May 14, 2013 at 10:50 pm #1302939
I have a question regarding the load lifters on the Granite Gear Crown 60 V.C. Ki pack. I would like a feedback from this pack owners please. Do the load lifters work for you? How? Do you find them functional? I have seen in few places on the internet that the LL straps should be at 45 degrees or so. I does not happen so with the Crown pack for me. The straps are parallel to the ground. Also I am able to pull the straps easily all the way in so there is no more strap left to bring the top of the pack any closer to me. I think I could be able to bring it even closer but there is no more strap left. Is it normal?
I hear that it is a comfortable pack and you do not feel the weight but how could it be without functional load lifters? Anyone for whom the pack did not work?
My understanding is that the purpose of load lifters is to get the shoulder straps off the top of the shoulder so the weight can be transferred to hip belt. The point is to make the shoulder straps only contact the front of the shoulder and chest area. The load lifters keep the pack from pulling away from your body, which would cause the pack to sag on your lumbar region.
I have also noticed that the packs that have the 45 degrees LL straps tend to have longer frames. Meaning they might be heavier and less comfortable (brim of a hat or your head hitting the pack). Are we talking a trade off here? I do not really see ultralight packs with longer frames.
I would appreciate your comments on the load lifters. Non GG Crown owners can chime in as well on the science of LL.
Thank you.May 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm #1986222
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Steep Uphills: Tighten the load lifters (and sternum strap) to bring the pack's top closer to you for balance
Most Downhills: Loosen the load lifters and sternum strap to let the top lean back, again, for better balance.
Skiing & Scrambling: tighten the load lifters, sternum strap AND the hipbelt side straps to bring the pack in tight so it does not sway when maneuvering.
All this tightening and loosening along the trail makes for more comfort. Keeping the pack straps in the same position all the time makes for sore shoulders and hips.
Besides, it's entertaining when the scenery gets boring. Face it, the scenery sometimes DOES get boring. They don't call the AT "The Green Tunnel" for nothing.May 15, 2013 at 12:33 am #1986246
If the straps are wrapping around your shoulders it's not going to be a very effective pack for you. I'm not sure if the Crown VC has the ability to change the length of the pack by adjusting where the straps sit on the back-panel (my GG Blaze AC has this…) but you might want to see if adjusting to a higher shoulder strap position will take the weight off. Also, try not tightening the straps down at the bottom of the shoulder pads as much.
Sometimes it just doesn't work, packs seem to be like shoes in that there is no one right design for everyone.May 15, 2013 at 1:01 am #1986249
I owned the Crown and returned it to REI. It is a lot of good ideas put together in a poor package.
What really matters for load lifters is the fit of the pack to your torso, otherwise they won't work in any meaningful way. For loads below 30 lbs., I don't think you need load lifters on a properly-fitted pack. The experience of many others on here confirms this. Check out Dave Chenault's article "How Packs Work" for more.
The Crown's framesheet is so soft that the most the load lifters can do is marginally lengthen the torso length of the pack. I found them best for small adjustments while hiking. My current pack doesn't have them, and honestly, I rarely miss them (though it might be nice to have them occasionally).May 15, 2013 at 6:27 am #1986284
Alina, it sounds like your pack might be one size too small. I have a Crown and the load lifters indeed attach to the pack at a 30 to 45 degree angle. What size is your pack?May 15, 2013 at 7:56 am #1986308
45 degrees was the basis for external packs because the frame was sufficiently away from your head. It doesn't apply as easily to internal packs lest you have the frame banging into your head. 30 degrees is just fine for loads under 50lbs.
Most load lifters on lightweight packs designed to carry 30 lbs or less is simply to bring the load in closer to the back to improve the center of gravity. The Crown falls into that limit despite what GG suggests.May 15, 2013 at 10:10 am #1986346
@lokbotLocale: Portland, OR
I have the crown vc and it is an extremely comfortable pack for me. If the top of the frame sheet is just above your shoulders when you seat the hip belt where you like it the frame is the right length. The shoulder straps should just wrap over the top of your shoulders where it connects to the pack. If you want to take weight off of your shoulders when you have the pack strapped on loosen your shoulder straps. I find that I just lightly tighten the load lifters.
