The Granite Gear Crown VC is a bomber pack that combines the durability and quality that Granite Gear packs are known for with many of the features and functions that characterize lightweight and ultralight backpacks. It has been a big hit long-distance hikers and recreational backpackers.
With 60 liters (3,660 cubic inches) of internal storage, the Crown VC can carry a lot of gear and food. A top loader, the Crown has a cavernous main pocket with a roll top closure and an internal hang loop for securing a hydration reservoir. It also has two tightly woven mesh pockets on the sides of the pack for storing water bottles and a large mesh front pocket for storing additional gear that you want at hand so you don’t have top open up the main compartment during the day.
While minimalist in it’s simplicity, I like this kind of storage system because it means I can keep my most vulnerable clothing and gear inside my pack on rainy days and not risk getting it wet. This kind of storage system also helps minimize the weight of the pack while maximizing usable space, since it’s easier to pack a large compartment than many smaller pockets.
If you need functional pockets, there are daisy chains on the hip belt and plastic loops on the shoulder straps to attach and hang gear or accessories from. In addition, there are two mesh pockets on the shoulder straps that can securely store a GPS, Ipod or a candy bar.
One of the most impressive and functional features of the Crown VC is its “360-degree” compression system. While compression is useful for bringing the weight of a back closer to your core muscles so it takes less effort to carry, it also provides an important way for you to attach gear to the outside of a backpack for expanded storage or quick access.
In addition, to two tiers of Linloc compression straps on the side of the pack, the Crown provides two sets of Linelocs over the front pocket (shown above) which can be used to attach a rolled up sleeping pad, a tent, or tent poles. In addition, there two compression straps that run over the top of the main compartment and provide additional carrying capacity for long items or stripped clothing layers.
The Crown also has an interesting roll top closure system that provides additional compression and is cleverly set up to pull the load in the main compartment closer to your back. In the photo above, the ends of the roll top snap into connectors anchored on the back frame of the pack. If you have a lot of stuff in the main compartment, the orientation of the roll top clips effectively pulls the load down, and closer to your back and core muscles, making it easier to carry. This set up also saves a little more pack weight by using the same cloth attachment as the top lineloc compression strap. You’d be amazed, these little design tweaks can really cut down on pack weight or improve the way a pack carries with heavier loads.
The Crown VC 60 suspension system uses combines an external back pad with air channels for ventilation (hence the AC in the product name) with an optional plastic frame sheet which can be removed to cut the packs weight when carrying a lighter weight load. With the framesheet, a regular sized torso length with a medium sized hip belt weighs 2 pounds 3 ounces. Without the framesheet, the same pack weighs an incredible one pound 13 ounces. Wow!
With the framesheet, the Crown VC is rated for a maximum load of 35 pounds and in testing, the pack remains reasonable comfortable at this weight. Without the framesheet, the comfort level and effectiveness of load-to-hip transfer drops noticeably at 25 pounds.
In addition, the Crown VC has load lifters and an adjustable stern strap. The shoulder straps are anatomically pre-curved for comfort and the hip belt and shoulder straps are lightly padded, corresponding with the maximum recommended load weight.
The Crown VC is available in fixed torso length (because adjustable torso systems add considerable weight) with four different replaceable hip belt sizes. Hallelujah! I say, because it drives me crazy when backpack manufacturers assume that short people always have small waists/hips. Granite Gear is one of the few mainstream manufacturers that provide different sized hip belts with their packs and you should support them because of it.
I’m really impressed with the design and weight of the Crown VC 60 and think it’s a great choice for anyone considering a long distance thru-hike or recreational backpacking. Functionally, there’s not much difference between this backpack and some of the higher volume backpacks you’d buy from an ultralight cottage gear manufacturer. I consider that pretty revolutionary and expect other backpack manufacturers to follow Granite Gear’s lead in providing highly durable but lightweight backpacks for the mainstream recreation market.
It’s also probably worth noting here that this pack received an enormous amount of design input and testing from a well-known, ultralight long distance backpacker named Justin “Trauma” Lichter, who is sponsored by Granite Gear. Justin completed a one year 10,000 mile triple crown hike (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail) in 2006 and continues to hike around the world.
