Granite Gear Alpine Light, $160
As the company’s name implies, Granite Gear makes equipment that will stand up to punishment, and this pack is a good example. The beefy Hypalon tool tubes and reinforced
patch practically dare you to work them over. The suspension is no-frills with no rigid stays, minimal adjustments, and the hipbelt isn’t even padded; this is not a pack for toting heavier loads. (Curiously then, the sack extension is massive, although it does make a good bivy half-sack.) Granite Gear’s removable back/bivy pad was the largest (30” by 30”) and easiest to get in and out of all the packs we surveyed. It is also unique in that it feeds in from the outside (which requires unclipping all the lid straps) and the opening had a tendency to collect ice chips and snow. Beneficial features include the bomber tool and crampon attachments, hipbelt racking loops, and
will appreciate the nifty file storage pouch hidden behind the rugged crampon patch.
Durable but lightweight. Large bivy pad. Least bulky hipbelt of all packs surveyed.
No internal frame. No hydration sleeve.