I just hiked the rogue river trail in 3 days with a 12 lb base weight and it was extremely comfortable a leisurely hike with two 15 mile days and one 10 mile day.
LokiMay 15, 2013 at 10:28 pm #1986649
I have posted this on another thread http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/process#forumtop already. Sorry about the repetition. I thought that some people might miss the other thread and I would really like your input.
Anyway, here are my picks. The pack is 30lbs.
Looking at them I see that the load lifters are a little at an angle but far from the 45 degrees.
The hip belt is sloping down somewhat towards the back. Is it because of the heavy weight?
Also I noticed that the shoulder straps (at the back) are flaring out on the outside edge of the strap but touching the shoulder on the inside edge of the strap (towards the spine). I think that it is designed that way for comfort so you can raise your arms without pinching them?
I appreciate your comments.
As I am a beginner it is difficult for me to know if it is the perfect (or at least a reasonable) pack for me or not. I did my research but there is only so much a research can accomplish. The main reason why I picked this pack is that I have seen some reviews mentioning that the pack carries comfortably (compared to other packs) even quite heavy loads. The Crown does feel reasonable but I do not really have an experience with other packs so I have nothing to compare it to. If I was to go on a few trips with different backpacks then I would know which one is best. At this point I am shooting in the dark and hoping for the best. The last thing I would want to do is use a backpack for years only to find out that it was not right for me all along but I did not know any better and as a result I suffered some discomfort thinking that it was normal.
The fact that you have to mail order the good packs does not make it any easier. Additionally I am in Canada so the shipping here is much higher. I cannot keep on ordering an returning packs as it would be too expensive. I wish stores would carry more of the packs that you guys talk about in the forum. I was lucky that the store I went to had GG packs.
Thank youMay 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm #1986651
I own a Granite Gear Vapor Trail pack (a different model). It was reviewed here on this site. The reviewers found what I found: the load lifter are too low. It is otherwise a great pack. The hip belt is as good as I've found anywhere. The frame sheet is fine. The rest of the pack is simple and very efficient (from a weight to pack standpoint). But the load lifters are too low. I can see that from the picture, and it looks like the picture for the Vapor Trail on this site and the pack I own. You could try a taller pack. If a taller pack fits you, then the load lifters will be more effective. If a taller pack doesn't fit you, then you will either live with a pack that has poor load lifters (like I do) or get a different pack.May 15, 2013 at 11:09 pm #1986654
Frankly, it looks like this pack is too short for your torso length. I would think that you would need an extra couple of inches–typically one size up–to get a proper fit.
EDIT: Granite Gear's sizing on the Crown will likely make it difficult to find the right torso length. IIRC, the torso on the next size up is substantially longer than the regular–something like four inches. I doubt that you have much options with this pack.May 15, 2013 at 11:27 pm #1986655
Hi Ross and Clayton,
Thank you for your responses.
Ross: What problems do the low load lifters cause in your case?
I have tried the next size up (regular torso) but it buckled in the middle (the top and bottom of the pack were touching me but the middle of the pack was maybe 2 inches away from my back). Did it buckle because it had 25 lbs weight plates on the bottom? Would a different weight distribution made a difference? I might go to try the regular size again with different weight distribution but the store might ban me from coming there (LOL).
Loki mentioned that the pack is extremely comfortable for him. Go figure (LOL).
I think that when it comes to the lighter packs we just have to accept that the LL are not very functional. I guess it is because of the design (shorter and softer frame) that saves weight.
I wonder if there is something else in the design that maybe makes the LL not really necessary?
Thank you.May 15, 2013 at 11:43 pm #1986658
My experience with the Crown is that it is effectively a rather heavy frameless pack (which incidentally lacks the cushy hip belt and straps of its' predecessor for the same weight.) As such, the load lifter straps are never going to do much more than adjust the bag closer to your back. That function is an important one though and the only reason I personally care about "load lifters".
If you have Granite Gear dealer close to you and want a pack that can carry 25+ lbs I would suggest the Blaze. Otherwise I would look at much lighter frameless or minimally framed packs.May 16, 2013 at 6:11 am #1986689
Alina, I did a much longer write up on the Crown after using it for about 125 or so miles last summer. You can find that here (fair warning–it's long and probably over-detailed).
The short version is that I found the Crown's suspension to be entirely inadequate. The framesheet doesn't support heavy loads as well, and it limits the movement of the pack side-to-side. I tried working with it for several trips, but I had serious issues with it every time I took it out except for the first overnight.
Drew is right. It has all the weaknesses of a frameless pack with few of the benefits. It's a pretty poor tradeoff.May 16, 2013 at 9:11 am #1986760
To answer your question, the load lifters are barely useful. Load lifters are not the most important part of a pack (to me) or I would just get another pack (being cheap also plays a part in my not getting another pack). I really like the other parts of the pack, though (great hip belt, simple lightweight design, etc.).
I can't seem to find the article I remember, but this is a great one that describes load lifters: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/how_packs_work.html#.UZT760qNN8E
Under Part 1, look for the paragraph that starts with "Load lifters should be here discussed". The picture looks a lot like your pack on you (or my pack on me). The description is pretty much spot on, in my opinion. The load lifters are helpful, but just barely.
I wish I could find the other article, since it shows what a good load lifter system looks like. As mentioned, 45 degrees is ideal.
Long story short, I would definitely consider another pack, just so you can get the load lifter angle right. You could size up, but as mentioned, the pack probably wouldn't fit you very well if you did that. The fact that Granite Gear is often mentioned when it comes to load lifter problems suggests that they have flaws in their design (or had flaws in their design). This is a shame, since it is otherwise a great pack. Even with that flaw, lots of people have been really happy with their packs (it used to be a very common pack for thru hikers — now it has probably been replaced by ULA packs).May 16, 2013 at 9:31 am #1986769
Right, so that space is generated because the load lifters are pulling the shoulder straps back and this is normal if you have the load lifters cranked a little too tight. The problem with the Crown is that for you, the frame is not tall enough. The torso size looks fine but the design of the pack is flawed from the perspective of being able to use the load lifters in an effective manner. The lifters in this case only pull the pack into your back, which is fine with lighter loads.
I agree that this pack may not be for you. The frame on Granite Gears larger packs, like the Blaze, have a taller frame that may work better for you. If you can get the load lifter angle up taller than your shoulders then a gentle pull will pull the load in without pulling the shoulder straps back.
Note on frames. For a 45 degree angle, the frame has to be quite tall. Probably 5 to 6 inches taller than your shoulders and really only required for weights over 30 to 40 pounds. A shorter angle will work just fine for lighter weights or even no load lifters in most cases.
A pic with load lifters that would be set at 45 degrees: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=44578
See Nick's picture and how tall the frame needs to be.May 16, 2013 at 10:22 am #1986799
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"Note on frames. For a 45 degree angle, the frame has to be quite tall. Probably 5 to 6 inches taller than your shoulders and really only required for weights over 30 to 40 pounds."
Agree. Most of them are just marketing spin. You need a real frame for them to actually work, and most of the time most of us are not carrying loads that require load lifters. I only use mine in winter for long trips. Fortunately, I can remove the frame extensions and the by-pass harness in my McHale when the load lifters are not needed.May 16, 2013 at 11:05 am #1986813
@sckuhnLocale: Mountainous Ohio
"Did it buckle because it had 25 lbs weight plates on the bottom?" – NO pack you try is going to property fit when loaded with a 25 lbs plate weight!!!! Take your gear to the store or stuff it with your gear at home…. quit trying to 'create' a weighted pack with artifical weight. (Even the sand bags the stores often have do not replicate weight well.)
I agree with the others that suggest that the pack is too short for you. I have several GG packs and love them, but they are not for everyone and this pack in particular has a very narrow range of fit. If the torso were longer than the shoulder straps would sit higher up your back allowing the shoulder strap to wrap around your shoulder better and place the 'shoulder strap pocket' more to the front and NOT on top of your shoulder. (Totally useless were they are in your picture.)
As much as you may like this pack…. it doesn't look like it fits you, but that is entirely up to you.
Just as a side note…. my husband has this pack in the long version… he is 5'4" tall!!! (not a typo…. just long waisted and short legged) Buy what fits, not what the marketing reps are trying to sell!May 16, 2013 at 11:34 am #1986825
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I don't really see the purpose of load lifters.
