Granite Gear Virga 2
Lightweight, comfortable, great for overnights or longer trips if you pack light. Holds a surprising volume, though I wouldn't want to push the weight limit. Just wish it had a hip belt pocket.
- Lack of hip belt pocket
- Kinda hot against your back
I'm a woman using the short size of this pack and it fits better than many lady-specific packs I've tried. I've been using this pack for a few months now and I really dig it. Super light, obviously, but the durability is there.
I love the simplicity of it, and with a sleeping pad inside to act as a substitute frame, I don't have any problems with torso sag either. It does get a bit hot in summer with the fabric right up against your back, but it's not as bad as I might have expected.
The big stretchy pockets can accommodate tons of gear. So much so that smallish stuff does seem to get a bit lost in the depths. One smaller pocket would be great. I did get an aftermarket pouch to put on the hip belt, but it slides right off every time I unbuckle the hip belt. I am trying it on the shoulder strap instead, but I don't love that arrangement.
The rolltop closure works great, but it's a bit time consuming when you just want to grab something quick. Of course, you can just put that stuff in those giant stretchy pockets.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $100
Minimalist, lightweight, quite comfortable, great for backcountry tips of one to several days and nights knowing that it is necessary to pack light.
- Easy access
- No outside belt pocket or strap pocket
- Shoulder straps a bit hard
- No hook for bladder/water hose
Even though this is advertised as a men's backpack, as a woman who backpacks alone, I need to carry as much as possible lightly. This pack fit my medium frame and height as well. Everything adjusts to fit, and the chest support can be adjusted to fit across correctly.
I find with other men's packs, this strap hits in the wrong area, so when needed, this is a plus to consider. Hip belt is satisfactory, however, I found that that the shoulder strap, at the point of touch could be a bit more thickly padded, but that would compromise weight if you are talking .oz.
The pack has plenty of outside stretchy pockets, but really needed a quick access pouch or pocket for my phone and a few other small items, so I ended up adding on an extra zipper pouch to one of the arm straps. I also added a clip to hold the water bladder hose in place so it isn't just dangling down.
Other item I added was a trash compactor bag to keep all waterproof. I'm doing most of my hikes in the GSMNP, so everything is wet all the time from rain or humidity. In dryer climates, that wouldn't be necessary. Just a personal choice on the items I added, but something to consider when selecting this pack.
The volume and size is very adequate and easily holds all I need to take for back country. I used my foam roll folded up behind my back for extra support and that was very comfortable. If one packs the weight correctly, this carries very well without a lot of back sag on the bottom. I also carried a 3 liter water pouch, as there is an inside hanger and port access hole.
The roll top and fasteners work great.
I've been trail and back country packing for over 30 years, some years more than others, and actually started out with an old used Alice pack, so this is top of the line, extremely lightweight, and comfortable. I'm going out again this weekend. Can't wait to take this pack again!
Source: received it as a personal gift
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Current Retail: $112.46
Historic Range: $104.96-$139.95
Reviewers Paid: $100.00