Granite Gear Alpine Vapor
This product is basically a blend of Granite Gear's…
Design: Top loading internal
Max. Load Carried: 100
Height of Owner: 6'4"
Price Paid: $160
This product is basically a blend of Granite Gear's Alpine Light pack and the Vapor Trail. Sadly, this blend has lost many of the great features that made each pack excel at its particular niche.
The Alpine Vapor no longer has the thin minimalist suspension that made it so ideal for many alpine uses. The removal of the top hood was done to save weight, but is virtually offset by the addition of a fairly hefty suspension system. And by losing the top hood, a lot of compartmentalization ability has been lost. As both a professional guide and long distance hiker (PCT 2006), I also own the "originals" behind this new pack and love them both for their own jobs.
Granite Gear has made a big mistake with this pack, I feel. Slimming down the ice tool attachments and bulk in the back was a plus. The addition of the side pouches was great - I had actually done the same modification to my own Alpine Light.
But losing the top pouch and the addition of the bulky suspension and hip belt are a major loss to this pack. This pack is one step forward with some of its improvements, but took two steps back at the same time.
First off I want to say that this is advertised as…
Size: 3600, but roll top expands
Number of Pockets: 1 main pocket, 2 stretch side pouches, water bladder compartment
Max. Load Carried: 30 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'0"
Price Paid: $159 on ebay
First off I want to say that this is advertised as a climbing/mountaineering pack and is excellent for that purpose but it is extremely versatile and I use it for almost everything. I had been searching around for a good pack for the last year. Looked at the Osprey Atmos and Aether, but just couldn't stand the price and they were a bit too gimmicky with the aluminum stays and moldable hip belt yada yada yada. I just wanted something lightweight, durable, comfortable and no frills.
I had thought about the Vapor Trail but wanted something more durable, a few weeks later I came across the Alpine Vapor. It is the most comfortable pack I have worn. The roll top takes a bit to get used to but it makes the pack very versatile. I use the gap in between the frame and the pack to hold my water bladder, but there is also a separate compartment within the pack itself. Compression straps manage everything well, along with the tool loops for lashing on whatever you may need.
I should mention that the pack came with an unraveling thread near the top. I emailed Granite Gear and asked if I could fix it myself and if something still went wrong would they stand behind their guarantee. They said it wouldn't be a problem and it made me feel good to be dealing with a company that will actually deal with you personally. I encourage you to deal with Granite Gear because they really seem to care for the customer.
The only cons of this pack are the difficulty of getting to your stuff at the bottom of the pack and the fact that it only comes in 1 color.