Oct 17, 2011 at 11:25 am #1280735
I'm currently interested in both the Blaze and Escape from Granite Gear. They seem very similar on paper. Air Current suspension, same volume, same pack technology. The differences I see are that the Blaze is specced quite a bit lighter, has less pockets, and no lid.
Has anyone here had a chance to test out both or either one? Does the lack lid seem more like a pro or con?
BradOct 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm #1791641
@swamp_stomperLocale: South East USA
Granite Gear makes a separate Lid for the Blaze if you think that you may need it. I've never tried the escape but was able to try on the Blaze with about 30 LBS in it and it was very comfortable. Hopefully Santa will have one for me this Christmas.Oct 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm #1791642
I have the Escape AC 60, picked it up the first year it came out despite being worried it would have the little things I don't care for fixed. Overall, I really like it, and I'm glad I bought it the first year because the price went up though nothing changed.
The pros: it's really comfortable; I carried 40 lbs full pack weight when I spent a week in Yosemite. That included the bear canister, which wasn't a pain because the pack has its framesheet, and then it has padding between it and your back. The hipbelt is nice and big, and it doesn't chafe like other brands did under load. Also, I really like the angled water pockets. I usually will eat lunch while hiking, so I stick my Logan bread in one pocket and my poncho in the other if expecting rain; grab and deploy while on the go. The compression straps are the perfect length and can really cinch the pack down. The belt is removable, as is the lid, and the lid has belt loops underneath for use as a daypack.
The few cons as I see it: it's (comparatively) heavy; even without the lid, trimmed mine is 50.8 oz. The belt removes a lot of weight, but that defeats the purpose of a framed pack. The framesheet can be removed, but the straps connect to the framesheet, not the pack, so it isn't really removable. The belt has MOLLE webbing rather than being plain or pocketed; ever try to find REALLY lightweight MOLLE pouches? Lastly, 60L seems optimistic for its volume; seems closer to 50 or 55. Haven't measured it to make sure.
Like I said, I really like it. It's my bigger pack and can handle the weight of a longer trip easily. I wouldn't want to go much beyond the 40 lbs I've had in it, but I wouldn't want to go heavier than 40 period. Also, the stretch pocket is nice; I don't like having stuff hanging outside the pack, and in the winter nothing gets snowy.
Can't say anything about the Blaze, but I prefer the Escape's general pack style personally.
JeffOct 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm #1791676
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
To complicate your life further (you're welcome!) the Crown 60 will be out next year, which is essentially a further lightened variation of the Blaze. Here's a brief video intro:
RickOct 18, 2011 at 7:30 am #1791936
Thanks for the feedback everyone. Still totally undecided. There aren't any places in South Florida to test this type of gear out unfortunately.Oct 18, 2011 at 7:35 am #1791939
I'm with Rick. If you can get one of the torso sizes to fit, then the Crown is the one to wait for.Oct 18, 2011 at 10:00 am #1791999
@swamp_stomperLocale: South East USA
Ha ha you're right Brad I couldn't find a place in South Florida to try them on either. Luckily enough back in July I was on a trip to NYC and was able track down a Blaze at a hiking store. Although due to one too many cannoli it might not have been a true accurate fitting.Oct 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm #1792084
I, too, had the problem that I couldn't find the Escape in a store to try on first. I bit the bullet and ordered one online from REI, using a 20% coupon at the time, figuring I could return it at any time. I guess I got lucky that it was as comfortable as I was hoping.
JeffOct 18, 2011 at 4:22 pm #1792173
> ever try to find REALLY lightweight MOLLE pouches?
These should be available at retail around the turn of the year:Oct 20, 2011 at 10:33 am #1792992
The Blaze and Escapes are a bit different. The specs may seem similar. Starting with the pack body the Blaze is a little taller and narrower while the Escape is a little squatter and has a slanted bottom. The other primary differences are the lid and lidless features which is a personal preference on how you like to organize your gear, but the lid does add some extra weight. Also the Escape has diagonal side pockets which can make it easier to get things out of with your pack on but limits what you can store in the pockets. Finally the Escape has a zippered front pocket while the Blaze's is open. The open pocket allows it to be overstuffed a little but more and can be more functional for quick access but does not repel the weather at all. It depends again on preferences and where you might be hiking.
Hope that helps :-)Oct 20, 2011 at 11:09 am #1793008
Justin – with this first post can we expect more where you can share your experience from your incredible world treks? I am excited you are posting!
If anyone is interested in reading about some incredible thru hiking journeys, here is Justin's website:Oct 20, 2011 at 11:55 am #1793028
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…Oct 21, 2011 at 4:46 am #1793328
@raymondLocale: SE US
I've had both packs and prefer the design of the Blaze. Both were equally comfortable. I will be using the Blaze as my winter pack.Oct 21, 2011 at 5:59 am #1793346
I looked hard at the Escape, but wasn't taken with the weight and design.
I waited for the Blaze and have been very very happy with it. Incredibly comfortable and stable but enabling great freedom of movement for me, carrying 30-ish pounds for week+ long trips. I love the simplicity and it does not seem fragile at all.
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