Mar 23, 2012 at 5:10 am #1287682
John GBPL Member
@johng10Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
The Vapor Trail was missing from the last BPL pack comparison series. Can anyone comment on how the Jam compares to the Vapor Trail (or crown) or the Osprey Talon 44 ?
I'm looking for comfy 25 lb load hauling, durability, and big enough for a winter bag and fleece jacket.
Thanks.Mar 23, 2012 at 5:41 am #1858105
Randy MartinBPL Member
I own both the Jam (2011 version) and the Talon 44. The Talon is going to be a more comfortable pack with weights at 25lbs vs the Jam. However, I use my Jam more than the Talon because my total weight tends to remain well below 25lbs (15-20lb total normally) which carries just fine on the "Frameless" Jam. I find the Talon 44 has way too many straps, buckles all over the place and just has two much of a cluttered appearance. My Talon is the 2010 version so there may have been some improvements in the de-cluttering of the pack since then.
One of my favorite features of the Jam is it's compression system. Every pack says they can compress but the Jam really delivers. One of the most unique and clever approaches is the way the Jam has offset buckles above the side pocket holders. So you can take the Male buckle on one side and connect into the female buckle on the opposite side to either compress the main compartment or to lash items like Snowshoes on your pack. Lastly, while the Talon is rated at 44 Liter volume, I find the the Jam has more useable space.
Want to buy a used Talon 44? :)Mar 23, 2012 at 6:14 am #1858111
Dondo .BPL Member
@dondoLocale: Colorado Rockies
I have the Jam (and Pinnacle)and Vapor Trail but not the Osprey. The Vapor Trail is closer in size to the Pinnacle than the Jam. Both the VT and Pinnacle can handle a winter down bag and fleece jacket and are comfortable enough at 25 lb. IMO, though, the Vapor Trail is a lot more comfortable, so the Pinnacle sees little use. The fabric of the Golite packs seems more robust, but despite a few abrasions from careless use, my ten-year-old Vapor Trail is still doing fine.Mar 23, 2012 at 6:34 am #1858115
Konrad .BPL Member
Like others have mentioned, the vapor is significantly larger than the jam. I also found the vapor to carry heavier weights more comfortably. I think the Crown 60 would be the ideal pack for you. It's got an even more beefed up suspension in comparison to the vapor trail, and it's removable, which would leave you with a lightweight frameless pack that uses only a foam sheet (just like a Jam). It's like having the best of both worlds with just 1 pack.Mar 23, 2012 at 6:54 am #1858125
The VT is definitely larger than the Jam but really only because of the massive extension collar. If you use the collar to just above the 'frame' then the packs are essentially the same size. This is confirmed by the BPL reviews of the pack.
Having looked over the 2012 Jam, I can say that I am quite impressed. The foam is quite a bit thicker than previous iterations and provide some decent stiffness. Of course, using your sleeping pad as a virtual frame in the Jam makes it stiffer than the VT. I can fold the VT "suspension" into thirds.
Regarding the Crown, it looks like the Medium is too short for many 'medium' users and too tall for many 'tall' users. It looks like a great pack but if you are in between sizes, you may be out of luck (the difference in torso sizes between the M and L of the Crown appears to be as much as 4" whereas it is 2" for the Jam).
I am also not a big fan of the 70D fabric used with many of the lightweight Granite Gear packs. I apparently can't stop putting holes in it. THe 210d fabric used on the Golite is more my style. YMMV.Mar 23, 2012 at 7:35 am #1858133
Sumi WadaBPL Member
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
I considered the VT and Talon 44 but ended up with an ULA Circuit. I think the Circuit's great for that weight range and volume, and the materials just seemed much more durable. After a year-and-a-half, I'm very happy with my decision. My trailhead packweight is typically in the 20-23lb range but I've carried 35lb easily in the Circuit (2 gallons of water…)
Things I noted:
– Granite Gear has the most comfortable hip pads
– I didn't like the super-long extension collar on the VT; much prefer the Circuit's
– Compared to the other two, the Talon44 seemed incredibly fussy with pockets and straps *everywhere*, but if you like a highly "organized" pack, you might prefer that
– The VP required the most careful packing
– Water bottle pockets on the Circuit are the most useable
I have an older women's Jam2 and a Peak. Both of these are much smaller volume than the VP/Talon44/Circuit. Better suited, imo, for loads up to about 20lb. That said, I really like the Peak for light loads; fits me well, has a nice low profile that I like and has just enough pockets and such to be an all-around versatile pack.Mar 23, 2012 at 8:10 am #1858150
@thegreatclodLocale: Northeast, East Asia
I'll be using the Jam (2011) for my first foray into UL trips this season. It fits my current kit nice and comfortably without any fuss. But I am concerned about how its suspension is going to compare to the Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone I'm stepping away from, which carries 35lbs like a dream. The Crown and Blaze are the newest versions of the VT and Nimbus Ozone of course, but they're pricey. Consider checking Ebay or some such for a more reasonably priced, used VT or NO in excellent condition if you think either of these generations of packs might work for you (I'd be willing to sell mine, too, I guess).
