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Granite Gear Blaze A.C. 60 Packis rated4.4615out of5by13.
Rated5out of5byPappy CfromGreat packAfter trying a couple of different 55-65 liter packs, I finally found the perfect pack. It is light weight but very sturdy. It handles all my gear (24 lbs) great. It is by far the best fitting and most comfortable pack I have used. I am 5'10" and around 190 lbs and this pack fits me perfect. The most positive thing is the functioning of the hip belt. Stays in place while loaded very well. Other packs seem to slip and I am constantly readjusting. Ample pockets on exterior. Love the compression ties and the roll down top.
Date published: 2014-01-09
Rated4out of5bypole hikerfromFantasticThis pack combines light weight and simplicity with lots of options for attaching and storing items. I was working on reducing my bulk, so I went from an 82 liter pack that weighed over 5 lbs down to this one, and it has been great. It has forced me to think about where I can reduce the bulk in my equipment, so that has been a good motivator. I love the layout of the various pockets. The long one down the back is perfect for tent poles. I like to avoid hanging a bunch of loose stuff on the outside of the pack, and this works well. When I have everything stowed inside, the pack is a clean, snag-free load on my back that makes it easy to move through the woods. I also love the way it fits. When all the straps are tightened up, the pack fits like a glove and doesn't move around at all.
The one thing I can think of that could be better is access to the side pockets while the pack is on. The top of the pockets is pretty high, so I have never been able to figure out a way to reach them without taking the pack off.
I added Granite Gear hip belt pockets on both sides to deal with this, so that is no big issue. I like that everything including the optional top lid are customizable.
By the way, I found that the Granite Gear Bear Hugs bags help to manage the interior space when trying to fit a bear canister in the somewhat minimal space.
Date published: 2013-07-05
Rated3out of5byBajafrenzyfromGood PackI rated this pack as a 3, because if you're like me, you don't care about the 4-5 star living room reviews, you want to know the knitty gritty, why people don't like this pack. To start, I've owned this pack for about a year and a half. I've used it in places like the Central African jungle (dry season and rainy season), to take my kids on overnighters/weekenders in the Alaska bush, climbing trips through the Yosemite Valley, to bouncing around hostels in France and Germany. My longest trek with it was about 400 miles, the shortest was about 20 miles. I average about 25-30lbs packed weight, and have yet to desire a replacement.
The knitty gritty:
The pack cords are a brilliant concept, wonderfully flawed by the fact that they used a near-proprietary diameter of cord as opposed to a universal sized paracord available anywhere. I haven't had a cord fail me yet, but I do consider it an irritating design flaw, because it makes a good idea (user replaceable compression/load adjustment straps) worthless.
The pockets will stretch permanently if you're not careful. And won't secure anything bigger than a water bottle, well. The accessory pocket on the back of the pack becomes limited on size dependent on how full your pack is. The fuller the pack, the smaller the capacity of the back pocket. I use it for maps usually, and once for a pair of Chacos.
The zipper on the available lid is backwards. To get something out of it, you have to take off the pack to access the zipper or have a friend access it from behind. You can't reach behind you with the pack on your back and access the zipper over your shoulder. The attachment points make it a one way only mounting system unless you modify it by cutting seams, so you cant just turn it around to fix this, without some work.
The redeeming qualities:
I won't talk too much about fit and comfort, it fits me or I wouldn't own it still. The straps are some of the most comfortable I've worn when compared to other big brands, otherwise, packs are like shoes, try them on for a personalized fit, or else no matter how great the pack really is, you'll hate it.
Sizewise, it's a 60L tube, very basic pack design. I recommend you buy the lid, it's great for your stove and things you need to access quickly. It detaches and makes a great carry bag. Not the best hip pack design, but I carry it like a courier bag for little day excursions and it suits me well. The tube design of the main pack makes it versatile enough for a large day pack sized load to a 3-week trekking load (not to be read "expedition load," definitely wouldn't consider it for Denali, etc.). Its perfect. Holds everything I need with not a zipper to fail on the main pack.
The Cordura (pack body) holds up well in thorns and on granite, in mud, in forrests, against African clay...it's good ol Cordura, not much to say there. They make motorcycle jackets out of the stuff, so it's going to last. Scuffs don't excite me like other nylon packs because of this. The side pockets, while seemingly worthless spandex/lycra/elastic afterthoughts, actually hold up better than expected and can hold a water bottle well.
