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Granite Gear Crown2 60 Women’s Backpack Review

Granite Gear Crown2 60 Women’s Backpack Review

The Granite Gear Crown2 60 Backpack is one of the lightest weight multi-day backpacks available that is specifically designed for women with gender-specific shoulder straps and a hip belt. It’s one of the main reasons I bought this backpack, in addition to its light weight. I’ve never been impressed with the way that so-called unisex backpacks fit me. The shoulder straps are often spaced too far apart and the hip belts don’t fit curvy women like me. Those are NOT issues with the Women’s Crown2 60, which was obviously designed with female anatomy and preferences in mind.

Editor’s Note: Granite Gear came out with a new version of this backpack in 2019 that has larger water bottle pockets that are easier to use while wearing the backpack. If you don’t need this upgrade because you prefer to carry a hydration system instead of bottles, you can save a lot of money by buying the 2017 model in outlets. The two versions are identical except for that one design modification. For a full review of the new 2019 model, which is also available in a women’s model, see Granite Gear Crown2 60 2019 Review

Specs at a Glance

  • Volume: 60L
  • Gender: Women’s (a men’s model also available)
  • Total Weight: 2 lbs 4 oz actual, tested.
  • Total Weight Minus Top Lid: 2 lbs 1.4 oz
  • Component weights:
    • Top lid w/straps (optional): 2.6 oz
    • Hip belt: 6.6 oz
    • Framesheet: 6.3 oz
  • Type: Internal Frame, Roll Top
  • Hip Belt: Adjustable Length
  • Top Lid Pocket: Optional, Floating
  • Pockets: 7, including main
  • Sizing
    • Women’s Short: Torso 15-18″ | Hip belt 24-40″ | Weight: 2.26 pounds
    • Women’s Regular: Torso 18-21″ | | Hip belt 24-40″ |Weight 2.36 pounds
  • Material: 100D High-tenacity nylon, 210 High-tenacity nylon ripstop

Backpack Storage and Organization

The pack can be used with and without the top lid pocket (brain)
The pack can be used with and without the top lid pocket (brain).

The Crown2 60 is a roll-top backpack with an optional top lid pocket.  My personal preference is to always use it.  I like to use it for things I want easy access to without opening up the whole pack and rummaging around, like sunglasses, sunscreen, food, my wallet & keys. One drawback for me was that there was no key clip inside the pack or the top pocket.  I’ve lost a car key before while hiking, so this is a necessity for me.  I simply sewed a carabiner into the inside of the top pocket….problem solved.

The pack has one large, top loading compartment with a roll top. There is an internal hydration pocket if you use a hydration reservoir and hose drinking system, with a centrally located hydration port behind the neck. The nice thing about the roll top is that it provides top-down compression, something you don’t normally get on a pack that has a drawstring closure located under a top lid. This is particularly handy when you begin to “eat” down a bulky food load on a multi-day trip.

The front mesh and side pockets provide ample external gear storage
The front mesh and side pockets provide ample external gear storage

The side water bottle pockets are made with a stretch mesh fabric. They will hold a water bottle, but I find it difficult to access the bottle with the pack on.  This doesn’t bother me since I use a hydration system in the summer and an insulated bottle holder in the winter, that I attach to the outside of the pack. There’s pair of compression straps that runs over each side pocket, which can be useful for securing items stored in them or lashing it to the side of the pack.

The front mesh pocket is large enough to hold any number of things from a sit pad to a raincoat or water filter.  Wet stuff doesn’t dry there especially well, but it’s a good place to keep damp items separate from the drier ones inside your backpack. There’s a third set of compression straps running across this pocket as well, which are good for carrying a foam sleeping pad or snowshoes in winter.

The Crown2 60 has 2 hip belt pockets that can hold a bandana, snack, smartphone or other assorted small items.

When it's raining heavily, I use an orange backpack cover to keep the exterior of the pack drier.
When it’s raining heavily, I use an orange backpack cover to keep the exterior of the pack drier, while I line the interior with a large Ziploc bag.

Granite Gear treats this pack for water repellant DWR coating  This does not mean it is a waterproof pack, so I line it with an XXL Ziploc bag.  I also occasionally use an orange silnylon pack cover to keep the exterior of the pack dryer (and during hunting season). This system worked well for me on a recent five-day trip to Iceland, where it rained almost every day.

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The Crown 2 has a two-component frame. There’s a flexible polyethylene framesheet and a ventilated foam panel that give the pack stiffness and help transfer load to your hips. You can take the frame out if you want to save about 6 ounces of gear weight, but I keep it in for the added load carrying comfort it provides.

