The Granite Gear Blaze 60 is a multi-day backpack with an adjustable length torso and hip belt, so you can get a personalized fit. Weighing 3 lbs, the Blaze 60 is optimized for hauling heavy and bulky gear, including the ability to carry a bear canister on top of the pack so it doesn’t consume valuable internal storage. It has a new polycarbonite frame sheet that’s rated for a maximum load of 50 pounds, top and front panel access, and an optional top lid pocket.
I’ve been using the Blaze 60 since last July and it is a true four-season pack that can be used year-round. I’m still in awe at how well the Blaze handles heavy loads and how easy it is to strap all kinds of gear to the outside of the pack. If you need to carry lots of technical gear, water, or food for family overnights or expedition-style trips, but want to swap out a 4 to 6 pound monster backpack for something lighter, you’ll be impressed with the Granite Gear Blaze 60.
Specs at a Glance
- Weight: 3 lbs; (optional top lid weighs 2.8 oz)
- Gender: Men’s; a Women’s Blaze 60 is also available
- Frame: Internal
- Access: Top, Front
- Adjustable Length Torso: Yes
- Adjustable Length Hip belt: Yes
- Pockets: 3 plus main compartment, 2 additional hip belt pockets
- Bear canister compatible: Yes
- Max recommended load: 50 lbs.
- Main body: 100d Robic high-tenacity nylon with DWR
- Reinforcements: 210d Robic UHMWPE triple ripstop nylon
- Polycarbonate framesheet
- Torso size ranges:
- Women’s short: 15-18″
- Women’s regular: 18-21″
- Men’s short: 15-18″
- Men’s regular: 18-21″
- Men’s long: 21-24″
Backpack Storage and Organization
The Blaze 60 is organized like a typical Granite Gear backpack with a large main compartment, side water bottle pockets, and a long stretch front pocket. The main compartment can be accessed from the top through a drawstring closure or from the front through a full-length zipper. The Blaze comes with a floating top lid, which is optional, but handy for carrying gloves, navigation equipment, or travel documents. There are also two large, zippered hip belt pockets.
The top lid has one big zippered top pocket. It’s a floating lid, so it can be raised up and down to accommodate tall loads or used to hold bulky gear on top of the main compartment, like rope coils, a tent body, a bear canister, or a foam sleeping pad. It’s connected to the pack by four removable webbing straps, so you can minimize strap clutter if you remove the lid.
The top lid is optional. The pack’s main compartment was a long extension collar which closes with a drawstring. Two long webbing straps, one front-to-back and one side-to-side, pull fabric panels over the extension collar and prevent rain from entering the main compartment. These webbing straps are cut long to secure a bear canister on top of the pack.
The Blaze 60 also has two large side water-bottle pockets that can easily hold two 1L Nalgene bottles. They’re both reachable while wearing the pack so you can pull the bottles out and put them back in. There’s a cord lock to tension the top of the pockets and keep tall skinny bottles or other items from popping out. The pockets are hard sided for durability and the bottom compression strap can run over or through them.
A front stretch pocket extends the length of the pack and is ideal for stashing tent poles, rain gear, and layers. It’s made with a durable softshell fabric that won’t snag on passing vegetation but won’t dry gear as quickly as a more open mesh pocket. The stretch pocket has a full-length zipper along the right-hand side so you can access gear inside the pack without having to go through the top. This is really handy if you are carrying a bear canister on top, which would be a pain to remove. On the flip side, a zipper like this is hard to use if you’re in the habit of lining your pack with a white trash compactor bag in wet climates.
The Blaze also has two large, zippered hip belt pockets that will fit large smartphones, gloves, snacks, etc. They’re hard-faced for improved water-resistance and durability off-trail.
The Blaze is optimized for carrying full-size bear canisters, so I thought I’d show you the main variations. The examples below use a full-size Garcia Bear Canister (12 x 8.8″), the kind required in portions of New York’s Adirondack Park. It has very similar dimensions to a Bearvault BV500 (12.7 x 8.7″).
Inside the extension collar
You can fit a bear canister in the pack’s extension collar on top of your other gear. The width of the extension collar is wider than the canister is long. Once inside, tighten the drawstring, wrap the front-to-back and side to side straps over bear canister, cover it with the top lid and you’re good to go. The top lid covers all four sides of the canister and prevents it from shifting as you walk.
Without the top lid
If you don’t want to use the top lid, you can still secure the bear canister to the pack without it. Close the extension collar drawstring and place the bear canister on top of it. Wrap the long webbing straps over the canister and pull them tight. They’ll do a pretty good job of keeping the canister lashed down, although you may experience some movement if you have to scramble.
