The Granite Gear Lutsen 55 backpack is a comfortable light-weight backpack with the best adjustments in this category creating a custom fit. Along with the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 65, this pack performed very well when compared to other packs in this category.
Storage The Lutsen 55 backpack provides some nice storage options. The lid contains two zippered pockets, one large one and one smaller one. There is a large mesh pocket on the back of the pack that was great for storing wet items, rain gear, or water shoes.
The main storage area of the Lutsen is one large main compartment that is able to handle quite a bit of gear for a 55 liter pack. Unlike most packs that utilize a storm flap enclosure to enter the main compartment, the Lutsen utilizes a roll top lid that provides extra protection. Unfortunately, the Lutsen does not provide any other access to the main compartment. A side zipper or bottom access would allow for more options to access gear and provide better origination.
The two side stretch water bottle pockets hold a 1 liter water bottle, but unlike many packs, these pockets are deep enough to securely hold the bottle and a compression strap that provides extra security. The Sphinx 65 utilizes the normal internal hydration sleeve to store up to a 3 liter hydration bladder.
Comfort Hip Belt The Lutsen 55 hip belt is fully adjustable and has adequate padding that provides good comfort. These adjustments allow you to have a much wider range of fit than most packs and allow a custom fit it you lose or gain weight, loan your pack to another, or wear heavier clothes. The hip belt has two zippered pockets, one that is made from a stretch material and the other from a water resistant material and a seam tapped zipper providing added weather protection.
Back Panel/Shoulder Straps The Grantie Gear Lutsen 55 has a supportive back panel with a mesh stretch overlay that provides for good ventilation. The shoulder straps provide a light-weight padding that provides adequate comfort for the lighter loads that this pack is built for.
Stability The Lutsen 55 was stable and comfortable carrying loads in the 30 to 35 pound range. With loads approaching 40 pounds or more, the pack began to float and did not feel nearly as stable especially on steep ascents and descents.
Overall Comfort The Lutsen 55 provides good overall comfort while carrying loads in the 30-35 pound range. The ability to adjust the packs torso length and the ability to fully adjust the hip belt diameter really adds to this packs comfort and allows the ability for a truly custom fit.
Durability The Lutsen proved durable in a variety of conditions. The zippers, pockets and fabrics all performed well despite days of rugged use. The Lutsen proved tough and durable in poor weather due to the roll top lid.