The North Face Griffin 65 Review
Cons: Complex layers of features, heavy
Manufacturer: The North Face
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The North Face Griffin 65
|Price||$299.95 at Backcountry||$269.95 at Backcountry|
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|$280 List||$199.00 at REI||$209.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Long zipper front access, self equalizing load lifters, swiveling hip belt, on-the-go-adjustment||Light-weight, comfortable with heavy loads, perfect pocket combination||Light-weight, comfortable, supportive, functional feature set||Light-weight, comfortable, easily personalized, inexpensive||Light-weight, good value, great features|
|Cons||Complex layers of features, heavy||Tiny buckles hard to operate with gloves||No lid, back-panel lacks ventilation||lacks durabillity, not made for heavy loads||Poor support under heavy loads, fixed torso and waist belt|
|Bottom Line||This high tech pack distributes a moderately heavy load extremely well and has no shortage of special features||This super-light pack caries loads like a pro and has just about every feature you could ever want||This comfortable yet supportive pack has an extremely functional set of features and is one of the lightest in our test||The Features on the Flash 55 are some of the best and most versatile of all the packs in our test||This lightweight pack performs really well unless it gets overloaded with too much weight|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Griffin 65||Granite Gear Blaze 60||Catalyst||REI Co-op Flash 55||Gregory Optic 58L|
|Suspension And Comfort (45%)|
|Features And Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Specs||The North Face...||Granite Gear Blaze...||Catalyst||REI Co-op Flash 55||Gregory Optic 58L|
|Measured Weight (pounds)||5.1 lbs||3 lbs||3 lbs||2.6lbs||2.52lbs|
|Volume (liters)||65 L||60 L||75 L||55 L||58 L|
|Materials||210D IronLite Nylon||100D robic nylon w/ DWR coating||400 Robic fabric||Main body: 100D ripstop nylon
Bottom: 420D nylon
|Main Body: 100d High Tenacity Nylon Bottom: 210D High Tenacity Nylon|
|Sleeping bag Compartment||No||No||No||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face is no stranger to making backpacks. This pack has some unique features that set it apart from the rest of the field.
Suspension and Comfort
We were pleasantly surprised by how well this suspension worked. The hip belt swivels freely to support the weight while allowing natural movement.
The shoulder harness can adjust on-the-go to fit different sized torsos, and the load lifters are self equalizing, allowing them to transfer weight freely regardless of body position.
We found the back panel and hip belt to be breathable and comfortable for all but the heaviest loads, and we loved how the weight always felt completely distributed.
While this pack has a lot going for it, it also has a few drawbacks. First and foremost, the pack is downright heavy. Weighing in at just over five pounds, a pack of this weight should be able to carry super heavy loads, but instead, this one maxes out around forty-five pounds before the suspension starts to lose support.
Features and Ease of Use
The Griffin seems to have it all: A removable flying squirrel summit pack for quick trips from camp to bag a peak, a zippered top lid that is easy to use, stretchy side pockets that work well for most types of water bottles, a power-mesh stuff-it pocket for when you don't use the detachable summit pack, and zippered hip belt pockets to keep small items handy.
The hip belt pockets are made with a stretchy mesh for storing small items like snacks, but the contoured shape and internal structure made it an uninviting location for a phone or other larger items. This pack also sports a long top town access zipper making it quick and easy to unzip and get something out of the bottom. Zipping a full backpack back up doesn't work so well. The cinching main compartment access is great and has two easy-to-find handles to pull it open.
While this pack has features out the wazoo, getting used to the system takes some time. The removable flying squirrel pack was handy for hauling water bottles to and from the spring, but its location covers the super useful mesh stuff pocket and interfered with the top lids' straps. We eventually removed the extra pack and left it home because we found we preferred to maintain access to the huge stretchy stuff-it pocket.
The Griffin comes in two sizes (sm/med and LG/xl), and each one has a good amount of adjustability. The torso, waist belt, and the load lift adjustments are all made to be adjusted on-the-fly. We enjoyed this feature because it let you fine-tune adjustments without losing the memory of how the previous adjustment felt. Everything is done in real-time. This pack is not the most adjustable, however, the way it executes making the adjustments is truly unique.
This pack has tons of good features, and with its high-tech weight distributing suspension, it carries loads admirably. There is no disputing this is one capable and awesome pack. If you are a gear-junkie who likes techy innovation, this pack may just be perfect and have a high value. No other pack has the same weight distributing feel, however, there are quite a few full-featured, lighter-weight packs that carry loads just as well, for a fraction of the price.
The Griffin is a techy pack that hosts a slew of great features, most notably, the suspension, which perfectly equalizes the load regardless of body position, for a great carrying experience. The pack is quite "busy", with straps, buckles, and compartments that are somewhat confusing at first. We found that, by eliminating a modular feature or two, we were able to make this a user-friendly pack with a usable feature set and great ergonomics.
— Adam Paashaus