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Camping & Hiking

SNEWS Review: Granite Gear Nimbus Trace 62

The Granite Gear Nimbus Trace 62 earns a spot in our go-to overnight pack rotation with the perfect balance of bells and whistles, comfort, durability and light weight.

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We’re fans of simplicity, durability and comfort in our packs, all of which have been the staples of design at pack maker Granite Gear for the past 26 years.

The tradition continues with the Granite Gear Nimbus Trace 62, which we tested this summer in variety of environments, including Utah’s canyon country, Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and even an international excursion to the Italian Alps. The pack has the perfect balance of bells and whistles, and despite a few nitpicks, it will keep a spot in our rotation of go-to overnight packs.

The Nimbus Trace builds off Granite Gear’s previous minimalist Nimbus Ozone pack, adding a few more conveniences such as two upper side zipper pockets, a central lateral stretch mesh pocket and a removable, zippered lid compartment. The pack also features the company’s Advection back panel, which is made up of padded ribs allowing plenty of airflow between it and the framesheet.

The key point to Granite Gear’s pack comfort is the ability to achieve proper fit with the customizable shoulder strap and hip belt sizes (S, M, L, XL), along with the choice of pack size — all available in men’s and women’s models.

Fit can be dialed in further by adjusting the height of the shoulder straps on the framesheet. But making these final adjustments isn’t the easiest job in the world (a flathead screwdriver is required), so we recommend that retailers fit and adjust the pack for their customers before completing the sale. Once we found the perfect setting, the pack fit like a glove, and we didn’t have to worry about it.

The flathead screws not only connect the shoulder straps the framesheet, but also provide swivel for each strap to rest exactly where one wants on the shoulder, adding points for comfort. Although, upon putting on and taking off the pack, the swivel sometimes allows the strap to twist too far one way or another, requiring a moment to readjust it under the load lifters. Still, comfort trumps a mild nitpick here. All around, the pack has the perfect amount of padding (not too much, not too little) for a comfortable ride.

The Nimbus Trace is a wonderful, versatile pack with respect to load sizes as it can be filled up or stripped down with ease. With the latter, it doesn’t feel like you have a monster on your back. Dare we say there were almost too many cinch points on this pack, but we appreciated all of them at one time or another, especially securing larger loads. The cinch cords are beefy shoestrings instead of straps, all easily replaceable (if any were to fail) or temporarily removable without damaging the pack.

At 4 pounds, we classify Nimbus Trace a lightweight pack at the medium level (compared to the general competition) for 62 liters of space. Despite the lightness, Granite Gear didn’t skimp on durability. It employs 70-denier ripstop Cordura fabrics with 210-denier reinforcements, and our favorite material was the stretch mesh side pockets that withstood Utah rock scrapings unlike so many others. Our only complaint here was with the size of the center stretch pocket — it’s too long and tight to amount to any effective storage. We were delighted with top lid of the Nimbus Trace, however, which scored big for its wide c-shaped zipper and roomy interior. We could even fit our entire DSLR camera in there (including the attached zoom lens and hood) for easy access up top.

Overall, we think the Nimbus Trace will be a success with your experienced specialty retail customers for multi-day treks, especially for those who want a lightweight pack, but not at the cost of comfort or durability.

MSRP: $289.95

SNEWS® Rating:  4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection.