I am still surprised by the number of "personal opinions" that show up in BPL reviews. While comments like this are great for the BPL forums, do they really belong in a supposedly objective review of the functionality of a product? At the risk of sounding like I'm comparing BPL with Consumer Reports (which I'm not), would Consumer Reports have the excellent reputation they have by stating what is liked and disliked about a product in a review of the facts of a product? I guess the answer would still be an "opinion". ;-)
Case in point, the velcro closures on the shoulder straps and hip belt in now way affect the function of the shoulder straps, hip belt or pack. They are, as Will points out, annoyances to him. But how does that serve a reader of a review? If you don't like using clothing or other articles in the shoulder strap and hip belt, then simply place the foam in them and you never have to open the velcro closures if you don't wish to. The closures are not outdated, as they provide flexibility to the user by allowing the practice of "multi-use gear", which is a tenet of Ultralight Backpacking. Just because one person uses the foam exclusively in the pockets doesn't mean it's a wise decision for us to sew the foam in permanently. There are still others who like the flexibility of opening the pockets. We've had people tell us they use the shoulder strap and hip belt openings to store things such as their driver's license, car key or cash in the belt and straps (such as Jack's post above). Again, multi-use gear. Our new Hip Belt Pockets were engineered to utilize the velcro closure in order to keep them from sliding around on the hip belt as you take the pack on and off, and it works quite well I might add. This allows the pockets to be very functional on our packs, while still allowing the flexibility to remove them and use them on other packs or even inside your pack as a storage compartment (Will, you now have the internal map pocket you so desperately desire. Just attach one of the hip belt pockets to the inside of the pack. How? By using a DIY method, which is another tenet of Ultralight Backpacking).
I just don't see why it would annoy someone to insert the foam into the pocket and then forget about it, if you don't wish to use clothing. In my opinion (this is a forum, not a review), a person reading this review who is new to ultralight backpacking (and not as saavy as most folks here) and trying to make a decision on a pack, might believe that you MUST use clothing in the hip belt and shoulder straps, which according to the review is outdated and annoying. But that's simply not the case. Nowhere in the review does it state that if you don't wish to do this, then just insert the foam and you never have to worry with it again if you don't want to.
Furthermore, the weight savings of eliminating the velcro closures is approximately one ounce. Hardly a weight penalty for the flexibility they provide. There are no manufacturing costs for this feature. Removing them wouldn't affect the manufacturing cost at all.
As an aside, foam does compress and flatten out over time. Again, we provide flexibility by allowing the foam to be replaced when it does wear out, rather than the pack becoming using useless or uncomfortable to wear.
Regarding the “Small map/permit/sundries pocket (right side)”, does a reader of the review really need to know how one person interprets that feature? Nowhere on our website does it state that this pocket is internal. However, in the Specifications grid in the review, this pocket is listed as "map pocket inside", as one of the Features. Wishful thinking, I presume.
The shoulder strap pocket in development that is mentioned in the review is just that; a shoulder strap pocket. It won't be a sternum strap pocket, nor do I foresee us making one in the near future.
As a clarification to your forum post, Will, we have not tested with curved round stays nor have we found that a headrail was needed. They are still in development. There seems to be some misunderstanding on this point, which was clarified in the companion forum to the recent Mariposa Plus review.
The mesh we use on our pad holder on the back panel is colorfast. The manufacturer has stood by their claims of it being colorfast and by their wash tests showing no excess dye running off of the mesh. We are at a loss to explain why this seems to happen to less than 1% of our packs. I have personally worn at least 8 to 10 different Gossamer Gear packs and have never experienced this issue. We are looking at other fabrics and other pad pocket designs.
The mesh pocket stitching issue has been resolved and is no longer a problem.
This is from our website: "Gossamer Gear exists to make the lightest backpacking equipment solutions on the planet available to like-minded hikers." "Our goal is to be "lightest in class" in the equipment we carry, and to preserve the "ultra" in "ultralight"."
The "true ultralight geek" is our core customer. We are, however, starting to meet the needs of the "transitional" hiker by adding options and/or producing gear that is a little heavier. It's been stated on BPL forums before that we have been testing with various removable stay options that are curved and bendable but we haven't found the correct solution yet. When that happens, they will be available to geeks and transitionals alike. In the future, if you have a question regarding our motives, decisions and/or future direction, please email us directly and we'll gladly respond. That is much better than speculating and generating assumptions, IMHO. ;-)