Are you looking for a lighter backpack?  We dropped almost 2 pounds of weight by moving to a much lighter Granite Gear backpack.  The Granite Gear Crown 60 is a great lightweight backpack, and we loved the weight savings as we used it all summer.

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The verdict

Light, spacious and supremely versatile, Granite Gear’s Crown 60 backpacks is one of the best packs we’ve used in a long time. It’s comfortable, can be customized in a lot of different configurations, and is quite durable. It’s a reliable pack that’ll take you anywhere you’d like it to go.

Suspension system of Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack
Suspension system of Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack
Convert to waist belt of Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack
Convert to waist belt of Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack

Overview

We tested the Massdrop X Granite Gear Crown X60, modified version of Granite Gear’s Crown2 60 lightweight backpack, specifically built for and sold by Drop (formerly MassDrop). This pack has been on trips throughout the Rockies, and it’s been surprisingly comfy.  It’s a lightweight pack that offers tons of storage and pockets (over 60L worth), doesn’t compromise on utility or configuration, and is perfect for long-distance backpacking.

When to use

On backpacking trips where keeping weight down is essential, but you still need plenty of room for your gear. For day hikes, you can detach the lid from the rest of the bag and create an ultralight 6L daypack.

Weight

You can expect some weight savings with this backpack.  With all the bells and whistles it weighs in at 40.2 oz/1139 grams all in. It can weigh as little as 23 oz/652 grams if configured properly.

Pros

Ultralight Build + Versatility. Depending on your configuration, the X60 can weigh between 23 and 40 ounces (652 g to 1134 g), or turned into a super compact 6L belt pack. This puts it up there with some of the lightest ultralight packs in terms of weight and versatility and makes it a great choice for trips where every ounce matters.

Tons of Storage + Organization. 60 liters of storage is plenty for longer trips, and there are plenty of internal and external pockets for organizing all your gear. The large interior compartment is easy to pack, and you can attach almost anything to the outside of the pack.

Fantastic Value. The modified Massdrop version was on sale for $120 when we got ours.  That is a great deal!  We’re looking forward to seeing the price when they come back in stock, as it’s one of the most affordable ultralight packs in its class.

Cons

Shoulder Straps Need More Padding. At heavier loads (above 30 pounds (13.6 kg)) they can start digging into your shoulders.    

Not Great for Heavy Loads.  This is not a backpack for carrying heavy loads, it’s designed for ultralight backpackers and is only rated to 35lbs.  This pack is really designed for backpackers and thru-hikers focused on lightweight backpacking.

 

Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack in grey colour
Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack in grey colour

Durable build + water repellent fabric

The Granite Gear Crown X60 is made from a Robic ripstop nylon, 210D in high-stress areas and 100D in the rest. It’s been treated with a DWR coating to repel rain – helping it bead up and roll off – but no rain cover is included. All the zippers are DWR treated, too.

The internal frame is a removable Vapor Current Mark 2, rated to carry loads of up to 35 pounds (15.9 kg). This is paired with a molded and grooved back panel, which has mesh ventilation “channels” to help air keep flowing as you hike over long distances. We find the frame keeps the pack close enough to your back to be sturdy and comfortable, but still provides support and helps shift the load to your hips and legs.

The frame is not adjustable. If the Regular size is too small (18-21” (46-53 cm) torso length), you can opt for the Tall version, which measures 21”-24” (53-61 cm) long.

For those times when you prefer to travel light, the frame can be easily removed; just unzip the frame’s pocket and pull away. You’ll sacrifice support and weight capacity – by about 25 pounds (11.4 kg). You’ll also drop about 5 ounces (142 g) from the pack’s total weight.

The shoulder straps are j-shaped and made with a “dual-density” foam. They’re thick and soft, but at heavy loads we have found they can dig into your shoulders. These are paired with load lifters, sewn into the back at the top of the frame sheet. When tightened, these load lifter straps help pull the pack closer to your upper back and shoulders for a tighter fit, with more being weight shifted onto your upper back.

The sternum strap is easily tightened and can be moved up and down the shoulder straps to your liking. There are also attachment webbings on the front of shoulder straps that make it easy to attach a GPS.

On the bottom is a thick, padded hip belt that is both super adjustable (26” to 42” (66-107 cm)) as well as removable. It does a great job of shifting weight to your hips, and when removed can be paired with the removable top lid to create an ultralight belt pack for day hiking or running. The pockets on the exterior of the belt are perfect for carrying maps, your phone or GPS, and some snacks.

Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack in grey colour on a hike
Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack in grey colour on a hike
Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack on a hike in Glacier National Park
Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack on a hike in Glacier National Park

Organization + load bearing

Compression straps are located both on the front and the sides of the pack, and we’ve found that using them easily compresses loads down and saves you a lot of space with a nice, tight load. You can also clip or attach all sorts of gear –hiking poles, snowshoes, whatever – all over these compression straps to create a versatile pack to your liking.

The X60’s main compartment is large – almost 60 liters – and can fit quite a bit of gear, such as sleeping bag and pad, clothing, and more. It’s easy to stuff large objects in first and then stuff your clothing around it all. The roll-top design makes packing – and compressing the load down by rolling tightly – easy. If you have a lot of gear, you can leave the extension collar up to fit even more. On either side of the pack are water bottle sleeves. These sleeves are large enough to hold 2 1L bottles and are still reachable when wearing the pack.

On top of the pack is the removable lid, which has a large storage pocket but can also be removed if you wish to shed weight, or to be used in conjunction with the belt as a fanny pack. You can also adjust the lid’s height, raising it to stash more gear underneath.

 

Hiker testing Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack in Montana
Hiker testing Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack in Montana
Review of Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack
Review of Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack

Performance on the trail

There are a lot of fancy-sounding features and customizable details on the X60, but when you actually load this thing up and start hiking, it performs just like any good ultralight pack should. Weight is distributed evenly throughout, you can carry virtually any piece of gear you could need for short and long-distance, multi-day hikes alike, and you can ditch parts of the setup as needed to cut down on weight. We can load this bag up with a sleeping bag or two, lightweight tent, food and water and spare clothing without any problem, and that load is carried quite easily over long distances. The fabric is definitely heavy-duty and high quality, and we expect this pack to hold up for the long haul.

Should you buy the granite gear crown X60 backpack?

In our opinion, this is a great ultralight backpack.  While there are better ultralight backpacks, at this price point it’s incredible value.  The Massdrop version, which retailed for $120 is a phenomenal deal and is our main backpacking pack now.