Those webbing straps are attached to the pack with fabric panels, which can be used to strap objects like a bear canister to the top of the main compartment.
If needed, you can reinforce the two webbing straps by crisscrossing the pack’s top compression straps over the bear canister. Connect the top compression straps to the straps that secure the lid above the shoulder straps. The four straps together provide a much more secure anchor.
When carrying a canister, you’ll want to avoid making the top of the pack too heavy by keeping heavier items lower down in your pack to compensate for the canister weight. The variation you choose will depend on the size and weight of the canister contents and the weather. For example, you probably don’t want to put a wet or dusty canister inside your pack, lest it compromise your other gear.
Backpack Compression and External Attachment System
One of the hallmarks of a Granite Gear backpack is its compression and gear attachment system, which makes it easy to carry large or awkwardly shaped gear on the outside of the pack. It is amazing how much gear you can hang off most Granite Gear packs and the Blaze 60 is no exception.
The Blaze 60 has three tiers of compression straps on both sides of the pack. These can be used to reduce pack volume when you are carrying smaller or lighter loads. All three of the side webbing straps open and close with side release buckles, which you squeeze together to open. This also makes them easier to use in winter, while wearing gloves.
There are three additional straps situated over the front stretch pocket, which are ideal for strapping bulky items like snowshoes or a foam sleeping pad to the pack, without compromising access to the side bottle pockets. The straps are just long enough to secure a foam accordion pad (Therm-a-Rest Zlite or a NEMO Switchback) to the backpack, although it’d be easier if the webbing were a few inches longer.
The Blaze also has two ice ax loops at the base of the back. These can also be used to carry trekking poles, but shaft holders are not included, so you’ll need to secure them with the pack’s compression straps.
In addition, there are gear loops distributed around the pack that you can attach cord or carabiners to create your own attachment systems. There are 4 on the top lid which are good for attaching a solar panel or securing a climbing helmet, as well as others anchoring the compression strap buckles.
Backpack Frame and Suspension
Granite Gear developed a new lightweight polycarbonate framesheet for the Blaze 60, giving it a max recommended load of 50 pounds. The new framesheet is really stiff along its vertical axis, because it’s tightly sewn into a narrow fabric cavity behind the shoulder straps. It has some torsional flex on the diagonal to match your body movements, but it’s not going to collapse under a heavy load the way a lightweight framesheet can.
But the max load you can carry with the Blaze 60 will still depend on the way the pack fits you. Lucky for you, the Blaze 60 has an adjustable length torso and an adjustable length hip belt, so you can dial in a near custom fit.
The Blaze 60’s shoulder straps are anchored in slots in the framesheet, marked 18″, 19″, 20″, etc., corresponding to your torso length. They’re easy to unclip and move from one setting to another. REI has a good video on measuring your torso length if you’ve never done it before or don’t know your torso length. It’s important to measure it, because the pack won’t rest on your hips properly if the torso length is too short, and you’ll end up carrying the weight on your shoulders, which aren’t as strong as your big leg muscles.
The back of the Blaze 60 is covered with mesh-covered foam that has had air channels cut into it. These vent into the shallow cavity that holds the framesheet, but provides minimal ventilation benefit. The important thing is that the foam is soft and comfortable, particularly over the lumbar area. There’s a slight lumbar bulge on the back of the pack to help prevent the hip belt from slipping down your backside. I’m very sensitive to pressure in that spot, but it’s not something to worry about on the Blaze.
The Blaze hip belt length is also adjustable. Remove it from behind the lumbar pad by pulling it out. It’s held in place with velcro, so you may need to release it by sliding your hand in between the lumbar pad and the belt. Adjust the belt to match your waist size, measured at the around the top of your hip bones, called the iliac crest. You want the front of the hip belt padding to just cover the front of your hip bones, as explained in How Should a Backpack Hip Belt Fit.
The Blaze’s shoulder straps and hip belt are anatomically correct for men and women, depending on which pack you purchase. For women, this means that the shoulder straps have an S-shape to wrap around your breasts, something that men with muscular or well-developed chests may also find more comfortable. The women’s hip belt is flared up at the ends to fit around a curvier female figure and provide better load-to-hip transfer.
