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#204471 - 06/06/20 04:41 PM Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze
MountainMan49 Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/10/10
Posts: 7
Loc: Rocky Mountains of Northern NM...
Hi, I'm looking for a backpack to replace my beloved, well used 12 year old Osprey Talon 44, which has finally just plumb worn out!

Normally I would hit up a few stores, try on packs, but with everything still closed, and me needing a new pack, I have to order something sight unseen. I'm tempted just to order ALL 4 PACKS, and then return the 3 losers!!!!!?? But what a hassle......

My main issue I'm having, is I need a pack with some sort of straps (on bottom?) to easily attach my 26" long, fragile Fly-Rod. It's broken down, and in a fabric covering. With my Talon 44, I have used the straps to also tie my Tent poles, and occasionally other stuff, like a rolled up closed cell pad for my dogs. Hence, these straps finally wore out, and tore away from the pack due to strapping everything down so tight. I have already repaired these areas several times. In the past I have had packs with no bottom straps, so I had to stick the Fly-Rod down into the pack somehow, which can lead to worn holes, due to the sharp ends of the fly rod - not to mention possibly a broken fly rod! I have yet to find a Fly-Rod hardshell case light enough for backpacking.

I'm a slender, fit, 57 year old guy, 5' 8", 150 lbs, generally carry 27 - 32 lbs at full weight including water, staying out 2 - 5 days. I also use my pack for all day hikes. I don't need side pockets on the belt, so no problem with the Exos in that dept.

I have spent the past few weeks pouring over reviews and videos, and have it down to 4 packs I'm thinking of. Price does not matter, I want a pack that will work for me, probably for the next decade!

1) Getting ANOTHER Talon 44. Great pack, the only issue I have, is I have to REALLY stuff the sucker, and a tad larger would be nice, so I'm not forced to tie on extra stuff to the said mentioned straps. Also, it seems my other choices would be overall more comfortable packs to carry?

2) Atmos 65 - 4 lbs 8 oz lbs, compared to my 2 lb 7 oz Talon! More than two lbs heavier! It does look like it has the straps on the bottom to easily attach my fly rod. Is the pack "better enough" than my Talon for my uses to justify TWO POUNDS MORE!?!

3) Exos 58, 2 lbs 11 oz It appears to have the bottom "sleeping pad" straps, they might be thinner than the Talon, and might wear out even faster??

4) Granite Gear Blaze 60 3lbs. Gets great reviews, and leads me to think about leaving Osprey........but where the heck does the Fly-Rod go????

Thanks in advance for any and all comments!

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#204472 - 06/06/20 05:35 PM Re: Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze [Re: MountainMan49]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1892
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I've used the older versions of the Exos, and it's a very nice pack. With it, you have the option of a 58 or 48 liter pack, whichever fits your load better. The compression straps (including the sleeping bag straps) are about 1/4" or so wide, but I never had any trouble with them wearing out. They seem as sturdy as the wider straps on the Atmos.

I've also used the Atmos - great pack; comfort is right up there with the old Dana Design Terraplanes - but it's also got a lot of overkill with a sleeping bag compartment (shelf, zipper) and wider straps.

The only Granite Gear pack I have any experience with was the original Vapor Trail; I gave it to a young scout probably 15 years ago.

You might want to add the Gregory Optic pack to your choices. Until January, I was using the Osprey Levity 45 (I carry about 15 pounds, mostly because I'm 70 years old and need to carry a lighter load.) In January, I got the Optic 48, and it has now replaced my Levity. It's about a pound heavier, but the suspension is much beefier and more supportive. (The pack's weight is very close to the Exos, but the hipbelt is far more robust.) It also has the narrower straps, but they seem to be plenty sturdy. The lower set of side compression straps extend down and around the bottom of the pack to form sleeping pad straps that could be used for lashing on your rod. Thanks to the pandemic closing all the nearby backcountry camping areas, I've only had the chance to use it on two overnights - but I've carried it on some 8-mile dayhikes, and it's really comfortable.

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#204473 - 06/07/20 02:34 AM Re: Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze [Re: MountainMan49]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 269
Loc: Portland, Oregon
No advice regarding the pack, as I've been using homemade packs for the last 20 years. However, regarding the rod case, this might interest you:

http://outdoorgearsteals.com/diy-ultralight-fly-rod-tube-backpacking/
_________________________
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

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#204476 - 06/07/20 05:25 PM Re: Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze [Re: MountainMan49]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1030
Loc: Torrance, CA
If you really want to buy the right pack for you I would recommend buying all 4 and returning everything but the winner. You might even want to consider returning all four if they don't fit you well.

If price is no object you might want to consider a McHale pack. Too pricey for me, but people who have them rave about 'em: http://www.mchalepacks.com/

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#204497 - 06/11/20 01:01 PM Re: Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze [Re: BZH]
MountainMan49 Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/10/10
Posts: 7
Loc: Rocky Mountains of Northern NM...
Thanks for all the replies! Still hope to find someone that has gone out with an Osprey Exos & Atmos, AND the Blaze for a three way comparison!