If you're the kind of backpacker that still thinks Nalgene bottles are a backpackers' tool, you will probably struggle with the concept of this pack. It is not a heavy duty "load everything you can" kind of pack, nor is it a fast packer's "drill holes in the toothbrush" weight saving pack. It's a compromise. Skimp on stuff that doesn't matter to some people, like extra pockets, zippers, etc., but keep the body durable (cordura, it's heavy, but, it's going to last). It's for the guy that wants a lighter pack so he can justify bringing an alite for camp fire creature comforts, who knows compromise. It's for the guy who knows to wear his clothes dry at night while he's sleeping, not the macho weekend warrior bushwhacking in Southern California (if that's possible, my exaggeration is for reinforcement of MY opinion). It's a no-brainer, no-frills pack that will be hard for me to replace.
Date published: 2013-06-05
Rated5out of5bygatornavyfromGreat Pack for 1 Night or 6!Owned this pack about 1 year. Zero complaints. Zero defects. Simple, light weight, plenty of stroage, COMFY, COMFY, COMFY with 20-30LB loads. No shifting, flopping or hot spots in 8-10 mile stretches. I have hiked and camped in the Sierras around SoCal between sea level and 9K. This is my go-to pack for overnighters to 5-6 day treks. Other reviewers have complained about a lack of space for hydration bladder to which I say; hog wash! My Source Tactical WLPS 3 liter fits in there PERFECTLY. Only one ever-so-picky and nerdy complaint; why did GG NOT go with standard 1" MOLLE webbing on the hip belt? While you can certainly make a lot of hip pockets and pouches work with the GG straps, the 1" MILSPEC stuff would open up so many more options for geeky add-ons. Then again, I may experiment with other "tactical" belts to see if they will fit. Anyway, I LOVE this pack! My only problem is, the new Crown 60 weighs a mere 1LB 2OZ and is VERY similar in design. I am lusting for one.
Date published: 2013-05-07
Rated4out of5byToddWhoHikesfromThru-hiking weight meets Camino comfort.Based upon my 500-mile, 6-week journey up through Spain on the Via de la Plata, and all the training before-hand, I can say this pack excels at one thing very crucial to me: Fit. This pack is a dream to wear, with zero hot-spots once properly adjusted. I suppose any GG pack with an A.C. frame would fit the same, but I cannot verify. I had a maximum of 24 pounds in the pack, but by the end, found myself more comfortable with 18.
The straps are well-padded and comfortable. The waist-belt, while it did fit out of the box, was not quite the right fit for me (6' 220lb), and I opted for the XL size, and that did the trick. The waist-belt does a great job of supporting the load. It was barely on my shoulders once properly adjusted. I also appreciated the lashing system on the hip-belt and shoulder straps. I kept a slew of small pockets and gear lashed to the straps in easy reach at all times.
The pack is one giant stuff sack inside, with compression straps (lineloc cords) that help to stabilize the load. These lineloc cords have two disadvantages for me:
1. They loosen unexpectedly.
2. They are not the same thickness as paracord, which would be a huge plus for in-field repairs.
The above being said, do not buy the lineloc top lid for the pack. I tossed it less than 100 miles in. It constantly loosens, and unbalances the load. It is more of a hinderance than a help.
The lid on the top of the pack is great. When closed, rolled down, and strapped, the lid might as well be watertight. I did not feel badly for not having a zip closure at all. It also has the advantage of being able to better control load, as I can roll down the excess at the top of the pack, and compress the load better.
The outside of the pack has three mesh compartments. the two small compartments seem intended to hold water. The middle, larger pocket can hold various and sundry items that need to have ease of reach (remember this back is one big stuff sack). The mesh, while lightweight, is not durable in the least. I have multiple holes that have grown from small snags, and this material excels at snagging. That does not mean this pack is fragile - far from it. The cordura body of the pack is fantastically durable, in fact. It took some serious abuse from me over that 500 miles, and came through with only scuffs.
All in all, this is a great pack, and could be made better by changing just a few details.
Date published: 2013-04-23
Rated5out of5byFiddlesticksfromI Finally Found My PackI think I've finally found my pack.
Way back when I had a Gregory Wind River. Awesome for it's time, but I believe >10lbs? I've kept it to loan to others.
Then I hiked with an Osprey Aether 70. Awesome pack, but still a bit too heavy (5 lbs).
See, I took up photography. And I age each year (imagine that). The photo gear is shade under 10 lbs, so I simply had to reduce weight if I was going to keep solo backpacking into the high up places.
I started with my pack. I needed something that could handle not just my packing gear but also my photo gear. I wanted something that was less than 3 lbs but could still be comfortable with up to 40 lbs, and double as a peak bag (saving more weight).
Enter Granite Gear's Blaze A.C. 60. I love this pack.
COMFORT: More comfortable than my Aether 70 with 40lbs in it! I was concerned about this, but the Blaze handled it fine, and even sat closer to my back and more comfortably on my hips with that amount of weight. Even after miles of trails, steep terrain, significant off-trail hiking, I never started aching at all. It's more solid and sturdy than I thought it would be.