The shoulder pads and hip belt are well-padded with foam and covered with a non-slip softshell fabric that feels good against the skin. The foam provides an excellent hip and shoulder wrap, that won’t buckle under very heavy loads. The shoulder pads also have daisy chains sewn to them, so you can easily hang accessory pockets from them. This is a must-have, providing easy access to satellite trackers and messengers, GPS units, a camera, a map case, or water bottle holders.
|Make / Model||Weight||Adj. Torso||Adj. Hip Belt|
|Granite Gear Blaze 60||3 lbs||Y||Y|
|Osprey Atmos 65||4 lbs 9 oz||Y||Y|
|Gregory Baltoro 65||4 bs 13.4 oz||-||-|
|Osprey Aether AG 60||5 lbs 3.2 oz||Y||-|
|Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10||3 lbs 14 oz||Y||-|
|Gregory Paragon 58||3 lbs 8 oz||Y||Y|
|Gregory Zulu 65||3 lbs 11 oz||Y||-|
|Deuter Futura 50+10||4 lbs 9 oz||Y||-|
The Granite Gear Blaze 60 is a multi-day, expedition-capable backpack capable of carrying lots of gear and heavy loads. It replaces the Blaze A.C. 60 in Granite Gear’s backpack product line, with an improved framesheet, an adjustable-length hip belt, hip belt pockets, more durable fabric, a top lid, and better bear canister carrying capabilities. Weighing 48 oz (3 lbs), the new Blaze 60 is probably too heavy for most hardcore ultralight backpackers to ever consider using. But if you have to carry a lot of heavy gear, supplies, or a bear canister, I’d definitely recommend giving the Blaze 60 a try.
For example, I’ve carried up to 50 pounds of gear, food, fuel and water with the Blaze 60 and the pack’s new framesheet has handled it like a champ, with no hip belt slippage, torso collapse, or shoulder strap pressure. The Blaze doesn’t make the weight any lighter, but the framesheet helps you maintain an upright and energy-efficient posture, so it’s less of a struggle to carry the weight. That will reduce your fatigue, making it easier to hike, so you can enjoy your surroundings. I think you’ll be impressed with the new Granite Gear Blaze 60 Backpack. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: The author received a backpack for this review.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.
Great detail Phillip! Sounds like a great pack.
Is that an igloo?
My first attempt with the Grand Shelters Ice Box igloo building form.
Q. What do you use to hold your ig together?
Grand shelters ice box. It’s a form. You fill it with snow. Compress it and then repeat. No glue required. I had 2 friends help.
I ordered one of these in the short size for my 12 year old Boy Scout son to try. It’s a tad heavy, but nothing else so far has worked, not even ULA’s Short Circuit, because it’s so hard to get pack hip/waist belts to fit a skinny boy’s waist. (We’ve tried “kid” packs, but they are usually crazy heavy for their volume and/or the belts frequently don’t fit well, either.) We are also waiting for a Granite Gear Crown2 60 short to arrive (the new black/red rock color) so that we can compare them. I wish Granite Gear made the Crown2 38 in a short, and I wish they made all of the Crown2s with side water bottle pockets either like the Crown2 60 black/red rock or the new Blaze 60, or at least like the Massdrop Crown2 60.
Hopefully we’ll see those changes. I’d also like to see pockets like the Blaze’s on the Crown2’s as well as a Crown 38 with women’s shoulder straps and hip belt. The Blaze sternum strap buckle is also way better than the one on the Crown 2 38.
From photos, I see what you mean about the sternum straps. At least in my estimation, I like the Blaze sternum strap better because it looks like it’s located in a place that is easier for my far-sighted eyes (even with corrective lenses) can see well enough to buckle on fewer than three or four attempts!
It’s time Granite Gear did something about the quality and durability of their side pockets. I really believe if the GG Crown2 38 had this type of pocket it would be my go to pack, sans the frame sheet, over the OHM 2.0. Which I love, but it’s just a little too big for my needs most of the time. Thanks for the review Philip
I’ve got the Blaze AC 60 as my “guide” pack. When I’m going out with Scouts and need to carry some big tonnage, this is the guy. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa is still my favorite “big” pack, but the huge difference in max load between the two makes this one the heavyweight champion.
What size did you test, the regular or tall?
Hello I would be interested to know your thoughts regarding carrying comfort on this pack compared to the Osprey Atmos 65. I was impressed by your opinion that the Atmos is maybe the most comfortable backpack you have worn. I’m considering switching to either the Blaze or Atmos from my HMG Junction 3400 because at around 25 lbs it seems to aggravate my chronic low back issues. Specifically the hip belt keeps slipping down and the lumbar portion seems to put pressure on a sensitive area of my spine. I’m more a 3 season multi day backpacker and while my base weight usually hovers around 16, I willing to carry a heavier pack if it will be significantly comfortable hiking 8+ hrs away. I think you probably have the best website for gear (and WM hiking) and recommend it often to others. Thanks in advance.
