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Load lifters on the Granite Gear Crown 60 V.C. Ki and other backpacks
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Alina G
(Alina) - MLife

Locale: Toronto, Ontario
Load lifters on the Granite Gear Crown 60 V.C. Ki and other backpacks on 05/14/2013 23:50:38 MDT Print View


I have a question regarding the load lifters on the Granite Gear Crown 60 V.C. Ki pack. I would like a feedback from this pack owners please. Do the load lifters work for you? How? Do you find them functional? I have seen in few places on the internet that the LL straps should be at 45 degrees or so. I does not happen so with the Crown pack for me. The straps are parallel to the ground. Also I am able to pull the straps easily all the way in so there is no more strap left to bring the top of the pack any closer to me. I think I could be able to bring it even closer but there is no more strap left. Is it normal?
I hear that it is a comfortable pack and you do not feel the weight but how could it be without functional load lifters? Anyone for whom the pack did not work?
My understanding is that the purpose of load lifters is to get the shoulder straps off the top of the shoulder so the weight can be transferred to hip belt. The point is to make the shoulder straps only contact the front of the shoulder and chest area. The load lifters keep the pack from pulling away from your body, which would cause the pack to sag on your lumbar region.
I have also noticed that the packs that have the 45 degrees LL straps tend to have longer frames. Meaning they might be heavier and less comfortable (brim of a hat or your head hitting the pack). Are we talking a trade off here? I do not really see ultralight packs with longer frames.
I would appreciate your comments on the load lifters. Non GG Crown owners can chime in as well on the science of LL.
Thank you.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Use of load lifters on 05/15/2013 00:03:22 MDT Print View

Steep Uphills: Tighten the load lifters (and sternum strap) to bring the pack's top closer to you for balance

Most Downhills: Loosen the load lifters and sternum strap to let the top lean back, again, for better balance.

Skiing & Scrambling: tighten the load lifters, sternum strap AND the hipbelt side straps to bring the pack in tight so it does not sway when maneuvering.

All this tightening and loosening along the trail makes for more comfort. Keeping the pack straps in the same position all the time makes for sore shoulders and hips.

Besides, it's entertaining when the scenery gets boring. Face it, the scenery sometimes DOES get boring. They don't call the AT "The Green Tunnel" for nothing.

Andrew Martin
(am1982) - M

Locale: PacNW
Where the straps should be.. on 05/15/2013 01:33:24 MDT Print View

If the straps are wrapping around your shoulders it's not going to be a very effective pack for you. I'm not sure if the Crown VC has the ability to change the length of the pack by adjusting where the straps sit on the back-panel (my GG Blaze AC has this...) but you might want to see if adjusting to a higher shoulder strap position will take the weight off. Also, try not tightening the straps down at the bottom of the shoulder pads as much.

Sometimes it just doesn't work, packs seem to be like shoes in that there is no one right design for everyone.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Where the straps should be.. on 05/15/2013 02:01:36 MDT Print View

I owned the Crown and returned it to REI. It is a lot of good ideas put together in a poor package.

What really matters for load lifters is the fit of the pack to your torso, otherwise they won't work in any meaningful way. For loads below 30 lbs., I don't think you need load lifters on a properly-fitted pack. The experience of many others on here confirms this. Check out Dave Chenault's article "How Packs Work" for more.

The Crown's framesheet is so soft that the most the load lifters can do is marginally lengthen the torso length of the pack. I found them best for small adjustments while hiking. My current pack doesn't have them, and honestly, I rarely miss them (though it might be nice to have them occasionally).

Mike Bozman
(myarmisonfire) - M

Locale: BC
Wrong size pack? on 05/15/2013 07:27:29 MDT Print View

Alina, it sounds like your pack might be one size too small. I have a Crown and the load lifters indeed attach to the pack at a 30 to 45 degree angle. What size is your pack?

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Load lifters on the Granite Gear Crown 60 V.C. Ki and other backpacks on 05/15/2013 08:56:25 MDT Print View

45 degrees was the basis for external packs because the frame was sufficiently away from your head. It doesn't apply as easily to internal packs lest you have the frame banging into your head. 30 degrees is just fine for loads under 50lbs.