WEIGHT: 2.875 pounds (46 ounces). With this pack shaving over 2 pounds off my last pack, I've got my total weight WITH 10 lbs photo gear AND food AND water down to 33 lbs (doesn't include worn weight, like clothing, boots, etc.). It's light enough to use as a daypack as well as a peak-bagger for non-technical climbs (we're talking class 1, 2, and maybe a couple sketchy class 3 sections, but NOT technical climbs). Could it be used for technical? I bet it could, but I think there would be bags better suited for those situations. But for everything else, for what I do out of base camp, it's perfect because it's WAY more comfortable than a flimsy 18 liter pack with non-padded waist straps and hardly-padded shoulder straps. Plus you can pull out the waist belt and back pad if you really want to lighten it for a side excursion from base camp.
CAPACITY: 60 Liters. For me, it's more than enough. I've fit everything I need gear + photo gear into this for multi-day solo trips in inclement weather (think Colorado late fall). The water pocket holds my 3L Camelbak bladder, although I tend to put it in the outer middle stuff pocket for easier access. Did that with the Aether 70 as well.
POCKETS/ACCESS: Okay, so this was probably the biggest sacrifice. No, it doesn't have a ton of pockets. It's just one big pocket. But my style is to use stuff bags and such to separate gear in the pack. My Gregory had a front access panel which was nice I admit, but the way I pack things now, it's really not hard to access things when I've stoped for a rest. The stretchy side and "front" pockets hold a lot of stuff, more than you'd think. I could stuff a lot more into 'em than I do. The roll top is really nice, I like how it works and its minimalistic design. I do miss a top lid at times, but unrolling and re-rolling the closure is EASY. I did buy the Lineloc lid (got a great deal on it), but I haven't used it and might return it — it's 9 oz and I just don't know if it's worth adding the weight.
BUILD/QUALITY: So far, it's exceeded my expectations. I was skeptical of the material for the side pockets and the shoelace-like compression straps, but the system seems suprisingly durable. No problems yet. Are beefy compression straps with huge plastic buckles a bit easier? Yeah. But the difference is minimal, and I think it's worth the trade-off in weight savings. Plus they are easier to repair/replace in the field.
NO ZIPPERS: I think that's pretty cool.
THIS AND THAT: A backpack is, in a lot of ways, like shoes. Some fit well, some don't, regardless of price. For me, this pack has fit extremely well. I'm 6'0'' and my torso is probably a wee bit longer than it should be (my wife thinks I'm cute, so that's all that matters). I do notice that I have it adjusted pretty far, so not sure how this pack would fit for someone 6'6" with a long torso. I'd call Granite Gear and ask some questions in that situation.
All in all, a GREAT pack, 5 stars. I honestly haven't looked at another pack since getting this one, and probably never will at this point in my life. I'm sold.
GEAR: Get as light as you can, it's worth it. I've shaved probably 15 pounds off what I used to carry and didn't even know it. I even gambled and got a quilt (Enl1ghtenedEquipment Revelation X 20 degree wide with 30% overfill CHEAP!), and it's been amazing. I used to wake up cold all the time, not since getting the quilt. And I toss and turn at night. REI sells the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1, I got one and LOVE IT. Price is a bit high, but it's worth it. Got pounded by hail, snow, thunderstorms with high wind, and I was dry, had plently of room and it was, as they say, "bombproof." Anyway, point is, REDUCE WEIGHT. Without photo gear I'm down to 23 pounds in my pack (includes pack, food and water). I'm FREE!
Date published: 2013-03-30
Rated5out of5bySometimes i camp and hikefromJust a solid pack.Lots has been said about this bag. Not much to add save it was the perfect pack for doing the Wonderland Trail this last year. The side pockets are perfect for stuffing layers down as the weather changed from sunny, to, well.... not sunny. It was comfortable throughout my 93 mile adventure. I have recently bought the lid for it as I kinda missed having my "junk drawer" but I would not say that it was really lacking anything.
Date published: 2013-03-19
Rated5out of5byADKphotofromGreat packI really like this pack. It is light and minimalistic while still having full suspension. I think a lot of people will have trouble adapting to the roll top, but it works well and a pair of compression straps keep the load stable. (a line lock lid can be purchased separately, but it is not needed.) I do miss having an outside pocket for trail food, but that is easily remedied with hip belt pockets or shoulder strap pockets. I used it with 22 pound trail weight and nearly empty as a summit pack; it functioned beautifully in both formats and withstood off-trail bushwhacking. The outside mesh pocket is awesome for storing wet gear.
Date published: 2012-10-02
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