I rated this pack best-on-test for fast-and-light backpacking when reviewing the best women’s backpacks available at the moment. It is well featured, has plenty of storage in the main compartment and in easy to reach pockets, and the harness and belt system is well designed for women.
Thin webbing and small buckles are functional and light,
Adjustable hip belt
Torso not adjustable
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Having less load to carry makes hiking more fun. Weighing in at 2.2lb/1kg, the Granite Gear Crown 2 60, Women's Fit is about as light as you can get for a pack that will still comfortably carry 40lb/18kg of gear. The top-loading Crown shaves weight in all the right places, like buckles and webbing, but it doesn’t skip on structure and padding where you need it.
The pack uses a compression-molded polypropylene frame sheet with reinforced channels and weight-reducing cutouts. Paired with the comfy molded-foam back panel, which also has channels, (for ventilation), it’s structurally secure, but it moves with your body when you walk, and allows airflow to reach your back, preventing excess sweatiness.
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The Crown comes in two fixed torso lengths, but the hip belt is adjustable, so the wearer can tweak it to their body shape for comfort. Storage is generous, both on the belt and in the lid, which features a water-resistant zipper and is made with weather-repelling fabric.
You can detach the lid to save weight, as dual straps keep the roll-top secure against weather, whether the top is on or off, and the framesheet is also removable. External compression straps on the face of the pack are useful for extra storage.
• RRP: $200 (US)
• Weight: Short 1.03kg/2.26lb, regular 1.07kg/2.36lb
• Volume: 60L / 3660 cu in
• Sizes: Short Torso / Regular Torso
• Colours: Flint/Midnight Blue, Black/Bedrock
In the field
Just as it is designed to do, I found that the Granite Gear Crown 2 moved dynamically with me when I walked, facilitating a bit of breeze to get in and around my back, which stopped me from getting uncomfortably sweaty.
Once adjusted, the curve of the main belt sat perfectly on my hips – a feature that made this pack exceptionally comfortable – and the roomy storage pockets on either side were very handy for stashing snacks and electronics.
On longer trips, I used the lid to hold things I wanted to get to quickly, like sunscreen and my knife, as well as toiletries, utensils, and my headlamp. As noted, the lid is made from weather-repelling fabric and has a water-resistant zipper, but I put things I really didn’t want to get wet in small dry bags.
When I wanted to go fast and light, I left the lid home. I did try taking the framesheet out too, but when I wore a full pack without it, I found that it put extra stress on my shoulders, so I always hiked without the frame installed.
Most of my gear stored in the spacious main compartment, and its slippery fabric made it easy to stuff my equipment inside, but the external compression straps on the face of the pack were handy for drying a pack towel or yesterday’s socks, and to strap tent poles or a jacket I wanted to reach quickly on the outside so I didn’t have to open the pack’s main compartment to get them.
Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.
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