Granite Gear Crown 2 Review

I tested the Granite Gear Crown 2 60L backpack and this is my verdict.

April 18, 2023
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The Granite Gear Crown 2 is a 60-liter ultralight backpacking pack that is comfortable, readily available, and extremely affordable. It isn’t hand-made by a cottage company, so you can buy it from large retailers with no lead time. It’s not the lightest, but it’s one of the least expensive ultralight packs out there, so we'll take the few extra ounces.

Product Overview

Granite Gear Crown 2 60L

Granite gear crown2

✅ Comfortable

✅ Inexpensive

✅ Readily available, no lead time

✅ Strippable

✅ Durable


❌ Heavier than some ultralight packs


  • Weight: 2 lbs 6 oz (with lid), 2 lbs 3 oz (without lid)
  • Weight/Load Capacity: 35 pounds
  • Volume/Carrying Capacity: 60 liters
  • Frame: Compression-molded PP frame sheet
  • Frame Material: Polymer
  • Suspension System: Padded shoulder straps, adjustable padded hip belt, molded foam back panel, frame sheet, load lifters

The Granite Gear Crown 2 60 is an extremely comfortable ultralight backpacking pack that stands out as one of the most affordable. However, just because it costs less doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform as well. Some backpacks are nearly twice the cost of this pack, and those other packs aren’t as comfortable as the Crown 2.

It weighs 38 ounces with everything attached. Without the removable lid and straps to secure it, this pack weighs a respectable 35 ounces. It has a simple molded polymer frame sheet with a 3-D molded foam back panel, an adjustable padded hip belt, and well-cushioned shoulder straps with load lifters to carry loads up to 35 pounds effectively.

This pack is also highly durable. I have seen many thru-hikers use this pack for multiple long-distance hikes. And they all still use their Crown 2’s to this day. It is well-constructed, and the high-tenacity nylon material stands up to 1000s of miles of being dragged through the dirt, over rocks, and being tossed into truck beds while hitching to resupply towns.

This isn’t the lightest pack out there, though. If your top concern is weight, there are definitely lighter packs out there. However, you can also remove the frame and hip belt from this pack to make it lighter, though I wouldn’t recommend going that route if you’re looking to buy a frameless pack. And at 2 pounds, 3 ounces without the lid, this is definitely light enough for most backpackers.

For most thru-hikers and ultralight backpackers, this is an excellent choice for a do-it-all pack that will last you for years to come.

For other ultralight backpack reviews, read our post on the best ultralight backpacks.

Performance Test Results

granite gear crown 2 60l performance score graph

How We Tested:

I have thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Grand Enchantment Trail, and Colorado Trail three times, along with countless shorter backpacking trips. I tested the Granite Gear Crown 2 60 during late winter and early spring on a series of backpacking trips in southern Arizona and New Mexico. The weather was often cold overnight, and I had to carry extra water. So, I brought warm layers and had up to four liters of water at a time in this pack.

hiker using granite gear crown2

Weight: 7/10

The Granite Gear Crown 2 60 weighs nearly two and a half pounds, 38 ounces on my home scale. This weight includes many features you can strip from the pack to save weight. When fully stripped, this pack weighs 23.7 ounces.

These are the strippable components that come standard on the Crown 2 60:

  • Waist belt: 6.6 oz
  • Top lid and removable closure straps: 2.6 oz
  • Frame sheet: 6.1 oz

I wouldn’t want to remove the molded plastic frame sheet or waist belt from this pack because you’d lose most weight-carrying functionality without these. However, this pack can get much lighter if you do strip it.

This pack does not have many extra features that add weight unnecessarily. And considering the specs of this pack, it is weighted very well. I personally don’t find the brain to be all that helpful, and it’s easily removable. It has hip belt pockets and other external pockets that make organization easy enough without the top lid. The straps that secure the cover in the front are also removable.

This pack has six ½-inch webbing compression straps that allow you to compress the front and sides depending on your load. Compressing the bag all the way around is a useful feature, but that’s a lot of straps. These straps aren’t removable either, except with a pair of scissors. I think the pack could be improved if the straps were removable, like the ones used to attach the top lid.

This pack is about average weight compared to other ultralight packs of similar volumes. Some packs weigh slightly more, and there are some that weigh a little less. But comparatively, this pack’s two-pound weight is very competitive. And, this is one of the best ultralight packs for carrying a heavy load.

weighing the granite gear crown2

The Granite Gear Crown 2 60L weighs 2 pounds and 6 ounces with its lid (2 pounds and 3 ounces without).

Price: 10/10

The Crown 2 60 is an extremely affordable pack. If price is your top concern, you can’t do better than this pack.

There are some ultralight packs that cost nearly twice as much as this pack. However, the Crown 2 still performs about as well as more expensive packs, so you’re not giving up much by purchasing this over something more expensive.

