The Granite Gear Ultra light Packer Vapor Trail 3600 is your introduction to the world of ultra light.
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Share your thoughts
Vapor Trail on Selden Pass (John Muir Trail)
A Great Pack....If You Use it Right
I bought this pack after doing serious research on many, many packs. It is very light, and quite comfortable to carry. The construction of the pack is top notch.
My problem is this: this was to be my one and only pack for quite a while to come. I realized it would not work for me on an 18 mile one day mountain hike. I need more room then my ultra-light 18L pack, but way less room then this pack (or a pack with better clinching and far more organization options; like the osprey exos 58). I had serious, "hey, where did that bagel go??" issues. With only one huge pocket, everything got lost quickly. That being said, in the future I may get this again as a longer trip backpack, where less little stuff will get lost inside.
All said and done and very well made, light, and comfortable pack, just not what I need right now.
This pack comes reccomended from numerous...
This pack comes reccomended from numerous reviews and such for the AT. This will be just a short three week hike for me (first ever). While I have no reservations about the hike I do have a serious phobia of checking bags on the plane. I have lost two bags on two seperate occasions to limbo never to be seen again. Assuming I ground ship the sharps and bulk (stakes, knife, straight razor, stove, hammock, and quilt) I'll be left with pretty much just the incidentals and clothes. If there is a good lord above would this fit as carry on?
John - as long as if this isn't packed to the max, you can bring this on the plane as a carry on. I own this pack and its a great pack for what you are looking for. If I had to make some recommendations to you for your fear of it getting lost, remember you're allowed two carry on bags. If you have this bag packed close to it's capacity, I'd take half of the stuff in the pack, and put it in another bag and stuff it under the seat in front of you. I used this strategy when I flew to California for a 3 night trip in Sequoia... I mailed my fuel canisters, knives, tent stakes, lighters, etc. If you are super organized, I've seen people mail their entire backpacks packed with supplies (other than perishable food).
I've attached a pic of this pack completely packed to the brim... I couldn't fit another ounce of gear in there. I am 5'4" so if this bag looks big, it's because I am smaller than the average joe.
Last but not least, you could not check this at the airport front desk, go through security, and then check it at the gate. I've had great luck with that... saves you the baggage fee and most of the time you can pick up the bag as soon as you de-plane. At least you know that it made it on your flight safely.
Greg, Great iformation! Thank you so much. (I wasn't expecting a reply so quickly) My friend was telling me to UPS the whole package but the cost on doing so would be prohibitive for me. I'll deffinitely be returning the one I bought to the store and ordering this. THANKS!
No sweat, John... let us know how the trip goes!
so i got this pack thinking it would be a minimal, well thought out pack. although it is minimal there are too many straps that seem to serve no purpose. the top of the pack extends two feet above the part that is pictured. if you filled the pack to the top, you would be falling over because it was so top heavy. it is a waste of material since the straps that go over the top won't allow you to pack it that full with them cliped in. its hard to explain, i would recommend looking at one in person before buying.there is nothing but one giant bag with two pockets on the side that seem pretty tight and its hard to even fit a water bottle when the pack is full.i would go for the LATITUDE VAPOR which has a smart zipper design to to access everything in the pack. its got a little bag that fits in the top and a hydration compartment that can be use for whatever else. all this for a backbreaking 5 oz more!
oh yea the small is 3300 ci , regular is 3600ci, and large is 3900 ci. the weight of the pack WILL vary depending on size. i believe the regular is 2lbs 5oz.
Hiking in to surf Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
Granite Gear Vapor Trail from the back
Here is a better view of the pack's back padding.
Granite Gear Vapor Trail pack
Taking a breather in the Ruby Mountains, Nevada
so i'm just getting into backpacking and...
so i'm just getting into backpacking and probably won't be doing any thing longer than a two-three night trip. would this be a good pack to get?
