The Granite Gear Crown2 60 is a versatile and inexpensive pack. At a weight of about 2.1 to 2.5 pounds / 0.9 to 1.1 kg (depending on size and configuration), it’s neither ultralight nor heavy. Considering that it carries up to 35 pounds (16 kg) comfortably, its load-carrying performance-to-weight ratio is reasonably high. It features an internal frame, an adjustable hip belt, and a 5-liter lid, all of which are removable. It has large mesh pockets on all three sides and a useful compression strap system.
Features and Specifications
- Padded adjustable hip belt with pockets (from 26 to 42 inches / 66 to 107 cm, removable)
- Compression-molded polypropylene frame (removable)
- 5-liter lid (removable)
- Rated for a load-carrying capacity of 35 lbs (16 kg)
- Large rear and side mesh pockets
- Molded foam and mesh back panel
- Load lifters
- Compression strap system
- Multiple attachment loops
- Hydration compatible
- Roll-top closure with over-the-top cinch for carrying a bear can
|Torso Length||Pack Weight (including belt and frame sheet but not the lid)||Lid Weight||Total Weight|
|Short||2.1 lb (0.95 kg)||0.16 lb (0.073 kg)||2.26 lb (1.03 kg)|
|Regular||2.2 lb (1.00 kg)||0.16 lb (0.073 kg)||2.36 lb (1.07 kg)|
|Long||2.3 lb (1.04 kg)||0.16 lb (0.073 kg)||2.46 lb (1.12 kg)|
- Volume: 60 L (3,500 cubic inches)
- Weight: 35 pound (16 kg) maximum carry capacity
- High-Tenacity Nylon (100D and 210D) with Barrier DWR
- Compression molded polypropylene frame sheet
Description of Field Testing
The Granite Gear Crown2 60 was my first pack that saw extensive use. It served me well on a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail. I have since moved on to a smaller and lighter pack as my go-to pack, but the Crown2 60 still sees plenty of use due to its large volume and ability to carry comfortably across a wide weight range.
I have tested this pack on approximately 800 miles of mostly on-trail travel, across all seasons and most weather conditions. Testing environments and activities included the entirety of the Colorado Trail, multi-day desert backpacking, and cross-country ski hut trips. I have tested the carrying capacity up to the recommended 35 pounds (16 kg) limit, as well as stripped down as a day pack loaded with less than 5 pounds (2.3 kg) of gear. Its simplicity and highly adjustable waist strap mean that it is also the pack that I lend out most frequently, and this review will incorporate the feedback from other users who have borrowed my pack.
My performance assessment of the Granite Gear Crown2 60 is based on the following considerations:
- Accessibility and Organization
Accessibility and Organization
This pack has one large main pocket with a roll-top enclosure and cinch strap, with no internal organization. The sleeve that contains the removable internal frame ostensibly doubles as the hydration sleeve, with a small hook to hang a water bladder (which I use to clip my keys).
Externally, the Crown2 60 has three very large stretch pouches. The rear mesh pouch is easily big enough for a shelter, warming layers, or rain gear. The side mesh pouches (replaced in newer models with Robic nylon) are large enough to fit three 1L Smartwater bottles, but the mesh does not taper towards the front as dramatically as it does in other packs. The depth of the side mesh allows more gear to be stored securely at the cost of less access while hiking. If you do not have flexible shoulders, reaching the side mesh pouches requires taking the pack off or asking for help from a friend. I added a Zpacks Water Bottle Sleeve to one of the shoulder straps, which eliminated this frustration. Current versions of this pack also have a drawstring at the top of the side mesh pouches for added security.
The hip belt pockets are large enough to securely hold any small items that I need accessible while hiking. I have found that filling one pocket with all the snacks I expect to eat during the day leaves room in the other pocket for my phone, a map, a mini chapstick and sunscreen, and more. The zippers on these pockets are more easily pulled from a certain angle and can be difficult to operate one-handed if the pocket is mostly empty.
The last pocket is the completely removable lid, which adds 5 liters of extra storage. In my usage of the pack, I have never needed this extra storage, but when loaned out to friends, they used the lid with no complaints. The lid can be attached over a bear canister if needed, but it’s not required to secure a bear canister (which can be secured using top compression straps). Note: I have not tested this pack with a bear canister.
