Granite Gear has updated their thru-hiker’s classic, the Crown, with their newest iteration of trail flow, the Crown2, and it’s a beaut. Granite Gear managed to keep all the good things about the original Crown and added headlining features like an adjustable hip belt and removable top lid, making this one of the best packs the company has ever produced.
I’ve dragged this one through the forests, coast lines, and mountains and then taken it through TSA, across the country, and back again for good measure. There’s a lot to like here and not so much to call out. Here’s the skinny:
- Name: Crown2 60
- Brand: Granite Gear
- Format: Backpack
- Measurement: Inside dimensions 23.5
- Capacity: 60L / Cu In 3660
- Weight: Short Torso Weight 0.90 Kg / 2.0 lbs.; Regular Torso Weight 0.96 Kg / 2.12lbs.; Long Torso Weight 1.0 Kg / 2.25lbs.
- Zippers: Duraflex buckles, YKK zips
- Material: 210D and 100D nylon with NeverWet water repellency treatment; Removable polypropylene framesheet
- PriceUS$ 199.95
Who It Suits
Anyone interested in multi-day backcountry travel. This is a lightweight utility bag that’s bridged the gap between boutique and cottage thru-hiking products and the average enthusiast.
"Granite Gear managed to keep all the good things about the original Crown and added headlining features like an adjustable hip belt and removable top lid, making this one of the best packs the company has ever produced."
Who It Doesn't
Organization freaks and heavy load haulers. This bag’s been tuned for ounce counters, so it’s a mean, lean, trekking machine—you’re not going to find internal pockets for your trinkets and you shouldn’t carry more than 35 pounds in it. If you routinely pack for “just in case,” this isn’t for you.
This bag was a hit the first time around, so let's just say it's dialed in its second generation.
I dig both color options. But to be honest I don’t care. I typically look for brighter colors in my outdoor products because—shoot, did you see where I put my pocket knife? Making things easier to see is worthwhile when you spend a bunch of time outside.
"This is a lightweight utility bag that’s bridged the gap between boutique and cottage thru-hiking products and the average enthusiast."
A bag is different because if you misplace your bag, well, you’ve got bigger things to worry about. But again, color is a distant thought in the grand scheme of an outdoor bag.
Granite Gear stands by their Rock Solid Warranty. If you’ve got an issue, they’ll make it right. That said, let’s take a look at a few of the design features that set the bag apart.
The compression system is super smart
The triangular webbed framework prevents any of the compression stress from being applied to the bag. Rather, the stresses are applied to the framework of the bag which prevents seam failures over thousands and thousands of miles of stuffing sleeping bags, puffies, and food into the cavernous main compartment. The straps have been upgraded to 10mm webbing from the cordage of the original Crown, so you can really crank it down.
"The triangular webbed framework prevents any of the compression stress from being applied to the bag."
The bottom panels have been redesigned for increased abrasion resistance. They come up slightly higher than they did in the previous Crown, reducing wear on the lower portions of the stretch woven pockets and the foam lumbar pad.
Duraflex buckles abound. We particularly enjoyed the two-to-one buckle on the top of the bag when we saw it for the very first time at the 2016 OR summer show. It is particularly convenient in the field.
"We particularly enjoyed the two-to-one buckle on the top of the bag when we saw it for the very first time at the 2016 OR summer show."
Granite Gear is using 210D for the bottom panel and triangular webbed framework and 100D in the cylindrical body of the bag and the roll top collar. Both fabrics are urethane coated for water resistance. 210D might sound a little thin to some of you—in my experience, that’s plenty of abrasion resistance for regular use. I’m not worried about the durability of this even a little. You also get three enormous stretch woven pockets that allow you to just cram whatever you need fast access to right there at the ready.
This is a feature-rich bag near the 2-pound mark. Here are a few of the headliners.
Removable top lid
Let’s talk about the top lid for a second. The only reason I leave it on is for organization. I like to have all my creature comforts in one spot, and the ability to remove that compartment from the pack and take it into the tent is nice to have. That said, this bag is catered to the ounce counters, so lots of folks will ditch the lid. I actually like its versatility.
"The only reason I leave [the lid] on is for organization. I like to have all my creature comforts in one spot, and the ability to remove that compartment from the pack and take it into the tent is nice to have."
Here are two ways you can utilize that compartment outside of a top lid, and we’re putting Granite Gear on blast here so the designers can get these modifications patterned out for next year.
Fanny packs don’t suck| Add a small sleeve on the underside of the lid so that I can rock this on my day hikes out from a base camp.
Chest pack| This is the must-add. Crazy convenient, the lid is already the right size—all this mod requires to be a reality is some male/female buckle shuffling and a zipper move. Make it happen, Granite Gear!
Removable RE-FIT system hip belt
The RE-FIT system is great twofold. First, you can dial in the length of the hip belt. If you’re a 34-inch waist, dial it in to 34 inches. Simple. Many thru-hikers have struggled with hip belt sizing as they lose weight over their journeys. The RE-FIT makes it fast and easy to readjust as you lose weight. Boom. The other nice thing about the RE-FIT system is that if your hips are wide or narrow, you can adjust the distance up front to move your padding to where it works best for you.
"Many thru-hikers have struggled with hip belt sizing as they lose weight over their journeys. The RE-FIT makes it fast and easy to readjust as you lose weight."
When I used the pack as a carryon, I removed the hip belt to get through my gate a little easier—I’m always worried the attendants are going to be like, “Sir, you’re crazy, that’s a sixty-liter pack. You can’t take that on the plane.” So I ditch the belt and crank down the compression. It’s also good for you crazy ultralight hikers who have base weights sub 4.5 kg.
Removable polypropylene framesheet
If you’re really counting your ounces and want to drop 6.5 of them, the framesheet slides right out. It’s a bit stiffer, albeit heavier, than its predecessor, but the result is an extremely stable loading platform near the two-pound mark. Compared to the original Crown, the Crown2 has additional cutouts that drop weight and compression molded channels that increase rigidity.
"If you’re really counting your ounces and want to drop 6.5 of them, the framesheet slides right out."
The compression system
You’ve got six horizontal straps to lash down items and the two-to-one strap on the top. We’ll throw in the two tool attachment loops here as well.
Most excellent. As someone who really appreciates lots of organization, the simplicity of this bag is nice. The huge hip belt pocket swallows up a small knife, compass, bars, lightweight gloves, ChapStick, and whatever odds and ends you’ll have on your person. The real winners here are the comfort of the RE-FIT system and the suspension in whole. The compression system should also not be overlooked either because it’s engineered to last.
"The real winners here are the comfort of the RE-FIT system and the suspension in whole."
Space & Access
It’s a roll top closure with a couple of options for securing it. You can run that top lid for a little more organization or you can opt to leave it at home or get creative with it like I did. The stretch woven pockets on this are awesome. I think that’s my favorite material—does anyone know if I can get stretch woven sheets? It’s magical. Wet stuff outside, easy- access water bottles, layers, etc.
This rides great. The RE-FIT system is simple and functional. Granite Gear has the shoulder straps dialed. They always have, the shoulder straps on every Granite Gear bag I’ve ever used have been magical. The ventilated mesh and foam back panel is minimal but it functions; I had the opportunity to take this out in some warmer weather in Arches National Park and Yosemite and really got a good idea of how well it breathes. You’re not going to find a sweat-free back panel anywhere, especially at sub 1kg, but I’ll say that this vents well enough to keep my soggy back at bay.
"Granite Gear has the shoulder straps dialed."
All the nylon is PU coated and it’s a roll top. That said, it’s not waterproof, but it definitely gets the job done. We got dumped on once in the PNW and the lid did a good job of deflecting most of the rain, keeping my uppermost contents dry. The 100D I feel might be an issue in extended showers—but dutiful backpackers won’t be caught without dry bags or bag liners.
Alternatives to Consider
The Gossamer Gear Mariposa is also a lightweight cult classic. It is slightly higher priced, but it weighs less and has more organization. I hesitate to mention the Osprey Exos 58 because of its weight and suspension, but it’s a close comparison on paper other than that. There aren’t many bags outside of boutique brands that come close to the Crown2—it really is very impressive.
As a backpacker, it’s hard not to like this bag. Even with a critical lens, I have so few things to complain about. This is a top recommendation for all experience levels—and I think that’s what I like most about the Crown2 and Granite Gear as a brand—they’re making the world of lightweight backpacking accessible and affordable to those who are interested. There’s nothing intimidating about the Crown2, it’s not complicated or overly priced, it doesn’t use crazy Dyneema fabrics (as rad as they are), and yet it is still oh so good for what it was designed for.
*If you're new to the hiking game, check out Ace's super informative article entitled 'How to Find the Right Hiking Pack for You.' to get you started.