Most load lifters on lightweight packs designed to carry 30 lbs or less is simply to bring the load in closer to the back to improve the center of gravity. The Crown falls into that limit despite what GG suggests.

Loki Cuthbert

Locale: Portland, OR
Crown vc owner on 05/15/2013 11:10:50 MDT Print View

I have the crown vc and it is an extremely comfortable pack for me. If the top of the frame sheet is just above your shoulders when you seat the hip belt where you like it the frame is the right length. The shoulder straps should just wrap over the top of your shoulders where it connects to the pack. If you want to take weight off of your shoulders when you have the pack strapped on loosen your shoulder straps. I find that I just lightly tighten the load lifters.

I just hiked the rogue river trail in 3 days with a 12 lb base weight and it was extremely comfortable a leisurely hike with two 15 mile days and one 10 mile day.


Alina G
(Alina) - MLife

Locale: Toronto, Ontario
Load lifters on the GG Crown V.C 60 Ki on 05/15/2013 23:28:41 MDT Print View


I have posted this on another thread already. Sorry about the repetition. I thought that some people might miss the other thread and I would really like your input.
Anyway, here are my picks. The pack is 30lbs.
Load liftersSide profile
Looking at them I see that the load lifters are a little at an angle but far from the 45 degrees.
The hip belt is sloping down somewhat towards the back. Is it because of the heavy weight?
Also I noticed that the shoulder straps (at the back) are flaring out on the outside edge of the strap but touching the shoulder on the inside edge of the strap (towards the spine). I think that it is designed that way for comfort so you can raise your arms without pinching them?

I appreciate your comments.
As I am a beginner it is difficult for me to know if it is the perfect (or at least a reasonable) pack for me or not. I did my research but there is only so much a research can accomplish. The main reason why I picked this pack is that I have seen some reviews mentioning that the pack carries comfortably (compared to other packs) even quite heavy loads. The Crown does feel reasonable but I do not really have an experience with other packs so I have nothing to compare it to. If I was to go on a few trips with different backpacks then I would know which one is best. At this point I am shooting in the dark and hoping for the best. The last thing I would want to do is use a backpack for years only to find out that it was not right for me all along but I did not know any better and as a result I suffered some discomfort thinking that it was normal.
The fact that you have to mail order the good packs does not make it any easier. Additionally I am in Canada so the shipping here is much higher. I cannot keep on ordering an returning packs as it would be too expensive. I wish stores would carry more of the packs that you guys talk about in the forum. I was lucky that the store I went to had GG packs.
Thank you

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Load lifters on the GG Crown V.C 60 Ki on 05/15/2013 23:40:09 MDT Print View

I own a Granite Gear Vapor Trail pack (a different model). It was reviewed here on this site. The reviewers found what I found: the load lifter are too low. It is otherwise a great pack. The hip belt is as good as I've found anywhere. The frame sheet is fine. The rest of the pack is simple and very efficient (from a weight to pack standpoint). But the load lifters are too low. I can see that from the picture, and it looks like the picture for the Vapor Trail on this site and the pack I own. You could try a taller pack. If a taller pack fits you, then the load lifters will be more effective. If a taller pack doesn't fit you, then you will either live with a pack that has poor load lifters (like I do) or get a different pack.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Load lifters on the GG Crown V.C 60 Ki on 05/16/2013 00:09:02 MDT Print View

Frankly, it looks like this pack is too short for your torso length. I would think that you would need an extra couple of inches--typically one size up--to get a proper fit.

EDIT: Granite Gear's sizing on the Crown will likely make it difficult to find the right torso length. IIRC, the torso on the next size up is substantially longer than the regular--something like four inches. I doubt that you have much options with this pack.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 05/16/2013 00:11:07 MDT.

