Application to test the Granite Gear Latitude Backpack
- Please accept my application to test the Granite Gear Latitude
Backpack. I have read the requirements in the BGT survival Guide, Ch 5
(v. 1202), and will comply with each and every requirement detailed
therein. I delivered my signed Test Application on November 28, via
regular mail, and it should now be on file.
If chosen for this test, I would need a size Regular in Torso,
Large-Regular width shoulder straps, and X-Large Hip Belt.
Name: Greg Mehojah
Height: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
City, State, Country: Albuquerque, New Mexico
I began backpacking last year to reintroduce myself to the outdoors,
and introduce my 10 year old son to backpacking. My trips have
typically been 1-2 nights with my son and 2-3 nights when I solo. My
first season has taken me through desert terrain and high-altitude
meadowlands throughout New Mexico, as well as day hikes of the
foothills and ridgeline trails of the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque.
I tend to carry most of the gear when I hike with my son, so I am not
a lightweight hiker, but plan on moving that direction as my son gets
As stated above, I recently became active in backpacking to help
provide my 10 year old son with some enriching activities that do not
involve television or video games, and to get myself back to the
outdoors. Because my son can only carry his sleeping bag, jacket and
some water/snacks, I have been deemed "Pack Donkey" for all of our
trips together. In addition to my own gear, I also carry our tent,
warmer clothes for my son, all our food and extra water (lots of water
for some of our hikes), stove, kitchen gear, camp shoes, a book for
each of us, first aid kit, bathroom/toiletry supplies, and camp
chairs/sleeping pads. On a couple of occasions, I had to strap my
son's pack to my pack when he had "had enough" for the day. My
personal pack load on our last two night trip tipped the scales at 43
pounds. Our first trip together for one night was upwards of 45
pounds due to the four season tent I hauled in (the weather reports
looked gloomy). Even if I was willing to sacrifice comfort for
weight, I couldn't, because all the gear I initially invested in is
far from lightweight, which is why I carry a 4500 cu. in. pack now.
Therefore, I need a pack that can carry all of my gear and my son's
gear, and provide the best fit, comfort and load stability as
possible. If I save a bit of weight on the pack, all the better!
My activities during this test will take place at altitudes ranging
from between 7,000 feet and 10,500 feet above sea level. In addition
to the trips I have planned for myself and my son together, I have
three 3-4 night solo trips already planned and scheduled beginning in
February, as well as in March and June throughout New Mexico's
wilderness. I will also have some overnight trips mixed in to keep
things lively. The terrain will vary between high altitude desert and
thick ponderosa pine forests.
I realize that as BGT "Newbie", I will not likely go on hairy three
week excursions with this pack, but Newbies buy backpacks too! If
chosen for this test, I would hope to provide some newbie insights
into the reports so that others who are just getting into backpacking
can learn from my experiences.
I learned the hard way that fit of a pack is the most important. I
did not fit my first pack properly and was sore after every trip. I
was finally told that I had to take individual measurements of my
torso, shoulder area, and hips to get a proper fit and that it would
make all the difference. If chosen for this test, I would like to
determine how well the customized fitting system offered by Granite
Gear helps the following:
A. Hip belt: Because of my waist measurements, the hip belt in my
size requires a plastic "exoskeleton". At the weights I generally
carry, I intend to test how well the fit of the belt as advertised
prevents overly sore hips. I know, sadly all too well, how sore my
hips can get due to a poorly fit pack. Additionally, how well does
the hipbelt transfer the pack weight loads to my hips and does the
double density foam crush or washout under heavier loads over time?
How well does the hip cinching/strap system hold and does it allow for
easy adjustment during a hike?
B. Shoulder Straps: The shoulder straps are advertised as 3D shaped
to fit around the neck, torso, and countour of the shoulder. I am
interested in determining whether the single pivot system and the
contoured shoulder straps prevent sore collar bones, shoulder muscles,
and "strap rash". Do the straps bind under my armpits when cinched
down properly? At the end of a long day are my shoulders sore from
the foam padding being too stiff? How well does the strap material
handle rain, sweat and other moisture? Does it dry quickly when the
pack is removed?
