Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Gear Photos

Gear Review: Granite Gear Meridian Vapor Pack

Is this the summer you vowed lighten your load? Pick up this sequel to a previous Editors' Choice winner and start the season off right.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

slideshow granite gear meridian 1 445

Granite Gear’s Meridian Vapor is an ultralight toploading pack. At 52 liters, it offers just enough space for uber weight-conscious backpackers to cram in a week’s worth of supplies or an extended weekend’s worth for the rest of us.

slideshow granite gear meridian 2 445

The suspension is identical to the discontinued Vapor Trail, which earned our 2003 Editors’ Choice Award. The padding is plush for an ultralight pack, but the real bonus is it comes in two torso lengths with 4 hipbelt sizes that let you nail a custom fit.

slideshow granite gear meridian 3 445

I found the beefy, foam hipbelt comfy as long as I stayed near the recommended 30-pound limit. Granite Gear offers hipbelt pockets as an add-on (not pictured, $20).

slideshow granite gear meridian 4 445

Despite the comfortable suspension, this pack is still less than 3 pounds, and I was thankful for the weight savings during my whirlwind tour of Yosemite’s wateralls (and the corresponding 11,000+ feet of elevation change).

slideshow granite gear meridian 5 445

The vertical frontal zip made internal access exceedingly easy, which was crucial for quick access to the bottom of my pack when we were racing to set up camp before a storm.

slideshow granite gear meridian 6 445

Say what you want about fanny pack fashion sense, but their functionality is irrefutable for quick side hikes from a base camp. The large lid easily held a camera, sunscreen, sunglasses case, and sundry other items.

slideshow granite gear meridian 7 445

Doffing the lid shaves 8 ounces, and the tool loops combined with two front compression make the Meridian Trail the perfect setup for summer alpine ascents.

slideshow granite gear meridian 8 445

The deep, stretchy side pockets were great for everything from tent poles to gloves to oversized bags of gorp. I appreciated the versatile compression straps that could thread underneath the pocket to avoid crushing my food if I opted to store it there.

slideshow granite gear meridian 9 445

Cordura reinforcements at key points mean this pack can take a beating. I dragged it across granite and ice during a scramble up Yosemite’s Liberty Cap. Even after an extended weekend of scrambling all over central Yosemite, I couldn’t find a scratch.

slideshow granite gear meridian 10 445

The Specs
Cost: $199
Weight: 2 lbs, 14 oz.
Sizes: Men’s Torso: Regular, Long (Hipbelt: S,M,L)
Women’s Meridian Vapor Ki Torso: Short, Regular (Hipbelt: S,M,L)

Photos and text by Will Rochfort

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.