- External mesh pockets let you stow food and gear for easy access
- Ample side compression lets you attach more gear to the outside and top of the pack
- Swappable hip belt lets you get the right size regardless or torso length
- Ripstop and Cordura fabric provides excellent balance between durability and weight
- None, honestly. I even like the colors.
Features and Specifications
- Mfg weight: 2 pounds 2 ounces/.96 kg
- 3660 cubic inches capacity / 60 liters
- Lineloc compression system with 2 tiers of straps on the sides and front of the pack
- Dual top compression straps on the top of the main compartment
- Roll top closure on main compartment
- Large extension collar for additional storage
- Internal hydration reservoir hang loop center hydration port
- Heavy duty front and side mesh pockets
- Swappable hip belt lengths
- Hip stabilizer and load lifter straps
- Anatomically curve shoulder straps with mesh pockets
- Adjustable sternum strap
- Internal HDPE framesheet and grooved foam pad to enhanced ventilation (Air Current)
- Dual ice axe loops
- Optional top pocket (sold separately)
- Fabrics: 100 denier ripstop nylon and 210 Cordura
- A women’s model is also available with hip belts sculpted to fit the angle of women’s hips
Disclosure: Granite Gear loaned SectionHiker.com a Crown VC 60 backpack for this review.SectionHiker is reader-supported. 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.
I am real happy to hear that more people ar jumping on the UL band wagon. At 13oz a 3600ci pack looks REAL attractive. With the modular frame sheet, it looks good for the light weight crowd. I just wish they included the lid. I rarely need one, but in the case of your two week trip, it would be nice to have to pack all the little stuff and drop the ditty bag. Too bad the did not also include a set of pad holders, ala Gossamer Gear. At 13oz, that seems to be reaching. Most could make do with the larger size easily enough.
I had the same reaction when I found out about this pack. They do have an optional add on top and I agree it would have been nice to include. The same goes for hip belt pockets which they sell separately. Still for $199, what they provide is pretty good for the money and the pack itself is bombproof. This thing will last forever even if you use it as a sled! Re: the back pad, they obviously caved to the ventilated back crowd with the air current channels, but this pack is far better than on some of their other recent packs because it really hugs close to the wearer’s core. All-in, this pack is definitely a winner, I think.
From what I read on the GG Website, the pack without the framesheet is 1 lb, 13 oz. hard to believe the framesheet weighs 21 oz. I wonder if I could cut additional holes in the framesheet to get the pack in the 26-29 oz. range. Trying to decide on a ULA Ohm 2.0 of the GG Crown. Tough decision. I used the Vapor Trail for 4 years, excellent.
I’m not sure about your math…the Crown fame weighs 5.9 ounces on my scale.Hard call to choose between the two. I think it really comes down to fit. Why not buy both and try them out? You’ll be able to buy the Crown at Backcountry.com or REI and ULA has a 30 day return policy.
Other mainstream backpack manufacturers may have really snazzy lightweight packs, but Granite Gear wins hands down for pushing the envelope, I say. It’s not every company that takes the best thing they make, and improves everything about it.
I can’t see from your pics, Phil, but the later models of Vapor Trail and Nimbus Ozone had little holes in the side pockets so you could thread the compression strap through and keep the pocket usable when compressing the pack. I see in your pics you’ve got the lineloc lines over your water bottles… did they keep the holes for threading? My Nimbus Ozone was a version from before they put the threading holes in the pockets, and I remember a lot of people coming up with DIY methods for making them. Then, lo and behold, Granite Gear added them as a standard feature to all their packs. You also have to love when a company really listens to what people are saying, even if it’s something as small as the way the compression straps go over the side pockets.
Indeed, The Crown has cutouts that let you thread the compression straps inside the mesh pockets. Here’s a video of Dan Cruikshank demoing the pack which I just found last night and where he calls out that specific feature. You can tell he’s jazzed about this pack. https://youtu.be/2F7qERKOPL8
Oh yeah! Very cool. I also love the idea of the mesh pockets built into the shoulder straps, and making all of the straps smaller– because is it really necessary to have 2″ webbing for a hip belt?