Alina G
(Alina) - MLife

Locale: Toronto, Ontario
Load lifters on the GG Crown V.C 60 Ki and other backpacks on 05/16/2013 00:27:54 MDT Print View

Hi Ross and Clayton,
Thank you for your responses.
Ross: What problems do the low load lifters cause in your case?
I have tried the next size up (regular torso) but it buckled in the middle (the top and bottom of the pack were touching me but the middle of the pack was maybe 2 inches away from my back). Did it buckle because it had 25 lbs weight plates on the bottom? Would a different weight distribution made a difference? I might go to try the regular size again with different weight distribution but the store might ban me from coming there (LOL).
Loki mentioned that the pack is extremely comfortable for him. Go figure (LOL).
I think that when it comes to the lighter packs we just have to accept that the LL are not very functional. I guess it is because of the design (shorter and softer frame) that saves weight.
I wonder if there is something else in the design that maybe makes the LL not really necessary?
Thank you.

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
Blaze on 05/16/2013 00:43:15 MDT Print View

My experience with the Crown is that it is effectively a rather heavy frameless pack (which incidentally lacks the cushy hip belt and straps of its' predecessor for the same weight.) As such, the load lifter straps are never going to do much more than adjust the bag closer to your back. That function is an important one though and the only reason I personally care about "load lifters".

If you have Granite Gear dealer close to you and want a pack that can carry 25+ lbs I would suggest the Blaze. Otherwise I would look at much lighter frameless or minimally framed packs.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Load lifters on the GG Crown V.C 60 Ki and other backpacks on 05/16/2013 07:11:26 MDT Print View

Alina, I did a much longer write up on the Crown after using it for about 125 or so miles last summer. You can find that here (fair warning--it's long and probably over-detailed).

The short version is that I found the Crown's suspension to be entirely inadequate. The framesheet doesn't support heavy loads as well, and it limits the movement of the pack side-to-side. I tried working with it for several trips, but I had serious issues with it every time I took it out except for the first overnight.

Drew is right. It has all the weaknesses of a frameless pack with few of the benefits. It's a pretty poor tradeoff.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 05/16/2013 07:12:06 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Load lifters on the GG Crown V.C 60 Ki and other backpacks on 05/16/2013 10:11:17 MDT Print View

Hi Alina,
To answer your question, the load lifters are barely useful. Load lifters are not the most important part of a pack (to me) or I would just get another pack (being cheap also plays a part in my not getting another pack). I really like the other parts of the pack, though (great hip belt, simple lightweight design, etc.).

I can't seem to find the article I remember, but this is a great one that describes load lifters:

Under Part 1, look for the paragraph that starts with "Load lifters should be here discussed". The picture looks a lot like your pack on you (or my pack on me). The description is pretty much spot on, in my opinion. The load lifters are helpful, but just barely.

I wish I could find the other article, since it shows what a good load lifter system looks like. As mentioned, 45 degrees is ideal.

Long story short, I would definitely consider another pack, just so you can get the load lifter angle right. You could size up, but as mentioned, the pack probably wouldn't fit you very well if you did that. The fact that Granite Gear is often mentioned when it comes to load lifter problems suggests that they have flaws in their design (or had flaws in their design). This is a shame, since it is otherwise a great pack. Even with that flaw, lots of people have been really happy with their packs (it used to be a very common pack for thru hikers -- now it has probably been replaced by ULA packs).

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Load lifters on the GG Crown V.C 60 Ki and other backpacks on 05/16/2013 10:31:45 MDT Print View

Right, so that space is generated because the load lifters are pulling the shoulder straps back and this is normal if you have the load lifters cranked a little too tight. The problem with the Crown is that for you, the frame is not tall enough. The torso size looks fine but the design of the pack is flawed from the perspective of being able to use the load lifters in an effective manner. The lifters in this case only pull the pack into your back, which is fine with lighter loads.

I agree that this pack may not be for you. The frame on Granite Gears larger packs, like the Blaze, have a taller frame that may work better for you. If you can get the load lifter angle up taller than your shoulders then a gentle pull will pull the load in without pulling the shoulder straps back.

Note on frames. For a 45 degree angle, the frame has to be quite tall. Probably 5 to 6 inches taller than your shoulders and really only required for weights over 30 to 40 pounds. A shorter angle will work just fine for lighter weights or even no load lifters in most cases.

