Mar 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm #1286598
Just got my Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60 backpack yesterday. I've been eliminating the surplus of gear at home, including most of my backpacks, in favor of longer-lasting, a little more durable (and a little heavier) gear. Now I have five backpacking packs, a Gossamer Gear 2012 Murmur (for really light loaded trips), this GG Crown (for most backpacking), the GoLite Pinnacle (for winter trips), my old ULA Arctic 1000 (for any time I need to carry really big, heavy loads… multi-week trips without resupply), and a Granite Gear Blaze 60 (which I'm still debating whether I should keep… it would do well for heavier loads when the Crown might not be able to handle the weight. I like it, but it is quite heavy).
The Crown I predict is going to be a cult pack. It is just the right weight, is durable, is a good size, and hits all the right sweet spots for UL. Like the Gossamer Gear Murmur 2012 it is very much the culmination of years of refinement, a development that could only have come about with years of real world use, feedback, and conceptual building. These two packs, the Granite Gear Crown and the Gossamer Gear Murmur 2012, are what I've always wanted… and I couldn't be happier.Mar 4, 2012 at 7:49 pm #1848770
" it is very much the culmination of years of refinement, a development that could only have come about with years of real world use, feedback, and conceptual building."
Really? It's just a pack.
I want to like it but I have issues with the sizing. The medium is too short and the long is too long. But I had the same issue with the Vapor Trail.Mar 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm #1848772
Like David said, sizing can be a bit of a pain: either it fits you or it doesn't. Luckily, mine fits perfectly and I'm looking forward to putting it to good use this year!Mar 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm #1848779
Mind me asking how much it weighs? Granite Gear seams alittle off on the weights in my experience (a nice way of calling them EFFEN liars). There spec is 2 lbs 2 oz as I recall so my guess is 2 lbs 7 ozMar 4, 2012 at 10:24 pm #1848823
I've been waiting for the Crown VC 60 to arrive at my local retailer so that I can compare it to the heavier (but adjustable) Blaze AC 60. I will be replacing my Vapor Trail this season and I will be purchasing one of these two packs. Since you have both, I'd appreciate your comments regarding the two packs.
Does the big external pocket on the front of the VC60 have enough room to hold a rain jacket and 2 litre Platy? The Blaze AC 60 has a huge pocket but the pictures I've seen of the Crown VC60 make the pocket look a lot smaller. Comments?
Did you find the adjustable torso length feature of the Blaze AC 60 to be of much use or is it not that significant? Does it really allow a greater range of torso sizing or is it pretty much the same as buying the fixed torso size of the Crown VC 60 in the most appropriate size? I'm really wondering if the extra weight of the adjustable frame sheet is worth it?
I'd also be interested to hear why you would say the Blaze AC60 would be more suitable for heavier loads? I thought these packs used the same frame sheet etc.?
Is the fabric the same on both packs (I'm thinking durability of the two packs)?
I know I will eventually kick the tires on both these packs eventually but since you are an owner of both these packs, your comments would be very much appreciated.Mar 5, 2012 at 1:04 am #1848842
The GG Blaze 60 weighs 1.4 kg (49.3 oz.)
The GG Crown 60 weighs 970 g (34.2 oz)
This is for men's regular size, for both models. I based the sizing on my earlier Vapor Trail, and also trying on the Blaze at a local outdoor store.
The pockets on the Blaze are definitely bigger, and I prefer the side pockets on the Blaze (on the Crown my tall water bottle lops to one side unless I secure it with the compression cord), but the size of the front pocket are the same width on both models, with the Blaze's pocket just being taller. They stretch quite a bit so, Mike, I don't think you'd have trouble with getting your 2 liter Platy and rain jacket into the Crown's pocket. I was testing the pack earlier this morning and slipped in my Solomid with all pegs, polycro ground sheet, and pole jacks. It fit no problem, not even needing effort to slip it in. The entire package fit inside, with no sticking out at the top.
