Review: Granite Rocx Tahoe Backpack

Have you ever wanted to run somewhere with a chair strapped to your back? How about two? With the Granite Rocx Tahoe Backpack anything is possible.

The idea for this pack emerged when a cyclist wanted to bring a chair with him to the beach. As occasional/regular bike commuters ourselves, we know how hard transporting oddly-shaped items via bike can be. And yes, there are times as an alternative commuter when you need to transport such things to work (or home), but realize it’s just going to have be a driving day. Sure, there are exceptions to this; like the dude who ran over a thousand miles with a refrigerator on his back, however, the Granite Rocx Tahoe fills in the middle ground between normal and crazy insane transportation quite well.

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Granite Rocx Tahoe Backpack (R) with Insulated Cooler (L)

Front: Attached to the front of the pack is a cooler. Yep. A backpack cooler. And, one that has fairly substantial volume, at that. It can easily hold a 64-ounce growler of beer or a twelve pack of cans. The cooler bag is fully insulated, has a zippered top, front and back pouches, a carrying handle, and a removable carrying strap. It’s actually a pretty nice bag on it’s own. The cooler attaches to the backpack with three, sturdy buckles. 

On the backpack itself, a crisscrossed, adjustable bungee system covers the front panel, allowing for items such as spare jackets, towels, or even yoga mats to be attached securely. Inside the spacious, zippered front panel are several pouches that can hold a variety items you want quick access to, from pens and pencils, to cell phones, wallets, and books.

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Granite Rocx Tahoe Backpack – Front View. The three buckles on the top and sides are for attaching cooler.

Sides:  Mesh side pockets with stretchable, elastic openings are located on both sides of the pack. These are useful for carrying water bottles and small items, such as keys or anything to which you want reach-around access.

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Granite Rocx Tahoe – Side View

Main Compartment: This thing can only be described as cavernous. There are no pouches, key attachments, or zippered pockets inside, just wide open space in which a great deal of cargo can be carried. My rough calculations put it at 1,440 cubic inches.

With a total volume of 2,135 cubic inches, the Tahoe is the largest pack by far we’ve ever reviewed. To give you an idea of the difference, the next closest pack we’ve tried out – the LatLock E70 – was only 1,428 cu. in.

Bottom: The bottom of the pack has room for carrying even more items. Two adjustable, buckled straps will easily hold a camp chair, mattress pad, or even a tent. This is a feature normally seen on external frame packs, and it’s cool to see it on a daypack for once.

Back Compartment: This is where the Tahoe separates itself from every other pack on the market. When unzipped, the front of the pack falls away from the back, unveiling a space bound by three, 22-inch long cinch straps, which can be buckled and unbuckled to wrap around and secure your cargo. What sort of cargo? The pack was designed to hold folding chairs, but any sort of fold-flat, sturdy item would work equally as well. Like a two-burner, propane camping stove, for example. 

Suspension: The shoulder straps are wide, medium-padded and curve outward, attaching at the bottom corners of the pack. The left strap has a small mesh pocket that fits a set of keys or a small cell phone (but not a larger smart phone).The waist strap has 4.5 inches of padding on each side where it hits the hip, and is connected in the middle by a large plastic buckle with strap wranglers. The sternum strap is adjustable and also includes a strap wrangler. 

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Granite Rocx Tahoe – Suspension Setup

On the Run 

Scenario 1: Backpack only, full contents.

Scenario 2: Full contents, with a folding chair.

Note: I used a standard folding chair, as opposed to this type of chair, because the one I used folds up narrower, and doesn’t hinder arm movement while running as much.

Scenario 3: Full contents, with a folding chair and a camp chair.

Bounce and Shake Test: Not bad…

Performance and Evaluation:

This is a great pack for cycling or even on a scooter. In fact, I transported all of the items in the videos by scooter and it worked really, really well. 

By itself, The Granite Rocx Tahoe worked just fine for running. It has most features of a good run commuting pack; waist strap, strernum strap, etc., but it could use external compression straps to keep internal items from moving around too much. It would definitely work fine for regular run commuting.

Running with a folding chair worked pretty well. There was some movement of the chair, but it was minimal. And, you don’t notice it too much because the back panel of the pack stays very tightly secured against your back, while the extra movement feels like it is happening completely indepedently.

When a collapsible camp chair was added underneath, I expected it to feel extremely awkward on the run, however, I was very surprised to find otherwise. My hands and arms never touched the camp chair while running, and it wasn’t bouncing against my backside like I expected. It took a little getting used to, but I could see myself occassionaly running with this cargo load for a few miles with little problems.

Specifications:

  • Material: 420D Ripstop Nylon
  • Volume: 35 Liters
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Dimensions (inches): 13 x 7.5 x 19.5
  • Cost: $65.00. Available through the Granite Rocx website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Granite Rocx Tahoe Backpack for free from Granite Rocx as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in consideration for review publication.

About the Author:

Josh
Editor-in-Chief of The Run Commuter by night, paralegal by day. Father of three boys. Husband to the world's greatest bicycle advocate. Avid runner. Lover of beer and urban gardening. Can be found running with a backpack around the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. Contact Josh at info@theruncommuter.com

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