Only problem… he forgot his stool in the woods when he left with the pack. Oh no!
Actually, I think that’s his office chair!
I am a new backpacker, still recreational, but have lightening and condensing gear and I am ready for a lighter pack – I am aiming for a 2lb or less. I have been looking at MLD Exodus or a GG Gorilia. From what I have been reading, I wonder, as I still work on my gear, if this pack would be a safer bet, in terms of durability, size, and learning curve. With the others, I would need to really focus on how to pack perfectly right away, where this pack with frame sheet would be more forgiving and I could take the frame sheet out to learn how to pack frameless. Is that sound thinking?
This pack is much higher volume, so it would be much more forgiving in terms of correct packing. That is very true. I’ve never tried the exodus, but the Gorilla (2300 ci) requires a fairly tiny gear volume. It’s still my favorite pack and it does have a stay in it which acts a lot like a framesheet, but you really do need very small sized gear (think tarp) to get everything to fit. Like I said before, buy it, try it, and then decide. Fit is more important than pack weight – always.
Raffle it Raffle it…..
I’ve got to return it – was a loaner. You’ll just have to buy it!
Aren’t bears known to be the ones who leave their stool in the woods?
This pack looks perfect. A buddy of mine just ordered one and I’m slightly jealous. I’m thinking about trading up for my nimbus meridian for the shear awesome factor and I’d save a pound by upgrading. Anyone in the market for a nimbus meridian?
So does anyone have an opinion about the Granite Gear Blaze 60 vs the Crown VC 60? I’m serious considering ditching my 6lb (ouch!) Gregory for a sub 3 lb pack. I’m a relative newbie and still learning. Like Rhonda above, I’m gradually lightening my load. The suspension system on the Blaze 60 is appealing.
I’m probably the only person who’s used both packs. I think the answer is going to depend on how much your gear weighs. If it weighs more than 25 pounds, I’d go with the Blaze 60 because it has a more rigid frame. Of course getting a good fit trumps pack weight, so I’d buy both if I were you, pack them with your gear, hike around, and return the one you like less. The Blaze 60 has a far more adjustable frame, but it is heavier.
Thanks Phil. You always have good advice and a thoughtful, pragmatic approach.
Tell that to my wife!
I ordered both as I wanted as light as possible but the blaze had won a very good award. In the end I kept the Crown and sent the Blaze back. The blaze has got a more solid backpanel thats adjustable, other than that the build is very much alike just more trimmed down on the crown. I went for the Crown becuase in large size for me it was a good fit, I normally border on medium or large when measuring but feel going large gives the most comfort in the shoulder department as they take the weight of a little easier. The back pocket is larger on the blaze but is still a very good size on the crown. The blaze and believe it or not, this was the deal breaker, is very dark, its very hard to see anything inside, the opposite is true on the crown. The crown also has 2 small mesh shoulder strap pockets. The blaze however does have a hydration sleeve but seems very tight. The crown has opted for a peg to hang things of, the zippered compartment contains the back panel, maybe you could get one inside.
I was leaning towards the Osprey Atmos 50 that is on clearance at EMS right now. Have been looking at this since last fall, I may have been converted, waiting till this one comes in locally so I can try the fit, More space and lighter then the Atmos. Thanks for the review.
I currently have a GG ozone and one feature I use all the time is the ‘expandable collar’ which appears to also be a feature on the crown 60. I’m curious how large it is on the crown (is there a cu in measurement?) and how large it can be expanded to and still be buckled in? On the ozone you can still buckle the top straps even when it is fully expanded.
Have any pictures of it packed with it expanded?
Does anyone have the Granite Gear Blaze. How do you fit a hydration sleeve in the backpack. Seems almost impossible to use. I have the platypus.
Nice review Phil. Did I miss the torso size somewhere? Any chance you could measure the distance between the top of the belt to where the shoulder harness attaches to the main bag? I am trying to get an idea on torso length for when I order…..thanks in advance.
