Granite Gear Nimbus Core Review
Weight: 3lbs. 12oz
Load limit: 40lbs
Capacity: tough to say but I'd guess it would fit in the 60+L capacity range
Granite Gear started the design of this pack with the basic goal of trying to find the best way to carry a bear canister. For those of you that have trekked through bear country you no doubt have dealt with the often profane experience of trying to fit all of your gear and the unwieldy bear canister with in the confines of your pack. What's more is trying to get it all to work well with out having the rigid canister constantly jamming into your back.
The Nimbus Core is a great answer to this issue by allowing an pretty remarkable system to get it all to fit with out much of a struggle. By keeping the main body of the pack open so you can simply strap in the bear canister (or what ever else you need to stuff) and then pile in the other things around it and with in the two cavernous side zippered compartments. A pack like this is pretty hard to break down into a category because of the very nature of the design, but I think once you see it and are able to understand the beautiful simplicity of the design you too will be sold on it. Now for those of you that are not so lucky as to be camping in an area over run by our ursine friends, have no fear this design is not limiting. The center open compartment is great to stuff what ever you would normally stick into it due to the fact you can secure and tighten down a number of points. One thing you should be aware of is that there is no integrated rainfly so anything that you do decide to keep in the pack will no doubt get soaked...but come on, any backpacker worth their salt knows to double protect their gear if necessary!
The frame sheet on this bad boy is a flat sheet of "plastic" Granite Gear calls their TopoFlex which is fairly narrow through the back but this with the Advection back panel is more than enough for any load this pack is rated for. I only noticed a bit of heat build up when I was hauling gear in temps over 75F and if you know anything about carrying a load at those temps, you know you are going to sweat...period.
The reason I really enjoyed this design is the load possibilities are pretty limitless due to the open nature of the main body of the pack, noting this feature I was amazing at the sheer number of configurations I cold make "fit" with in the pack. The days of stuffing as hard as you can to get a bulky sleeping bag in or trying to fill dead spaced formed between several rigid sided items are long gone and with the center opening up the way it does you can see all of your gear easily. In fact this pack makes a great crag pack because when it is open it is more than enough room for the rope to lie on. Hopefully from this brief explination you can start to understand that the limits of the functionality of this pack are actually set by your own imagination.
Another side bar is that we managed to haul a 5 gallon corny keg full of beer up our favorite local hike, the 1 mile long 2200' elevation gain Manitou Incline and I must say aside from some foamy brew the pack handled the weight great and actually made carrying the beer much easier!