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Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian Backpack REVIEW
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Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian Backpack REVIEW on 10/03/2006 20:48:39 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian Backpack REVIEW

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Great! on 10/03/2006 23:04:04 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 10/30/2013 08:53:37 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
lid zipper on wrong side! on 10/04/2006 02:50:20 MDT Print View

Will, a couple questions about usage. I own the 60l Nimbus Ozone, and it is my most comfortable pack (of any size). And I am considering the new Meridian Vapor as my 'medium' pack. I've never heard anyone fault the suspension system on these packs. The room for improvement is on the other side of the frame. First question; glad to see GG including a lid, but they put the lid zipper on the 'wrong' side, where the contents can not be accessed while being worn. All zippered lids I have ever seen face the user, to allow frequently used goods to be taken out and replaced on the go. GG just negated that posibility with this strange choice of locaiton. Now that you have used the pack, any idea why they did that? Secondly; current design prohibits use of the stretch pockets if the pack is compressed. Any idea why they did not lower the upper edge of the pocket below the strap so both could be used at the same time? Any work-around for this? Thirdly; on the Ozone, some straps were way too long (load lifters), and others were way too short for external lashing (lower compression); webbing is cheap.. did they give us longer straps this time? Fourth, when GG top loaders are partially loaded, the one big sack becomes shapeless and loose; providing two more compression straps at the bottom of the pack could really tighten things up for when we carry a true LW load. So, how does it carry with a partial load? I hope it is not too late for GG to consider these things; the competition is not standing still. For example, Montbell already sells a pack equivalent to the meridian vapor, with vertical access zipper, removable lid (with zipper on the correct side), VERY comfortable suspension, for about a hundred bucks. Heavier, but cutting it down to the GG feature set gives a similar weight. I look forward to your comments; thanks for the great review.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian Backpack REVIEW on 10/04/2006 05:51:31 MDT Print View

First a comments: I know a lot has been said about the compression straps running over the side pockets, making those almost useless to store things in, but the fact is GG never intended it to be used this way. I believe this is explained in a podcast on Practical Backpacking. It is something that doesn't bother me and I even prefer it this way since I only use sidepockets to store my tentpoles and hikingpoles.

Now a couple of questions I have myself:
1) is the 3800 cu in the volume of the main compartment with or with the extension collar? There is some confusion on other GG packs whether their stated volumes include the extension collar. GG says they do, some users have clearly indicated that no way the main body of a Vapor Trail packs 3600 cu in and that 2600 - 2900 cu in is more realistic. Does this count for the Nimbus Meridian (and coming Meridian Vapour) also?
2)how hard would it be to add a front meshpocket or shockcord system to the pack? And how could this be done?

The pack certainly looks nice although I would have preferred a more basic design without full length zipper or convertible top pocket and with a shockcord or meshpocket at the front.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Answers to GG Nimbus Meridian Questions on 10/04/2006 06:55:06 MDT Print View

Hi Brett and Tom. Hey, you guys are really aestute! I will try to answer all 6 of your questions in order:
1) TOP POCKET ZIPPER FACING OUT - that is a unique feature, and you can argue its utility either way. With it facing out, it is now easier for your hiking buddy to get something out of the pocket for you, but you can no longer reach it yourself with the pack on.

2) STRAPS OVER SIDE POCKETS - yep, that can be an annoyance. I just left the lower compression straps loose, so it didn't bother me. However, you have to tighten them up for smaller loads, and then using the pockets is severely compromised.

3) STRAP LENGTH - all of the straps are extra long. Many users would probably want to shorten some of them.

4) PARTIAL LOAD CAPABILITY - I didn't test the pack with a partial load. The 4 side compression straps should reduce the volume a lot. It would be nice if GG reversed the gender of the buckles on one side so the straps can connect to the opposite side and provide straightjacket compression.

5) PACK VOLUME - I don't have any way to measure it, but my opinion is that the 3800 ci is the main compartment exclusive of the extension collar. The NM is the same size pack as an Osprey Aether 60.

6) ADDING A MESH POCKET OR BUNGEE SYSTEM TO THE FRONT - I'm sure you can rig up something that is detachable, but adding a permanent pocket to the front would interfere a lot with other pack features. That would include the front zipper and cradle to attach gear to the front. If you want that feature, I suggest looking at the ULA Catalyst or Circuit.

I hope this helps to answer your questions. Best, Will.

Edited by WilliWabbit on 10/04/2006 07:03:28 MDT.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian Backpack REVIEW on 10/04/2006 08:53:19 MDT Print View

Thanks Will,
that's a quick response. I was actually thinking of rigging a bungee system underneath the compression straps in a way that it can be used without interfering with those straps. Not being able to use the access zipper is not such a problem for me since I probably wouldn't use it. I guess what you're telling us also counts for the Meridian Vapour since it seems to be just the smaller version of the Nimbus Meridian with the backsystem of the Vapour Trail.