13.75″ on a size regular
I’m going to be hiking the JMT this summer and am looking for a light pack that can handle a bearvault cannister horizontally. Any idea if this one fits the bill?
I called EMS and REI both stated that they do not carry Granite Gear packs. I like this pack but wanted to try it on prior to purchasing it. Do you know of a NH/MA retailer that will be carrying this? or How is the return policy with Backcountry.com? I did find it on their site.
It was the REI in Reading that said they do not carry the packs in the store. They have others on the web site though??
I don’t know what to tell you. Have you considered just buying directly from Granite Gear. Here’s the BC return policy.
I bought two Blaze from REI.com I kept mine, but my brother returned his at the REI Reading store without any problems a month later… I’m sure you could do the same.
Replacing my Meridian Vapor, whose awesome full-length zip feature was it’s downfall.
Reluctantly given up on this feature, now I’m stuck between the Blaze and Crown.
Could only find the Blaze locally and was not blown away, so leaning toward the Crown.
The Blaze has 3 horizontal compression lines on each side vs 2 on the Crown.
Do you feel the Blaze compresses better? ie more uniformly or gets smaller.
I hate it when a pack turns pear shaped when you really cinch the sides down.
Does the Crown do this any more than the Blaze?
This really doesn’t matter to most hikers, but I travel on crowded buses in foreign
countries at times and a thinner/taller pack profile is helpful in not bashing into locals!
Thanks for any replies.
The blaze is taller…and meant for bigger loads than the crown. So yes, I’d go for the blaze if I were you.
I’ve been looking at both blaze and crown. The crown costs a little less but not really the issue. From everything I’ve seen and read so far the Blaze advantages include a more substantial backpanel, greater back adjustments, larger pockets, slightly larger and a little bit more rugged in general… but the Crown is sub 1 KG !!!! its surprising the granite gear rate them both with exactly the same volume and weight capabilities. Thanks to the guy that had tried both, I am now edging towards the Blaze, I may find 25lb – difficult at times.
In your review you said that that the pack was comfortable up to 35 lbs but later on (in the comments part) you said that it was comfortable up to to 25 lbs with the frame. Can you clarify please?
I am looking to buy my first backpack and this one sounds interesting. I am looking for something versatile that I can use for 2 day trips as well as extended trips. I am basically looking for one good pack that can “do it all“. Would this Crown 60 fit the bill?
What is the minimum weight that this pack can carry and still be very comfortable?
Thank you very much for your help.
I think this will be a good pack for you if you have up to 30 pounds of gear, water, food, and fuel. The maximum rating is given by the manufacturer which is usually a bit optimistic, but pretty conservative in this case. If this is your first backpack, you need to size and weight what you expect your average trip pack weight (probably 2 days) is going to be. If you can get it into/down to the 25 pound range, this would be a good pack for you. If not, you might want something a little more robust like an Osprey Exos. I’d try before you buy, whatever the case. Hope that clarifies.
Hmm, I have this and Exos 58 right now. I’ll return either of them back to shop. I wonder which I should return. My usual total weight will be around 23-30 lbs. But I might do Winter Trips with stuff up to 35 lbs, so I wonder if this is a good choice. I wouldn’t want to buy second back.
I have heard Exos has durability issues, but the frame is so much more sturdier than the Granite Gear. Are there any other backpacks with aluminium (or even titanium) frame that weigh around 1 kg?
The granite gear seems to have a bit more comforty paddings, more durability whileas Exos has a bit more features, sturdier frame and more weight. Also I’m not sure if a trampoline frame is a great choice.
If I could find a pack that weighs around 1kg, has metal frame and can handle up to 35lbs comfortably (with like 40 lbs maximum weight), I would be interested.
I have been looking at ULA Epic and some other more expensive UL backpack that I cannot seem to find anymore.
The ULA Circuit is close to that weight, although I am not sure if it will carry better than the Crown. I have been using a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter recently with great success. 30.4 oz on my scale made with a waterproof fabric (cuben / spectra hybrid) and twin stiff aluminum stays.
Thanks, this looks very interesting.
I made a metal stay out of a broken drying rack, and put it through the holes of HDPE frame sheet and this backpack became very good to handle 30+ lbs.
I do wacky stuff like that too. I often use the Gossamer Gear stay in other packs.
Hi Phil, thanks for the excellent review. Would really appreciate your advice on sizing. At 6 ft tall, 21.5 in. torso,175 lbs, 42 in. chest and 34 waist (not hips), what size Crown 60 pack and men’s hip belt would you recommend? 21 in. is supposed to be the cutoff between Regular and Long. When I asked Granite Gear, a rep emailed recommending a Long. Then a forum poster with a 21 in. torso said a Granite Gear rep recommended a Regular for him, adding that the Long would be for someone really large and barrel-chested (made little sense to me). Also read that the hip belts are oversized. I’d love to stick with the Regular for the weight saving, but not at the expense of poor fit.
There aren’t any stores near me that carry the pack, let alone both sizes, so I’d really appreciate any sizing advice you or any readers can offer so that I can avoid having to order multiple sizes.
I wish I could give you some more useful advice EJ, but if you want a tailored fit you should order both sizes and compare. Also, the hip belt is replaceable on the crown and works with the other sizes that GG provides. You can generally only order those from the manufacturer. Look at the bright side…you can probably dial in a good fit…but you’ll need to do a little leg work.
Definitely go for the large. I am a 19.5″ torso and the medium is much too short, while the large is about an inch too tall (I am between sizes).
I’d like to follow up on the question asked above…..I’ll be hiking the JMT myself this summer and was wondering if a bear cannister would fit horizontally in the crown…if anybody mught happen to know. Thanks
High praise–been using the CV on the At for a few training hikes in advance of a solo Colorado Trail hike this summer–it replaced my Vapor Trail and it is excellent, especially the mesh pocket on the back, most helpful.
I can’t remember if you have used the Vapor Trail in the past. If you have, any thoughts about how the two packs compare when it comes to carry comfort? The reason I asked is that I want to pick up an extra pack to be a loaner. I had given my VT to someone in need and thought the Crown VC would be a good replacement. I gave it quick try at REI today and didn’t find it as comfortable as I remember the VT. Of course, there are four possibilities. My memory sucks. I have gotten used to the Gorilla, the Crown carries differently which is effecting my assessment, I was using simulated weight which means the pack wasn’t as carefully packed… and since the frame sheet is only semi ridged it might not be performing optimally, or that it’s carry comfort has dropped (at least for my back shape).
Mark – I never tried one of the original vapors and they’re really hard to find now in anything except a small, so I couldn’t say. I’m embarrassed to admit that I really only discovered Granite Gear about a year ago. Making up for lost time, I hope. Have you tried the new Gorilla yet? – It’s pretty sweet with the wider hip belt and sewn on pockets.
I recently picked up 2012 Gorilla… the original Gorilla is now one of my loaner packs. So far it’s only got around 80 miles on it. In most ways, I like it more than the original Gorilla. The shoulder straps and the hip belt are good improvement and once I adjusted the stays to my shape it’s carrying very comfortably. I like the fabric pockets. The sewn on pockets on the hip belt don’t do anything for me. I prefer the items people often place in these to be mounted on my shoulder strap so when the pack is put down on the ground, or I am wading across a river, the items are further away from wet. I feel mixed about the new top. It’s nicer looking and less hassle to use in most cases… but the extra fabric makes it a slight bit harder to get my Bearicade Weekender in and out of compared to the original Gorilla. Overall I am very pleased.
I recently have been testing the Crown on three and four day hikes on segments of PCT and So.Cal. mountains with 25lbs.The pack is a dream.Hiked San Gorgonio mnt. from base to peak in a day and fell in love with this pack.
Hi Jeff. I was wondering if you ever found out whether a bear cannister would fit horizontally in this pack. Im taking this pack on the JMT this summer so I have the same question. Im thinking of using a Bearikade but not sure if the one for six days worth of food or nine days worth of food will fit.
