Gear purchased at REI: https://www.rei.com/product/127239/granite-gear-crown2-38-pack
The Granite Gear pack was selected over a couple others from REI around the same price range +/- $75. With special REI promotions, I ended up paying <$150 for the pack delivered to my front door.
Weight is good with sufficient straps, adjustments and side & belt pockets. The main compartment is one big bag with a roll top and a detachable top pouch. The material seems sufficiently strong / thick though see ‘heat’ below.
What I like
- Light weight
- Size and weight capacity can easily carry >5 days of gear
- Rolldown top
- Detachable top pouch
What I did NOT like
- Side pockets are hard to reach for water and skinny bottle required
- With light load & without top pouch, pack just was not comfortable – not good ride found
- Internal temperature was high on hot day; seems like an oven inside pack
- No good way to attach sleeping pad (i use Nemo foam) below pack so it covers outside stretch pouch
- Belt is long – I am size 31″ waist and it is just too big and not adjustable
The first use was 2 days of day hikes w/out top pouch and I was ready to take it back. My second use was 2 day backpacking over 20 miles each day, and the pack worked great. I struggled to find the right adjustments, but once found the pack worked out. I was not ‘pack sore’ after the two days.
Would I recommend buying it? Only after one tries it with weight in the pack and around the weight that one typically carries. It’s like the wand selection in Harry Potter … the pack has to choose the hiker.