The Blaze is not going to be as comfortable as an Atmos or some of Gregory’s newer packs like the new ’22 Baltoro (which I plan to review soon) or the Gregory Katmai 65 (see https://sectionhiker.com/gregory-katmai-65-review/). The Blaze isn’t bad, but Granite Gear hip belts are nowhere near as padded as these beefier packs. There’s a lot to be said for wearing a cushy hipbelt that doesn’t slip, which is what you experience on these heavier packs. Don’t think about it in terms of weight, but in terms of efficiency and comfort. It really can be a very worthy tradeoff.
Hi whats the recommended max load for this bag. the Exos you reviewed was between 30-35Lbs
I’ve been looking at the Gregory Baltoro 75 for a number of weeks now. This review tipped the scale and I purchased the Blaze 60, based on the bear vault versatility. How would you compare the two?
The blaze is definite better for bear canister use and other external attachments.
I wonder, how well does the shovel in the first photo (if it indeed is one) fit in the front stretch pocket? As well as its sharp sides tearing the sides of the pocket, is it reinforced or not?
I am still looking for a good 45-60l pack for multiday winter mountain trips with good full avalanche gear storage (as avy gear just strapped haphazardly to the outside of the pack does not quite count as avy gear storage to me, since it’s very possibly gonna tear right out in any serious tumble).
Something like a cross between (now discontinued) Deuter Rise Tour 45 and Osprey Talon / Mutant… With side wand pockets for snow anchors and pickets, nice tools attachments and good snow shedding back.
I don’t think the shovel fit there. The sides of the shovel are curved so if it dit it wouldn’t tear, since that mesh is also super tough.
I think what you want is a pack designed for skiing rather than backpacking. Try the Osprey Kamber 42.
Thank you for the excellent review. I could not find a Blaze locally to try. Your detailed review and excellent photographs helped me determine that this pack had everything I was looking for and none of the heavy extras that I was trying to avoid. This pack was just what I was looking for.
I would like to see this same exact pack in a 50-55 liter. Any chance that may happen? I have the Blaze A.C. 60, it’s my favorite pack. I also purchased the Crown2 38, but it just doesn’t fit and carry like the Blaze. I would also like to see Granite Gear introduce a trampoline back panel, similar to what Osprey and Z Packs offer. Any thoughts about this? Thanks!
It’s a roll top. Just roll it down if you want less space. I’m not aware of anything trampoline-like in their pipeline.
Wondering if you have any thoughts on comparing the Blaze 60 to a Seek Outside Gila or Divide. Looking to stay as light as I can but need to be able to carry my gear + 2 gallons water which can get up to around 50 lbs. Obviously the Seek Outside has a higher carrying capacity but apart from that wondering what your thoughts are.
The blaze can carry that kind of load, but if you have to do it frequently I’d probably opt for the much larger seek outside hip belt.
The bigger question is how much scrambling you need to do. If it’s a lot, I’d go with the internal frame pack.
I have both packs Drew (although an older model of the Blaze). I think the shoulder straps of the Blaze are more comfortable, but the Divide is larger and sits more comfortably on my hips. The weight transfer of the Divide to the hips is unparalleled! I take the divide on most trips, especially if I have a bulkier or heavier trip (more days, dog coming with me, etc).
The new model Blaze is vastly different than the old model. They have different product names which should make that clear.
I have a similar question but wondering more about loads up to 60lbs.. Did you ever fill it to such a capacity – I’m thinking about packrafting, ski touring etc.. Love the review. Cheers
It’s loaded to capacity in that review (winter backpacking). I think the real issue is whether you can carry that much weight, not if the frame can handle it. If there’s a limiting factor, it’s volume.
Ok, cool. Thanks. A big part of why I’m looking at it is because it strikes a good balance with it’s room for external attachment (though sleeping pad loops and daisy chains would have been nice), light weight and capabilities with heavy loads. To be honest, I’m having a stab at the weight for packrafting, ski touring, rock climbing (all endeavours I’m hoping to soon pursue) so may be overestimating. I was very keen on the Exped Explore 60, which has excellent options for external attachments with plenty of daisy chains and compression straps (as well as sleeping pad loops), but I saw a review saying that it struggled up around 50lbs (despite specs saying comfortable to 55lbs) and was much better below 40lbs.
