Prologue: Pre-order your V.C. AirBeam here for shipment January 2013!
This excellent review of the V.C. 60 is a must-read! However, for those short on time, here is his overall recommendation:
I’m really impressed with the design and weight of the Crown VC 60 and think it’s a great choice for anyone considering a long distance thru-hike or recreational backpacking. Functionally, there’s not much difference between this backpack and some of the higher volume backpacks you’d buy from an ultralight cottage gear manufacturer. I consider that pretty revolutionary and fully expect other backpack manufacturers to follow Granite Gear’s lead in providing highly durable but lightweight backpacks for the mainstream recreation market.
It’s also probably worth noting here that this pack received an enormous amount of design input and testing from a well-known, ultralight long distance backpacker named Justin “Trauma” Lichter, who is sponsored by Granite Gear. Justin completed a one year 10,000 mile triple crown hike (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail) in 2006 and continues to hike around the world. Check out this account of Justin’s recent 2500 mile trek across the Himalayas.
And no review would be complete without the Likes and Dislikes:
- External mesh pockets let you stow food and gear for easy access
- Ample side compression lets you attach more gear to the outside and top of the pack
- Swappable hip belt lets you get the right size regardless or torso length
- Ripstop and Cordura fabric provides excellent balance between durability and weight
- None, honestly. I even like the colors.