I have a Crown, and the Bearikade will fit easily though you might feel it depending on how you pack it in as it is pretty big.
I am looking for some advice on what light weight ( around 2 pounds ) backpack to buy for 2 to 5 day hikes in the White Mountains. I ordered a Gorilla but found the main pocket to be much too small to fit my tent ( a TT Stratospire 2 ), Sleeping Bag, NeoAir Xlite, clothing and food. I am considering the GG Crown VC 60 and the new Mariposa. I am really impressed with the suspension on the Gorilla which seems much more sturdy than the Crown and I also really like the materials they use on the Gorilla. The Crown seems to have nice padding on the shoulder harness and hip belt and I love the big main pocket which is my main concern on the Mariposa which lists the main pocket as 2860 ci with the extension collar. I have also looked at the Starlite from Six Moons Designs but it requires a sleeping pad for support and I have read it does not carry as well as some of these other packs. I have also considered the Jam 70 from GoLite which are cheap but out of stock.
I’ve reviewed and owned all of these packs. The mariposa is probably your best bet. It has a long side pocket where you’d put your tent – I’ve fit a TT Scarp and Squall 2 in mine. The total Mariposa capacity is actually 4600 ci. I’ve got a new one and two old ones (you could say I’m a fan). Hope that helps.
I would greatly appreciate your help in terms of sizing the Granite Gear Crown VC 60 for me. I am planning on getting the women’s version. I am a little confused about the measurements. When measuring the length of torso do I press the measuring tape right up against the spine, following the curvature, or run the tape from the neck to the hips in a straight line? The first method will make the measurement a little longer. I did use the second method and my torso was 17and ¼”
Regarding waist I know that I am to measure at hip crest. Easier said than done. Is it somewhere around the belly button? If yes, then I am 36” but the measurement was taken right on the skin. I guess I need extra space for clothing. Maybe a jacket, fleece etc. as well. How much extra do I allow for clothing?
Based on the above should I go for short torso and large belt? I am surprised that I am short torso as I am 5’6” which is not short for a woman and I think that I am proportionate.
Do you have the optional belt pockets? I am not sure if I should get them or not.
What do you think about the optional lid?
Thank you in advance.
Alina – can I recommend that you call Granite Gear customer support? They really have a great team there and can answer all of your fitting questions.
I did not have the optional pockets, although I wish I did. I can get buy without the lid given the abundance of other pockets on the pack – it really depends on personal preference.
Thank you for your response. I have contacted Granite Gear on 2 occasions but I find them not very helpful. The person was uninterested and not knowledgeable. That is why I am asking around. Maybe it depends who you are talking to there. Some might be better than others.
Sorry you had a bad experience with them – I’ll let them know about it if you don’t mind so they can improve their service. The reason I sent you their way is that you can get a variety of different sized hipbelts for the crown but only if you purchase them direct from Granite Gear. If you buy the pack from a retailer it will only come with one hip belt size, which often fits, but might not be the best for you depending on your measurements. Many retailers refuse to swap hip belts between different packs even if they have them in stock. It might not matter in your case, just sayin.
Ok – go ahead and press the tape against your back when you take the measurement. This pack will conform to your back as you put more weight in it. Backpacks tend to shorten a small amount when you put more weight in them – something called torso collapse – making this a more accurate measurement than a vertical drop of the tape.
Women often have very short torso’s, so it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if you end up in small size. Ignore what you “think you need” in terms of sizing and go with the measurements. You’ll save yourself a lot of grief.
Hip crest – Jab you fingers into the side of your body slightly below the level of your belly button. You should feel a bony ridge underneath your body fat/skin. That’s the top of your hip crest. Measure the circumference of your hips slightly below it where they are the widest. I would not add more length based on clothing. Just use the body measurement.