Anyway, taking use of the occasion, are there any plans to review the ULA Catalyst and/or GG Meridian Vapour? Both my wife and I are looking for a new internal framed pack for the long haul and I have a great difficulty in finding a pack that is light enough and fits at the same time(living in Europe can be a real nuissance if I look at the choice you guys have). Osprey Aether 60 is no longer an option since it doesn't fit us ans it's a bit heavy now. Now I've got 3 packs on my shortlist:
1) Nimbus Meridian (review helps a lot)
2) Meridian Vapor
3) ULA Catalyst

Reviews of these last 2 with lots of pictures would be very usefull :-)

BTW, just an idea but comparing the size of a reviewed pack with e.g. an Osprey aether 60 is a usefull feature (at least for me) since this pack can be more easily found and makes it easier to compare e.g. by showing a picure of both of them with the same load next to eachother. Personally, I prefer to put as much of my stuff inside to get a more compact profile. At this moment it's hard for me to find out if e.g. the ULA Catalyst is large enough for me if I use it like in the previous sentence and without using the full capacity of the mesh pockets.

Edited by Woubeir on 10/04/2006 08:55:48 MDT.

james clark

Locale: Southern California
Bear Canister compatability on 10/04/2006 17:34:20 MDT Print View

Does a bear canister fit sideways within the GG Nimbus Meridian?

In rsponse to Tom Van Wauive's question about the usable volume of the ULA Catalist: I just completed a 25 day Sierra trip with the Catalist. I was able to carry up to fifty pounds and all of my gear, including a bear canister, with very little difficulty utilizing part of the packs top extension.

Marius Bunes
(marius) - F
Alternative pack on 10/04/2006 22:50:48 MDT Print View

Hello Will Rietveld,
I've got another alternative pack in this weight/volume category:
Bergans Helium 55l.
It's a lightweight pack that now weighs 1,1kg (mfg wt). An early version is posted in the gear guide, with a weight of 1,65kg, same volume. Check it out at

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian Backpack REVIEW - ULA Catalyst sidenote on 10/05/2006 05:12:13 MDT Print View

how much of your gear did you have to pack in the mesh pockets? I prefer not to store anything in the sidepockets (except poles that is) and could perhaps store my raingear and windshell/softshell in the frontpocket but prefer to put the rest inside the pack. What kind of shelter/sleeping bag/cooking gear did you use?
I currently still carry half of an older 7 lbs. TNF Harriertent(which I want to replace as quickly as I can) and a Primus Gravity stove nested inside a 1,5L MSR Duralite (planning to change to new Primus Etapower pot).

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Bergans on 10/05/2006 16:13:42 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 10/30/2013 08:52:21 MDT.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
More responses to Nimbus Meridian questions on 10/05/2006 16:25:02 MDT Print View

Hi all, my responses to your additional questions:
Tom: We don't have any immediate plans to review the Meridian Vapor and ULA Catalyst. Too many packs, too little time...

James: Yes, a bear canister will fit sideways in the NM.

Marius: The Bergans Helium 55L looks interesting and is definitely light.

What we need is an editor who tests only lightweight internal frame packs. They are really neat packs, and there seems to be a lot of interest in that area, but we can only manage to review a few of them.

Best, Will

Dave Master
(dave_master_edu) - M
Availability on 10/05/2006 23:58:58 MDT Print View

Is this pack available? The article mentions "Sept. 2006", yet I haven't found anyone that carries it. Thanx

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Availability on 10/06/2006 09:21:33 MDT Print View

james clark

Locale: Southern California
Response to ULA Catalyst question on 10/09/2006 14:28:08 MDT Print View

Tom Van Wauive: All my gear fit inside the Catalyst. I sometimes used the pockets for rain gear but didnt need to. I carried a Tarptent, overstuffed Western Mountaineering Alpinlite sleeping bag, Bearvalt canister, .9 ltr Ti evernew pot, Esbit stove and Ti windscreen. A word of caution about using the Catalyst. One can, and I did, damage the bottom of the pack where the stiffening rods are by sitting on one to many rocks and not getting up properly. Having said this, the stays remained in the pack and functioned for a week after I damaged the pack. The fault was mine, not the gear. I intend to repair the pack next month and continue to us it as my number one pack. Also, it is important to load this pack so that things can not poke you in the back as you move down the trail. JWFC..........

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Load Carrying Capacity on 12/15/2006 17:56:15 MST Print View

You rate the Nimbus Meridian at a 35lb carrying capacity, but the Nimbus Latitude and Ozone are rated at 40lbs. What makes the difference?

James Nelson
(bigmuddy) - F

Locale: Midwest
Hose port on 03/22/2007 07:57:37 MDT Print View

The one complaint I have is that the hose port for a water bladder, if you choose to carry it inside the pack, is too small for most bite valves to fit through. I had, with a tear in my eye, do some surgery to get it to work. Now I have a nice open hole in the top of my pack, such is life.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Nimbus Meridian as a ski touring pack? on 01/22/2009 20:36:56 MST Print View

Can anyone comment on the Nimbus Meridian as a ski touring pack?