It isn’t made of the fanciest material and doesn’t have an aluminum frame. But this pack still has all the features you’d want in an ultralight backpack. The High-Tenacity Nylon material and the compression molded plastic frame sheet perform about as well as more expensive options. And the pack has load lifters, a comfortable 3-D foam back panel, and a plush hip belt with pockets for this price.

granite gear crown 2

The Granite Gear Crown 2 60L is priced at $219.95, perfect for those looking for a budget ultralight backpack.

Storage and Capacity: 8/10

The weight capacity of the Crown 2 is 35 pounds. When carrying about six pounds of food, eight pounds of water, and 15 pounds of gear, I was pleased with how comfortable this pack felt. I would say this pack could comfortably carry up to a week’s worth of food if your base weight is close to 12 pounds. That’s a lot of food.

This pack is capable of carrying very bulky loads, too. It has an internal volume of 60 liters, which is almost too much for the average ultralight backpacker. However, for bulkier loads, this pack is excellent. And if you don’t have enough bulk to fill the volume for a specific trip, you can use the compression straps to decrease the total volume.

The weight-to-volume ratio of this pack is pretty good. At approximately 36 ounces without the lid, the weight-to-volume ratio is about 1 to 1.7.

Most 60-liter packs weigh just over two pounds, and the Crown 2 60 is the same in this regard. Comparing the Crown 2’s weight to its carrying capacity, this pack is also about average. Most ultralight backpacks in this size range have about 35 pounds of carrying capacity. Some 60-liter packs only have a 30-pound weight capacity, and the Crown 2 carries a load better than these.

Aside from the main 60-liter compartment, this pack has two hip belt pockets, a zippered pocket on the lid, two stretch mesh side water bottle pockets, a stretch mesh front pocket, and a zippered internal hydration sleeve.

packing the granite gear crown2

The hip belt pockets are each big enough to store a large smartphone. I carried my smartphone in one pocket. In the other hip belt pocket, I kept two bars plus chapstick and a small tube of sunscreen. Each side pocket is big enough to fit two 1-liter Smartwater bottles as well.

The front mesh exterior pocket is big enough for a rain jacket, fleece, water filter, bathroom kit, and other small odds and ends you want quick access to.

The hydration sleeve is also the place where the molded frame sheet is housed. I prefer to keep my water on the outside of my pack for quick access and to see how much water I have, but you can easily fit a 2-liter water bladder in the hydration sleeve. A 3-liter bladder would be tight, but you could probably squeeze one in there.

The top lid pocket zips shut and is big enough for a rain jacket, maps, and tons of snacks. If you use the lid, you can store enough food here to never need to open the main compartment of your pack throughout the day.

Remember, though, removing the frame sheet and hip belt will dramatically affect this pack’s weight-carrying capacity.

inside the granite gear crown2

The Granite Gear Crown 2 60L's weight capacity is 35 pounds.

Internal Frame: 8/10

The internal frame on the Crown 2 is a molded plastic sheet that extends from the hip belt to the load lifters. The rest of the pack’s suspension system consists of a padded adjustable hip belt, thick cushioned shoulder straps, load lifters, and a molded foam back panel that allows some airflow between your back and the pack.

Overall, the frame and suspension system gives good support. This pack comfortably carries an average backpacking load very well. It feels secure against your body, and the frame effectively transfers the load onto your shoulders and hips.

If you fully loosen the load lifters, you can feel a lot of weight on your hips. If you tighten the load lifters, you can feel a lot of weight transfer onto your shoulders. When I unclipped the hip belt, I noticed a lot more weight on my shoulders. This shows just effectively the frame works to disperse the weight between your shoulders, back, and hips.

Compared with other ultralight models with a similar frame system, this pack doesn’t do anything extraordinarily different. However, it doesn’t need to do anything different. It just needs to carry a backpacking load well, and it does this.

I’m a slim, athletically-built man, so I can’t personally speak to how well this pack works for anyone but myself. But I know several female hikers who love this pack. This is one of the most popular packs for women I’ve seen on trails. On the PCT, I hiked with two women who used the Crown 2, and they both liked how the shoulder straps and hip belts felt on their bodies.

hiker using granite gear crown2

Comfort: 8/10

The Crown 2 is a very comfortable pack overall. Compared to other ultralight backpacking packs, it’s almost as comfortable as the best.

It does a decent job of weight distribution, as I spoke about above. The hip belt and shoulder straps have a soft mesh where they sit on your body. This mesh is smooth and very comfortable. It doesn’t cause any chafing or uncomfortable rubbing, either.

It also has a molded foam back panel with air channels, so it breathes better than a pack with a flat back panel. This back panel is extremely comfortable and feels stable with a heavy load. It doesn’t breathe as well as bags with a curved frame, but I think this back panel balances breathability and load stability well. Load stability is often an issue with curved frame backpacks, and the 3-D back panel on the Crown 2 avoids this problem.

