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FR: Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude Ki 3800 Women's Pack - Kathy Waters

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  • Kathy Waters
    Field Report: Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude Ki 3800 - Women s Pack 10 July 2005 Contents: Tester Biographical Information Product Information Field
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 10, 2005
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      Field Report: Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude Ki 3800 - Women's Pack

      10 July 2005

      Tester Biographical Information
      Product Information
      Field Conditions/Completed Tests Results
      Summary to Date
      Continuing Test Plan

      Tester Biographical Information

      Name: Kathleen Waters
      Age: 54
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5'4� (1.63 m)
      Torso: 18.5" (47 cm)
      Hips: 34" (86 cm)
      Weight: 128 lbs (58 kg)
      Email address: kathy@...
      City, State, Country: White Lake, MI USA

      Backpacking Background: My husband and I started hiking in 1998 on a gorgeous fall day, starting with Mt. Hahn located just north of Steamboat Springs, CO.

      Since then, we have returned to Colorado, mostly to the Vail Valley area twice a year, both summer/early fall and winter to play outdoors � we snowshoe in the winter.

      When we are home in Southeast Michigan, we make it a point to hike 2 or 3 weekdays, usually 6 to 8 miles (10 to 13 km) and then one whole weekend day. Our weekday hikes generally take place in the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, which is a decent mixture of moderately steep hills and flat terrain, heavily wooded. Our weekend hikes can end up being anywhere!

      Product Information (from website)

      Manufacturer: Granite Gear
      Model: Nimbus Latitude Ki 3800 - Women's Pack
      Sizes: short / regular
      Weight: 3 lbs. 14 oz. (1.76 kg)
      Cubes: 3900 cu in (63.9 L)
      MSRP: $240 USD
      Warranty: Rock Solid Guarantee
      "We want you to be satisfied with your Granite Gear purchase even after years of use. If you are not satisfied with one of our products for any reason, return it to the store where you bought it or contact us about sending it back for repair or replacement. Damages due to plain old, long-term, heavy-duty use or vicious animal attacks, will be repaired for a reasonable cost. Please include your 'you wouldn�t believe it' stories with your repairs! If it�s good enough, we�ll cut you some slack."

      Product Information (from tester)

      Size: regular torso, medium hip belt (per website chart)
      Strap Size: Women's medium trim
      Weight as tested: 3 lbs 14 oz (1.76 kg)

      Field Conditions/Completed Tests Results

      The Granite Gear Latitude Nimbus Ki 3800 Women's Pack is featured as having the ability to be custom fitted to the individual. The gender-specific pack is purchased and sized by torso length and by hip belt as well as by shoulder strap width. So my "regular" frame was chosen for my 19.5" (50 cm) torso length measurement, my "women's medium" hip belt for my 34" (86 cm) hips and I was sent "women's trim" shoulder straps. Since all categories - regular, medium, etc. - are size ranges, Granite Gear has built-in the usual pull-straps and buckles to effortlessly fine-tune the fit for hips, chest and shoulders. However, they went beyond the usual and provide a method of adjusting the torso length as well. Since I am on the lower end of the regular frame measurements, I decided to check out how this would work.

      The provided directions were a bit confusing at times because the directions and graphics apply to other Granite Gear Packs as well as the Latitude Ki. Even so, within 15 minutes, I was able to loosen and remove the shoulder straps, access the internal frame, loosen and remove the necessary screws, move the bar and reverse those steps to complete the process.

      (*** pictures to show this process ***)

      This exercise was completely unnecessary for me, since the size I was provided was right-on for my 19.5" (50 cm) torso. But it is a very valuable feature for the user who buys "off-the-shelf," used or borrowed!


      I have used the Latitude Ki on several hikes usually 6 to 8 miles (10 to 13 km) so far this spring/summer, all of them in southeast Michigan in temperatures in the high 80s F (26.67 C) to low 90s F (32.22 C). So far, I have not encountered any rain. The only wetness that the Latitude Ki has had to deal with has been my sweating body!

      For the most part, the terrain has been relatively flat - I need to get used to hiking with pack weights more than my past experiences - day hiking pack weights of less than 10 lb. I have been packing a weight of just under 20 lb (9.07 kg) that is 16 lb 2 oz (7.31 kg) of gear plus the Latitude Ki weight of 3 lb 14 oz (1.76 kg). Given my stamina level, I doubt that I'll ever test out this pack at its upper weight spec of 50 lb (22.68 kg)!

      Surprisingly to me, I have experienced no shoulder or upper back fatigue with the Latitude Ki. The Tepex� framesheet with its soft foam padding and padded harness offers plenty of support so that the pack weight sits squarely on my hips and derriere and feels more like a very heavy fanny pack than a backpack. The compression straps hold the contents in the pack securely, so I haven't experienced any shifting of weight while hiking. I have used the outside compression straps to easily lash tent poles, tent, and more to the sides of the pack. I used the two outside stretchy pouches to hold extra bottles of water.

      The only negative I have had to deal with so far were friction marks from the shoulder straps rubbing on my upper body. This was remedied by wearing shirts or tops with sleeves rather than my favorite tank tops.

      (*** picture ***)

      Summary to Date

      The Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude Ki pack is a roomy pack with outstanding flexibility regarding fit, plenty of options for secure storage of gear items and solid construction for proper pack weight support.

      Once all available adjustments had been made to the pack, the pack became a custom pack that works with my body resulting in minimal stress on my body. The multiple compression strap systems allow me to stow gear in various configurations depending on what I need to pack; both externally and internally on/in the backpack. The four outside compartments - two zipped and two open pouches - allows me easy access to oft-used items. The well-padded framesheet and hip belt puts all the pack weight on my hips where is belongs and allows for no drag on my shoulders at all.

      The quality of the materials used is evident throughout the Nimbus Latitude Ki, such as the tight, smooth and straight seams, the securely woven strap webbing and the (so-far) snagless stretch panels of the sides and front of the pack.

      Continuing Test Plan

      The Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude Ki 3800 - Women's Pack will continue to be my only choice of backpack for all overnight trips during the remaining testing period of summer and fall. I will even continue to use the pack on day hike for training purposes - my husband made me a little "testing" sign to pin on it. <g>

      So, it will be tested in a wide range of weather and locations. Most of the testing will be 2-3 day trips in western and northern Michigan on lakeshore trails, ranging from sandy, open areas, to rocky, heavily treed terrain. Summer will mostly be hot and dry (hopefully).

      I also will be testing the pack in Colorado, once in July in the Pikes Peak area, and then again in September in the Estes Park area. Terrain in Colorado will be, well � mountainous! Climate ranges from hot and arid on the southern trip to cool and afternoon thunderstorms in the Rocky Mountain National Park area of Estes Park. Could even see some early snow.

      Some questions still be to answered

      � How well will the Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude Ki hold up with continued usage?
      � Will the pack contents remain dry in inclement weather?
      � How long will it take for the pack to dry after getting wet in the rain?
      � Will the �stretch� outside side pockets over-stretch with usage?
      � How useful is the hidden removable foam cushion?
      � What can I use the outside loops for?
      � Is the pack big enough for a 7-day trip?

      I will also report any other issues that arise during the testing period.

      Kathy Waters

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