One of the best features of this pack, but one that must be understood, is it's weight. Because it weighs in at right around 2 lbs it requires the user to understand it's limitations. It also is a top load only pack meaning you can only load it from the top. Other packs have the ability to load from the side or middle via a zippered opening. The durability of the pack is less than other more robust packs to keep the weight down. Having said that, for a ultra-light pack, the Vapor Trail is one of the most durable. It is truly a minimalistic pack that should be understood. If you get it, meaning if you have other ultra-light gear and understand the whole lightweight backpacking method then this pack is one of the best. However, if you are just wanting a pack to get started into backpacking, I would probably recommend other, more durable and traditional, packs that would better serve your needs.
My favorite pack to date
I used this pack for over 500 miles on the AT in 2007 & 2008. I love the fit and carry. I don't know if they have resolved this issue, but in 2007 there were a number of hikers on the AT that had the long seams on the front of the pack fail. I watched mine closely, and when I began to see signs of stress contacted GG. They were quick to get another pack out to me and I've had no further issues. I have no desire to use another pack, and if something happened to this one I would replace it with another GG VT. I have the optional lid: it did not work for me, it was bothersome and prevented me from compressing the load the way I like (I like my pack cinched down TIGHT). What I ended up wit in stead was a rectangluar piece of a foam cut from a discarded ridgerest pad. I would place items I may need to get at during the day in a small stuff sack on top, followed by my folded rain jacket, then the piece of foam (which was used as a sit-upon), the extension collar was then tightened around the edges of the foam pad, and the compression straps cinched to hold it all in place. It made rest stops a breeze. I also used the optional hip pockets, and 1 strap pocket. The hip pockets tended to get in my way (I'm short, 5'2"), but the strap pocket was great. I kept my camera and an energy bar there. I guess if you were using the side pockets for water bottles they wouldn't work well, but I used a hydration bladder, and it worked out great. I also developed a system for loading my gear (which I think any long distance hiker would do), and really liked the stretchy side pockets. I carried my tent poles in 1 side, under the compression strap, and my small fuel bottle on the other side (it fit entirely inside the pocket).
not for me
I actually ended up sending this pack back after 1 trip. The torso length seemed right and it appeared to fit pretty well loaded up at home but after the first couple miles with a very moderate load (~20lb) my back started to hurt a bit.
Also after I got to where I was going scrambling with this pack was uncomfortable. Every time I stepped up high my leg would interfere with the hip belt.
I've ended up going back to a frameless golite pack for these kind of trips.
Go hang out on the AT or a while. See what the thru hikers are carrying. Ask yourself what's important to someone when they live out of their bag for 2100 miles. Go buy a Vapor Trail. You won't be disappointed...
Unless you like lots of pockets, fancy suspension that adds pounds, removable fanny packs, etc. etc. If you haven't cut your toothbrush in half yet, you might not like this pack. If you have, I recommend cutting the tags out of this pack.
Now that I'm out west, no one seems to carry this pack. They're all surprised that I'd carry anything other than arcteryx; until they pick mine up. Light! Comfortable! Buy one!
Love of my Life
When you are going a super long distance and you have the option to resupply every few days, water is plentiful and all you need to carry is a change of clothes, raingear, Tarptent, Aquamira, food, and a toothbrush, filed down of course to save weight, you carry it all in this baby. This thing is tough, light, and really comfortable to carry all day everyday. I vouch for it and push it to anyone wanting to hike the AT. Amazing product by GG.
Why would anyone want to hike the AT without...
Why would anyone want to hike the AT without this as their backpack?
That is a great question. The only retort i have is that the Vapor Meridian is just as light and offers an adjustable fitted back, interchangeable belts and straps, and has front access point. Other than that this is a great pack. The real question is why would anyone hike the AT without a Granite Gear pack in general? I mean Trauma's testing alone vilifies the company as a go big or go home pack company!
Quite simply, yes. Check out Brian Roble's yo-yo of the AT in 2008. He's on the fringe of backpacking using a super-ultralight load for the northbound portion (sub 5 lb base weight), but its definately doable.
All of this goes back to Ray Jardine and his original designs in some fashion or another.
more than one use
It's always hard to make exceptions for luxury items, but I try and make room in my pack for my wild edibles book. Not only is it a great resource but you can slide it down between the back pad and the ruck sack as a lumbar support. It helps to stabilize a heavier load and give some rigidity to the back panel.
