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Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review
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Paul Lippi
(Ozniot) - F
winter-size Gorilla on 10/20/2009 08:14:53 MDT Print View

I've had my new Gorilla out for 6 hikes and am still excited with the fit. I've been carrying 9-11 kilos. I don't have an extensive frame of reference, but to my back it carries much better than my wife's frameless MLD Prophet. The extra weight-hit of the frame is worth the comfort. I only wish GG had a larger capacity version available for winter.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
adjustable torso and Ohm's pockets... on 10/20/2009 09:19:53 MDT Print View

"Re: Adjustable Torso, that's just soooooo unnecessary, I am amazed that something like that gets mentioned on a BPL review. It gets used exactly once, and then that's it (Exception from the rule: you share your backpack with a lot of people, your still growing). So you got 6 ounces sitting there for something you don't need - I guess you're better of to measure your back once correctly and pick the right backpack."

Unfortunately, this is one of those (big, IMO) compromises we make when we buy off-the-rack packs (the 2nd compromise is the distance between shoulder straps). I have yet to find a one-size fits many or more commonly "2-3 sizes fits even more" pack that fits me well. More often than not, the torso length is too long. I don't want my shoulder straps to be load lifters. I want them to wrap slightly around my shoulders. The best way to get this is to not follow the manufacture's instructions and measure your torso, and look up the pack size in their chart, but to contact them and find out the exact distance between the center-line of the hip belt and the shoulder strap attachment point. If that distance is "what you like", then you can order that size pack. If it is not, you are screwed. But not so with adjustable torso length packs. Another reason for adjustable torso length packs is winter vs 3-season hiking, where your layers can affect your "effective" torso length.

Also, someone above mentioned the Ohm doesn't have compression? From the looks of it on the ULA website it certainly does. My biggest grip with the Ohm are the side pockets. They are too short. It is possible for a bottle to drop out of them when you bend over. I want my side pocket to be tall enough to cover, or nearly cover, the top of my bottles. Otherwise you risk having them fall out when you are not paying attention.

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Re: adjustable torso and Ohm's pockets... on 10/20/2009 09:55:57 MDT Print View

Tony, the Ohm's pockets are big. They might look small, but they're big enough to hold a 2l Platypus, energy bars, head torch, without anything falling out. I've been climbing and bushwacking with my Ohm and never had the problem of a bottle falling out. The secret is that they are tight.

Re: Adjustable Torso Length, I see your point. However, for me that is still not an option. I measured my back, three times, asked existing Ohm owners for their opinion on the forum, and got a perfectly fitting backpack as a result. As I am not wearing that many more layers during winter the Ohm will also then be the right size (I'll be wearing a merino baselayer, a smock and if its frigid a synthetic jacket on top, which will be maybe a centimeter or two thicker than what I wear in spring/ summer/ autumn). YMMV.

Re: Ohm Compression, in my opinion the best there is. Compresses the bag evenly and without letting anything move around inside.

David, I think if one measures well and shops around, one might be able to find a good fitting bag. I reckon that for some people an adjustable Torso is a blessing, for me its unnecessary weight. You always could MYOG a backpack, you know ;)

Edited by skullmonkey on 10/20/2009 10:00:31 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/20/2009 09:55:59 MDT Print View

"It gets used exactly once, and then that's it (Exception from the rule: you share your backpack with a lot of people, your still growing)."

Well that is true, except that an adjustable torso does allow one to get as close to a perfect fit as possible. I am a hard fit so this is paramount for me.

Re: the OHM's compression - bar none the best I have ever seen; much like the one used with Mchale Subpop packs. The OHM compresses evenly from top to bottom. I expect to see this as a running change on future iterations of Brian's packs.

