Review: Granite Gear Crown2 Women’s Pack

I spent a lot of time considering what pack I wanted to bring on my PCT hike. I had a Deuter 45+15 women’s pack from when I backpacked Europe, but I had learned so much about ultralight hiking that I knew I wanted something lighter. The Granite Gear Crown2 seemed like an excellent compromise between weight, comfort, and economy.

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Apparently a bear has just passed through here, but we didn’t find that out until much later that day. Photo courtesy of Mette Bryndum.

Basic Specs:

Version                        Short

Frame Type                Internal

Gear Capacity            60 L (3,660 cu. in.)

Weight                         2 lbs  (Regular: 2 lbs. 3.2 oz.)

Fits Torso                    15 – 18 inches (Regular: 18 – 21 inches)

Fits Waist/Hips           26 – 38 inches

Dimensions                 23.5 x 13 x 8 inches

Hydration Compatible Yes

Ice Axe Attachment      Yes

Material(s)

  • 210-denier high-tenacity nylon
  • Frame Material
  • Polypropylene

Pockets:

  • Main compartment
  • Front exterior pocket
  • 2 x hipbelt pockets
  • 2 x side waterbottle pockets

Circumstance of review:

I used this pack for my 1000 mile pack of the PCT. I carried it through desert, mountains, forest, and cities. I’ve also taken it on a few shorter hikes in Ontario, Canada.

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Look how clean and new it all is! Not for long.

I never tried it without the frame because I was recovering from a back injury, so I felt that I needed the support. The frame is removable if you want to try it without. I am 5’4”, so I bought the short version of the pack which fit well.


Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Cost-effective ($199.95 at REI)
  • Lots of pockets
  • Removable brain (zippered pocket)
  • Expandable top section
  • Includes ice axe attachment points
  • Fit my BearVault 500 canister
  • Fits hydration bladder (but lacks attachment point)

Frankly, I was surprised how comfortable this pack was given its weight. The hip belt had an adjustable width that really made it fit perfectly. Even recovering from a back injury, I found that it had more than enough support.

The pockets were great. The large front pocket is good for quick access items like water filtering gear or your shit kit (in different baggies, obviously). The side pockets are large and good for water bottles or keeping your pot/stove in. You can fit two water bottles in a single pocket. The hip belt pockets are large enough for several snacks in each. I would also keep my SPOT or my phone in those pockets for easy access.


Cons:

  • Thin materials
  • Bear can had to be upright rather than sideways
  • No shoulder strap pockets

The material of the pack (and mesh on the exterior pocket) was not as robust as I would have liked. By the end of my hike there were several holes in the bottom of my pack and the pockets. I lined the holes in the bottom with duct tape inside the pack, and that held up well until the end of my hike.

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A few more holes showed up by the end of my hike.

I also didn’t like that my bear can had to be upright inside the pack because it didn’t fit in sideways. You can get around that by strapping it to the top of the pack instead, but you would probably need to get rid of the brain, exposing your food to direct sunlight all day.

There is a hydration bladder pocket inside, but nothing to attach it to. There is a small hook, but it was not compatible with my Platypus 3.0 bladder. I attached a small carabiner to the bladder and would attach it to the hook so that the bladder wouldn’t fall to the bottom of the pack.


Value:

It’s a good pack, and I think it’s reasonably priced for what you get. It’s not as comfortable as an Osprey Exos, but it’s 10-12oz lighter (depending on the size of the Exos). You need to take care with this pack because the materials are more fragile than I would like. I also think it was larger than I needed; as a result I would bring more gear and my pack was heavier than I liked. If I thru-hiked again, I think I would choose a smaller pack.

Overall, I liked this pack a lot. It’s still in good enough shape that I expect to get several more hikes out of it. I like the flexible volume, and the number of exterior pockets. The lack of shoulder strap pockets was a non-issue for me because of how large the other pockets were. I love how lightweight and comfortable it is.

I would recommend being careful when travelling with this pack through airports. I checked it when coming home for a wedding because I had a knife, stove, etc. When I picked it up in Toronto, not only was there a massive hole where my trekking poles had stabbed through it (despite being capped!), but my trekking poles were also broken. Needless to say, I was furious. After that, I was sure to wrap my trekking poles in several layers of socks and buff to cushion them even more, and tried to avoid checking the bag whenever possible.


Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

 

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