C. Frame Sheet: The 3D Tepex framesheet is advertised as being able
to flex under loads to provide comfort but does not wash out. Is the
framesheet actually able to accomplish this task? Does the framesheet
flex as advertised to provide comfort? Is the framesheet sturdy
enough to handle 45+ pound loads for long periods of time? How well
does the framesheet follow the countours of my back? It doesn't
appear that the Tepex framesheet can be customized to fit the contour
of my back like an aluminum stay can. Are there other options
available for additional customization of the framesheet?
D. Backpad: The material that makes up the backpad is the same
material that is in the shoulder straps. Does the backpad cause my
back to sweat too much? Does it unnecessarily trap heat, or does it
vent appropriately on long hikes? Does the pad bind or bunch up with
use? How comfortable is the pad when carrying 45 pounds or more?
Does the pad, if wet, dry out quickly when the pack is removed?
A. Load/weight transfer:
If chosen for this test, I would like to determine how well the
suspension system transfers the weight from the pack to the wearer.
The flexible Tepex framesheet will likely be at the heart of this
investigation. How well do the shoulder straps and hipbelt marry to
the framesheet? How well does the framesheet acomodate for different
loads in attempting to contour to my back? Does the pack rock or sway
while walking normally or while crawling over downfall on the trail?
Does the framesheet flex and not return to its original shape, or does
the framesheet perform as advertised?
How well does the hipbelt allow for movement of the pack load? It
appears that the hipbelt has a pivot system to allow for more natural
movement of the pack load while hiking. Does this system allow for
too much movement? Can the movement be adjusted to prevent too much
sway in the loads? Does the hipbelt actually improve my hiking
experience through appropriate load transfers from the pack to myself?
What is cruise control, and how well does it really work? It appears
from the GG website, that the Cruise Control system is intended to be
adjusted depending on the types of terrain encountered. Does the
cruise control operate as advertised? Does the system provide for
weight to be snugged up against the hip belt and maintain comfort?
How easy is the system to adjust on the move? Does adjustment of the
Cruise Control system require additional adjustment of the hip belt?
How effective it is to "lock" the cruise control down as advertised on
How well does the compression system work to prevent the loads from
shifting while hiking? Can I not use the internal compression system
(i.e. if I do not use stuff sacks to organize my gear), and still get
a stable hiking load? Can I still access the side pockets after
cinching down the compression straps, or do the contents simply get
This pack has a number of features that will be interesting, if I am
chosen, for me to test. First, and most noteably, this is a front
loading pack, which I presume will take some getting used to as I have
a top loader currently. Is it better to use a bunch of stuff sacks to
organize my gear? If I do not use individual stuff sacks to organize
my gear, will everything fall out and look like a yard sale, when I am
just looking for my socks? Can I get to my gear using only one side
zipper? Do I need to use the internal compression system to maintain
organization? Does the internal compression system only work with
gear stowed in a stuff sack system? Is it difficult to close the
zippers when the pack is buldging with gear? How "stuffable" is the
pack? Is it stretchy?
Do the loadlifter straps bring the load of the pack nicely to my back
or does it simply cause the shoulder straps to rise up and bind my
armpits? How well does the framesheet bend using the loadlifters? Do
the hip belt stabilizer straps help control the sway of the load at
the bottom end? Do these straps, when used, cause undue hip bone fatigue?
How useful is the Latitude's top internal lid? Does it really provide
any useful benefit? Is it better left at home or unused? Does it get
in the way? Is it water proof or weather proof? Does using the lid
affect the internal compression system?
In the desert southwest, there are lots of snaggly and prickly things
that my gear gets caught on. If chosen for this test, I would like to
see how well the pack holds up under heavy loads on rough terrain.
Does the stitching hold up at critical points? Does the fabric, when
stretched, lend itself to snags or tears? Is a repair kit included?
If the pack does need minor repairs, how easy is it to do so?
I have completed two Owner Reviews:
Marmot Eiger 36 Pack
MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter
Both reviews can be seen here:
None at this time.
None at this time.
Thank you for your consideration of my application to test the Granite
Gear Latitude Backpack. I hope it meets with your favor.