Granite Gear - Nimbus Ozone 3800 Backpack
August 29, 2002
By Clifford Haynes
Name: Clifford R. Haynes
Height: 5' 11" (1.8 m.)
Weight: 300 lbs. (136 kg.)
Location: Western Maine
Torso: 21" / 53.3 cm
I am from and live in Maine. I have been hiking, backpacking, and canoe
camping for over 45 years. I am also assistant scout master; I average 2 to
3 days a week in the woods year round.
Over the years I've used or tried variety of different gear. When I joined
scouts as a boy, most of the boys my age didn't have backpacking gear, and
there families didn't have money enough to buy it. So we had great fun
making our own gear.
I can't really say that I have a backpacking style. I take what I need or
want, depending upon what I plan to do on the outing. Even before my knees
became a problem, I could never see being in a big rush. It is my opinion
that camping is part of backpacking, and should be enjoyed at least as much
as the hiking. In areas where there is a lot of hiker traffic, I tend to
pack heavier in order to minimize impact. I just like being out in the
woods, and exploring.
Manufacturer: Granite Gear
Web Page URL: http://www.granitegear.com
Year Manufactured: 2002
Listed Weight under 3 lbs. (1.36 kg.)
Weight as Delivered: 3 lbs. 8.4 oz. (1.61 kg.)*
Capacity 3800 cu. in. (62.27 L.)
* Note; This is a prototype backpack and not a production model. The
production model may be lighter. Also the Ozone 3800 is not at the time of
this report listed on the Granite Gear web site.
I will be testing in western and northern Maine and New Hampshire, on the
A.T., bushwhacking and on local hiking trails. I'll also be using the Ozone
on scout hikes and campouts. Trail conditions run from well groomed to
washed out and rocky, in this part of Maine there isn't a lot of flat
ground. Mostly your going up or down, unless you are following a contour, in
places the going can be quite steep, and usually very rocky.
During the test period the I should see sunshine, rain, sleet, and snow.
Temperatures can be expected to be somewhere between the mid. 80s F. (26deg.
C.) to below 0 deg. F. (-17.8 deg. C.). Most of my outings during the test
period will be in the 2 to 3 day range, with a couple 4 day or perhaps
longer trips during school vacations. Due to some current heath issues my
mileage will probably be a bite shorter than usual in the beginning of the
test period, probably somewhere between 5 (8 km.) and 8 miles (12.9 km.) , a
day. Later in the test period my daily mileage should get back up to between
8 (12.9 km.) and 10 (16 km.) miles a day.
I have recently reduced my pack weight drastically, and the Ozone will
lighten my pack by almost 4 lbs (1.8 kg.). Now normally for a 5 day outing,
my pack weight runs about 28 lbs (12.7 kg.), including food and water.
Most of the time I use a Hennessy Safari Hammock as my preferred shelter.
My new Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone backpack arrived on August 23, 2002 in a
large cardboard box, via. UPS. I immediately opened the box and inspected
the pack. The Ozone felt very light, compared to my old pack which weighs 7
1/2 lbs. (3.4 kg.). The pack did not suffer any damage in shipping and was
complete. Included with the pack were three booklets; a Granite Gear
catalogue, a "Cirrus + Stratus + Nimbus backpacks Owners Manual", and the
"Spring 2003 Dealer Workbook".
In my opinion the owners manual is excellent. It contains all of the
information you will ever need, to adjust the Ozone. The owners manual also
contains information on available shoulder straps and waist belts. Granite
Gear has hip belts for both men and women in sizes from small to x-large,
and even 2x-large for men. They also offer shoulder straps in regular width
(there standard shoulder straps), and a trim fit which is narrower and
typically fits women better. The trim fit may also be a good choice for a
man with a large neck, that need more neck room.
The Granite Gear Ozone 3800 is available in short and regular torso lengths.
Mine is a regular torso length model and will accommodate torso lengths from
18" (45.7 cm.) to 22"(55.88 cm.), and came with trim medium shoulder straps
and a medium waist belt.
The frame sheet is a composite material molded in the shape of the human
back (sort of an "S" shape). There is also a stiffening channel in the shape
of a wish bone ( or Y shaped) molded into the frame sheet. The stiffening
channel causes the frame sheet to have good compression stiffness, while
still having a reasonable amount of axial flexibility. There is a hole in
the bottom portion of the frame sheet for attaching the hip belt with a
single Philips head screw. In the top portion, there are 2 rows of 5 holes,
for mounting and adjustment of the shoulder straps. The hole placement in my
frame sheet allow for adjustment for torso lengths from 18" ( 45.7 cm) to
22" (55.88 cm), in one inch increments.
The Ozone 3800's bag section is a simple top loader, with two water bottle
pockets. The bag is constructed from what appears to be a relatively light
weight black coated rip stop nylon. The back (the part facing your back),
bottom and compression wings on the face of the pack are reinforced with
heavy red pack cloth. There are 2 compression straps on each side of the
bag, and 2 compression straps attached to compression wings on the face of
the bag. At the top of the bag, is another pair of compression straps. One
strap provides axial compression of the bag opening, while the other
provides over the top compression.
There are buckles attached to the top corners of the bag for attaching the
load lifter straps, and buckles attached to the bottom corners for the
cruise control straps. The padding for the wearers back is attached to each
sides of the bag and forms a sleeve for the frame sheet to slide into.
