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Granite Gear Crown VC 60 Review

Heading up to Ama Dablam base camp
Heading up to Ama Dablam base camp

I bought my Granite Gear Crown VC 60 last year because I wanted to lighten my base weight. This pack seemed to be a good option for easing into the world of ultra-light backpacking. I used it for four months last summer while working along the Appalachian Trail as a ridge runner, then again for three and a half months while hiking in Nepal. I still use it now when I’m on my non-work related backpacking trips (more on that later).

Price: $200

Weight: 2 lbs (for a women’s size short)

The Crown is lighter than his set up.
The Crown is lighter than his set up.

What Do I Love About this Pack?

  • Simplicity. The design is basic. The main compartment is designed like a dry bag, and I roll the top down to close it. If I don’t need to use all 60 liters of space then I can make the pack more compact. There are two straps on the outside for clipping on a sleeping pad (or whatever else). The outside has three stretchy pockets, one big one on the back and two side pockets for water bottles. Which leads me to my next point…
  • I can reach my water bottles while wearing the pack. During my early years of backpacking I became an Osprey fan, but the one thing I hate about their packs is that I can’t get my water bottles out of the side pockets while I’m wearing it. This isn’t an issue for me with the Crown. Their pockets are stretchy and easy to access.
  • It’s water resistant. A pack cover is not necessary as long as everything that needs to be kept dry is on the inside (not in the stretchy pockets). I still use a trash bag liner just in case, but I no longer have to mess around with stopping and putting a pack cover on when it starts raining. I can just keep heading for my destination.
    In the Annapurna region of Nepal
    In the Annapurna region of Nepal
  • This would be a useful pack for new ultra-light backpackers. It weighs 2 pounds, and the frame is removable for if you get your base weight really low and want to shave off a few additional ounces. I had a base weight of 10 pounds last summer and even with several days of food the Crown was still comfortable to carry.
  • As I mentioned above the top rolls down to become compact, so it can be utilized for day hiking as well. It’s also small enough to use as a carry on when I’m flying.
  • It’s durable. It currently has about eight months of use, and there’s hardly any noticeable wear on it. I’m thinking this pack is going to last a long time.

The only thing I’m disappointed with in regards to this pack is the weirdly small stretchy pockets on the shoulder straps. They seem like they are supposed to be there to store a cell phone, but my iPhone 5 (and case) doesn’t fit. I wish there was a stretchy pocket on the hip belt for my phone.

On a suspension bridge in the Everest region with my pack
On a suspension bridge in the Everest region with my pack

Tips for Buying and Using the Crown:

  • Keep in mind that this pack isn’t meant for carrying more than 35 pounds in total. Every time I have gone over on that weight, it has been uncomfortable to carry and makes my back and shoulders sore. I don’t mind that I have to keep my pack weight under 35 pounds because I bought the Crown in order to help myself become more ultra-light. Unfortunately, I can’t use this pack with my current job as a wilderness therapy guide because I have to carry lots of extra things I wouldn’t have on personal trips. I love the Crown so much that I’m now a Granite Gear convert and I ordered the Nimbus Trace Access 80 for work.
  • I was surprised to find that I actually require a short size. I usually need a regular in other brands. Be sure to measure yourself to get the right size before you order. Also, the women’s version is the same as the men’s except for the shape of the hip belt.

I adore this pack and plan to continue using it for many more hikes.

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