Born from the Boundary Waters adventures of its founders, Granite Gear outfits all manner of outdoor enthusiasts: campers, hikers, paddlers, travelers, even America’s soldiers. Its wares have met the demands of the ultra-long-distance ‘Packing It Out’ crew, too.
In 1986, Jeff Knight and Dan Cruikshank paddled the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota and realized they needed better outdoor gear. That kernel of dissatisfaction became their focus, and eventually their brand.
Granite Gear grew to specialize in gear storage, including dry bags, portage packs, and duffels. But its bigger claim to fame is its line of top-performing backpacks.
Beyond sales, Granite Gear is an outspoken advocate of the BWCA and wilderness stewardship projects.
Two Harbors, Minn.
With a focus on function, fit, and accessibility Granite Gear aims to produce high-quality backpacks, canoe and travel gear, and packing systems that work for all types of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Know your torso length.
Granite Gear has a program called The Grounds Keepers, where people walk long and short trails and pack out trash as they hike. So far this year, 15 of them have packed out more than 760 pounds of trash.
Crown2 60 ($200)
Available in men’s and women’s fit, the Crown2 60 uses a “Vapor Current mark 2” compression molded polypropylene frame sheet. It works to minimize weight without sacrificing structural integrity.
The vented foam back panel sheds heat and moisture, while the frame keeps the pack’s center of gravity on your back. The Crown2 60 comes with a removable zippered lid.
Blaze A.C. 60 ($240)
Granite Gear calls the A.C. 60 “spartan in its simplicity.” The pack body is a simple, lidless top-loader with an opening that can be cinched and rolled down tight for weather resistance (and also expanded when extra space is needed).
The compression system allows the load to be cinched tight in every direction (side, front, and top), and it allows additional gear to be lashed to the pack. Plus, the drawstring cords can be replaced if they wear out from extended use.
Stretch-mesh pockets on the sides work well for water bottles, while the tall front center pocket is good for damp tarps or ultralight tents.
Air Compressor Stuff Sacks ($28-$36)
The Air Compressor is Granite Gear’s answer for the ultralight packer who wants to save weight by compressing gear and carrying a smaller pack.
Compress lofty items to a rock hard state without bulging using four cinch straps that pull the lid and bottom together. The nylon stuff sacks come in 8, 11, 16, and 23L sizes.
Crown2 38 ( $185)
Just prior to the Outdoor Retailer show this year, Granite Gear announced a lighter, more compact update to the best-selling 60-liter Crown2 backpack.
The 38L Crown2 has many of the same features but compresses down to 18L. It’s a good option for day hikers and space-savvy thru-hikers.
Available spring 2018, the Crown2 38 will weigh 2 lbs. 1 oz. without the lid, shaving a couple ounces off its 2 lbs. 4 oz. predecessor.