The Crown2 60 has two larger loops at the bottom of the pack that can be used to attach an ice axe, trekking poles, or shelter. It also has two smaller loops that are meant for attaching the removable lid, which are too small for larger items but are an easy place for a carabiner or cord attachment. It also has six compression straps, making for an adaptable compression system. The lower side straps can be threaded underneath the mesh pouches, or kept on the outside to secure the contents of the pouches. The upper side straps are 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm) above the top of the straps and can be used to secure taller items like trekking poles. I also use this strap to secure my Garmin inReach Mini and headlamp.
Overall, the pack has lots of secure storage space, with an acceptable amount of storage accessible while walking. With the simple addition of a shoulder strap water bottle holder, the pack allows for easy organization and accessibility of all of my gear.
This pack is very comfortable for my body type when used within the recommended weight range. The highly adjustable hip belt, internal frame, and harness work together well to pull the pack close to my body and transfer weight to my hips. Other testers included men and women ranging from 5’4” (1.6 m) to 6’ (1.8 m) tall, all of whom found similar results with my medium torso length pack.
The hip belt rubbed on my hip bones enough to leave them discolored by the end of a day of hiking, but never developed into open sores or became painful. While the hip belt fits most user’s hips comfortably, a two-strap system would give more freedom to dial in the fit by allowing the load to be better distributed across more hip belt surface area.
The shoulder straps are less than perfect; they are too thin to distribute heavy loads and the sternum strap is not well designed to position the straps comfortably. Above a pack weight of about 30 pounds (13.6 kg) they begin to cut into the wearer’s shoulders. However, at lesser pack weights, the hip belt takes almost all of the weight easily and the thin shoulder straps become a non-issue.
The sternum strap buckle is small enough to be frustrating to open or close with cold hands or while wearing gloves, and the thin strap connecting the harness to the bottom of the pack can at times rub on the wearer’s ribs. Lastly, the back mesh panel and air flow vents don’t significantly increase air flow – my back is sweaty while wearing this pack in most if not all conditions. The new version of this pack, the Crown3 60, has ditched the mesh for a molded foam back panel; time will tell if this fixes the issue.
If you remove the internal frame as advertised, the pack quickly devolves into a puddle of unstructured fabric. Do not buy this pack with the intent of using it frameless.
All that said, this is one of the more comfortable packs I have used for carrying less than 35 lbs. When fitted well to my body, it sits with all of the weight on my hips, and the shoulder straps simply pull the pack tightly to my body. On long mileage multi-day treks, I have never been uncomfortable using this pack in a way that a short strap readjustment could not fix.
In summary, it’s comfortable, but don’t expect to push it beyond its load-carrying capacity.
My Crown2 60 has lasted for hundreds of miles with impressive durability. The only damage sustained is a pinhole in the rear mesh pocket which has not grown bigger with time. All straps, buckles, and zippers are working and intact, even the delicate-seeming sternum strap buckle. The pack only shows its age and mileage on the rare occasions when the lid is attached, which has only a few dozen miles on it and still looks almost brand new. I am not particularly gentle with my packs, often sitting on them and taking them on rock scrambling or canyoneering expeditions.
The design of the hip belt, internal frame, and shoulder harness provides a stable pack that does not shift when rock scrambling or moving over downed logs. It feels like part of your body, moving with you as you move. Even if the weight is positioned awkwardly through hasty packing, it does a great job of distributing the weight to your body – because of the wide range of adjustability in the harness and compression system.
On an overnight backpacking trip to a hot spring, one friend asked to borrow a pack, and I happily offered my Crown2 60. It was not until we arrived at the trailhead that we realized the sheer amount of gear they intended to bring – including a 7+ pound (3 kg) Walmart car camping tent and a large bear canister. We did a shakedown to leave any unnecessary items at home, but still had a lot more gear than we were expecting. My wife and I gave our friends our smaller and lighter packs and I carried the Crown2 60 packed to its limits, likely right at or above 35 pounds (16 kg). While this was at the limit of comfort for the thin shoulder straps, the pack still hugged my torso well and I had no problems climbing over avalanche debris or fording streams.