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/20/2009 19:56:32 MDT Print View

Kent, thank you for the suggestion. I may also try substituting extra socks or gloves for the stock foam padding.
Paul, you might want to look at the Mariposa Plus which is similar to the Gorilla but with more volume for bulkier winter items. I've never been able to fill up the Mariposa Plus even when leaving items uncompressed

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
stays on 10/22/2009 06:48:58 MDT Print View

What is the purpose of the stay. On the one hand the reviewer (Will)says.
"...tightening the hipbelt worked as expected to transfer weight to my hips."

This makes sense. This is the main purpose of a frame, but then Will says,

"The stay in the Gorilla pack simply resides in sleeves on the backpanel. It is not anchored to the hipbelt at all, so there is no structural connection to support the weight."

If the stay or frame is not connected to the belt which would then transfer the weight up off the shoulders, what is the purpose of the frame. In frameless packs doesn't the pack shape conform to the shape of one's back. Does the stay just better maintain the pack's conformity to the shape of the hiker's back?
Cinching in the belt on a frameless pack to lift weight off the shoulders, just makes a pain in the stomach area from a too tight belt, like cinching up a girth on a horse.

Edited by rambler on 10/22/2009 06:52:43 MDT.

Lisa Frugoli
(alfresco) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/25/2009 15:25:14 MDT Print View

Tracy - I'm a woman and have been using the GG Mariposa Plus for 2 years now & absolutely love it. I don't find the shoulder straps a problem, but I do have broad shoulders. The shoulder straps come with padding that you can use or you can use extra clothing. You can also shave down the padding that comes with the shoulder straps.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: stays in gorilla + pockets and compression in ohm on 10/25/2009 22:59:29 MDT Print View


> what is the purpose of the frame?

One purpose of a frame is to maintain the pack torso length as weight is added. There was a discussion of this in Ryan's Quantitative Analysis of Backpack Suspension Performance. The frame in the Gorilla does this fine. From my experience the Gorilla does this fine up to 25lb. I haven't really carried more than 25lbs... typically 18-22lbs

As to transferring the weight to the hip belt... I can certainly get the weight off my shoulder and on top the hip belt so I guess it's effective. The frame + modestly tight packing hold the material taut, and the hipbelt is attached via velco the the pack fabric. I didn't have a sagging problem, and found the slightly dynamic interface better the belt and pack might have made the pack more comfortable... though it does sway more than some packs.

> Does the stay just better maintain the pack's conformity to the shape of the hiker's back?

They do this as well which I find quite helpful.

> Cinching in the belt on a frameless pack to lift weight off the shoulders, just makes a pain in the stomach

I tend to be pretty sensitive to this very issue. So far this hasn't been a problem with the Gorilla.


I would like to second that the compression and pockets on the ohm work very well. I tried the Ohm for a good bit of the summer. For me, it wasn't as comfortable to carry as the Gorilla has been so far. But I loved the pockets. The things I put in the pockets stay, but I could easily retrieve the items while the pack was still on. Excellent.


Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
torso and weight bearing on 10/31/2009 12:52:31 MDT Print View

Mark, Thanks for your explantion and the Link. I had to re-read the points, but I think I got it now.
"We define a pack's load carrying capacity as the weight at which the weight-bearing torso length of the pack collapses to a distance that is less than the effective user torso length, ....."

The key word, I think, is "less". I kept thinking it should be "more" instead. For me with frameless packs, the biggest drawback is when they ride too low or creep down over the butt. I had an original G4, a size large, because I bought it at a discount. My torso is a medium, so as I added weight to the pack it carried too low. I thought it was more a weight issue than a pack size or torso issue.
Now I get it. When one loads up a frameless pack the torso fit should remain constant or LESS than the "effective user torso length"., ie. the bag should not sag below.
As the weight increases, it pushes down on the belt which the stays keep in place lifting the weight off of the shoulders. I get the concept, now, I think!

Again, thanks for the link to the very detailed, informative article.

Edited by rambler on 10/31/2009 14:41:21 MDT.

Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Gorillas in Stock on 11/01/2009 01:58:20 MDT Print View

Just checked out the site and saw that MEDIUMS & LARGES are back in stock. $165 either size.

