Granite Gear Blaze 60
By Cory & Heather McLaughlin
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Just the Facts:
The Blaze 60 is built to go the distance, comfortably and tailored to you. The A.C. frame let’s you lock in your fit precisely to your torso size. The frame, in combination with the patent-pending fully adjustable Re-Fit hip belt and the molded foam back panel, lets the pack comfortably carry up to 50 lbs. The custom fabric is an innovative technology that makes this our most durable pack to date. In the high-impact and high-abrasion areas, we’re using a Granite Gear exclusive 210D Robic nylon UHMWPE triple ripstop. The lid, which is fully removable to cut grams, can be converted to an optional chest pack to carry on your front to keep even more contents at the ready. A tall vertical hidden zipper now allows you to access to main compartment quickly, especially to get to those contents at bottom of pack.
- Short Torso – 15-18 inches/ 38-46 cm; Liters 60; 3660 Cubic Inches; Weight: 2.9lbs / 1.31 kg
- Regular Torso – 18-21 inches/ 46-53.5 cm; Liters 60; 3660 Cubic Inches; Weight 3lbs / 1.36 kg
- Long Torso – 21-24 inches/ 53.5-61 cm; Liters 60; 3660 Cubic Inches; Weight 3.1lbs/ 1.41 kg
- All new A.C. (Air Current) Frame with 50lb. (22.7 kg) load rating
- Specific Adjustment points to lock in your exact torso size.
- Dual density shoulder harness with load-lifter straps, removable sternum strap and whistle buckle for safety.
- Re-Fit fully adjustable dual density hip belt (from 26 – 42 in on Blaze 60 & from 24 – 40 in on Women’s Fit Blaze 60)
- Dual large hip belt pockets with DWR treated zippers that fit plus-sized smartphones with room to spare
- Cinch-and-roll closure with crossing webbing straps to compress and secure the pack’s contents
- Removable lid compartment with DWR treated zipper that converts to optional chest pack to carry on your front
- Hydration port & Internal hydration sleeve
- Large fabric side pockets with reinforced bottom panels and cinch closure
- Tall stretch woven front pocket
- Hidden zipper access to main compartment for quick access to contents at bottom of pack
- Three-tier side and front compression straps system.
- 100D Robic High-tenacity nylon with Barrier DWR main body
- Exclusive 210 D Robic nylon UHMWPE triple ripstop (Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight-Polyethylene)
This is not my first rodeo with Granite Gear and their amazing products. In fact I have already professed my love for the older version of the Blaze 60 in a past review found here: http://ireviewgear.com/backpacks/granitegear-blaze-a-c-60-backpack-review/
That pack has since been on more backpacking trips that I can recall. I have also used the Crown 60 for many trips and found it to be a very worthy trail companion. So, I guess you can say that I am a big fan of Granite Gear and I was very excited to have the opportunity to work with this great company again and to get the updated Blaze 60 out into the wilds.
Our testing ground was going to be the Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness. This is a fantastic area for hiking with tons of lakes and hundreds of miles of trails. My family and I try to get into the region as often as we can. Our trip was planned and as we sat in the basement loading gear my wife Heather decided that she was going to take over testing of this great new pack. I admit that I was a bit disappointed but as luck would have it I had another pack to test out anyway so it was not that terrible of and argument LOL.
One thing that I have found as a product tester and a father of two girls is that girls/women really get overlooked when it comes to outdoor adventure. It’s not that they don’t make women specific gear as much as it is that that gear is difficult to find and often not as good as the men’s versions. It is frustrating to a father/husband as I understand quality and always try to make sure my girls enjoy the benefit of great gear. Lucky for us Granite Gear also understands quality and while they do offer a women’s specific Blaze 60 the only really difference I see is color options and a waist belt size difference of about 2’’ of adjustment. So I was confident in sending my wife into the field with the Blaze 60 we had on hand as it is classified as ‘’unisex’’ and I trust Granite Gear’s word. This is also good to know because if you ladies ever see one of these great packs at a yard sale or something you can buy it with the confidence that it will fit.
So without further yammering from me I am going to turn this review over to Heather so she can speak on her experience with the Blaze 60.
My family and I took a 3 day trek up into the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Now that our oldest daughter is big enough to wear women’s packs, my husband outfitted her with my other pack designed for ladies, which left me with nothing. He thought the Granite Gear Blaze 60 would be a great option for me and he was not wrong! In fact, I may have enjoyed the features of this pack more than anything I’ve tried to date and the fit was surprisingly wonderful!
At first glance, I was quite skeptical, seeing how huge the waist strap is, I wasn’t too confident it would fit on top of my hips right and that I would likely end up with chaffing or even bruises. Nope! The padding is out of this world! The shoulder straps are comfortable as well and it really aided in the ease of carrying everything I needed for our trip.
So lets run through a few of the features I love. First off, the frame on the Blaze 60 is adjustable to your torso length making it super versatile for all body types.
Next, I thoroughly enjoyed the zippered hip pouches on each side and how easily accessible they are. On our trip I had my pistol, a knife, chapstick, gum, and hard candies right at my fingertips. Further around the sides, each side has deep pockets with bungee closures; perfect for a water bottle, extra layers in case you get too hot or cold, I even carried a book in one. Up each side from the deep pockets are 4 different straps to tighten your load. You can also find 3 cinch straps up the middle as well as 2 loops at the bottom.
The compression straps serve well to hook carabiners onto, allowing you to attach a number of things to the outside of your pack for easy access. In my case, a hat, hammock and my flip flops.
At the top of the lid is a zipper pocket a bit larger than 5”x7”. The lid is completely removable and doubles as a chest pack in a snap.
One of the coolest features is a hidden zipper up the outside of the pack which allows you to access stuff in the bottom of your bag without having to dig down to your armpits or pull everything out in the middle of the trail! Game changer!
One thing I’ve noticed with backpacks is that the straps that help bring the top of your load forward always make me feel like I have to walk half hunched over, or like my head and neck are being forced forward and down. One thing, in my little experience, I’d resigned to just being one of those things I’d have to deal with no matter how much I disliked it. This pack doesn’t do that, in fact, that was the first thing I noticed after the comfortable straps.
I love our little family backpacking trips and Granite Gear has made them so much more enjoyable for me. I really cant say enough about this great company and their Blaze 60 backpack.
Find it here:
What can be done better?
Heather says she would not change a thing!