I see why if the shoulder straps go down from your shoulder to the pack, then your shoulders will be carrying at least some of the weight of the pack instead of your hips. Do a vector diagram.
If the shoulder straps go at right angle to the pack then your shoulders won't carry any of the weight of the pack, it will all be on the hips. That's a good thing.
If your shoulder straps went down from shoulder to pack but had no weight on them, and "load lifters" went at right angles to pack and had all the weight on them, that would result in all the pack weight being carried by hips, which is fine, but why not omit the load lifters and just have the shoulder straps go at right angles? So, the only function of the load lifters is if the torso length of the pack is too short, you can have "load lifters" that allow the pack to be used by longer torsoed people and still have all the pack weight on hips.
If the shoulder straps or load lifters go up from shoulders to pack, then there will actually be a force going up on your shoulders, but the weight down on your hips will be that much more. Again, do vector diagram. It doesn't seem like this would be good, although if it's just a little it wouldn't matter much.May 16, 2013 at 11:50 am #1986832
"If the shoulder straps go at right angle to the pack then your shoulders won't carry any of the weight of the pack, it will all be on the hips. That's a good thing."
Jerry – this is absolutely correct. In fact, I could argue that having the straps even a little higher is a good thing given that over a long day, hipbelts tend to fall lower (ride lower). At higher weights, however, there is some frame / torso collapse that is inevitable. A properly designed load lifter like that of Mchale that does not use the shoulder strap as a fulcrum enables the load to be 'lifted' slightly to reposition the weight on the hips. But again, this would be only for heavier weights. For weights under…say…30 lbs, having a taller frame without load lifters works very well in transfering weight to the hips and as you discuss, shoulder straps at right angles as attached to the main bag is ideal as it loads the chest a bit but keeps the weight on the hips.May 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm #1986836
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Ahhh – that makes sense – thanks – with torso collapse you can tighten the load lifter so you get right angle pull and all pack wieght stays on hips
There is some flexibility of where you position pack on hips. If there's some torso collapse, just tighten the waist belt a little so the pack rides a little higher on your hips.May 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm #1986846
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
this is a link to Dan Mchales page where he corectly describes exaclty what and how those confusing straps work.
if thee does not know what/how they function, read that page.
ps. Alina's pack is too short for any meaningful weight. it's probably going to make her miserable.
i just received an Aarn Bodypack (bought here on bpl) and .. whoa !
if straps were extra parts .. this thing is like the Napier Sabre aero engine of the hiking world.
Aarn's work is fascinating to deal with. it flexes, it moves, it twists and rolls all over the place on it's own. i Can Not wait to get it out on some trails.
loaded up around the house it feels great. and you can move and do whatever needs done.
no way would i take this bag of tricks to the north though. but for closer to home jaunts, you betch'a. it might just be the ticket to comfort city.
v.May 17, 2013 at 9:19 pm #1987217
Thank you once again for your comments.
You would think that it should be relatively easy for Granite Gear to fix the load lifters problem. Although I have looked at some of the ultralight backpacks, including the ones in http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/mountain_sul_part2.html and for the most part they seem to have load lifting system similar to the GG Crown. Some have no LL at all! In this report it says that you do not need load lifters for packs of around 3500 cubic inches if properly sized. Is it right? Crown is 3660 cubic inches so I think that it is still in the 3500 category?
So I am quite confused right now. You guys said that Crown did not fit me. I assume you said that because of the LL not being at 45 degrees and the fact that the top of the pack frame is just a little higher than my shoulder tops? It should be higher? But I have seen all the ultralight packs fit that way. Some are even lower fitting than mine. For some of them the shoulder straps attach at the top of the pack.
What am I missing here? The Crown fits the same way as the other ultralight packs (or even better because at least it has LL and the top is above my shoulder tops) so why is it a bad fit for me? Please clarify.
What would you recommend instead then? I am not sure what to get any more. In order to have properly working LL I think that I would have to go to a heavier and/or more volume pack like maybe Osprey for example yet many people use the ultralight packs (no LL) and are happy with them.
