Granite Gear Blaze 60 Backpack Review

Highly adjustable and impressively light, Granite Gear’s heavy hauler carries weight well and doesn't compromise on comfort

Table of Contents

3 lbs. (women's regular)

Robic nylon (100D & 210D)

60L

Excellent mix of carrying comfort, organization, and weight.

Limited back ventilation; takes time to dial in the fit.

Finding a way to balance weight, features and comfort isn’t easy but Granite Gear’s Blaze 60 pack manages to achieve this feat with only a few sacrifices. We carried the women’s Blaze on a 35-mile hiking excursion through the Grand Canyon’s difficult Escalante Route and were impressed by the overall performance. The design is extremely comfortable, flexible and well-equipped and adjustable, it does this with a light weight of just 3 pounds. Below , we examine how the Blaze performs in general. To find out how it compares to its competitors, read our review of the top backpacking bags.

Performance

Carrying Comfort

Despite its light and compact design, it’s surprisingly light-weight. Granite Gear Blaze 60 is extremely comfortable. Let me start by saying the fact that initially I was worried when I first took the Blaze out of its box. My backpack for the last couple of years was that of the Osprey Aura 65, and I’m used to it’s heavily cushioned and extremely comfortable fit. The Blaze’s more flimsy-looking hipbelt and shoulder straps it appeared unlikely that it would be able to be a contender. However, after some tinkering with the waist and torso belt adjustment (more on that in ” Fit and Sizing” below) I was able to find the perfect fitting. Even with four days amount of meals, gear, additional layers and some bottles of water. The bag did surprisingly well. I never felt any pressure points and never felt out of balance and the padding easily carried up to 35-40 pounds over a number of 10-mile runs (the Blaze is rated for 50 pounds).

Blaze 60 Blaze 60 has a few parts that can be removed to reduce weight and create an easier-to-carry pack however, it could impact on the comfort of carrying. Beginning from the highest point of the bag the lid is able to be taken off completely. A cinch-and-roll closure that has crossed webbing holds the top when it is not in use. The sternum strap of the pack is also removable along with the entire hipbelt that has two pockets that are attached. While I could imagine taking off the top lid for shorter backpacking trips however, I’m going to be with the pack’s entire feature set on all trips because it’s still astonishingly light.

Weight

At just 3 pounds in the female “regular” size we tried this model, it’s a hefty 3 pounds. Granite Gear Blaze 60 packs plenty of power in an extremely light package. True ultralight packs , like Zpacks Arc Blast 55. Zpacks Arc Blast 55 (1 1 lb. 4.6 oz.) as well Granite Gear’s Crown2 60 (2 pounds. 5.8 oz.) They reduce weight by a significant amount, but they do come with some significant compromises such as a lower comfort for carrying and increased durability. The best comparisons are those of the Osprey Eja 58 (2 lbs. 8.5 oz.) in addition to Gregory Maven 55 (3 lbs. 6.6 oz. ) We still believe that this Blaze is the best all-arounder out of the lot. It’s possible to go heavier than Osprey’s 4-pound-5.4-ounce Osprey Aura AG 65 however whether it’s worth carrying the extra weight boils down to your priorities (the Aura wins in ventilation and comfort, however the Blaze isn’t sacrificing much in capacity for organization or hauling). Overall it’s a great choice. Blaze is a cut above other similarly-equipped packs by about a 1 pound to a pound or so, and that is an amazing feat.

 

 

Organization

Granite Gear thought of just about everything when it came to organizing the Blaze pack, and you’ll be difficult to find a bag that does it better than this weight. With six pockets on the outside, including an upper of the lid and two huge side pockets with one front mesh pocket as well as two hipbelt pockets I had no problem placing my essential gear in places that are easy to reach. The lid on the top can be completely removed and used as a chest bag and the hipbelt pockets can easily take my larger smartphone as well as the pockets with mesh on the sides are able to hold the two 32-ounce water bottles (I packed the size of a Nalgene as well as the Sea to Summit Comfort Light sleeping pad in one pocket, with space for spare). The pack also has an ordinary hydration sleeve as well as a port.

The main compartment could also be reached via a hidden front zipper that runs along the bottom of the mesh pocket. It’s a practical feature we like to see on backpacks. This was particularly helpful when we arrived at camp each night, since I was able to lay my back flat, take out the zipper on the front that was concealed, and then reach inside for the sleep bag or Down jacket without having to remove all other items above. Additionally, there are many side and front compression straps to attach other equipment to the exterior, and also to tuck the backpack down to accommodate the size of your load.

