For a 60l bag, the Granite Gear Crown is very light, weighing in at just under a kilo. That’s on par with most 35l bags. Consider my interest piqued.
A first look-over reveals a back system they call Vapor Current, which explains the V.C. bit. Here was me thinking it had won a medal. It’s a well ventilated back, with an HDPE insert to stiffen things up. The insert is die-cut to reduce weight and improve ventilation; it’s also removable. The main bag material seems to be Cordura, the shoulder and waist straps are reasonably padded, and you’ll notice the webbing is fairly narrow. It’s a roll-top, which I’ll come back to. There are two ice axe loops at the bottom, but you’ll need to Macguyver something to keep the axes leashed in up top, although there are plenty of options given the webbing distribution. The clips are small but seem sturdy enough. There are two torso lengths for the chaps, Regular and Long.
All this skimping in the weight department hasn’t impacted the carry, I found it very comfortable with a load of around 10kg, and the ventilation worked well. I do tend to stop frequently to put layers on and off when I’m out, and also to stash or retrieve the camera or other bits and bobs, so I like to get inn and out of a bag fairly quickly and also have access to pockets for wee items like phones and keys. That’s where a rolltop just doesn’t work for me. I know they’re kind of a marmite thing. I get the fact that it can offer better weather resistance, but it’s a faff having to roll and unroll the top and clip it in place. The lack of pocket was mildly depressing and led to some disappointment when I discovered my sweeties were inside my shell jacket pocket which was in my bag. Cue long face. I notice that Granite Gear offer waist belt pockets and a lid you can add on to this, which I didn’t get to test, but I’d guess that would resolve a lot of my issues.
So, in summary, it’s a very light, spacious bag that carries well and is very comfortable to wear. If you’re looking to get one and are like me when it comes to rolltops, take a look at the lid and the pockets and factor that in to your budget too.
Sorry for the stock photo, I didn’t get a shot of the thing. To see it in action, take a look at Sandy’s blog.
Photo courtesy of Granite Gear