When I purchased the iPhone that would become my camera, typewriter, microphone, editing studio and means of communication with the outside world, I needed to ensure it was big enough to handle all those tasks, but small enough to fit easily in the hip-belt pocket of my backpack.
“Olive Oyl” – my Granite Gear Crown2 60 pack (full review and specs) – easily held my mini computer. In fact, it fit like a glove, and the rest of the pack was plenty roomy enough to nestle in all the gear I needed for a four-month tramp with room to spare for around ten days of food.
My favorite thing to do on breaks was use Olive Oyl as a backrest, nestling against her arms as I took in some food, hopefully staving off disappearing completely into skinniness.
In New Zealand, I got addicted to gummy ‘lollies’ and Whittakers chocolates, but I still managed to shed about 20 pounds no matter how much I stuffed myself. Granite Gear’s adjustable hip belt proved invaluable as my hike progressed, keeping the pack snug to my waist.
I opted not to use the lid in the interest of saving weight and discovered I really didn’t need it anyway as most loose items I wanted to quickly access lived in the second hip-belt pocket. The Crown2 is essentially a giant bag with pockets. To close it tight, you roll down the well designed top which folds over on itself, clips together and then is held down firmly by a second strap. I organized my food and rain gear to rest on top of my tent, sleeping bag and clothing, all staying completely dry inside Granite Gear eVent sil drysacks.
Pack covers tend to rip or blow away, so I usually don’t bother using them. While my gear stayed dry, the pack did take on water in the often continuous New Zealand rain, sometimes collecting in the bottom of the pack to as much as a millimeter of damp. Things dried out in no time, though, never causing a long-term problem. I kept the removable frame in place this time, but I’m sure I could cut a few ounces by removing it on the next hike since the pack feels rigid enough without it.
The Crown2 straps proved comfortable enough over the long haul causing only minor wear on my hips in the form of brown-tinted skin. With the chest strap properly adjusted, I often forgot I was wearing a pack at all.
I kept my fake Crocs in one side pouch, my Therm-a-Rest seat in another, and a massive coke-bottle-turned-water-bottle in the back pouch. This made me awkwardly wide when I had to crawl under windfall and I tore the fabric on sharp branches, but easily patched it up with a little Tenacious Tape. In fact, I beat my Granite Gear pack up a lot on this thru-hike and she held up beautifully under such punishment, with only noticeable wear on the pocket where the iPhone lived – the inside coating has peeled out and the zipper is coming apart from the fabric.
So, I guess I’ll just have to use the other pocket for my phone next time…
“She’s gotta have it” – Granite Gear Crown2 60 backpack will be on this back on the next thru-hike and that’s why I give Olive Oyl the highest score of five Anitas.