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deadeye
2006-11-24, 23:45
Anyone here with experience - good or bad - with Granite Gear packs? I'm looking at the Vapor Trail and Latitude Vapor. They both feel great with the bag of sand at the store; I haven't got 'round to trying them with my actual kit yet, but I'm sure it will all fit just fine. The Latitude pack's panel loading feature looks like it could be really cool, or just a pain. Anything you can tell me would be appreciated, esp. if it keeps me from plunking down cash that I should have held on to.

Thanks a million ($175 actually:biggrin: )

bird dog
2006-11-25, 00:13
Funny you should ask Deadeye. I just purchased a Granite Gear Vapor Trail and used it on my trip to Linville Gorge (Brief trip report on a different thread here). I purchased my GGVT in my efforts to lessen my load. I figured with a two pound pack (I have the regular torso length) with less than 4000ci, I wouldnt have room to haul a bunch of junk, thus getting my weight down. IT WORKED!

The regular torso fits perfectly out of the box for me (Im 5'11", 200pds). However, my friend recently purchased one as well and he is 6' and required the long torso model. Since fit is such a critical factor in choosing a pack, I would recommend you try the two sizes that most closely meet your needs and decide which one works the best.

The manufacturer rates the max load at 30#'s. Even though I only used it for an overnight trip, I loaded it with three days food / water, and carried all of my winter clothing (Because it was freezing outside) at a weight of 22#'s. The weight balanced wonderfully, and the pack has several tension straps positioned horizontally on the pack to cinch it down. Out of the box, the craftsmanship appears to be quality work and the stiches look strong. I have read reviews where people have carried around forty pounds in the GGVT with no ill effect.

To keep the weight of pack low, the manufacturer uses what appears to be silnylon on the majority of the pack. I was concerned about its durability, but compensated by using my Jacks R Better / Just Jeffs pack cover/gear hammock over the pack (even on fair days) to add an extra layer of protection. The trail I was hiking was very rugged, and the pack took quite a lashing. It snagged on several branches, and got scraped on a rock with no ill effect to the pack or pack cover I used (LOVE MY JRB / JJ PACK COVER - JUST WISHED I HAD GOTTEN THE BLAZE ORANGE ONE).

The ONLY modification I made to the pack was the addition of an Outdoor Research Pouch on the right side of the hip belt. I use this waterproof pouch to keep my camera, map, light, compass, and trail mix close at hand. Granite Gear makes two such pouches available for purchase. One that fits on the hip belt, and one on the shoulder strap. The only reason I didnt purchase one of theirs is because I had this brand new OR pouch laying around.

My overall impression of this pack is that I LOVE IT! The pack weighed exactly as advertised out of the box. I purchased the lid for twenty bucks but havent used it and frankly see no need for it. The roll top is expandable to add extra cubes which would be handy just after a food drop / resupply on a long trip. The pack does have a hydration pouch which my Platypus fit easily into. The pack is easy to load (toploader) and easy to stabilize the pack with the straps. I am a Hammocker but still like the idea of having a pad for sitting around camp on and using to sleep under the stars or in a shelter with. I have a regular size Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite pad that easliy attaches to the outside of the pack. I was intiially concerned about the durability of the pack, but my fears eased after my first trip. With the addition of a pack cover (even in fair weather), I now have absolutely NO concerns with the packs durability. I would HIGHLY recommend this pack to anyone. I paid $139 for mine.

In fact, I liked this pack so much, I thought about becoming a gear tester just to write an owner review for this and the JRB / JJ pack cover (ALTHOUGH, I STILL WANT ONE IN BLAZE ORANGE - did I say that already?). Its a good pack that will no doubt be my go to pack for some time to come. Hope this helps. If you have specific questions, pm me or post here and Ill try to answer them from my experiences with this pack.

BD

Take-a-knee
2006-11-25, 00:45
I also have and love a Vapor Trail. I've carried a little over 30# a couple of times in complete comfort. If you use synthetic insulation space can be a little tight in the winter. I plan to get a down top quilt to go with my Kickass bottom quilt(the kickass stuffs fairly small) to help the space factor. I just bought the small belt pouches and the long side pouches. I plan to carry the Macat, hammock, poncho and stove in the side pouches. The belt pouches hold a digital camera and a Khar PM9 9mm. My 16yo daughter has the Vapor Ki women's version and she likes it a lot. We also both have lids for our packs, I wouldn't be without the lid. The silnylon is thin, if I were bushwhacking I'd be concerned about it, but for on trail hiking with proper care, it should last a long time. The waist belt on this pack really works, as well as my $300 Gregory Makalu Pro. The only way to make this pack any lighter would be to ditch the waistbelt, Golite style, I have to part ways with Ray Jardine on that one. The GGVT has a pouch that holds a 70(?)oz Platypus perfectly, and you can stow another of the same size between the pack body and the back panel. A 20oz twist top gatorade bottle fits in the elastic side pockets handily. This keeps all fluids away from gear in the pack liner. If I had to carry 50# I'd go with the Makalu, I hope those days are behind me. I saw this pack on sale somewhere (REI or Sierra Trading, I don't remember) for 129 I think, this past week.

deadeye
2006-11-25, 09:14
Thanks, guys, that's useful info. My base weight is about 12 pounds, so even with a load of food and water I don't spend much time over 20, so I won't be maxing the suspension. BD, after I get my MacCat, I think I'll look into the JRB pack cover - don't know why I didn't think of blaze orange before:adore: . TAK, I'm with you on the hip belt thing. I don't care if I'm just carrying a day pack - a good hip belt takes the entire load so you can fuggedabouddit. The GG hip belt is what really caught my attention.