The adjustable torso length on the Blaze actually was useful. The clips that fit into the frame sheet fit into small slots that run up and down the length of the frame sheet and you can raise or lower the pack straps according to the length of your back. I had to raise them up two notches to better fit my longer torso because the pack, as it came from the store was fitted to smaller Japanese torsos. It fits perfectly now. It's an effective and very simple system, with no added and unnecessary weight that you often find with adjustable systems. However, unlike the Crown, you can't remove the frame sheet, because the frame sheet is necessary for attaching the straps. The Crown just happens to fit me perfectly, but I can see why it might be an issue with people in between or over sizes. On that score the Blaze might be a better choice for people who need something they can adjust to their size.
The frame sheet on the Blaze is thicker, heavier, and stiffer than that of the Crown. It very much acts as stiff aluminum stays might. It therefore allows you to carry heavier loads. The pack straps attaching directly to this frame makes sense for load transfer. The frame sheet on the Crown is more flexible and lighter. It can also be removed, and thus make the pack even lighter, while the Blaze's frame cannot be removed.
The fabric is the same on both models. Very tough, somewhat stiff, and definitely more durable than the material on the original Vapor Trail. I'd say this pack is at least as durable as, say, a GoLite Jam, perhaps more.
I prefer the closure at the top of the Crown, too. Much simpler, with no excess fabric when the load isn't full, one thing I never liked about the original VT, and I'm not thrilled about on the Blaze. Also, the Blaze, like the original VT, has a separate back pad, with a space behind it (where I like putting my sketchbook). There is also a mesh cover over the back pad. The Crown back pad is sewn directly to the pack and is exposed, with no mesh cover. Another place where GG made the pack lighter.
It is not "just a pack". Not just a fabric tube with straps. These two designs took lots of thinking and testing and sewing skills to put together. You can see where Cruickshank listened to what users have said over the years about the VT and corrected the problems. As a designer myself (architect and now illustrator) who has tried his hand at making tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags, I can attest to just how difficult it is to come up with a design that not only works, but actually catches people's attention and sells well, PLUS becomes something experienced users come to rely on. If packs were simply "just packs", anything would do and no one would complain about one or the other pack. It's getting that little thing right… the shape and stiffness of the shoulder strap, the size and form of the pack body, the way the load carries, the materials… all contribute to the way a pack is perceived and used. Few get all parts right. Just witness the difference between the original Mountainsmith Ghost and the new joke. The pack hasn't even come out yet, and already it is getting awful reviews.Mar 5, 2012 at 7:18 am #1848877
No, it's just a pack.
Thanks for the weights.Mar 5, 2012 at 7:21 am #1848878
Heh, David, you just like to argue. Whatever.Mar 5, 2012 at 7:33 am #1848883
No, I don't. I do wish your posts were about 1/3 as long and 1/2 as verbose but that is my issue.
As I read through the marketing fluff (forget your day job, you need to work for these guys), quite assured that we are speaking of a $199 mass produced pack, I realize that this is a worthy successor to the (long in the tooth) Vapor Trail but that it is in no way revolutionary and simply the natural evolution of a simplistic, and excellent, pack.
You comment about it's durability but it has just arrived. Perhaps you can report back after using it on a couple of multi-day trips.Mar 5, 2012 at 7:39 am #1848887
@cadyakLocale: southwest georgia
I havent used a granite gear pack but have been looking hard at this pack for my winter hiking. It seems that many of their packs put the lower compression cord or strap OVER the side water bottle pockets. How does that work? Can you remove/replace a bottle without removing your pack?
Thanks for any infoMar 5, 2012 at 7:47 am #1848890
One other question – is the framesheet flexible (i.e. almost fold in 1/2) like the Vapor Trail or noticeably stiffer?Mar 5, 2012 at 9:58 am #1848976
How about we avoid getting riled up and get back to the pack itself.
