|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – May 2006
Midsize internal-frame backpacks that do everything--and do it well
Granite Gear Nimbus Access FZ 3800
Get all-terrain stability with this pack's best-in-class compression.
Imagine a baby koala hugging your back. Okay, too cute. But this pack is so snug and stable it'll feel like a small marsupial on your shoulders, even when you're scrambling uphill and off-trail. It starts with external, internal, and top compression straps that take the bounce out of any load. Then add a unique hipbelt/framesheet combo that enhances load control and comfort. The hipbelt is soft and conforming inside, but has a removable plastic exoskeleton for stiffness and support. The plastic framesheet uses variable rigidity to match the varying demands on your torso: it's flexible in the lumbar area to absorb shock and improve mobility, and stiff behind your shoulders for load transfer. The result: The FZ manhandled 45 pounds in our trials.
Like the Gregory, this pack uses foam lined with a wicking fabric that's soft enough for shirtless hiking. Its most distinctive feature, though, is a double-zipper front panel that lets you grab anything inside without undoing the internal compression; the panel's stretchy fabric also forgives overpackers. Durability is excellent--bushwhacking in New Hampshire's White Mountains inflicted no harm--yet weight is competitive. Two torso sizes and customizable men's and women's hipbelts and shoulder straps produced a comfortable fit on all five testers. Adjusting the shoulder straps requires a screwdriver, but once they're set, they never need further modification. If this pack has a downside, it's the smallish capacity.
Size:3,800 cu. in.
Weight:4 lbs. 12 oz.
Contact:(218) 834-6157; www.granitegear.com