Granite Gear Vapor Trail Review

The Granite Gear Vapor Trail is a minimalistic top loader backpack. It got the Backpacker Editors Choice in 2003. It's a simple, comfortable, versatile and light pack. It is a pack that has served me well for many years.

Granite Gear Vapor Trail Review

The Granite Gear Vapor Trail is a minimalistic top loader backpack. It got the Backpacker Editors Choice in 2003. It's a simple, comfortable, versatile and light pack. It is a pack that has served me well for many years.

Granite Gear Vapor Trail - Ultralight Backpacking

This is the pack that got the Backpacker Editors Choice Award in 2003 for this simplicity and its comfort and versatility. This is my Granite Gear Vapor review.

A minimalistic top loader

This pack is a minimalistic top loader with 2 side pockets, no compartments inside except for the hydration internal sleeve and port. The compression system makes it super versatile in controlling the load volume over a wide range. The 6 strap compression system around the sides and the two on top do an excellent job of securing the load. You have no problem controlling it, even if it shrinks from day to day on longer trips.

A video from one of my trips

Everything you need in a backpack

This is a great choice for weekend trips, thru-hiking, and streamlined summer weeks, the Vapor Trail has everything you ever need in a backpack. With a strong suspension, ample storage and durability this is an excellent choice. It got everything you possibly need and nothing you don't. No unnecessary pockets, heavy zippers that can fail and no bulky padding. The pack uses a high-density polyethylene frame that helps distribute the load evenly over your back and onto your hips. The pack has fixed shoulder straps that are well-padded and an ultralight hip belt. It has easily adjustable shoulder straps and hip belt makes it very easy to distribute the weight between your shoulders and your hips. If your shoulders get tired you put some more weight on your hips and vice versa.

Carrying capacity up to 15 kg (33 lbs)

At 1 kg (2 lbs) this pack has all you need for carrying capacity and comfort. This is a very comfortable and well-designed pack. With a good weight to carry ability ratio, it's very comfortable for loads up to 10 kg (22lbs) and comfortable with loads up to 15 kg (33 lbs). I have used it with a load of 18 kg (40 lbs) without a problem. But I don't recommend you to carry so much weight, it's not comfortable on longer hikes.

Plenty of room

This is the best internal framed lightweight pack I've ever used. One of its best features is the wide thick back pad which combined with a frame sheet makes it very comfortable to wear. It's almost like wearing your favorite jacket. The lightly padded hip belt is just right. It has a solid and supportive suspension and has plenty of room, 59 liters (ca. 3,600 cubic inches).

Top loading

Loading my gear into one large sack is no problems through its wide top sleeve. Everything you need fits easily inside. A tip is to use a small seating pad for a lid. This makes it easily accessible when you stop for a rest and want to sit down. It saves you from getting a wet cold butt.

Two side pockets

The two side pockets could have been a little bigger, they are on the small side. But the pocket material is very flexible and swallow plenty of things. The straps at the pocket lid hold the things you put in securely. And as with most backpacks, you have to stop and take off the pack to reach the pockets. If you need things handy during the hike you should get a front pack like Ribz. A front pack can be an excellent choice instead of buying a larger backpack.

The AT thru-hikers favorite

This is an excellent pack if you’ve gotten your pack weight down to around 13 kg (ca. 29 lb pounds) or less. This pack has been a favorite among AT thru-hikers largely due to its exceptional comfort. I bought mine Granite Gear Vapor Trail in 2011, and I have had no problem with the pack. The pack has been with me on a fair amount of hikes and outdoor trips and still going strong.

Pack Specifications

  • Torso Sizes:
    • short
    • regular
    • Long
  • Weight:
    • 1kg
    • 2lbs 5oz
  • Capacity:
    • 59 liters
    • 3600 cubic inches
  • Suspension:
    • Vapor
  • Load Capacity:
    • 14kg
    • 30lbs
  • Lengths
    • Short:
      • 38 to 46 cm
      • 15” to 18”
    • Regular:
      • 46 to 53 cm
      • 18” to 21”
    • Long:
      • 53 to 64 cm
      • 21” to 25”

How to find your torso length

With a tape measure, measure the distance between your seventh cervical vertebra and the shelf of your hipbones. Standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Measure from the most prominent vertebra at the base of your neck to your hipbone.

My conclusion

I know there is a lot of packs to choose from, but if I have to replace my Granite Gear it will be with another Granite Gear pack. The quality is superb and it has endured many tough hikes. I also have a smaller one, with the same high quality, which I have used daily for many years now. So, if you don't know what pack to choose, I can guarantee you will be very satisfied with a Granite Gear backpack.

So, go on and buy your best backpack on Amazon today.

Leave a comment

What is your experience of Granite Gear backpacks? Do you agree with me or do you prefer another brand? Leave a comment and let me know your best Hiking backpack.

  • Anders
hiking 
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