Please help!May 18, 2013 at 3:42 am #1987234
Frame height needed to properly support a load and the load lifter angle needed is entirely dependent on pack weight.
If you're carrying around 25 lbs or less, then lots of packs will work and frame height and load lifter angle aren't that important.
If you're carrying 25-50 lbs then I like to have the top of the pack frame at least 2-3 inches above the tops of my shoulders, and the pack needs a stiff frame that won't deform plus a well designed hipbelt at those weights.
At 50-80 lbs The frame needs to be extremely stiff and the top of the frame needs to be at least several inches above the tops of your shoulders to give a good load lifter angle. At over 60ish lbs belt design and load transfer method become very important as belt slip and deformation cause the pack to ride lower and effectively reduce frame height, plus interfere with your body's natural locomotion.
At 80-110 lbs or more all but a few packs are weeded out. It takes a very strong and stiff frame to handle the weight, and a very well designed belt with a proper load transfer to prevent belt deformation and slip. The cut of the belt, the proper webbing, and a mechanical advantage in tightening the belt are necessary. Every little detail in pack design becomes extremely important.
Most people have absolutely no need for a pack that is comfortable with more than 50 lbs. I am a backcountry hunter, and have the need. So I've done extensive training and testing at weights of of 85-110 lbs over the last winter and spring.May 18, 2013 at 4:37 am #1987235
You will see plenty of pics of people with UL packs, especially frameless, with the pack sagging down thier back, all the weight clearly on the shoulders.
This, should tell you everything you need to know, especially regarding claims to how great X pack is. Yeah, put it on, load it up and it looks and feels great. Walk a couple miles with it and it works its way down until all the weight is on the shoulders.
The hipbelts just arent substantial enough to support heavy loads, and most carry heavier loads than the pack works best at , part of the time.
On UL packs with hipbelts, the shoulder strap attachment points should be at the shoulder, to 1" below with the packs loaded. This lets the angle of the shoulder straps keep the pack close to the back. If the strap wraps the shoulders and goes several inches down, it doesnt have the ability to keep the pack close to back anymore.
These packs are compromises between carry capacity, comfort, and weight. You have to be willing to accept the tradeoff. Even the top light framed pack is still best under 20 lbs, OK to 25, and becoming unsuitable at 30. Lesser ones become unsuitable at only 25lbs. Regardless of what the mfg may claim. It all depends on the level of discomfort someone is willing to accept. Some people have higher tolerance for it as well.
When the pack does sag down, the load lifters can help pull it in to the back.
When it is not sagging, they can work to lift wt off the shoulders and allow it all on the hips.May 18, 2013 at 9:29 am #1987290
@johng10Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
The pack is the correct size for you. The reason the hip belt is sloping downwards is that you are wearing it a little low. Use the hip belt to synch the pack into the curve of your lower back and it will take more weight off your shoulders, reduce the need to wear the belt super tight, result in less pack bounce when you walk, and cause the shoulder straps to wrap less so the pack leans back less.
The 45 degree load lifter guideline applies to packs with a ridged frame that is 4-5" higher than the top of your shoulders. On frameless packs the load lifters are used to adjust the size of the back length a little by firming up the shoulder straps when they connect to the pack too low for your torso length. They are also useful for pulling a floppy load a little tighter. Since the load is a little closer, it feels a little lighter since you don't have to lean forward as much to counterbalance it. On the vapor trail, the load lifters also close the water bladder pocket and anchor the back panel solidly to the load. The external water bladder pocket try's to eliminate the inconvenience of unpacking to refill a water bladder. I found it made an uncomfortable bulge along the spine.
The only pack I've tried that was more comfy than the vapor trail was the granite gear blaze. The crown was less comfy than the golite jam for me. The rei flash was ok too, but is a mid weight framed pack now. The new flash is more comfy for me than the osprey exos though. I haven't tried the ula circuit, but if you want more weight transfer to the hip belt and truly functional load lifters I'd look at the blaze and the circuit. Personally, I'm more than happy with the vapor trail even when using an inflatable pad (although I did cut the extension collar to half it's height to make it easier to put things into the pack). My total pack weight with water etc is usually 22-26.5 pounds.
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