Another pack to look into might be the Osprey Hornet 46, at ~22ozs, and seems to be less fuss than the Talon.Mar 23, 2012 at 8:45 am #1858162
@goonch92Locale: Northern California
Ive had my talon 44 for a year or so and i've loved it.
the only thing i have to complain about is the padding… its very minimal.
although if you pack it right (with your pad folded in thirds against your back and soft materials in the hip belt (bean/hat/gaiters) you'll be fine. plus the only time i've had discomfort with the pack is when i over pack (40-45lbs) normally I'm very comfortable at 30-35lbs though, so you should do five.
when i first got the pack the straps confused the $h!t out of me. but after a few months i got them down pretty good. Every time i went out i would learn something different about the pack, it was kinda fun, getting re-stoked about it every trip; although some are excessive, (i cut off one of the ice axe holders, it only needs one) so cut of what you don't want.
I'm also impressed with the durability, its been through hell and back (plenty of stains and dirt marks) but no tares or wear spots. since these packs are offered every where i recommend you go in and have it fitted properly before you get it, it would make a world of difference.
best of luck,
guntherMar 25, 2012 at 11:08 am #1859149
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
"I am also not a big fan of the 70D fabric used with many of the lightweight Granite Gear packs. I apparently can't stop putting holes in it. THe 210d fabric used on the Golite is more my style. YMMV."
David, do you mind sharing in more detail? I picked up a Crown from REI to try on, and so far am impressed with the fit and carry. My big question has been durability over the 2012 Jam that I have on loan.
Also, what is GG's customer service like for repairs/warranty issues? One of the reasons I bought from REI was their guarantee.Mar 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm #1859174
Hi Clayton, the Crown looks amazing, BTW. Sadly, I am between torso sizes and it won't work for me.
On my Nimbus Meridian I had too issues. One was two small 1" holes in the 70d (I had an older version – the new one has 100d) causes by carrying items in the side pockets – poles, easily accessible gear, etc. The second issue was with delamination of the interior. There is a PU (I think) coating on the fabric on the inside of the pack and it begane to come off. Like flakes.
Granite Gear was great in replacing the pack.
I put YMMV in the previous post because I know that these packs have been used on thru hikes without issue.
Are you having issue with the fabric on your Jam?Mar 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm #1859177
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
Thanks for getting back. I'm really impressed with the Crown so far. The Jam is very nice, but the Crown fits like a glove (I feel about half an inch or so off on the torso of the Jam–not bad, just not as dialed in as the Crown.)
The Jam I have is just a loaner from a friend. I picked up the Crown from REI since I live too far from a store to try out but still wanted their guarantee. So far, I am loving the modularity of it. BTW, the whole thing weighs 34.5 ounces, and the hipbelt is 5.7 and the framesheet 5.75 ounces each, meaning it can be stripped down quite a bit when the extra support isn't necessary. I also have the option of using a framsheet with an aluminum stay from an old Marmot that should really improve the carry for only a couple ounces more than what it's at now. I occasionally need to carry a lot (maybe a couple-three of times a year).
So long as it lasts, it may be one of the better do-it-all packs out there.Mar 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm #1859252
David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
I put plenty of holes in my old Vapor Trail, but it was nothing that duct tape and seam grip couldn't fix.
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