But it’s sounding like the only real way, since I can’t check them out in stores, is to cough up, buy all three, try them out extensively, (carefully!) and return the other two. With the Ospreys, no problem, get them from REI, but for some reason REI is no longer carrying the Blaze, which I would have to get elsewhere, and possibly have return issues.

I’m actually headed out on another backpacking trip this week, totally nursing my old Talon, which is totally duct taped together, with holes, and bottom straps that don’t work anymore due to years of use – they are tearing off.

Thanks again for any, and all future replies on the differences between these packs.

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#204498 - 06/11/20 03:05 PM Re: Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze [Re: MountainMan49]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1892
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I just remembered: About 4(?) years ago (when it first came out), I briefly experimented with the Granite Gear Crown 2 60-liter pack. I didn't carry it on more than a couple of overnighters, and got rid of it primarily because it was about 15-25 liters too large (depending on whether I had winter clothes packed or not.) It was huge! Way overkill for what I needed, and far more than I could ever fill. I also remember that the carry was "flimsy" feeling.

I've also used the Talon 44, and the Crown 2 had a better hipbelt but a less supportive framesheet and shoulder straps. I would rate the Crown's carry as less comfortable than the Talon. Don't know if that helps with your question about the Blaze 60 or not - I just looked at the specs and noticed both packs are about the same weight, so I just assumed similar suspensions.

I did note just now that REI does have the Blaze 60, if you search "Granite Gear."

I have a buddy who really likes his Blaze 60. You can find his video review by searching "Watch Mike Hike" and going to his homepage.

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#204499 - 06/11/20 03:36 PM Re: Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze [Re: Glenn Roberts]
MountainMan49 Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/10/10
Posts: 7
Loc: Rocky Mountains of Northern NM...
Thanks for the info! I see it now! REI didn't have the Blaze the last few weeks, perhaps they take it off their site when they are sold out for the moment.......

My only misgivings, is I kinda feel guilty ordering 3 or 4 brand new packs from REI, full knowing all but one will be returned. Although I know REI will allow this, part of me says do a few more days research and just bit the bullet and order one of 'em!

Another thing about me, I kinda have a weird body shape, and never know how a pack will feel till I try it out. I have very long legs, but short torso, and thin-ish build.

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#204500 - 06/11/20 05:33 PM Re: Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze [Re: MountainMan49]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1892
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Don't underestimate the need to try it out.

In January, I got the Gregory Optic pack I mentioned previously. After alternating hikes between it and the Levity, I thought I had settled on the Levity. Early this week, I took an 8 mile hike with about 18 pounds in the Optic. That afternoon, I experienced weakness in my hips and back of my thighs, almost like a nerve had been pinched. (One thing I've never had is back pain.) This hadn't shown up on the previous 1 or 2 mile hikes around around the local walking track - it took a longer walk to trigger it. Turns out that the lumbar pad on the Gregory pack put pressure on just the wrong place, and sufficient time wearing the pack caused discomfort and weakness. (I had never had issues with lumbar pads on packs back in the 80s and 90s. Maybe, at age 70, I've lost just enough flexibility that it's now an issue?

I did some stretching for a few days, and it went away.

Yesterday, I loaded my Levity with about 18 pounds and took another 8 mile hike - no pain or discomfort. So, as much as I liked the design and overall suspension of the Optic, that one little quirk means the Gregory is out, and the Levity is back in. (I stopped by the local backpacking shop on my way home; they said they had a lot of people find the lumbar pads irritating to some degree or another.

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#204501 - 06/12/20 02:37 PM Re: Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze [Re: MountainMan49]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1030
Loc: Torrance, CA
I don't think this is the kind of thing you can research your way out of. Pack fit is the most important thing and it is very individual. I think REI would love to have you as a customer right now whether or not you use there return policy to get the right pack.

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#204513 - 06/15/20 01:04 PM Re: Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze [Re: BZH]
MountainMan49 Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/10/10
Posts: 7
Loc: Rocky Mountains of Northern NM...
Well, I just decided that I'm ruling out the Amos due to the weight.

And I decided, why buy a new Talon 44 - I will simply ship mine back to Osprey and eventually will get a patched up pack back for simply shipping costs! (I have it duct taped now, and and still nursing it through use!)

So, it's down the the Blaze, or Exos. And wouldn't you know it, I was going to order both packs just now from REI, and yup, the Blaze man said, "no Blaze for you today! I'm guessing it must sell out fast from them.

Now, I know I could order the Blaze from other sources, but I was nervous enough about returning packs locally in person at REI, shipping one back to another supplier is a huge headache. I bought a few tents this way "trying them out" a few years ago, and went through HELL!, and several months to get my promised refunds on returns. (unmentioned supplier, not REI)

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#204517 - 06/19/20 04:21 AM Re: Osprey Atmos/Exos/Talon vs Granite Gear Blaze [Re: MountainMan49]
Masonic18 Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/25/18
Posts: 11
Loc: NY
I was reading this article at toolazine.com How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack[/url] it might help you, too. The man in the video has a nice backpack. Is that one of the brands you were looking for?


Edited by Glenn Roberts (06/19/20 06:52 AM)
Edit Reason: Remove commercial link

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