On a separate trip to the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, I was able to climb and scramble with 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of water sloshing around inside the pack. While I have fallen many times while wearing this pack cross-country skiing, the falls were always due to my technique, not from the pack disrupting my balance.
This pack (in a size Medium torso length) is 35.2 ounces (1 kg) without the lid, which is 7 ounces (0.2 kg) heavier than my Mountainsmith Zerk 40. The Crown2 60 can only comfortably carry up to about 35 pounds (16 kg), which is on the lighter side for 60 L packs. This pack is not a finely-tuned scalpel for a hiker with a well-dialed-in kit. However, I find myself using it consistently for many situations in which it excels. These situations include winter hiking, long water and food carries, short trips, and as a loaner pack to friends.
When backpacking or cross-country skiing in the winter, I love having the extra room to carry all the puffy insulation I need to stay warm. I can also carry heavier items, such as a large pot to melt snow. The compression straps and loops make attaching poles, snowshoes, and other winter equipment easy.
Long Water and Food Carries
When hiking in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, this pack’s ability to comfortably carry a significant amount of water weight allowed me to travel much deeper into the canyonlands than with my Zerk 40 (which has a lower comfortable load-carrying capacity). It allowed me to finish the Colorado Trail in a COVID-shortened period by letting me skip multiple town days and rely on larger resupplies.
A quick overnight close to the car is a great opportunity to have a pack that can handle a six-pack, a little firewood, a four-person tent, or any other camping luxury.
Loaning to Friends
This pack is simple to use, and the wide range of adjustment on the hip belt means that anyone roughly my size can use this pack comfortably. It can easily handle a less-than-ultralight kit for trips that do not have long food or water carries.
Entry to Lightweight Backpacking
The same reasons this is a great loaner pack make it a great first entry into reducing your pack weight. My Colorado Trail thru-hike was the first backpacking I had done since the Marine Corps, where my body armor alone weighed more than my fully loaded Crown2 60. The easy learning curve of this pack makes it easy to recommend or gift to someone interested in starting to lighten their pack.
|Pack||Granite Gear Crown2 60||REI Flash 55||Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60|
|Weight (Size M)||38 oz (1077 g)||42 oz (1191 g)||32.7 oz (927 g)|
|Capacity||35 lb (15.9 kg)||30 lbs (13.6 kg)||35 lb (15.9 kg)|
|Materials||Main: 100D High-tenacity nylon with NeverWet liquid repelling treatment, Bottom: 210D High-tenacity ripstop nylon with NeverWet liquid repelling treatment||100-denier ripstop nylon main body; 420-denier nylon bottom||100 denier Robic high-tensile strength nylon; select use of 200 denier Robic high tensile strength nylon, 70 denier double-rip ripstop nylon, Darlington Mesh, and Supreme Air Mesh|
|Frame||Polypropylene, removable||Steel, non-removable||Air Flow SitLight Camp Seat, removable|
|Hipbelt||yes, load bearing, with pockets||yes, load bearing, with pockets||yes, load bearing, with pockets|
|Closure||Roll top||Roll top||Over-the-top|
|External attachment Points||2 ice axe loops, 6+ cinch straps||1 ice axe loop, 5 cinch straps||1 ice axe loop, 1 trekking pole attachement site, 2 cinch straps, multiple webbing tie on sites|
|Other||Removable lid||Removable lid||Frame doubles as a sit pad|
Other packs filling this niche of light packs with larger carrying capacity (but at a higher price point) include the Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 60L, the Seek Outside Divide 4800, and the Hyperlight Mountain Gear Porter series.
The Granite Gear Crown2 60 balances good value, versatility, and lightweight functionality. With an MSRP of $219.95, it is often available at much lower prices during sales – I purchased mine new for $110, and it is currently available from Granite Gear for $120. It offers a wide range of uses, from winter overnights to extended backcountry ventures. For those seeking the most ultralight solution or needing to carry more than 35 pounds (16 kg), other options might prove more suitable. For me, the Crown2 60 saves me money and garage space by filling many roles in my outdoor adventures.
Following: a collection of random photos of the Granite Gear Crown2 60 in use on day hikes, winter trips, backpacking trips, and as a loaner pack.
- Author: More by James Montavan
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