User Review: Granite Gear Latitude Vapor
Design: panel loading internal frame
Size: 3800 cu. in / size medium
Number of Pockets: ?
Max. Load Carried: approx. 25
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Price Paid: $135
I was in Boone, N.C., several months ago skiing and I stumbled into the Mast General Store. Prior to leaving on the trip I had ordered a brand new Lowe Alpine Contour 60 hyperlite pack for my wife to use (while I was currently using an old, but still in great shape Lowe Alpine Voyageur 60).
While I was in Mast I came across their stock of backpacks and I found a Granite Gear Vapor Trail. Hadn't even heard of Granite Gear prior to going to this store...I'd heard of Lowe Alpine, Kelty, Gregory etc. -- just figured they were the major players in the game.
I tried on the Vapor Trail and LOVED the suspension...way more comfortable than my L.A. bag. BUT too small I thought? I then did an inventory of my gear... 1) an MSR Hubba Hubba tent; 2) Slumberjack Baffin 0 degree down sleeping bag; 3) MSR Pocket Rocket stove w/MSR duralite fry pan; 4) Mountain Hardwear Epic Jacket (highly compressible); 5) Thermarest Prolite 4 sleeping pad.
As you can see, I'm definitely in the Ultralight range as far as gear goes. Why have I been carrying around a 9 pound bag loaded with about 20 more pounds of gear when I could have fit most of this stuff into a bag like the Vapor Trail.
Well, we bought it. ...took it home and cancelled the order on the new Lowe Alpine bag and eBay'd my old Lowe Alpine bag. I think decided that top loading wasn't for me, but I wanted a suspension just like the Vapor. ...enter the Latitude. It's basically a panel loading Vapor...and I love it. I've been extremely happy with its performance, durability, comfort. Heck, I almost miss wearing it when it's not on! I have literally found myself several times in recent weeks putting it on and biking up to the grocery store instead of taking the car! ...just because I want to use it (weird, huh?).
As for my wife, we decided that she needs a short torso size pack...the Vapor Trail we bought was a regular so we sent it back to Mast for a refund. At the time of writing I'm debating on getting her a Latitude as well, or waiting on the new Vapor Trail for '06 which has blue + black for the colors.
More about the Latitude...again, extremely comfortable. I find it very durable. I love the fact that the zippers are taped for waterproofing--that is something I've valued in Mountain Hardwear's gear for a while...definitely a nice thing for a pack. I've hiked with it several times...no real long trips yet (we're doing Colorado this summer for about seven days) but I can tell you so far it's been a huge improvement from my Lowe Alpine bags...they were great, but if you're an ultralighter, this is the way to go!
Find a great deal if you can--I got my Latitude for $135 new incl. shipping from Modern Mountain Man.com. Ebay has listings from time to time for Granite Gear packs.