The new Granite Gear Vapor Day is a lightweight full-featured top-loading internal frame pack. The women’s version is the Vapor Day Ki.
New for spring 2008, Granite Gear packs a lot of comfort, features, and load carrying capacity into the 2000 cubic inch (32 L), 2.5 pound Vapor Day Pack. While it is not the lightest day pack available, it is very lightweight for the comfort and features it provides.
Granite Gear’s name has become synonymous with comfortable packs, and the new Vapor Day Pack is consistent with their reputation. Using lightweight materials, the suspension system (shoulder straps, backpanel, and hipbelt) on the Vapor Day Pack is similar to their larger backpacks, meaning it is well padded and easy to wear.
The Vapor Day incorporates Granite Gear’s Vapor frame, which is a simple rectangular HDPE plastic framesheet that is attached to a foam padded backpanel (this same frame is used in Granite Gear's popular Vapor Trail backpack). It is light and effective - horizontally flexible to conform to the back and vertically rigid to transfer weight to the hips. Unlike Granite Gear’s other frames, the Vapor frame is not adjustable for torso length and shoulder width; the only “adjustments” one can make are choosing the correct pack size and tweaking the suspension system.
The Vapor Day Pack’s suspension system (left) is well padded for extreme comfort. Hipbelt pockets shown are an add-on accessory and are not included with the pack. Features on the front of the pack (right) include a full height stretch nylon zippered pocket and a cradle to attach larger items to the front of the pack.
Each side of the Vapor Day (left) has a stretch nylon pocket. Notice the slit to route the side compression strap under the pocket rather than over it. Water bottles hang up on the inside strap, but the arrangement works well for stuffable gear. The top of the pack (right) has a zippered security pocket.
At $129, the Vapor Day Pack is an excellent value for a day pack with such abundant features (listed below). While two and a half pounds is nothing to sneeze at, I do not believe a day pack needs to be ultralight, as one is unlikely to be carrying more than 10 to 15 pounds. For me, it is also good training for backpacking, because my backpack weight is normally near the same range, at 12 to 18 pounds.
I tested the Vapor Day on numerous fall day hiking and winter snow travel trips, fifteen in all, and noticed a number of pros and a few cons.
- The Vapor Day is extremely comfortable to carry, with or without a heavier load.
- I like its panel access, but the top compression straps get in the way of the zipper.
- The internal framesheet is very lightweight and flexible, allowing the pack to contour to my backside and provide extra weight carrying capacity when I need it.
- The stretch-woven fabric covering the inside of the shoulder straps, hipbelt, and backpanel is very water-resistant, but will eventually soak up water
- The stretch nylon front pocket expands to hold a lot of gear, but it’s not waterproof, so gear inside gets wet if it’s raining or snowing. I would prefer this pocket to be waterproof, the same as all of the other zippered pockets on the pack.
- The stretch nylon side pockets are tough and very stretchy. Water bottles are reachable with the pack on. The pockets and side compression straps readily secure anything attached to the side of the pack.
- A cradle and two straps on the front of the pack allow larger items (like snowshoes) to be attached.
- A sleeve behind the backpanel is very handy to store a sit pad.
- A bungie system on the internal hydration sleeve is apparently intended to stabilize a larger hydration bladder, and can be removed if it’s not wanted. The single hose port is small and difficult to get a bite valve through.
- The pack does not have any standard hipbelt pockets. However, Granite Gear’s add-on pockets ($19/1.4 oz each) are waterproof and padded, perfect for a digital camera.
Overall, the Vapor Day is versatile and lightweight for a full-featured, internal frame pack, and it is pleasantly comfortable to carry.
Specifications and Features
|Granite Gear (http://granitegear.com/)|
|2008 Vapor Day Pack|
|70 denier hybrid sil/urethane ripstop nylon Cordura with 210 denier nylon Cordura bottom and reinforcements. The harness system and back panel are lined with nylon stretch-woven (softshell) fabric|
|The Vapor frame is a rectangular composite framesheet attached to a padded backpanel.|
|Panel loading, well padded suspension system with stretch-woven face fabric, removable hipbelt available in three sizes, stretch nylon front and side pockets, top security pockets, waterproof zippers (except front pocket), pad sleeve behind backpanel, 3-liter hydration sleeve with one center hose port, two ice axe loops, load lifter straps, sternum strap, hipbelt stabilizer straps, gear cradle on front with two attachment straps, four side compression straps|
|Men’s Vapor Day is available in regular and long torso lengths and three hipbelt sizes; women’s Vapor Day Ki is available in short and regular torso lengths and three hipbelt sizes|
|Measured weight: 39.9 oz (1131 g) - Men’s Long Torso pack with medium hipbelt
Manufacturer specification: 34 oz (964 g) - Men's Regular Torso pack, hipbelt size not specified