The Blaze A.C. 60 pack was been a stalwart of Granite Gear’s range for number of years. Ideal for those people who wanted a lightweight but well featured pack which is capable of carrying a bit more weight.

For 2019, the new Blaze 60 has been updated with several new ideas plus a few taken from Granite Gear’s successful Crown 2.

The new Blaze is no minimalist pack, it’s brimming with features. It still manages to weigh under 1500g including the lid which is less than most packs with a similar spec. and a recommended carry limit of over 22kg! It transfers the weight so well it didn’t feel any heavier than the Crown 2 60 in use.

This pack is all about making life on the trail more comfortable. Having used the new Blaze for around 21 days I can say for me it achieves this very successfully.

The specification of the Blaze 60 is what makes this pack stand out, here’s a quick run through of some of the key features –

Durability – this pack should go the distance without any issues. The main body uses a tough 100D ripstop nylon fabric which is also extremely water resistant. High wear areas are reinforced with a 210D triple weave Robic Nylon ripstop which has UHMWPE (Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) woven into the fabric, part of the same group of materials as Dyneema, 10 times stronger than steel plus a similar coefficient of friction to Teflon but whilst being more abrasion resistant. This stuff is perfect for key areas on a pack and after a few weeks use the base and the side stuff pockets aren’t even marked.

Pockets – there are loads of external pockets to choose from – 2 side pockets, 2 hip belt pockets, top lid pocket and a stretch stuff pocket.

  • Two large side stuff pockets with draw cord tops can each hold 2 or 3 litres of gear. I carried a water bottle and filter in one and waterproofs in the other.
  • There is also a large stretch weave pocket on the back of the pack. This carried a trowel, Z-Lite sit mat, tent pegs, Polycro footprint, pee bottle etc.
  • The hip belt pockets are probably the biggest I’ve seen on a lightweight pack, they can comfortably fit a large Smartphone. So that they don’t interfere with the hipbelt (some pockets stop the hipbelt from conforming to your waist with a phone inside) they are only stitched along the top, at the bottom they are held in place with Velcro. This allows them to move when a larger item is enclosed and also covers the stabilising adjustment straps.
  • Finally, there is the top pocket which is also generously sized. I could fit my first aid kit, sunglasses, head torch, snacks and sandwiches etc in this pocket with room to spare.

Adjustability – I’d be confident that most people could adjust a Blaze 60 to fit them. There are 3 back lengths available – Short, Regular, Long and each is also adjustable. I went for the regular (adjustable in 1” increments from 18” to 21”) and found a setting that worked perfectly for me. Not only is the back length adjustable but also the hip belt. The Refit system means that you can adjust the size of the hipbelt by simply removing it from the pack and setting it from sizes from 26-42”. I started off set to 34” on the TGO Challenge but lost a bit of weight as it progressed and ended up adjusting it to be smaller towards the end of the walk. This feature would be even more valuable on a long thru hike where your waist size might reduce significantly over several months of trekking.

Comfort – The Blaze 60 scores big on comfort. The shoulder straps are wide and well padded with dual density foam and load lifters. The hip belt also uses a plush dual density foam. The back panel uses Granite Gear’s AC system which uses a hard frame sheet combined with a shaped foam back. I tend to get a sweaty back and found the AC systems to be surprisingly well ventilated on some some days that were around 25C (almost tropical for the Scottish Highlands in early May).

The combination of the well padded hip belt and stiff frame sheet is effective at transferring weight and keeping it off the shoulders. The slight curve at the base of the back panel also encourages the pack to just sit neatly at the base of your back also helping weight transfer.

Other features –

  • The top lid pocket has been designed to be versatile. It can be turned round and attached as a chest pack. It can also be removed from the pack along with the hip belt and fastened round the hip belt to form a waist pack. A cool idea for rest days and fast and light summits.
  • There is a side access long zip to access the inside of the pack without needing to unclip the lid and open the top. This makes it much easier to quickly access items like a windshell or insulation layer which can be packed near the opening.
  • There are 9 compression straps – 3 on each side and 3 on the rear that mean you can reduce the volume of the pack for shorter trips or days when you leave you camp set up to bag a few munros.
  • There are crossing top straps on top of the pack which are useful for when you are either using the pack without the lid or to securely hold a foam mat or tent horizontally under the lid.

Having used the Blaze 60 for around 3 weeks so far I have become very attached to it. The Pottery Clay / Brown Gingham colour option looks amazing and got loads of positive comments from people on the TGO Challenge. It’s strikingly different from other packs on the market so keep up the interesting colour options Granite Gear.

This pack does everything I could want from a multi-day rucksack plus a few more things I hadn’t even thought of. The Blaze 60 is a supremely comfortable rucksack to carry for long days. When you load it up with extra food or water, you can feel the additional weight but with no impact on the comfort. Granite Gear recommends a carry limit of just over 22kg and I’ll never get anywhere near that but reckon the Blaze would definitely be capable of coping. It does mean that with a lighter load it feels amazing.

If you value comfort as your top priority but still want a lightweight pack capable of carrying a heavier load on long trips or in Winter then the Blaze 60 is a superb option.

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