Open main menu

Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 70

rated 5 of 5 stars
photo: Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 70 expedition pack (70l+)

This pack does 90 percent of the kind of hiking/climbing I do.


  • Frame fits my back perfectly
  • Expands/contracts for larger/smaller loads
  • Light
  • Thoughtful buckles
  • Pannel access
  • Wood frame sheet = coolness factor
  • Easily adjusted hipbelt


  • Stretchy material feels vulnerable
  • Load lifters come loose if you arent careful
  • Possibly too many adjustment srtaps?

A lot of good things have happened in the last few years to backpacks and I am glad that I chose to test the Granite Gear Nimbus Trace. 

This pack won the Outdoor Retailer Best New Gear Award.


Ready for winter climbing

The most interesting feature of the Nimbus Trace is its Maple (wood) frame sheet. It is drilled at one inch intervals to adjust the fit of the shoulder straps and its bolted to the waist belt. The last pack I carried with a wooden frame was an old army pack frame I used in the USFS.

GG claims that the wood, while beautiful and renewable is stronger and lighter than other materials available.  I found it to work fine and never had to give it any thought. I did hesitate to use it as a seat because I was afraid it might crack.

Testing has been on overnight backpacking trips, summit scrambles, and at Crevasse Rescue school.


If you cram them in two bottles fit in each side pocket.


Very pregnant pack


This long pouch is good for quick access: goggles/gloves.


The pack material is a variety of Codura that is very abrasion resistant. The water bottle pockets however are made from a very stretchy mesh that snags very easily and may not be the best choice for a part that sticks out the sides as it does. After the first trip with this pack I noticed the pocket had begun to stretch out a little from the one quart water bottle I had placed in it.


The side pockets seem to get stretched out quickly and I worry that they won't be tight forever


The ends of the tent poles are in a cut off Gatorade bottle to keep them from ruining the mesh.



The floating top lid to this pack has a small mesh pocket for keys, maps, etc that I found convenient. Under the lit there is a MASSIVE extending collar that rolls closed and secured with several; buckles in case your load expands on the trip. Really I think it was a little bigger than it needs to be, but if you need it it’s there.

The top closing buckles worked perfectly to secure my climbing rope.

There are two external stretchy mesh pockets near the top of the main compartment where I kept first aid supplies, GPS, compass, and other small items. The stretchy material works great here.

There is also a long stretchy mesh pocket down the center of the back of the pack that is perfect for a pair of gaiters or gloves and a hat. The mesh might improve air circulation to these items and allow them to dry a little, maybe. 

I cut off a Gatorade bottle top and placed the bottom half into the mesh pocket where I put my snow pickets and tent stakes to protect this seemingly fragile material. The associated compression straps can either go over or under your water bottle, a smart idea.

There is an internal hydration pouch pocket if you are into unloading the entire pack just to fill up on water.

The floating top lid converts into a clumsy fanny pack like many seem to do, I never use this feature and often cut the straps off but it’s there if you want it.


RidgeRest had to ride on the outside.


Nice place to clip stuff


I found faults with this pack in some areas but somehow they dialed the fit in to my body type (5’ 10”,190 lbs, 20 inch torso) PERFECTLY! The load rested right on the section of my lower back/upper hip area where I like it and distributed the right amount of weight to my shoulders (very little) with a few tugs on the adjustment straps.  

I hate hiking out on slow long trails so I usually jog. This pack stays tight to my body and allows me to get back to the TH and a cold brew much faster.


Keeps your back well vented


The straps and padding are made of a material that carried a 40# load nicely without being too bulky. I like the way the back padding is arranged to allow ventilation, I never had a sweaty back with the Nimbus Trace. I’d have no problem carrying this pack with 55 pounds or so, if it would fit inside.


The padding feels like a firm memory foam.


Decent zippers


Ice axe loop wear, because my axe has grip tape on it


I am a little worried about the mesh bottle holder pouches lasting because of the reasons I specified earlier.  They do, however hold onto a water bottle very tightly so that I would gladly glissade without worrying about donating anything in those pockets to the mountain.

The rest of the pack has held up very well to the sharp/rough equipment I attached to it (crampons/show shovel/ice axe) so I am pleased so far with its performance. My crevasse rescue instructor felt like the wood frame sheet would keep it from making a very good dead-man anchor based on his intuition rather than experience.


The panel opening


Theres a three-person tent in there.


Like the panel loading packs of old I like the way the Access pocket lets me get to some of my gear without unloading the whole pack. Of course if you are smart you pack so as to negate this issue, but I still liked it. To protect the zippers there are ample compression straps to keep the pregnant pack from bursting its zippers, something I have seen happen before. 

Was the pack big enough? That’s tough to answer, as someone used to a 100 liter pack it took creativity to make everything fit, especially when carrying things like a shovel, climbing rope and the like. It actually made me lighten my load of things I really didn’t need.


Am I leaning or is the tree?  Icicle Ridge, Leavenworth, WA


Three tie downs might be overkill. If you don't like them cut them off.


Some think that too many compression straps is a bad thing. I look at it as something I can use when I need it and cut off it I don’t. I like the option of really cinching things down to prevent flopping and provide good stability when the pack is less than full. I never lacked for a place to hang an oversized tool or wet garment when I needed it thanks to the compression straps.


The top opened for access. Maybe overkill too. I hated accessing this way because it takes forever to unroll it every time.


Keeps snow/rain out when the weather gets cruddy


Looking a little deflated on a single day summit climb


Above Leavenworth, WA


Confident smile and some good luck bling from my little girl


Almost back at the trail head. Some nice girls took my pic.


Crevasse rescue class

Best Suited for 

Overnight trips in the 1-5 day range, longer for summer trips or if you pack light. I’m going to try it on some mountaineering trips to see if it holds the gear and holds up to the work. For now I am loving the contour of the frame sheet, its back padding and stability thanks to ample compression options.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Granite Gear for testing and review)

I own a few backpacks...and this has become my go-to pack. Plenty of straps that can be used to attach your tent, poles, or a rain jacket outside. Front panel access lets you get inside without opening the top. The wood frame is top notch with well placed adjustments.

I picked this pack up for $207 plus free shipping.


  • Can be tweaked to fit you right...shoulder straps and hip belt sizes
  • Plenty of compression straps
  • 5 stretch pockets plus rear access
  • Wood panel frame is a winner
  • 3 color choices is very rare, but Granite Gear has it


  • $300+ price tag...unless you can find it in the low $200s

I gave this pack a 5 out of 5 because I do own a few packs, and this one fits right @ 70 liters for trips that are more then 3 to 7 nights. I can take a few extra things like a chair and a 2-person tent, even if I'm going solo.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $207

Your Review

Where to Buy

Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support Trailspace's independent gear reviews.

You May Like


Price MSRP: $349.95
Historic Range: $138.73-$349.95
Reviewers Paid: $207.00
Weight 4 lb 3 oz
Volume 70 L
Price Historic Range: $161.00
Product Details from Granite Gear »

Recently on Trailspace

Patagonia Light Farrier's Shirt Review

Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp 5-Pocket Pants Review