Match these measurements to the pack sizes. If you are on the boundary between a size, try the smaller size first. Buy the pack at a retailer that permits unlimited returns like EMS or backcountry.com. EMS is better because you can return it to a store if you live near one and not pay return postage. Wear the pack 3/4’s to fully loaded for several long day hikes before you decide that it fits. Pay attention to whether you have shoulder fatigue (load not on hips but shoulders) or the hip belt regularly slips below your hip crest – hip belt too big.
Not all packs fit all people. It’s like buying a business suit. Some styles work well for some body shapes and not others. That said, this is a GREAT backpack and my opinion, one of the top 2 or 3 in this capacity available today.
If you still have questions, I’d be happy to call you an talk 1-1. It will have to be early next week though. -Philip
Thank you very much for such a comprehensive response. It is greatly appreciated! And thank you so much for offering to call me. I just might take you up on that!
Interestingly enough I had my back measured again, this time pressing against the skin but apparently there is no difference.
The reason I agonize with the size of the backpack so much is that I am in Canada and there are no places for me to try the pack. I will have to order it from the US. I do not want to be sending the pack back and forth because it would be expensive (the S&H is quite high)and time consuming.
Granite Gear customer service is one of the worst I have ever experienced. I have to resend my emails multiple times. For example I have sent them a question about belt 3 times already and no response. Am I in a twilight zone? (LOL). And it is not like I sent to them a lot of emails (3 questions altogether but I just resend them a lot to get a response). They were not replying from the beginning. I have already mentioned that when I speak with them on the phone they do not seem to be sure of their responses. I am almost tempted to look for another backpack but I do not want to do the search again.
I’m sorry to learn that Granite Gear’s Customer Service department did not meet your expectations. Our goal is to reply to emails within 2 business days, and in looking at the email string you had with our staff, a reply was sent to your first message within this time. It did take us much too long to respond to your follow up question, and i apologize for this.
I will review with our staff how important it is to provide timely replies to our customers and we will find ways to get more people involved with this effort if it looks like we could fall behind.
North American Sales Manager
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
I am 5’6″. with a 17″ back.. got the women’s small, but I like to wear my pack high on my hips. I also got the small hip belt- (33″). I found GG customer service pretty good, they messed up my order twice, but ultimately got it right. This is a great pack for the weight.
I bought one of these packs from EMS and tried it out around my neighborhood with about 22lbs in it. I liked the pack and it carried well, but I decided to return it in favor of the Gossamer Gear Mariposa for several reasons. First I thought the removable aluminum stay in the Mariposa made the pack more rigid than the plastic panel in the Crown. I also liked the extra pockets on the Mariposa. The big mesh pocket on the back of the Mariposa is way more useful in my opinion than the one on the Crown because the one on the Crown is pinched by the way the pack is constructed. Finally I was really concerned about the side pockets on the Crown ripping as they are mesh whereas the external side pockets on the Mariposa are not. I have read a couple of posts on Backpackinglight.com about materials ripping on the Crown. I ordered a mens small which they told me is the same as the womens medium for my son but he wanted a pack with more pockets. The Vapor Trail is actually stiffer and better padded than the newer Crown and for $99 it is hard to wrong.
Charlie and Todd,
Thank you very much for your input.
All the best.
Yay! Great review.
I gritte my teeth and bought the crown Vc this summer. Loaded it to 38 lbs and had a great trip. I got the large, hoping it would fit my 23″ torso. The length fit better than the shoulder straps, which were almost too short. Great pack, but if possible check the fit before committing to that much money.
Hey, Phil, was up in NH today trying out the Crown VC (been wanting to try one out since I read your review). I’ve been a bit shy about buying a frameless pack (I currently use an Osprey) without trying it out and seeing the pack in person was great.
I’ve read a lot of good about this pack but I had a problem that I thought you might be able to shed some light on. When the staffer loaded the pack with 16lbs of soft weight the middle of the pack bowed out dramatically and we were unable to solve this problem. I had to say no to the purchase today but thought I would do some research to find out why. Any insight? I’ve also emailed GG to see if they have any advice.
It shouldn’t do that. I suggest you try it with a second pack and make sure you have the right torso size.
