Granite Gear Habanero 28
I have worn this pack on a few hikes, including the…
Size: 1700 cubic inches (28 liters)
Height of Owner: 6'-1.5"
Price Paid: $90
I have worn this pack on a few hikes, including the 14.4-mile round-trip from Yosemite Valley to the top of Half Dome. It is an excellent day pack, providing many pockets, a lot of usable space, and relative comfort. I believe there are 3 pockets, plus two bottle holsters, plus an extra padded sunglass pocket, plus a couple of small pockets in the padded hipbelt. There is also a bottom pocket that is filled by the provided rainfly.
Below you may see the main compartment of the bag, after a 3 liter Camelbak hydration bladder has been installed (it's covered by a flap, which appears at the bottom of the photo). As you can see, there is plenty of usable space remaining in the daypack.
Behind the hydration pocket, a zipper allows access to the stay frame. I didn't pull it out, as it's a tight fit and I feared it wouldn't be easy to get it back inside, but this is what it looks like:
I noted that the advertising literature on Granite Gear's website and hang tag described this as a "single aluminum stay frame." When I first looked at this, I only saw black plastic and some fabric. While I didn't care what it was made of, I actually used Granite Gear's webform to send them a question, asking if their advertising literature was wrong, as it referred to aluminum. Unfortunately, they completely ignored me, and I never received a response.
I later took a second look, and saw that there is in fact an aluminum bar forming the backbone of the frame:
I still don't know if I would describe this as a "single aluminum stay frame," but at least there is some aluminum there. Perhaps the company thought I had seen the aluminum bar and was just giving them a hard time when I contacted them by webform, but they still should have responded.
Here's the hydration pocket itself. The pack does not come with a bladder, so you'll need to provide your own if you want one. The pocket has a couple of loops for hanging a bladder, and they are made of ribbon and appear much more substantial than the strings found on some packs, such as those made by Camelbak. The good news is that when the bladder is empty, the loops do a great job of hanging the bladder, as you can see:
The bad news is that when the bladder is full, the top of the bladder is thicker and the hang loops are then too short to use.
The pack has a central port in the back through which the hydration tube can exit. However, there are no guides for routing the hydration tube through the shoulder strap, and I found that the tube was rubbing against my neck. I bought Velcro cable ties and used them to secure the hydration tube to the webbing on the shoulder strap. It's not easy finding Velcro cable ties. I bought mine at Michael's Arts and Crafts store.
The padded shoulder straps are pretty comfortable. On my hike to Half Dome, I had a full 3 liter bladder, a 0.7 liter of water stashed in one side holster and a 0.5 liter of Gatorade stashed in the other side holster. In the main compartment I had lunch, apples, energy bars, a nylon shell, extra socks and gloves for the cables to the top of Half Dome. I didn't weigh the pack, but that list will give you an idea of what I was carrying.
I first thought to bring an extra 1.2 liters of water and a sweatshirt, but the pack felt too heavy, so I ditched those and the pack felt much better. My shoulders were sore by the end of the hike, but that could have happened with any pack, given the long day, many miles, and my level of fitness.
Today I went on an 8-mile hike, carrying the 3-liter bladder and a 0.7 liter bottle of water, a nylon shell, energy bars and lunch, and I had no sore shoulders after the hike.
I'm 6'-1.5", and the pack is perhaps a tiny bit short for me. The padded waist belt sometimes seems to be okay, but once or twice it has ridden up into my stomach.
The built-in rain fly is well-designed and effective.
The pack has reflective strips, but only on the shoulder straps, so the wearer's front will be reflective but not his back. So hikers should walk facing traffic. I guess Granite Gear doesn't think many bikers will wear this, or else they think the riders' bikes will have reflectors on the back (or the bikers will illegally ride facing traffic). If they had advertised that the pack had reflective strips, I would think they should add some to the front of the pack (i.e., so someone driving up behind a hiker could see him). But they didn't advertise this feature, so I don't think they'll face any liability by only having one side covered with the reflective strips.
So I did have a few complaints, but overall I strongly approve of the pack.