A pic with load lifters that would be set at 45 degrees:

See Nick's picture and how tall the frame needs to be.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Load lifters on the GG Crown V.C 60 Ki and other backpacks on 05/16/2013 11:22:56 MDT Print View

"Note on frames. For a 45 degree angle, the frame has to be quite tall. Probably 5 to 6 inches taller than your shoulders and really only required for weights over 30 to 40 pounds."

Agree. Most of them are just marketing spin. You need a real frame for them to actually work, and most of the time most of us are not carrying loads that require load lifters. I only use mine in winter for long trips. Fortunately, I can remove the frame extensions and the by-pass harness in my McHale when the load lifters are not needed.

Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
'Load Lifters' and load on 05/16/2013 12:05:07 MDT Print View

"Did it buckle because it had 25 lbs weight plates on the bottom?" - NO pack you try is going to property fit when loaded with a 25 lbs plate weight!!!! Take your gear to the store or stuff it with your gear at home.... quit trying to 'create' a weighted pack with artifical weight. (Even the sand bags the stores often have do not replicate weight well.)
I agree with the others that suggest that the pack is too short for you. I have several GG packs and love them, but they are not for everyone and this pack in particular has a very narrow range of fit. If the torso were longer than the shoulder straps would sit higher up your back allowing the shoulder strap to wrap around your shoulder better and place the 'shoulder strap pocket' more to the front and NOT on top of your shoulder. (Totally useless were they are in your picture.)
As much as you may like this pack.... it doesn't look like it fits you, but that is entirely up to you.
Just as a side note.... my husband has this pack in the long version... he is 5'4" tall!!! (not a typo.... just long waisted and short legged) Buy what fits, not what the marketing reps are trying to sell!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: 'Load Lifters' and load on 05/16/2013 12:34:49 MDT Print View

I don't really see the purpose of load lifters.

I see why if the shoulder straps go down from your shoulder to the pack, then your shoulders will be carrying at least some of the weight of the pack instead of your hips. Do a vector diagram.

If the shoulder straps go at right angle to the pack then your shoulders won't carry any of the weight of the pack, it will all be on the hips. That's a good thing.

If your shoulder straps went down from shoulder to pack but had no weight on them, and "load lifters" went at right angles to pack and had all the weight on them, that would result in all the pack weight being carried by hips, which is fine, but why not omit the load lifters and just have the shoulder straps go at right angles? So, the only function of the load lifters is if the torso length of the pack is too short, you can have "load lifters" that allow the pack to be used by longer torsoed people and still have all the pack weight on hips.

If the shoulder straps or load lifters go up from shoulders to pack, then there will actually be a force going up on your shoulders, but the weight down on your hips will be that much more. Again, do vector diagram. It doesn't seem like this would be good, although if it's just a little it wouldn't matter much.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: 'Load Lifters' and load on 05/16/2013 12:50:50 MDT Print View

"If the shoulder straps go at right angle to the pack then your shoulders won't carry any of the weight of the pack, it will all be on the hips. That's a good thing."

Jerry - this is absolutely correct. In fact, I could argue that having the straps even a little higher is a good thing given that over a long day, hipbelts tend to fall lower (ride lower). At higher weights, however, there is some frame / torso collapse that is inevitable. A properly designed load lifter like that of Mchale that does not use the shoulder strap as a fulcrum enables the load to be 'lifted' slightly to reposition the weight on the hips. But again, this would be only for heavier weights. For weights under...say...30 lbs, having a taller frame without load lifters works very well in transfering weight to the hips and as you discuss, shoulder straps at right angles as attached to the main bag is ideal as it loads the chest a bit but keeps the weight on the hips.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/08/2013 13:32:47 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: 'Load Lifters' and load on 05/16/2013 13:08:43 MDT Print View

Ahhh - that makes sense - thanks - with torso collapse you can tighten the load lifter so you get right angle pull and all pack wieght stays on hips

There is some flexibility of where you position pack on hips. If there's some torso collapse, just tighten the waist belt a little so the pack rides a little higher on your hips.