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Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50
Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50

Granite Gear

Fifty Sense Seal of Approval

One of the challenges in hiking and backpacking is to find a company that embraces the concept that every ounce makes a difference. Granite Gear understands this as it's core belief. They have great products that are hard to find anywhere else. I love the dog water and feed bowl that can also be used for a small sink in the tent.

Alpha Dog Pack

Charlie the Canine Critic here with a great new product I wish to share with you. The Alpha Dog Pack from Granite Gear is my new favorite toy. I have two large saddlebags that can carry all of my food, water, first aid, and tennis balls. There are reflector strips so my people can easily see me in the dark woods or at night. It is especially useful when we…SQUIRRELL!!!...(thought I saw something out the window) are sharing a trail with bikers or other people so they know I am there.

The best news is I now have my own pack just like everyone else. With the adjustable straps, the pack fits me just right. There is a handle on the top of the pack for situations when I need a little pick me up. For example, my people and I were hiking when we had to cross a small chasm. Our other option was to go up and over the boulders and the gap was only 2 feet. So, the big guy grabbed the handle and we jumped the chasm together. Sure was happy to have the Alpha Dog Pack that day and every day thereafter.


Leave it to Granite Gear to make a waterproof portaging backpack that is comfortable. We decided to have some fun testing the waterproofness of the Immersion. We packed it with a lunch, change of clothes and a pair of hiking shoes. Then we tossed it in a lake and took off for a trail run. An hour later, we retrieved the pack to find everything was bone dry. The Immersion is as impressive as advertised.

They utilize a 500 Denier fabric for toughness, weld the seams and add a TPU coating for waterproofing. The waist belt and shoulder harnesses are the exact same they use on their Expedition Series. This piece is built in the boundary waters, for the boundary waters by people who know what it takes to paddle the boundary waters.

Nimbus Meridian Backpack

The Nimbus Meridian model has been around for 5 years now but it's just as adaptable and technically outstanding as when it was chosen Gear of the Year by Outside Magazine in 2007. Even though 3 lbs 8 ounces is not the lightest 3800 cubic inch pack, it's innovative features and flexibility make it a tremendously valuable piece for any lightweight, long-distance hiker. Our reviewer also found it quite useful for canoe trekking in Algonquin due to it's light weight and compact design.

The Meridian is a top loader with a floating lid/fanny pack and a single vertical zipper front access panel. Perhaps looked upon with disdain by some hard-core hikers, the front access panel is extremely user-friendly and can save valuable time finding that item at the bottom of the main compartment when needed. The user can access any bit of their gear with ease and without inflicting disarray on the rest of their stuff.

Granite Gear utilized the newly released RiRi water resistant tooth zippers for the fanny pack lid and the front access panel because they offer superior durability and water resistance. Reflective material on the daisy chains and on the shoulder straps insure users will be seen when road hiking at night, and they make it easier to locate the pack in the dark. For slack packing strip off the lid and use it as a fanny pack. Built with the same frame and harness as the award-winning Nimbus Ozone the Meridian pack offers the rare combination of durability, convenience, versatility, and comfort in an ultralight trail pack.

Regardless of weight, the most important aspect of any pack is the fit – shoulder straps, hip belt, back pad, proper torso length, framesheet and the ability to "fine tune" all these components. Granit Gear includes an easily-read, easily-understood Owner's Manual that allows any hiker to enjoy the most comfortable, healthful experience possible. And buyer's can trust Granite Gear to stand behind their Grassroots Guarantee to repair or replace the pack if not fully satisfied, even after years of use.

Pack Harness Packets- belt

It is nice to pick a backpack and then add packs for extras to personalize the hiker's needs. These belt pockets work with most packs on the market. The Velcro way of attaching it makes it easy to add or take off. We found this ultra light, foam padded pocket was big enough for our camera, and maps, both which we want handy.

They feature a water-resistant YKK zipper. The fabrics are ultralight 70-denier ripstop Hybrid sil-nylon Cordura and 210-denier nylon Cordura. It can be threaded on any pack's hipbelt.

Pack Pocket

We have found that most of our readers have one favorite backpack, but they either have to buy one too large for just a weekend getaway, or too small for long distance hiking. These pockets can help specialize the needs of each hike so we can have just the right size pack for every occasion.

These ultralight pockets with foam backing attach to a pack's side, front or lid compression straps, offering you extra room, protection and convenience. They feature a water-resistant YKK zipper, with the protection of a "garage" that the slider parks in. Since they are constructed of ultralight 70-denier ripstop Hybrid sil-nylon Cordura and 210-denier nylon Cordura they are strong without a lot of weight.

Shoulder strap pocket

For those of us that want something handy on the should pack, these foam padded, ultralight pockets attach to a pack's load lifter webbing at the top and lower adjustment buckle web at the bottom. They offer extra room, protection and convenience for the items you need close at hand while you're on the trail. We love that it is padded for those fragile items.

On the back is a port for your headphone, ear bud or headset cord. The fabrics are ultralight 70-denier ripstop hybrid sil-nylon Cordura and 210-denier nylon Cordura, and the zipper is a water-resistant YKK. Works on both right and left shoulder straps and includes a free 24" grey web accessory strap.