I’m not sure I’d agree that this is the successor to the Vapor Trail – someone else said it: the Vapor Trail had a stiffer, more padded back panel. I haven’t seen one in person, but the description and photos of the Blaze indicate that the Blaze, not the Crown, is the next-generation Vapor Trail.
The Crown is more of a Virga 2 Plus, in my mind: better hipbelt, some suspension (though the framesheet is pretty flimsy.) The extra 5 pound rated capacity and extra 5 liters of space is just enough that I can extend a summer weekend load (15 pounds, including food and fuel) to a weeklong, cool weather load (say, a week on Isle Royale.)
Speaking of the framesheet, someone mentioned the AirBeam inflatable suspension. I got one of those (“Oooohhh…shiny”), and it works as advertised: stiffer, more comfortable. However, it has a really hokey valve (the first one I had pulled apart; Granite Gear promptly replaced it – great customer service), and it can only be inflated with a separate (easily misplaced) bulb pump. That makes it inconvenient, going on hard, to fine-tune the pressure or replace lost air on the trail. Also, you have to fold the valve over to make it fit the pocket (a bush-league design mistake, since there’s a port in the middle of the pad pocket where a center-located valve could stick out, which would also simplify adding air.) So I did some thinking…
Let’s see, this is an inflatable pad (GG says it can be used as a pad extender. Meh – no r-value to speak of, and really thin so it doesn’t match up to most pads like a NeoAir.) Hey, a NeoAir! I folded mine (deflated) to approximately the same size and shape as the Airbeam, shoved it into the pad pocket, loaded in the rest of my gear, and inflated the NeoAir (4 or 5 breaths.) It worked just as well as the official Airbeam – and is right in keeping with the ultralight principle of multiple-use gear.
For heavier loads, I’d simply add back the original framesheet (or, even better, a chair kit which has stays and weighs the same as the framesheet – and I even end up with a comfortable chair in camp.)
I’ve posted elsewhere that I really like the Virga (and I do), but I like my Crown equally well, and the better hipbelt (with its stabilizer tabs) might be enough of an improvement that I’ll gravitate toward it as my go-to pack.
Glenn, just curious, which NeoAIr and which chair kit do you use? I’m thinking of getting a Crown and the idea of having multiple-use gear to save weight and space really appeals to me. Thanks!
I was reading this review and I noticed that you have no dislikes. It is really that good?!? … I was wondering if this is the pack for me? I’m looking for a pack for a trip in Sierras – Mt Whitney, for a 3-4 nights that will accommodate a bear canister. Is this pack bear canister compatible? If you think this is not the pack for me can you recommend other manufactures? Thank you!
Thanks for the review – I bought the bag and have been impressed with it. I do have a dislike though – the mesh side pockets are almost useless if there isn’t much in the bag, as they rely on compression to stop whatever is in them from falling out.
It’s not a bag I’d use for non-trekking trips either, as it’d be easy for pick-pockets to grab something out of the mesh pockets, so I’m still looking for another backpack. Something like this, with 3 decently-sized zippable outer pockets, and maybe a split in the main compartment, would be ideal.
Philip, how would you rate the Crown VC 60 vs the newer Lutsen series? In the past I’ve always liked the fit and finish of GG packs. I’ve grown tired of trying and returning cottage packs (HMG, Zpacks, Katabatic) as comfort trumps the few ozs saved.
The Crown is more comfortable but has a lighter weight frame and can’t carry as much weight. If you want a crown, I’d wait until Feb 2017 when the crown 2 comes out. It’s a bit nicer, with a better frame, adjustable hip belt, optional top lid. On the other hand, I imagine the Crown 1 will be on sale.
Any recommendations about the max load? I see that the Blaze AC 60 has a max load recommendation of 35 pounds. I’m looking for a pack to take on a winter multi-day hike, and this is my top contender for the volume-weight sweet spot.
30 pounds. This doesn’t have much of a frame.
How would this compare to the Klymit Motion 60? I have one and have been really pleased with it, but I’ll be buying a pack for a family member for a multi-day hike and they are about the same price.
It’s a roll top. Very different to use. I like it much better myself