I'm planning a thru hike of the AT. Will...
I'm planning a thru hike of the AT. Will this pack do the job?
Depends on how much you plan to haul. I would lay out all your gear, and then based on that see if you want a bag this small, or something more around the 50L+ range.
Damn straight it'll get the job done. This is one of the more popular packs on the AT. It rides great, packs well, and is extremely comfortable. Check out my review on this page for more info on this pack relating to the AT.
This is the only pack you should take with you on the AT...everything else is overkill. Once you are about a month in, your pack weight is sub 30's with three days of food and 1.5 liters of water. You have only the necessities you need to survive and this pack carries it comfortably. Trust me, I hiked the AT and this thing is peeeeerfect.
Granite Gear Vapor Trail Backpack Review
After hanging out on the AT for several weeks last year, I kept seeing this Granite Gear Vapor Trail Backpack. It seemed to be the most popular pack out there for thru-hikers, and as an AT enthusiast, I had to see what made this pack so special.
Having now bought and tested it, the pack rides like a champ. It's great because you benefit from the fact that the back has a frame, but it is also extremely light at 2lbs 5oz. That said, it is THE most comfortable back I have owned (I have a lot of backpacks, from 15oz Gossamer Gear packs to 7lb Gregory packs).
The straps on the pack make it easy to find the right settings for the most comfortable ride, but at the same time there isn't an over-excessive amount of straps like some packs. The waist belt isn't removable, but it is extremely comfortable. Assuming you are looking at this pack because you are leaning towards the genre of an ultra-light backpacker, I probably wouldn't recommend putting more than 30 - 35 lbs in this pack. That said, I haven't had more than 25 lbs in this pack.
The simple-yet-effective design of this pack makes it one of the best in the industry. You got to try it to believe it... I'd recommend this pack to anyone who enjoys light-weight backpacking.
How does the GG Vapor trail compares against...
How does the GG Vapor trail compares against the Osprey Exos 58 (besides the obvious differences)...Please explain.
is the foam frame removeable so you can...
is the foam frame removeable so you can use a sleeping pad as a frame?
No. The foam is not removable. Granite Gear makes a pack called the Virga which allows for this. It is an uber-light pack that doesn't include any suspension which allows the user to use whatever they want, like a Ridge Rest or Z-Rest, as the frame. The best thing about the Vapor Trail is that, at only 2lbs., it includes a complete suspensioned frame including duo-densities in the waste belt, shoulder straps, and backpanel. Compared to other ultra-light packs, the suspension on the Vapor Trail is very substantial.
I'll try to make it short and sweet. I'm new to backcountry backpaking/camping. I bought this because of the reviews. I have taken 2 hikes so far with this pack totalling 16 miles. This is one amazingly comfortable backpack. I carried 25lb. for 6 miles the first time and 10 miles the second. I had my tent with footprint and fly, foor in a bear boxer, clothes, stove, fuel, water, medkit, etc. The only thing that hurt were my feet.
The thick padded hip belt when pulled snug puts almost all the weight on your hips. Very easy to handle there. The straps keep the pack pulled tight to your back and takes any weight off your shoulders. I have had other packs that hurt as soon as I put them on. This one is frankly amazing. The only complaint I have is that no one told me about this earlier.
Thanks Granite Gear!
How does GG measures the total volume...
How does GG measures the total volume capacity of this pack (3600 ci)?Is it the long sleeve --kind of useless, included in such volume?
Nope. They do it the standard way, special ping-pong balls. Most pack manufacturers determine the cubic capacity of a pack by the amount of these ping-pong balls it can hold (1 ball = 1cu.in.). The spin drift/roll-down collar was not taken into consideration when determining this size. I wouldn't consider the collar useless either. It is nice if the load gets a little full. It also helps keep moisture out pretty effectively without the use of a top-lid, thus reducing it's weight considerably. Granite Gear doesn't put 'useless' things on their packs. This includes 'useless' seams, pockets, zippers, etc. that will not only increase it's weight, but make it less durable and more complicated. It is a very well thought-out pack.____________________________That was an awesome answer!Thanks so much!