Ventilation

Although the Blaze’s molded foam back panel is comfortable and supportive however, it is much hotter than mesh-heavy models. The Blaze’s insufficient ventilation was apparent right off the trail even at moderate temperatures of 50 degrees. I’ve been using Osprey packs over the past several years and never observed their presence on my back However, this time, my experiences with the Blaze was entirely different and after just a couple of miles of walking my back was noticedably sweaty and the pack was uncomfortable on my back. I’m prone to running in the heat during my aerobic workouts however, even taking off layers didn’t help with the lack of airflow. If you’re in search of the best in ventilation, take a look at the Osprey Aura AG Its Anti-Gravity mesh backpanel is top-of-the-line and we’ve not found an air-tight pack.

 

 

Quality of Build and Durability

Utilizing a mix of 210- and 100-denier Robic nylons The Blaze 60 is built to take on the strain of backpacking. The experience we had while testing our tests of the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 and ULA Circuit 68, Robic nylon is a remarkably durable and abrasion-resistant material. While Dyneema backpacks like those of the Zpacks Arc Blast often are smaller, they’re also more susceptible to punctures (they have a lot to prove in the area of wear resistance). The only problem I’ve had so far was on the third day of our journey through the Grand Canyon, when my microspikes got stuck in on the inside of the bag and punctured the case before piercing through the backpack itself. The main compartment was filled to the brim for through the rest of our journey, so the puncture was barely noticeable even when weighing a lot. I’ve since patched it and taken it on several future trips with no problems.

Granite Gear Blaze 60 granite Gear Blaze 60 also features an DWR (durable water-repellent) covering on its exterior as well as zippers on the hipbelt and lid. Along with the tightly knit Robic nylon, it kept the contents of my backpack dry, even during prolonged rain. But, it’s crucial to keep in mind that DWR finishes are not a substitute for proper waterproofing. DWR finish cannot replace waterproofing. Instead, you should consider using an appropriate liner or cover for your pack during heavy rain to safeguard your equipment. In any case I was very pleasantly surprised after a rainy day of walking in that the Ziploc bags for electronics and other items in the top lid were totally dry on the outside. Even my phone, which I left in my pocket on my hipbelt was secure.

 

 

Sizing and Fit

Although it is true that the Blaze 60 is highly adjustable It takes some time (and the patience) to find the right size. My experience was that adjusting the shoulder straps and hip belt to alter the length of the torso and waist measurement was a painful procedure. In particular, you need to get behind the framesheet to remove and then reinstall the shoulder strap clips and the hipbelt is a matter of push and pull to move back into position. But once the fit was figured out I didn’t have any other concerns. The Blaze 60 for women Blaze 60 comes in shorter (15-18 inches) and standard (18-21 inches) lengths of torsos and with lots of space for adjustment, the majority of backpackers will be able to get a comfortable, secure fitting.

Other versions of Granite Gear Blaze

We have tested the women’s specific Blaze 60 that works with the unisex version. The two models share the same style in terms of weight, features and customization options but the unisex version is available in a large torso length (21-24 inches, or 3 pounds. 1.6 oz.). We haven’t had firsthand knowledge of the unisex Blaze however, we believe it’s a similar size. There are also more subtle shades, such as simple black and tan which some might prefer to the bold teal accents found in the pack for women.

What We Love

  • Despite its lightweight even at a low weight, it is extremely light. Blaze 60 hauls weight extremely efficiently and is extremely comfortable miles after mile.
  • The massive side pockets, the top lid that can be removed, as well as a concealed zippers on the front panel add convenience, and make it easy to get access to essential gear out on the trail.
  • The straps for compression permit you to tighten the pack to fit the load you’re carrying, whether you’re hauling only half the capacity of the bag or pushing it to its maximum capacity.

The Things We Do Not

  • While the backpanel is cushioned, it is more warm in comparison to mesh-intensive designs.
  • The process takes time as well as effort to get the right proper fit to the straps on your shoulders as well as hipbelt.
  • The women’s pack is only available in a single color (black as well as teal) which some may consider polarizing.

