When a hiker takes to the trail, he must put everything he needs into his backpack. This U-haul is of primary importance…it must be comfortable….it must be able to handle 30-40 pounds…. it must be lightweight…. it must be dependable. As I began my investigation into potential packs I quickly gravitated to ultralight versions designed for long journeys. In the sovereignty of God, REI opened its first store in Cincinnati! It is the best store ever – I can spend hours (and have) in this incredible shop geared toward outdoor adventure equipment.
On my maiden voyage to REI I had backpacks on my checklist. I had made a list of five packs that I wanted to try out. To my discouragement, REI did not have any of the five in stock. I continued my research and found many reviews of ultralight packs. These reviews caused me to drop some of my initial front runners but I kept coming back to the Osprey Exos 58 (weight 2 lbs. 8 oz. and capacity 58 liters) and the Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60 (weight 2 lbs. 2 oz. and a 60 liter capacity). I kept checking the REI website and to my surprise one day it indicated that the Cincinnati store had a Granite Gear pack on hand. I hopped in my little red Honda Civic and less than an hour later I was trying on the Crown V.C. The sales expert helped me load the pack up with weight and had me hiking all over the store. I felt rather odd roaming the store wearing a bulky pack but after 30 minutes of exploring, I knew that I had found the right fit for me.
This backpack doesn’t have a lot of pockets and zippers and hidden places to help organize your stuff, but it does provide lots of room in the main sack, a couple of nice stretch pockets on the sides for water bottles, another stretch pocket on the back, and several straps to cinch the pack into a nicely compact load. My trekking poles fit easily along one side and my tent slides nicely into the back pouch. Between the padded hip belts and the sternum strap, the weight is distributed nicely for a comfortable ride. I really like this pack.