8L Air Zippsack

One of the biggest challenges with backpacking is finding important articles. We use this ultralight zippered stowage to have nearby when we bed down for the night, whether it is traveling or backpacking. They are much more accessible than a stuffsack and, because of their shape, they tend to fit well into your pack or suitcase. The "bath tub" construction leaves no seams to leak when they are set on the wet earth or in the bottom of a kayak for that matter. We found this is the perfect packing system for clothes, food, and personal items. They even come in a ultra lightweight bag that can be used to further organize.

12L Pack stuffers Top

Granite Gear thinks about using these sacks for backpacking, but we love them for every trip! They come in a variety of colors so we know what is in each sack. After hiking all day, we use these under our knees to take a nap.

What maked these Pack Stuffers different from the other ones we have seen are the way these heavy duty Sil Cordura® pack-shaped zippsacks that are designed to match the cross-sectional shape of your backpack. Finally, a packing system that fits perfectly inside your pack; there's no room for load shifting, and no dead air space. There are 3 sizes of Pack Stuffers. The large is the base layer, and goes on the bottom of your pack. The medium fits in the middle and the small fits as the top layer.

Rat Race Geek Pack

We wish we could be playing outside all the time, but unfortunately, sometimes we still have to use our computer and work. Now we have everything in its place in the office on our back! A padded front, back and bottom, plus an internal padded sleeve for the ultimate protection for your portable computer, and also have a place to stow speakers, ipods, cell phones, PDA¹s, charging units, adaptors, flash drives, remotes and oh yes, pens, pencils, notebooks, magazines and calculators.

With all the internal and external pockets you¹ll find a protective place for everything in a Rat Race. What makes this different from the typical messenger bag is the tuck-away Vapor Suspension makes for a super comfortable carry and lets you turn it into a briefcase in seconds. You can tuck away one or both shoulder straps to fit your preference. The hip belt straps even roll up and tuck away. Reflective strips help you be seen on the road, so it is great for taking the bike to work!

Market Tote

With the bargain shopper in mind, they made the Market Tote. Made with a 70D polyester it is very durable and less expensive. The internal stuff sack doubles as a floating wallet when the bag is in use.

What we loved about this tote compared to others we have tried is the extra touches. The handle is molded so it is comfortable even when the bag is overfilled. The "wallet" has a latch on it so you can attach your keys for easy access. It is great to go shopping and have ID safe and keys handy.

Nimbus Meridian KI (Women's Specific)

There are so many reasons why this pack has received such positive reviews! The over fifty backpacker is looking to cut ounces but still needs support and flexibility. It is obvious that Granite Gear listens to what the client needs.

From the first time I put this pack on, I fell in love with it. I was able to adjust the internal frame and shoulder straps to fit me perfectly. The hip belt is soft, flexible, yet supports the pack even up to 40 pounds. It is only 3 lbs, 8 oz and three pounds without the top, which can be removed and double as a fanny pack when I felt like slack packing (hiking a day without the pack but still needing essentials.)

Don't let the lightweight fool you- this is extremely durable and versatile. I love the vertical zipper front access panel for ease in getting something out of the pack in the middle of the day, or keeping items in the pack in camp.

With a combination of multiple compression straps and a capacity of 3800 cubic inches, this is the perfect pack for everything from a weekend hike to long distance hiking. Thank goodness the hiking world has finally figured out that women's bodies are different than men's. This pack is also available for men specific.

Hiker Wallet

Here is the perfect wallet for the trail or for traveling with minimum essentials. This wallet is ideal for keeping the essentials handy without adding weight. When I am in town, I like to have my ID and money in something lightweight but more secure than a zip lock bag. It even has a small strap for a carabineer. I not only love this for hiking, but also for skiing.

Kitchen Sink

At 4 oz, this free standing handy bag holds 2 25 gallons. and handy straps to carry the water away from the water source. We all need to be aware of keeping the soap, even biodegradable, away from the water. This is such a versatile bag! As

Slurpin Bowls

This is considered a water bowl for a dog, Collapsible and lightweight, it also works great for a mini kitchen sink. Large enough for a sponge bath on those nasty nights when we still want to spiff up in our tent. Of course, the dogs love it too!

AirVent Reduction Dryblocs

Finally, we don't have to make the decision between completely waterproof, breathable, and lightweight! These ultralightsacks have it all, The arched rolling stay helps keep the top of the sack open while loading and compressing and wonderful for grabing and hanging. I stayed away from compression sacks because of the extra weight. Now I can be assured that my gear is dry and safe.

Med & small zippered bags Air Space

When using these bags, it is obvious why Granite Gear has been a leader in user friendly lightweight gear. One problem with travel, or backpacking is having what you need in the middle if the night. Most nylon bags open from the top. This bag has a zipper along the length. You can pick what size and put everything needed near your head so you can find the items without searching. It seems at our age, we always need something in the middle of the night! We also use these when traveling to organized our items.

This company has been around for a long while and shows it's expertise in everything from lightweight packs to dog toys. If you are looking for the perfect lightweight accessory, check out their site, and you will probably find it there.

Ask them questions and advice and the knowledge is shared so more older adventurers get out there and enjoy it!


...Fiftysense Product Review Panel

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