Granite Gear Crown 2 Backpack Framesheet
Granite Gear Crown 2 Backpack Framesheet

The Crown2 is rated for a 35-pound capacity and I find that to be pretty accurate.  Once my pack gets up around that weight, it tends to feel quite heavy and pull back on my shoulders unless I cinch the shoulder straps down good and tight.  Any pack weight over that amount is too much for me anyway, so this capacity limit works.

The Crown2 60 has women’s specific S-shaped shoulder straps to fit around a women’s breast
The Crown2 60 has women’s specific S-shaped shoulder straps to fit around a women’s breasts

I’m under 5’3” and use the short size (15”-18” torso), which is a good fit for me. The shoulder straps are S-shaped, so they wrap around my curvy bits and don’t chafe against my armpits. The width separating the shoulder straps feels right, the sternum strap is shorter, and I can adjust it lower down so it doesn’t pinch. That’s why you want a woman’s fit and not one made for a “unisex”, whatever that is.

The shoulder straps pads are a little stiff however and I decided that I needed extra shoulder padding for better comfort.  I’m pretty handy with this sort of thing, so adding some padding was easily accomplished with some spacer mesh from ripstopbytheroll.com (see above).  You could also use some fleece for this if you found you had a need for even more padding.

The women's hip belt is flared upward.
The women’s hip belt is flared upward.

I like the RE-Fit adjustable length hip belt that allows me to adjust it so that it sits well without having the belt webbing cinched all the way up. While there is a slight lumbar pad in back, it’s barely noticeable and doesn’t bother me, unless wearing a pair of hiking pants with a bulky multi-layer belt loop or seam, something I now avoid.  The hip belt is quite easy to remove it from the bottom of the pack, pull apart the Velcro holding it together and lengthen or shorten it. It will fit any waist size between 24”-40”.

The hip belt is easy to resize yourself
The hip belt is easy to resize yourself

Comparable Women’s-Specific Lightweight Backpacks

Women's Make / ModelFrame: Torso RangeWeightColorsPrice
Osprey Eja 58Fixed: 14-21"42 ozGrey, Blue$220
Osprey Eja 48Fixed: 14-21"41 ozGrey, Blue$200
Osprey Tempest 40Adjustable: 13-20"38.1 ozMagenta, Black$160
Osprey Lumina 60Fixed: 15-21"31.2 ozGrey$270
Osprey Lumina 45Fixed: 15-21"28 ozGrey$250
REI Flash 55Fixed: 16-18"43 ozGrey, Olive Oil$199
REI Flash 45Fixed: 16-18"41.5 ozGrey, Pumpkin$159
Granite Gear Crown2Fixed: 15-21"34 ozGrey, Black$200
Gregory Octal 58Fixed: 14-20"41 ozGrey, Blue$210
Gregory Octal 45Fixed: 14-20"40 ozGrey, Blue$190
Gregory Amber 44Adjustable: 14-20"44 ozRed, Teal$160
Exped Lightning 60Adjustable: 14.2-20.9"40 ozBlack, Terracotta$229
Exped Lightning 45Adjustable: 14.2-20.9"38.8 ozBlack, Terracotta$199
Kelty Redwing 40Fixed: 14.5-18.5"42 ozBlack, Teal$125
Mountainsmith Scream 55Fixed: 14-17"42 ozGrey$160

Recommendation

I use the Women’s-specific Granite Gear Crown2 60 as a multi-day backpack for three-season trips and as a winter day pack because it can hold all my gear and carry bulky traction aids, like snowshoes, with ease. Weighing 36 ounces, it’s also quite lightweight, which is one of the main reasons I bought this backpack in the first place. It holds what I need in relative comfort year round with a couple of minor tweaks. So far, I’m satisfied with the fit, and very happy with its durability. The stretch pockets are far more durable than the mesh used by some manufacturers and mine have no holes or tears so far. I highly recommend this pack to women looking for a lightweight, gender-specific pack in the 60-liter range.

About the Author

Wanda Rice has been backpacking since the late 1980’s. She has climbed the New Hampshire 48, the New Hampshire 48 in winter, the New England 67 and is working on the New England Hundred Highest and the Four-Season 48. Wanda also teaches for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Mountain Leadership School, the AMC New Hampshire Chapter Spring and Winter Schools as well as the AMC NH Winter Hiking Series. She leads day and overnight trips for AMC NH year round and loves mentoring new leaders. She is a gear junkie, a self-proclaimed Queen of Gear Hacks and loves sharing her tips and tricks with others. Wanda lives in southern NH and is looking forward to moving closer to the mountains in the next few years.

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