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Granite Gear Crown2 60 Review

This minimalist model toes the line between traditional backpacking and ultralight.
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Price:  $200 List | $199.95 at REI
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Pros:  Lightweight, streamlined, adaptable
Cons:  Minimal padding, insubstantial suspension, performs poorly with heavy loads
Manufacturer:   Granite Gear
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 8, 2019
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 16
  • Suspension and Comfort - 45% 5
  • Weight - 20% 10
  • Features and Ease of Use - 20% 7
  • Adjustability - 15% 6

Our Verdict

Everything about the Granite Gear Crown2 60 is designed with the minimalist hiker in mind. It's super lightweight and does away with any unnecessary features, keeping only the pockets and straps that most folks would use on any pack. We also enjoyed that a few of the elements could be removed to reduce weight even more. The flipside to this design is that it just doesn't carry above-average loads well. It has a weak suspension system, and its comfort suffers as well. All in all, this pack could be nice for a lightweight backpacker's next adventure, but it's not going to be one that you turn to if you need to tote a lot of gear.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

We like the Crown2 60 more than its score would suggest. It borders right on the edge of ultralight with the carrying capacity of a traditional backpacking pack, so it's doing something kind of special. With that in mind, our testing revealed that it doesn't handle a lot of weight well because it lacks the suspension and padding of a beefier model.

Performance Comparison


This Crown2 60 gets big plus points for its weight, but its modest suspension and inability to carry heavier loads make it one of our lower scorers.

This lightweight pack is meant for staying on the move.
This lightweight pack is meant for staying on the move.

Suspension and Comfort


This pack is for lighter loads. It maxes out at right around 30 pounds. Much more than that and shoulder soreness creeps up quickly. The shoulder straps have a firmer foam, and the mesh that covers the foam on the back is also somewhat abrasive.

On the back  the foam is firm and the mesh covering is a little rough.
On the back, the foam is firm and the mesh covering is a little rough.

The Crown2 60 has the suspension to match its carrying capacity. It has a removable flexible frame sheet which is covered by a comparatively thin firm foam. The design offers a vague attempt at ventilation, but on our testing, our backs were noticeably sweatier than when we were carrying Osprey packs with airy constructions.

This pack handles loads of 30 pounds or less -- the minimalist materials and slender straps are not meant for much more than that.
This pack handles loads of 30 pounds or less -- the minimalist materials and slender straps are not meant for much more than that.

However, we were impressed by how closely the pack and its weight hugged our bodies.

Features & Ease of Use


This pack is light on features but the ones it does include are nice. The lid is easily accessible and has an opening that enables you to see fairly well what is inside. The two stretchy water bottle pockets are larger than they look. There is a nice mesh panel pocket on the front for drying wet items while you hike or keeping a layer easily accessible. Side and front compression straps provide more options for lashing down sleeping pads or tent poles that don't fit in the main compartment.


As far as we can tell, the advertised hydration pouch is the same pocket inside the pack that provides access to the framesheet. Also, if you want to reduce weight a bit more, the lid is removable, as are the clips that secure it to the main body of the pack. Careful not to skimp too much, this model also includes two waist belt pockets that offer enough space for a couple of snacks at hand.

The super stretchy side water bottle pockets can each squeeze in two bottles.
The super stretchy side water bottle pockets can each squeeze in two bottles.

Weight


The Crown2 60 flutters in as the lightest pack in this review. At just over 2 1/4 pounds, it is bordering on ultralight.

This pack cuts down on weight by using slim straps and mesh without sacrificing space or functionality. The back exterior pocket is still able to hold a puffy.
This pack cuts down on weight by using slim straps and mesh without sacrificing space or functionality. The back exterior pocket is still able to hold a puffy.

Adjustability & Fit


This pack comes in three torso lengths: short, regular, and long. Each claims four or five inches of torso adjustability, though there is no way to change the height of the shoulder straps. We didn't find that to be problematic though. We could get the right fit for our pack just fine.

The shoulder straps on this pack have a fixed position but we still found they fit well and the pack weight stayed tight to our backs.
The shoulder straps on this pack have a fixed position but we still found they fit well and the pack weight stayed tight to our backs.

There is also a single waist belt for all sizes that can adjust from a massive range of 26"-42".

Best Applications


This pack is best for adventures that don't require a lot of gear. We would strongly consider it for a long trail thru-hike if we were certain we could keep our load below 30 pounds. It would also make an excellent option for a much shorter trip like an overnight where you might be splitting the weight of some gear with a friend or two.

Value


At $200, we think there is great value in this pack. Its thinner, lightweight fabric requires a little more care than the traditional pack, but for the right user, it could be a nice carrying companion at a reasonable price.

Conclusion


The Granite Gear Crown2 60 is a lightweight pack for lightweight loads. It has basic but nice features and the option to reduce weight even more. Though it doesn't have the suspension of a more substantial pack, if you already have a lightweight kit and you're looking for a pack to match, this one might just be the perfect fit.


Ben Applebaum-Bauch