The front pocket on the Crown isn't as tall as the blaze, but it swallows my duomid. There is also a linelock compression cord an inch or so above the pocket that could secure a tall platy if necessary.
I think the main issue in choosing between the Blaze and Crown will be sizing: If you can get one of the two sizes of Crown to fit, it is rated for loads of up to 35 lbs (as is the Blaze). The framesheet in the Blaze seems to be a bit stiffer, but of course, is also heavier. The fabric is the same on both packs – 100D ripstop body and 210D Cordura reinforcements.
Another point – do you prefer a rolltop or drawstring closure? I find the rolltop closure on the Crown MUCH easier to use than the closure on my old circuit. Both the blaze and crown also accept a separate linelock lid as well.Mar 5, 2012 at 9:59 am #1848979
@Brent: I'm not Miguel, but I do have the Crown.
The compression cords can be routed either over OR under the side water bottle pockets.Mar 5, 2012 at 10:46 am #1849009
>> I do wish your posts were about 1/3 as long and 1/2 as verbose but that is my issue. <<
Yes, you are correct David, that is your issue.
Miguel, thanks for responding (at length) to my questions regarding how the VC60 compares to the Blaze AC60. I knew that the frame sheet was removable on the VC60 but never made the connection that the pack straps wouldn't be connected to the frame sheet (dooh!). Since I'm well set for frameless packs I'm not sure that I like the idea of a removable framesheet.
I have read a long term review of the Blaze AC60 that talked about fabric durability and the pockets were torn up a bit but the reviewer said it had seen hard use and was still holding up well. This was one of my biggest concerns because I have had sil-nylon slice through with almost no effort. I have moved away from sil-nylon in my packs completely.
The adjustable torso will probably benefit me as well if it is as you describe. I'm kind of between sizes and have always had a hard time finding the right torso length.
I'll probably buy both packs when the VC60 hits my local retail outlet and try them both with my gear before deciding which one to buy but your comments have really been helpful and will also guide my decision (many thanks).
As for "it's just a pack"… that's true, but I've also heard that some people will pay up $1000 bucks for a pack that is used to carry the same 25 lb load that I will be carrying… but I guess that pack won't be "just a pack" because it would make my 25 lb load feel like it only weighs… well maybe 23 lbs?… I don't get it. It's just a pack.
Edit: Aaron – Thanks for the additional info.Mar 5, 2012 at 11:20 am #1849026
"As for "it's just a pack"… that's true, but I've also heard that some people will pay up $1000 bucks for a pack that is used to carry the same 25 lb load that I will be carrying… but I guess that pack won't be "just a pack" because it would make my 25 lb load feel like it only weighs… well maybe 23 lbs?… I don't get it. It's just a pack."
So you agree then.Mar 5, 2012 at 11:53 am #1849054
>> So you agree then. <<
Absolutely, if that makes you feel better and allows this thread to get back on track, you win!
Miguel and/or Aaron –
Any comments regarding the new waist belt? (smaller buckle, thinner padding, sizing, adding pockets etc.?)Mar 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm #1849073
Thanks Mike.Mar 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm #1849348
Brent, as Aaron has explained about the side straps… Unlike older Granite Gear packs, they've updated their side pockets with routing holes so that you can have the compression straps on the outside or inside. If you look at a photo of the Crown and Blaze you can see the openings in the side pockets.
Mike, the cordura silnylon is much stronger than regular silnylon. It's heavier and has a stiff feel to it. Granite Gear even explains the manufacturing process of stretching the nylon so that it gets stronger. They use the example of stretching the plastic connectors on a six-pack… the more you stretch it the stronger it becomes. You'd really have to put it through some rough abuse to get it to rip.Mar 10, 2012 at 5:04 am #1851553
I just purchased my Granite Gear Crown VC 60 at EMS. I have not taken it into the field yet, but here is why I think it might be the perfect pack for me.
