Here we go…! I’ve made a huge step towards ultralight backpacking when I ordered a new backpack. For the past weeks I’ve been thinking about getting a new backpack. Not that I’m in anyway unhappy with my Mystery Ranch NICE Wolf Alpha but it’s heavy at 3.9kg. It’s built like a tank and sometimes I need that but for those lighter hiking/trekking trips I need something lighter.
I looked at a bunch of different packs – everything from Arc’Teryx to Fjällräven. I went to two different stores that holds quite different sets of brands and tried a couple of them out and finally made the choice to bring home a Fjällräven Abisko 65, 2.2kg. That pack is not a ultralight backpack but it’s still lighter than my Mystery Ranch. I packed it with everything I normally bring and had it on my back for a few hours at home walking around the house. It was quite good but not really what I wanted.
This last Saturdays hike with Jon didn’t help either… When you’re out in the backcountry you have loads of time to think, chat and trade ideas. Sometimes that’s good and sometimes it’s bad in a good way 🙂 It usually gets you in a state of mind that you really need this and that thing and it ends up hurting your wallet…
Well after we got home we started chatting and looking at different packs and everything still pointed towards a ultralight alternative. The packs that kept popping up in our searches was the Granite Gear Crown A.C 60, 1kg(!), Granite Gear Blaze A.C 60, 1.3kg and the ULA Circuit, 1.1kg. After ruling the ULA Circuit out after some YouTube reviews and stuff I was quite hooked on the Crown but the thing that bothered me was the fact that it had a “soft” frame so to speak. I’ve known about Granite Gear before, since I’ve seen their tactical-series especially the CHEIF Patrol pack. ULA was something new to me. The Granite Gear Blaze has more of a traditional type of plastic frame which I like. I’ve had quite a few smaller frameless backpacks or with a softer frame and I’m to lazy to pack everything super tidy to not have anything poke you in the back. Or that makes the pack “round” towards your back and it starts to roll. So I slept on it, watched a few more reviews and finally decided what to get…
Here are a few good reviews on the different packs that I considered.
The pack that I finally choose after some great contemplating and with some help from Jon was the Granite Gear Blaze A.C 60. I also bought the Lineloc Lid which adds another 255 grams to the pack finishing it of at a total of 1.55kg which is not bad. That’s almost a third of what my Mystery Ranch pack weighs!! I don’t think I’ll be using the lid all the time but the way I see it it’s a nice to have feature and as it’s not that much money – hey I’ll buy that too!
The total money spent on the pack and the lid was 2 270 SEK, which is roughly about 350 USD with shipping included and free returns. Compared to the Fjällräven Abisko 65 that I brought home for testing this one is only 70 SEK more expensive which is about what I paid for gas to go to the store in the first place…
Granite Gear Blaze A.C 60
Torso Sizes: short | regular
Weight: 1.3kg | 2lbs 14oz
Capacity: 60 liters | 3660 cubic inches
Suspension: Air Current (A.C.) Internal Frame
Load Capacity: 35lbs | 16kg
210D Nylon Cordura
Stretch Mesh Fabric
Here are some good pictures from Outdoor Gear lab and I think that’s quite similar to what my pack will look like besides the fact that I didn’t order the Cactus/Jave color but the Tiger/Java. The main difference between the two is the color on the reinforced Cordura running on the front Click the link above to see the rest of the pictures and a short review.
It’s gonna be real interesting to see how it is, first hand, when it arrives. It was on backorder so I’ll get it in April as far as the initial reports are. I’ll get back with some more info as soon as it arrives!