Across the top back of the bag is a pocket, that the frame sheet slides
into. This pocket is attached to the back pad with a strap and buckle. Sewn
to the bottom of the back pad is a flap 6" (15.24 cm.) wide and 5" (12.7
cm.) long, the front side is Velcro, and mates with a large Velcro patch on
the center of the waist belt.
Note: The description assumes that the "bag" is the main body from the frame
sheet pocket to the bottom of the bag, and does not include the extension
collar. The extension collar extends about 19" (48cm.) above the bags main
The Ozone 3800's waist belt is laminated. The belt is constructed around a
plastic / composite backing which is slightly smaller than the belts
padding. The padding is attached to the plastic shell with a metal grommet
which is the attachment point to the frame sheet. The rest of the padding is
held in place on the shell with Velcro around the inside. The web belt and
buckles are attached to the shell as are the cruse control straps. To attach
the waist belt to the frame sheet, the metal grommet in the belt is slide
over a metal spool piece that passes through the frame sheet and attached
with a Philips screw, that screws into the spool piece. The 6"x5" Velcro
flap on the bottom of the pack bag folds over and attaches to the middle of
the belt, and helps dampen the rotation of the belt. The hip belt rotation
is controlled by the cruiser straps. Loosen the cruiser straps for more
rotation, tighten for less.
The shoulder straps appear to be a common shoulder strap design. Each
shoulder strap attaches to the top of the frame sheet via metal spool piece
through the frame sheet, and a Philips screw. The bottom of each shoulder
harness attaches to a straps from the lower corners of the pack's bag. The
shoulder harness also has a sternum strap.
After my initial inspection of the pack, I tried it on. The Ozone 3800
seemed too small with the medium straps, but the spread (distance
between )between the shoulder straps seemed adequate for my neck, so I got
out my screw driver and adjust the Ozone's suspension for a useable fit. By
extending the "trim medium" shoulder straps to there maximum length, they
felt useable. For a quick check, I loaded a pillow, then 25 pounds (11.3
kg.) of sugar, and then a second pillow into the Ozone, and put it on. The
fit wasn't bad, even with the grossly too small medium shoulder straps and
hip belt. The padded portion of hip men's medium belt only came to about the
mid point on the side of my hips, yet it still supported the weight of the
pack and was comfortable.
Since my wife had the weekend off, and my son didn't start school until the
27th, we decided to take a hike and try out the Granite Gear Ozone 3800. The
hike was both on trails and bushwhacking, about 18 miles (29 km.). We went
over Blueberry mountain, then up onto Jackson, across to Little Jackson,
over onto Tumbledown, and down to the car via the brook trail. Elevation is
from about 350 feet (106 m.) to about 3000 feet (914 M.) above sea level.
Terrain is varied with several steep rocky climbs. Temperatures ranged from
a high of 78 degrees F. (28.5 C.) to a night time low of 36 degrees F. (2.2
C.). Over all nice hiking weather with a light shower Sunday afternoon.
My Ozone 3800 weighed 29 pounds 7 ounces (13.4 kg.), with 3 days food, and 2
liters of water. I wasn't very fussy about how I packed the pack, first I
put in a Wal-Mart blue foam pad, everything else went inside the pad
cylinder: sleeping bag an cloths stuff sack in the bottom; food and kitchen
gear in the middle; Hennessy hammock, Packa rain jacket, water filter, and
light fleece on top. I carried one water bottle in the left (from the
wearers prospective) pack water bottle pocket, and the other on the hip
belt. Under the Ozone's right side compression straps, I carried my camp
stool. I wasn't sure how the top should be closed, so I just tightened the
pucker string on the extension collar, then rolled the collar down tight to
the load and tightened the top compression straps. First Aid Kit , Topo map
print out, compass, knife, snacks, and fire kit rode in a small belt pack I
wear up front.
Even though the waist belt and shoulder straps were too small, I was
impressed with the Granite Gear Ozone 3800. The Ozone was comfortable and
carried the load well. I could loosen the shoulder straps and let the load
rest on the hip belt on short breaks (allows the back to cool a bit, but
requires a really good hip belt, to do it comfortably), and even though the
waist belt was too small, it was still comfortable. I was very happy with
the pack, I was carrying the same load I would have taken in my big pack,
and was comfortable.
Since the first hike, I have made some changes to the Ozone 3800. I have
changed the trim medium shoulder straps to Granite Gear trim large shoulder
straps, and the men's medium waist belt for a Granite Gear mens X-large
waist belt. The change has improved the fit, but has increased the weight to
4 pounds 7 ounces (2.01 kg.) I can't wait to get the Ozone out in the field,
and see how the improved fit works.
I like the Granite Gear Ozone 3800. Even with the larger harness system it's
still 3 pounds lighter than my old pack. The frame sheet supports load well,
effectively transferring load to the waist belt, while it still allows
comfortable hip and shoulder rotation. The Ozone is well built (what I would
call a bomb proof light weight pack). I feel the Granite Gear Laminated
Waist Belt is the most comfortable and most effective I have ever used. I
especially like the belts ability to allow hip rotation, while still
supporting the weight of the pack.
The lack of pockets is going to take getting used to. I like having certain
pieces of gear handy. I found it a bit of a pain to have to go to the
Ozone's main compartment when I wanted to brew up a pot of tea during
I plan to use the Ozone as my main pack during the test period. Mostly on 2
and 3 day outings, solo, with my family, and on scout outings. It will be
interesting to see how I make out with the lower pack volume for winter
camping. I think the Ozone 3800 will work very well snowshoeing, it will be
fun finding out. I plan to experiment with the 2 different size shoulder
straps, the medium may be adequate with the larger waist belt.