Comparative Table

PACK PRICE WEIGHT FABRIC CAPACITIES Access POCKETS
Granite Gear Blaze 60 $270 3 lbs. Nylon (100 and Nylon (100 &) 60L Front, top 6 exterior
Osprey Eja 58 $220 2 lbs. 8.5 oz. Nylon (100 and Nylon (100 &) 38, 48, 58L Top 5 exterior
Gregory Maven 55 $230 3 lbs. 6.6 oz. Nylon (100 and Nylon (100 &) 45, 55, 65L Top Side 6 exterior
ULA Circuit 68 $255 2 lbs. 9 oz. Robic nylon (400D) 68L Top 5 exterior
Granite Gear Crown2 60 $200 2 lbs. 5.8 oz. Nylon (100 and Nylon (100 &) 38, 60L Top 6 exterior
Osprey Aura AG 65 $270 4 lbs. 5.4 oz. Nylon (100D x Nylon (100D x 630D) 50, 65L Top 8 exterior

The Contest

Its Granite Gear Blaze 60’s balance of convenience, organization and weight puts it in the same league as some of the most popular backpacking backpacks available. It’s priced at just $50 less that it’s Blaze, Osprey’s Eja 58 is among our top ultralight models. It has excellent comfort while carrying and a weight of less than 3 pounds (2 pounds 8.5 pounds) and a tensioned mesh back panel which gives it an edge in airflow (see our comprehensive Eja reviews on this page). The main issue we have for this model Eja 58 is durability: there have been multiple tears on it, and we’ve had multiple tears in our Exos pack (the Eja’s male-specific counterpart) It utilizes similar 100 denier nylon body that the women’s. Even though the Blaze is also made of 100-denier material but it’s better puncture resistant Robic nylon was more durable against the rough rocks. Furthermore the Eja does not have some of the organizational features such as hipbelt pockets and is also a bit smaller in the lash points. We are impressed by the minimal compromises the Blaze allows for 7.5 pounds more.

As with the Blaze We also believe it’s the Gregory Maven 55 (and men’s Paragon 58) has a balance of its features perfectly. With a price of $230 and 6.6 grams it is a bit heavier than the Maven weighs more than the 3 pound Blaze but is also more breathable due to the mesh-heavy rear panel, has an integrated rain cover and is comfy on trails. The Maven also has the same the hipbelt length and torso length like it is similar to the Granite Gear pack, and Gregory recently included a full-length zipper on the side to allow easy entry into the primary compartment. But where the Maven fails is in its absence of features: In comparison with the Blaze comes with the same number of pockets on the outside (six) however it has more compression straps and other exterior storage options for gear. With a price tag of $45 more, we believe that the lighter Blaze is the more practical option

ULA packs are very popular with thru-hikers, which is why their Circuit 68 is their most popular model. With a price of just $15 more than the Blaze Circuit, the Circuit is extremely durable, with 400-denier Robic nylon construction (much stronger than the 100D Blaze) and is light at just 2 9 oz and highly customizable, with numerous removable features. The downside is that the Circuit is only rated at 35 pounds (15 pounds. smaller than Blaze) and has less padding on the hipbelt and shoulder straps as well as less compression straps to help cram down the weight. In addition, for an increase in hauling capacity, ULA’s Catalyst 75 is rated at 40 pounds, is made of the same 400D nylon and weighs about the same as the Blaze and boasts 15 more Liters capacity. However, the simpler backpanel design, the smaller shoulder and hip belt padding, as well as the lack of a lid that can be used as a top make us more inclined to reach at more of the Granite Gear, and especially when we are on missions that require a lot of gear.

Within Granite Gear’s collection that includes Granite Gear’s Crown2 60 is a different ultralight model to take into consideration. It costs less than $70 compared to the Blaze ($200 for the entire package) it comes with an all-in-one weight of 2 pounds 5.8 grams, with plenty of practical features such as Granite Gear’s great compression straps, ample storage space, a removable lid and backpanel as well as a roll-top closure as well as an adjustable hipbelt exactly like the Velcro system found on the Blaze. What are the main ways that these different packs compare? The smaller padding on the hipbelt and shoulder straps were not as efficient in transferring an enormous weight (the pack started to lose about 35 pounds. ) The Blaze carried similar weights effortlessly. Also, you can’t change the length of the torso as well, which is a feature we loved with the Blaze to ensure a perfect fit. Overall these are both great bags with the Crown2 is a great alternative for those who want to travel quickly and light, however the Blaze has the edge in terms of ease and hauling capacity.

If you’re seeking a boost in ventilation and comfort the Osprey Aura AG 65 (and men’s Atmos AG 65) is a well-liked backpack. The first thing we’ll do is state the obvious: it’s a premium, fully-featured backpack that doesn’t have the same lightweight design like Blaze 60. Blaze 60. The Aura comes with well-appointed features, including thick padding on the shoulders and the Anti-Gravity mesh back panel that provides excellent breathability, as well as a variety of storage and pockets. It’s also heavier, weighing in at 4 pounds 5.4 grams, almost a pound an eighth more that the Blaze. We are awestruck by the ventilation and cushioning added to the Aura however whether or not the extra weight is worth it depends on you.