Thanks again:beer:

SGT Rock
2006-11-25, 09:52
12 pound base is good weight. Sounds like a good pack.

bird dog
2006-11-25, 12:29
Im probably around the same weight for a base, maybe a bit more and it is a good pack. I cant remember if they were out of the blaze orange when I ordered my pack cover / gear hammock or if I just thought about the whole stealth thing and went with the green. Either way, hindsight is 20/20 and with all the bear hunters I walked with in Linville Gorge, I really wished I had the blaze orange. It would also be helpful as a signaling device for aircraft in case Sherpa fell off the mountain (If you read the Linville Gorge trip report, you'd understand).

My last trip with the pack called for alot of scrambling and climbing, and moving up and over deadfall. The hipbelt and suspension system worked great. Forgot I had the thing on.

BD

deadeye
2006-11-25, 21:29
I saw this pack on sale somewhere (REI or Sierra Trading, I don't remember) for 129 I think, this past week.

It just went on sale at Backcountrygear.com for $124. It would really be sleazy for me to go to my local store to check it out, try it on, load my stuff in it, and otherwise touch it, feel it, take up their time and drool on it, and then go buy it on line. :banghead:

Having a conscience is not always economical.:angel:

sailingsoul
2006-11-25, 22:43
deadeye Here's my $.02 I hope it helps. I have learned that sometimes the lowest price isn't always the "lowest price". If the pack @ $124 , has a flaw in material or workmanship, you'll find out only after it comes out of the box. After you've paid shipping and waited. That maybe the reason for the sale. Oh they'll take it back and refund price and shopping but not return shipping costs. How much does the shipping add to the price??? :dontknow: Add that to the great price of $124. Not to mention the value of seeing 'the' one your buying , like inspecting the seams and giving the pack you're own final go over before you pay for it. I have bought items from local shops where I mentioned the internet pricing, be truthful and asked if the store could knock anything off their price. That's what they do when the store has a sale. If the salesman says no , ask/see the manager. I've gotten no from one and yes from the other. Just like buying a car spend some time there, make like your really want it but can they help with the price and walk out if you get a no/ no. If you know your going to get it come back , ask again and by it what ever they say. Over $100 is alot of money and the store has room to come down . Let us know if you save , Hell $20 is $20 and you'll feel great making out. Just like in love," you don't get if you don't ask"! You did start the thread by saying "Anything you can tell me would be appreciated, esp. if it keeps me from plunking down cash that I should have held on to...." One final thought for you . If you do have any problem with the pack down the road, dealing with the store will be much easier than a net shop. Expensive gear should last. read: new replacement , right then.....good luck SS :captain:

Take-a-knee
2006-11-25, 23:40
Deadeye, just go to Granite Gear's website and it will tell you how to measure yourself for their packs. The straight skinny is the following:

1) Find the most prominent cervical vertebrae (C-7), the big bump at the base of your neck.

2) Locate your illiac crests (your hipbones at your waistline on your pelvis).

3) Get someone to stretch a string across your back at the level of your illiac crests.

4) Get same person to measure from C-7 to where the string crossed your back.

5) This distance will tell you what size pack you need.

If you are in the market for a pack and you don't mind a toploader (anything else will add weight), I promise you that you will like this one.

Just Jeff
2006-11-26, 01:09
Hey - don't feel bad about going into an outfitters and trying on the packs. Like sailingsoul says - you haven't actually made up your mind yet if you'll buy it from them or not. Mention to the manager that you can get the same gear for XXX price online, and ask if they can match it. It's up to them to decide if they have the profit margin or not...they'd likely rather make a sale - any sale, even at a smaller profit...and gain your business for next time rather than lose your business to the internet.

I used to do this at my local outfitter in Charleston. Usually he could match it (like my HH for $120 instead of $170), sometimes he couldn't (like my Speed pack for $70 instead of $140). He'd look it up online right there with me, add in shipping, and see if he could match it. I'd even pay a few extra bucks if he couldn't exactly match it, just to keep my money local and to build a relationship with a face-to-face outfitter. Customer loyalty and all that.

So rather than deciding for him, why don't you ask the outfitter what he's willing to do and let him decide? You might both win.

And even if he can't match it, you've still tried on the pack. If you still feel guilty about it, buy a pair of socks or something.