I found that you have to tighten the hip belt pretty tight to get adequate load distribution onto your hips with this pack. This isn’t a huge issue, but if the frame transferred weight more effectively onto the hip belt without tightening it as much, it would be more comfortable. Another hiker who used this pack for the entire PCT also told me she had this hip belt issue. But she found it comfortable enough to continue using the pack for 2600 miles, so it wasn’t that bad for her either.

hiker using granite gear crown2

Features: 8/10

This pack has the right amount of features that improve functionality without adding extra weight. Compared to other ultralight packs, this has all the same features, with a few additions that make it stand out.

The Crown 2 60 has the following features:

  • Removable top lid with zippered pocket
  • Removable straps to secure the lid in place
  • Load lifters
  • Cushioned shoulder straps
  • Adjustable padded hip belt
  • Removable plastic frame sheet
  • Side water bottle pockets made of stretch mesh
  • Front stretch mesh pocket
  • Zippered hip belt pockets
  • Two side compression straps on each side of the pack
  • Two front compression straps
  • Internal hydration sleeve
  • Moveable sternum strap
  • Roll-top closure with dual-adjusting V-strap to attach large items (like a bear can) on top of the pack
  • Two ice axe loops

Compared to other ultralight packs, all the features on the Crown 2 perform about as well as the other packs. However, since the side water bottle pockets are stretch mesh, they aren’t as easy to get water bottles into while wearing the bag as some packs. You can definitely get your water bottles into these pockets without taking the pack off, but it takes some getting used to.

granite gear crown 2 features

The Granite Gear Crown 2 is surprisingly loaded with features despite its affordable price.

Adjustability: 9/10

The Crown 2 is one of the most adjustable ultralight backpacking packs available. It comes in three torso sizes, Short (15-18 inches), Regular (18-21 inches), and Long (21-24 inches).

It also has an adjustable hip belt that can fit waist sizes from 26 to 42 inches. The hip belt adjusts with a folding velcro system that slides into a sleeve on the lumbar area of the back panel. The hip belt also secures in place with velcro inside the lumbar sleeve. This is one of the best-adjusting hip belts I have seen because it allows you to move the padding on the hip belt where you need it and doesn’t rely on webbing to adjust the hip belt size.

Aside from different sized torso and the adjustable hip belt, this pack can be adjusted in the following ways:

  • Shoulder straps length is adjusted with webbing and ladder-lock buckles
  • Pack volume is adjusted with six compression straps
  • Hip belt is tightened or loosed with webbing and ladder-lock buckles
  • Sternum strap can be moved up or down the shoulder straps on daisy-chained webbing
  • Roll-top closure can be expanded or rolled down based on volume capacity needs
  • Load lifters can adjust how much weight sits on the shoulders and hips
granite gear crown 2 features

I consider the Granite Gear Crown 2 as one of the most adjustable packs I've ever tested.

Waterproofing/Resistance: 9/10

The Crown 2 is made of water-resistant material with a DWR (Durable water-repellent) coating, but it isn’t seam sealed. As this pack comes, it is very water-resistant. It’s almost waterproof, but not entirely.

I performed a waterproof test to see how well this pack would withstand a heavy rainstorm. To perform this test, I filled the backpack with pink tissue paper and put it in the shower at my house. I left it under running water for 5 minutes to test its water resistance.

After an extended downpour in the shower with the pack resting on the bathtub floor, most of the tissue paper remained dry inside. There were only a few small drops of water that seeped in through the seams of the pack. Remarkably, the tissue paper at the bottom of the bag was dry even though it was on the bathtub floor with water pooling around it.

I would still recommend using a waterproof pack liner with this pack. However, in a slight drizzle, I would confidently say this pack will keep your gear dry enough. After extended use, the DWR coating will also wear off this pack, making it less waterproof in the long run.

waterproof testing the granite gear crown 2

After the waterproof test, I found the Granite Gear Crown 2 very water-resistant. A waterproof pack liner is still recommended since the pack isn't seam-sealed.

Durability: 9/10

The Crown 2 60 is a very durable pack. I have seen these backpacks last for multiple thru-hikes with no issues. Some thru-hikers have hiked all three triple crown trails with the same Granite Gear pack.

The foam used in the shoulder straps and hip belt is firm, so it doesn’t compress quickly. The back panel doesn’t deteriorate from constant rubbing against your back, either.

The material is strong and durable. It is very resistant to tears and is well-constructed overall. Even though the material is pretty thin, it holds up well to abrasions from rocks and dirt. You don’t have to baby this pack to make it last.

Compared to other ultralight packs, this is one of the more durable packs you’ll find.

hiker using the granite gear crown 2

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About Sam Schild

By Sam Schild (aka “Sia,” pronounced sigh): Sam is a writer, thru-hiker, and bikepacker. You can find him in Denver when he’s not out exploring in the mountains somewhere..

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