This is a review of my Granit Gear Blaze 60L rucksack. I realised I needed a new pack after I finally wore out my 10 year old ULA Catalyst 75L rucksack on the Dover to Cape Wrath walk (1100 miles). I needed one suitable for carrying larger loads and winter hiking trips when I’m away from resupply for long periods. Replacing my rucksack with the exact same one was considered, but they are very expensive in the UK and at the time unavailable.
I wanted something similar to the Catalyst and eventually settled on the Granite Gear Blaze 60L which is heavier than the Catalyst but is bigger and designed to carry more weight. The Blaze has a stronger back support and thicker padding on the hip belt and shoulder straps, so it’ll transfer the weight to the body more comfortably. It’s been a great pack so far and I’ve been very pleased with my decision.
I purchased the Pottery Clay/Brown coloured pack but it’s also available in black.
Design and Construction
The Granit Gear Blaze is a very well-constructed backpack, made from good quality hardwearing materials. The main body of the pack is 100D Robic high tenacity nylon with Durable Water Repellency (DWR). It has been thoughtfully designed by people who obviously go hiking and use these packs. There’s plenty of padding, so when it’s packed to its maximum design weight it’s still comfortable. It also a lot of well placed pockets, so you can keep everything organised and easily accessible when out on the trail. The pack is able to carry a large amount of gear and feels bigger than the stated 60L. I would suggest the actual body will hold 60L and the pockets are extra. It comes with everything you need for long distance hiking trips.
The rucksack has a big collar which can be filled with gear if you need the extra space. Great for a big puffy winter jacket, that you’re wearing one minute and stuffing in the pack the next. This ability to vary the size so much was ideal when I was carrying 12-days food. When I set off the pack was stuffed full and then reduced in size as I consumed the food. Folding the collar down as I no longer needed the extra space.
The Granit Gear Blaze 60L backpack is extremely lightweight considering it’s designed to carry up to 22kg. The pack weighs between 1350g and 1622g. This depends on the back size you have and if you take the removable lid with you. My large size weighs 1497g or 1578g with the 81g lid (weighed on my kitchen scales). Granite Gear have not compromised on the usability and comfort of the pack just to save weight.
The shoulder straps have a very good amount of padding for such a lightweight pack. They are shaped and easy to adjust to get the pack comfortable. I have added a separate pocket to one strap, for my phone and elastic cord to the other for holding gloves etc.
The Granit Gear Blaze 60L has a fixed back length and must be purchased to fit you, meaning it saves weight and simplifies the pack. It is available in short, regular and long. The plastic back support does have a number of slots in it, so you can adjust the shoulder strap position a few inches for a perfect fit.
Torso length – Long
There’s plenty of padding on the hip belt, which is essential when you’re carrying the full 22kg in the pack.
The Hip Belt pockets are integral to the belt, sewn at the top and a Velcro fixing at the bottom. This allows for some adjustment when stuffing the pocket absolutely full. These pockets are the largest I’ve seen on any pack, easily taking my large smartphone, which has not been possible on any other packs that I’ve used. They’re easy to access meaning I use them for items that I want quick access to, so I don’t have to stop and remove my pack during the day. Some of the things I like to store in these are: sun cream, snacks, gloves, hat and head torch.
The hip belt size is adjustable with a Velcro flap and this can be moved to get a perfect fit around your waist. It’s also held into the pack with Velcro on the belt and inside the lower back of the rucksack. This all works really well and holds the hip belt firmly in place on the pack.
The side pockets are made from a tough material so they will not pluck and tear when caught on passing vegetation. They are bigger than on any other pack that I’ve used but they are adjustable with elasticated top. This holds the contents in place, so you’re unlikely to lose anything out of them.
I tend to put the tent in one side pocket with a side compression strap around it to hold the top in place. In the other side pocket, I usually have a water bottle and my MSR Guardian water purifier. The pocket is easily large enough to hold 2 x 2L water bottles if needed. Even with all this in the side pockets there’s still room for more. As for this I usually end up putting my rubbish bag, sit mat and various other things that I cannot be bothered to open the pack for and put away.
The front pocket is big but long and thin. It’s a little difficult to get large things in and out of because the top opening is not very wide and the pocket has three compression straps across it. The pocket is fairly large and will hold a large quantity of items securely. I like to put my wet tent in the front pockets on other backpacks but with this pack the top of the pocket is a bit tight making it difficult to get the tent in.
The lid has a large pocket in it and is removable from the pack. I’m used to fairly minimalist packs without lids, designed this way to save weight. I do like having the lid on the Granite Gear Blaze backpack. It’s handy for extra organisation and to be able to compartmentalise things. It makes things much easier to find and I’m happy to carry the extra 81g for the added convenience.
The lid is easy to remove with four clips and these are all adjustable so you can loosen the lid to hold gear under it. I find this really useful for storing my puffy winter jackets in changeable conditions. It holds them secure but gives me easy access to them. This is also true of the top lid pocket, during winter trips when I’m carrying and needing quick access to extra gloves, hats and snacks at stops or in varying conditions.
There are loops sewn into the lid for attaching more gear to if needed. But the pack is big enough that I haven’t found this necessary as of yet.
The interior of the pack is light coloured inside so you can see its contents and it’s pretty spacious. There’s also the expected pocket and hook for a water bladder, with a slit in the top for the pipe to exit the pack.
The outside of the pack has a number of straps so you can compress the pack. These reduce the volume to keep the pack balanced and stop it sagging and everything sitting in the bottom. This is particularly useful towards the end of a trip when the food load has reduced. There are 3 compression straps either side and across the front, with another one over the top. They compress the pack well and I find these straps particularly useful for holding gear secure. I regularly use them for holding a sit mat, stuffing a jacket under temporarily, or hanging clothes out to dry.
The Granit Gear Blaze 60L rucksack is a great pack. It is ideal for heavier and larger loads, or someone looking for comfort over out and out weight saving. It feels much larger than its 60L volume and would be a good first light weight rucksack. It’s ideal if you’ve previously been carrying a 2kg+ pack and are new to light weight backpacking. This pack would be a good step down in weight but still keep the comfort, with good padding and space for a large amount of gear. This way you can reduce your gear slowly and it won’t be a sudden shock trying to fit all your gear into a small pack.
This is an ideal pack for winter and longer trips when you need to carry bulkier and heavier loads. It’s a well made tough rucksack that will take a fair bit of abuse and well worth the price tag. There’s plenty of storage options and it’s easy to keep everything accessible and organized. I like a pack to be comfortable and easy to use so I don’t mind carrying a little extra weight to achieve this as it makes the trip more enjoyable. I’ve loved using this pack and there’s nothing that I would change about it (except maybe a larger opening to the front mesh pocket).
I’m not an ultralight hiker and I prefer a pack to be comfortable more than out and out weight saving. This pack is a perfect compromise of weight saving without losing the luxury features. I look forward to taking it on many more trips in the future. Recommended.
Amazon price – Granit Gear Blaze 60L
Rucksacks need to be worn in
Do not set off on a long-distance hike with a brand-new pack. It needs to be softened up and your body has to get used to the new packs pressure points. Otherwise you are likely to get sore shoulders and hips. I’m saying this because I’ve made that mistake and the pain nearly ended my Dover to Cape Wrath walk.
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