Edited by czechxpress on 11/01/2009 01:29:47 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 11/03/2009 01:42:03 MST Print View

One critique Don raised was that the Grosgrain loop on frontpanel interferes with tightening the top strap. This had been my experience until this past week. My pack was more filled that any other trip using the gorilla. This time, the ribbon wasn't getting in the way and it kept the strap from falling to the ground each time I unstrapped the top strap. When carrying a smaller load I had unrouted the ribbon so it ran over the top of the retaining ribbon.


Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Re: Re: adjustable torso and Ohm's pockets... on 11/03/2009 13:28:59 MST Print View

I know this is old thread, but I don't get back here often...

Maybe the Ohm I saw was a prototype (it is owned by a ULA employee), so it is possible the pockets are taller now than those I saw on the pack I was looking at. But those that I did see, were definately too small (short). I remember talking to the employee about them.

Allan Birgerson
(skogsmulle) - F
adjustable torso length on 11/05/2009 16:33:04 MST Print View

Im a tad confused here...the gorilla pack has an adjustable torso length or not? I also find it a great feature.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Gorilla on 11/06/2009 08:23:45 MST Print View

The Gorilla does not have an adjustable torso, but is sold in 3 sizes and you can choose between 3 interchangeable hipbelt sizes.

omar M
(kashmir) - F

Locale: New York
neo air compatibility with gorrilla? on 02/14/2010 23:17:17 MST Print View

anyone using the neo air in the pad sleeve? if so, what are your thoughts?

also, has anyone taken the pack or checked it in at airports? I am taking a long trip to S. Asia and want to know how it is best transported abroad.

Thanks in advance. I do hope this pack is in stock soon, as I would love to get my hands on it.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: neo air compatibility with gorrilla? on 02/15/2010 00:57:06 MST Print View


No direct experience but I would be extremely reluctant to check this pack at the airport -- methinks there's a fair chance that straps and/or webbing belts can get caught in conveyor belts and tear off! And I doubt the mesh front pocket will last very long.

While this may be GG's toughest pack, it's still a very light weight pack -- and if you plan on using bus/truck for transportation -- know that luggage and packs often get tossed rudely into cargo holds or strapped atop the roof racks. I would be concerned with both the pack's light weight fabrics (esp. the mesh front pocket) and also the inability to lock down anything. Sometimes, folks sit atop bus roofs -- and some are known to "pass the time" rummaging through packs belonging to rich, first world travelers.

Final point -- this one is subjective -- a one big hole style backpack can be great for hiking -- but a pain in the behind for traveling. YMMV, of course.

If you aren't planning on any unsupported wild camping, I would highly recommend getting a smaller capacity travel pack -- something with tougher fabrics, an extra compartment or two -- and one that can be locked to discourage opportunistic thieves or just nosy people. Zippers -- good quality ones -- work much better than cords and straps when traveling.

Edited by ben2world on 02/15/2010 01:05:46 MST.

mark vasko
(vaskma) - F

Locale: Central Ohio
Why not compare to SMD Comet? on 02/21/2010 13:45:17 MST Print View

The SMD Comet has removable stays. I know the Comet is not made anymore. However, the comet was available when the GG Gorilla was first introduced. I compared the packs and bought the Comet. Similar size, weight, price, removable stays, and adjustable torso.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/25/2010 18:34:52 MDT Print View

How would you carry a full length sleeping pad with this pack (the full length NightLight, for example)? It won't fit in the sleeping pad pocket, and there are no straps at the bottom.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/25/2010 19:09:02 MDT Print View

There is a 'Y' strap on the top.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/25/2010 20:40:49 MDT Print View

I was planning on using the Y strap for a bear canister. I am looking at this pack for a 8-9 day trip, and I just can't see it being big enough if I have to put a sleeping pad or a bear canister inside. I suppose I'll just have to make do with a torso length sleeping pad.