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I liked the adjustability of the torso and hip belt…
Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (I kept the product after testing.)
I liked the adjustability of the torso and hip belt and the way the frame curves out from the lumbar area to provide ventilation.
- Lots of ventilation
- Adjustable torso length
- Adjustable hip belt
- Difficult to fit a bear canister
- Hydration bladder sleeve is short
I’ve been looking for a new pack since my old one is starting to show signs of wear and tear. I had to opportunity to test the Granite Gear Lutsen 55, a new offering from Granite Gear. I was looking for a pack that weighed less than 3 lbs and this one was just over the mark at 3.1 lbs.
There were a few features that I really liked. One thing I liked is the way the back panel is molded to allow pockets of air to circulate. Another is the innovated Re-Fit system that allows both the torso and hip belt to be adjusted.
I did need to adjust the torso length and was stumped at first as to how to get the back panel separated to extend the torso. I watched the video on the Granite Gear website to figure it out. It’s actually quite simple but the hook-and-loop closure is very strong so I had to really jam my hand between the layers to get them to separate.
After that it was easy to use the graduated markings to change the length. The Re-Fit system for the hip belt goes from 28” to 40” while the torso expands from 14” to 18”.
I took the pack on an overnight trip in Sonoma County and found that it carried my usual load of about 25 pounds with no problem. I found that the padding on the shoulder straps and belt was very thick and comfortable, though these and other features contribute to the weight, I’m sure.
I liked having two pockets on the lid as I was able to keep things organized and not have everything fall out when I was trying to get a snack. The stretchy side pockets were easy to get my water bottle in and out of. The pockets on the hip belt were actually useful, being large enough to accommodate my cell phone.
I had a couple of issues when loading the pack. I was concerned that my hard-sided Garcia food canister wouldn’t fit due to the curved design of the pack’s back frame. The canister slid easily in the horizontal position down to the bottom of the pack but was a bit difficult to extract, especially with other objects in other pockets of the pack.
Some people like to carry their food canister up high, which would be easily accommodated in the Lutsen, but I like to carry the heavy can near the small of my back. It worked, but just barely. The capacity of the pack is fine and there was plenty of room for my other gear and it’s just because of the awkward shape of the inflexible can that was an issue. I actually had more space than I needed since it’s 5 liters larger than my previous pack.
The other issue was fairly minor, but a surprising oversight. The hydration bladder sleeve was too short to fit my 3-Liter bladder when full. I usually don’t fill it completely unless I’m worried about water but I would like to have a larger sleeve. With my usual 1.5 to 2 liter water supply it fit adequately. The other issue was that the sleeve was sewn in across the top, rather than having a hook or loop, which prevented me from shoving the bladder to one side when fitting my bear canister in.
The pack is well constructed and has some flexible features that allow for customization of fit, which I appreciated. My food canister didn’t fit all that well for the way I like to position it so I’ll keep looking for the ideal pack. If I backpacked in areas that didn’t require a bear canister it would be a good choice.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product for purposes of this review, but the opinions expressed are my own.