; I am in the 25lb range and as my food disappears into my belly I stroll into town around 11lbs and I often have to look back to make sure my pack is there. I could shed almost a pound of non consumable weight if I went with the Crown, but then I can’t leave town with 3lbs of food per day for five days plus my gear, etc. and be comfortable. As for the hydration bladder issue; a very, very, very small bladder fits into the dedicated compartment, but you can just lay the bladder in the pack and stuff your gear around it. I’ll make adjustments to my gear choices to shed ounces and grams before I get rid of this backpack. Cat-can stove vs. the Jetboil, 3/4 CCF pad vs. 3/4 self inflating pad, etc.

    1) Frame sheet likes to crack at the lower portion causing the pack to flex at the base making it a bit uncomfortable, but not awfully bad! I called customer service and they had a new one waiting for me at a selected PO. Easy cheesy!
    2) One of the top cinch strap buckles broke and was easy to replace with an aftermarket buckle until a replacement arrived from Granite Gear.
    3) Stretch pockets on the side tend to get snagged and sometimes tear, but you I just patch it up.

    Great gear reviews and keep them coming. I didn’t use your review to purchase this pack, but I’ve used a good bit of info from your site for shelter purchases, stoves, etc. Great work!

    AngryGerman (AG)

  27. Ido Marom
    June 4, 2014

    what i am uncertain about this pack, is:
    is it suitable for a few days trip ?
    is is suitable for a dry desert area (youll need to carry 5 liters per day,- drink and cooking. somtimes you’ll go 1.5 day without a filling spot – i.e. 7.5 litters of water).

    • Philip Werner
      June 4, 2014

      Yes to all of the above. What you have to realize is that carrying an extra 15 pounds is going to put more load on your shoulders regardless of the pack you buy. But I have full confidence that this pack is up to it. This is a bomber backpack.

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