Look at Seek Outside. Very good packs for pack rafting. No effective load limit.
Yeah, the Divide is my dream pack, I think. Unfortunately, to get it to Australia with accessories like hip belt pockets and lumbar pad, would cost around $750-800AUD. In the current climate, where work is not easy to find, it’s a bit too much of a stretch unfortunately. It sounds like the Blaze is a very good second choice though. Cheers
One thing I noticed with my new Blaze, which came in last night, is that the hydration sleeve is extremely tight. I could not fit my 3-liter platypus big zip evo in the sleeve. Seems like most reviewers don’t use bladders so it is overlooked in all reviews.
Much thx for the review. I use a 3L Big Zip too. I was just about to pull the trigger on this pack until I read your review. Much thx, saved me some headaches.
Hi Phillip I’m in the market for a new backpack and I’m deciding between the Blaze 60 and Seek Outside Unaweep. My use case is going to be everything from through hiking to packrafting and big basecamp style camping trips so I’ll need something I can scramble with. What would you recommend?
Thanks for your time.
The unaweep will be the most versatile. It’d be difficult to carry a case of beer in a blaze but not the unaweep. I suggest you look at seek outsides other breakaway packs as well.
Thanks for a detailed and therefore useful review. This persuades me to choose the Blaze over the Crown 2. I’m 6’2″ and looks like the large will fit, plus as you mention the adjustments. All the photos of bear canister attachment are really useful too as we do use them in our area.
Great review! I’m in the market for a lightweight pack that can handle occasional heavy loads, and I was looking at the Blaze 60 or a Seek Outside pack. I see that you’ve already given your thoughts on the Blaze vs. Divide/Gila-style, but what about the Flight One? The Flight and Blaze seem to check a lot of the same boxes, and your detailed reviews were very positive on both.
Depends on what you want. The blaze has a top lid, adjustable torso, and an adjustable hip belt. Its more functional that way. If you want something for winter use, id definitely go with the blaze. With the flight, theres no guarantee that you will be able to load it heavy with the way the sizing works. But thats not the case with the blaze. It can haul a lot!
Thanks Philip. I see what you mean about the Flight, where the torso length drives load capacity.
After doing some more research (and reading another one of your reviews!), I’ve added the Elemental Horizons Kalais to my short list. The load ratings are very close, they look like they have similar features, and the pack weights are within a few oz. Any thoughts on the Blaze vs the Kalais?
I have a similar question: for a rough and all around use (hiking, bushwacking, long term travel, hitchhiking), a maximum load of 35 lbs, mainly in a warm climate which pack do you recommend between Granite Gear Blaze 60, Hmg 3400 and Seek Outside Flight? Thanks
It’s hard to say with the Flight because they just switched to using Ultra, which hasn’t actually been tested in the field yet so no one know if it will be any good 2 years out. If fact, they don’t even have the flight on the website anymore, so who knows. Maybe they’re just retaking the photos. Anyway, I’d go with the HMG3400 Southwest in Black. It doesn’t have a lot of external straps and it will carry 35 lbs regardless of your height (the flight has different max weights based on user height that I find kind of hard to comprehend. The Flight might be a better option if you need to carry a bear canister, but again, if they don’t offer the flight in Ulta or you don’t trust its non-track record, I’d go with the HMG. The Blaze is a lovely pack, but the large number of external straps make it really problematic for international travel and hitching.
Thank you Philip. I’m preparing for a 2 year travel that will begin at the start of 2023 and I’m searching for the “perfect” backpack for me that will last (i hope) for this period. I aim to mantain the total weight under 30lbs and the base weight under 25. I’ve seen that Ula Camino 2 would be a good option for me (possibility of resizing it to carry on measures, front panel access, strong materials, ecc) but in Europe it’s impossible to find it. The next step is finding the right (light and versatile) tent.
I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2021 with the GG Blaze. It’s a great pack, very durable and able to carry big loads including a BV500 cannister in the Sierra. I switched to the Blaze from the Crown II which I had used on the AT because it could comfortably carry loads over 25 pounds. It was well represented on the PCT including people who had dumped their HMG and Mariposa packs after they failed due to rough handling. The Blaze has a thicker, more durable fabric than most ultralight packs. I left out the brain to save ounces. There were a few negatives however. I found the cinch top fiddly compared to my Granite Gear Crown II which has a true rolltop. And there’s a million straps and all too long which while adding versatility I think added too many ounces. If they turned the cinch top into a rolltop and shortened the straps, the weight would go down by several ounces.