1) Light Weight w/Suspension: I like that it is lightweight but not frameless. I have tried frameless UL packs and just cannot get them to carry well and to transfer enough of the load onto my hips. I guess I am not quite UL enough for them (base load about 13 pounds before pack & consumables) So I am willing to trade a few extra ounces in order to have a real suspension, a frame and, yes, load lifters to pull it all in. The GG Crown hits the sweet spot weighing in at 2 LB 2.8 OZ (REG) on my scale. So for me it seems like the best compromise between weight and comfort that I have found.
2) Intelligent Design. You can just tell that this thing is well thought out by experienced people. It's the little things… like accessible angled side pockets, side compression straps that don't ruin the side pocket functionality, tight stretchy mesh outers instead of twig-catchers flapping in the breeze, etc…
3) Cool and Close. The VC back panel looks like it will be cool and non-absorbent. And, here's the big thing for me, it is not pushing the load out away from my back. Everything about this pack seems to be trying to keep the load tight to your core– right where it belongs.
4) Roll Top. I am tired of drawstring tops that don't really seal and I am looking forward to the integrity of a roll top closure.
5) Brilliant Compression. If 60 litres sounds too big for your kit (as it did to me) don't worry. This pack seems to be truly variable in size because of the roll top and the superb compression system. Note how the compression design is not just a strap or two on the side panels, instead it is a very thorough system with ten adjustable lines plus the vertical fabric panels that distribute the compression forces all the way up and down the pack, not just where the straps are! Ten adjustable straps you ask? Yes. 2 on each side + 2 on the outer panel + 2 on the roll-top closer which nicely pull the top load down AND forward + 2 straps to cinch down the top even more. So given all of this adjustable compression, it looks like you could vary the size of this pack almost infinitely from a day pack up to a 60 liter trekker all while keeping the load tightly trimmed. I like that!
6) Stealth colors and a nice look.
7) And, oh yes, let's not forget about those two little stretchy pockets on the shoulder straps!
Well, that's my take on it so far. Hope it lives up to my expectations when I can finally get it out on the trail.
–JayMar 10, 2012 at 7:39 am #1851582
For those interested, Phil actually used and tested the Crown here:Mar 10, 2012 at 10:18 am #1851650
Thanks for the indepth reveiw, it was helpful and answered many questions I had about the Crown verse the Blaze.
I own a Blaze. Yes the weight is more then advertised, mine is 3lbs. I like that the blaze is adjustable, that is important to me because I'm a bigger guy-205lbs. I like the large mesh pockets and don't mind the roll closure.I have noticed some very minor wear on the mesh outter pockets of the blaze after only one season. I was contemplating the crown, but not enough of a difference for to justify a pack without the adjustable suspension and in reality just a few ounces less.Mar 10, 2012 at 11:42 am #1851673
David, thanks for posting that link, I hadn't seen that review.
I still haven't been able to get my hands on one yet. I checked my local retailer yesterday and they still haven't received any yet. Reviews like this are very helpful. I've tried on the Blaze AC60 many times and like it, but I want to try the Crown VC60 before making my decision. Fit will be the ultimate deciding factor for me, followed by weight, but both these packs have the features I want in a pack. I particularly like the numerous compression straps since the only reason I need a larger pack is to accomodate larger food supplies on longer trips (can't see myself ever needing to carry 35 pounds since I'm usually only out for a week or less). As the trip progresses, it's nice to be able to shrink your pack size down as I eat my way through my food supply.Mar 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm #1851699
I contacted GG to get an idea of the torso size of the Large Crown. From the top of the hip belt to where the shoulder straps attach to the main bag is 17.25". The Regular is 14".
Useful information for those who may not be able to try on before ordering.Mar 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm #1851711
Any idea if REI will carry this pack? I have a gift card.Mar 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm #1851720
My personal experience with GG at REI is that they may offer it, but only as a special order. Even if it's listed online, you'll need to call your local store to confirm before heading over; it won't specify that it's available online only. That was what I had to do when I wanted the Escape.
So order it for in-store pick up, and try it out.
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