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Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review
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Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: bear can in Gorilla on 10/14/2009 08:23:29 MDT Print View

The bear cans are wider (and taller) than the pack is deep. Never the less I found that the bear vault 350 (same size as the 450) could be comfortably carried inside the pack though I ended up carrying it with the bottom against my back rather than my more typically vertical position.

The bearikade weekender II (and I assume the larger bear vault) can be placed inside the main body but it's an awkward fit. It took a several tries packing until I had things arranges so I didn't feel the canister against my back. Doable but not ideal. I think the recommended method for carrying larger canisters is to strap it to the outside using the V straps. I haven't actually carried a can like this since all my use has been with the bearvault solo except a short test hike with a fullsize can inside. Hmmm.... I wonder if that gossamer ribbon which I found annoying helps when attaching a bearcan to the outside.


David Wilkins
(jaywilks18) - F

Locale: Tetons (via Idaho)
Re: The Gorilla is awesome! on 10/14/2009 09:57:36 MDT Print View

I must agree with Will. Although I have only taken it out on a few weekend trips, I have found the Gorilla to be spot on. It is the perfect size for an ultralight kit, and the tougher fabric is a huge plus in my opinion, as that previously turned me away from Gossamer Gear packs. The wider shoulder straps really do a nice job of spreading the load and alleviating shoulder pain. It's also great to see some that the original features that set GG apart, like socks in the shoulder straps, are still available. I think this is also a great example of product development and iteration from the folks at GG - way to go!

I cant wait to get out on some longer excursions and really push this thing to its capacity and weight limits in order to further evaluate the aluminum stay's ability to distribute weight.

As far as I am concerned, this will be my go-to pack for trips ranging from 2-8 days.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
GG Gorilla on 10/14/2009 10:27:02 MDT Print View

I want to like this pack but find myself time and again turning to my trusted MLD Prophet for trips requiring a pack of this volume/size.

I found the Gorrila's materials and workmanship to be of high quality and the design to be well thought out (and likely highly functional for most users, just not me). I do not like the Y strap closure or the pad sleeve.

I want to like this pack, honest. But having said that do not be surpised to see a slightly modified and dyed black Gorrilla, in size medium, for sale on BPL very soon.

Edited by thomdarrah on 10/14/2009 11:00:07 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: GG Gorilla on 10/14/2009 11:45:39 MDT Print View

> I want to like this pack, honest

Packs are very personal. Over the years there have been a number of packs that other people adored... that I really wanted to like, but in the end, they didn't do it for me. So I keep returned to the GGVT even though I wasn't 100% thrilled with it. As the saying goes, we all need to hike our own hike. For some number of folks, the Gorilla will be the end of the quest, for others a step along the way.


Jeremy Gus
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
Gorilla vs ULA Ohm on 10/14/2009 12:02:13 MDT Print View

I would also like to know why the Ohm was not included in the comparisons as an equivalent size pack with internal frame and yet lighter yet... Anybody have any thoughts since this wasn't included??

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Gorilla vs ULA Ohm on 10/14/2009 12:16:22 MDT Print View

> why the Ohm was not included in the comparisons

send email to will... he is the only one who knows for certain. But I don't think it was a conspiracy :-) Until David asked about the ohm, I hadn't noticed that it was missing from the table. The reason I didn't notice it missing was that all the other comparative packs were designed to be used both frameless and with the stays. As far as I could tell, the Ohm's design is built around the stays being in all the time so it didn't come into my mind when reading the review.


Edited by verber on 10/14/2009 12:18:24 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Tempting on 10/15/2009 00:30:46 MDT Print View

This pack seems to be quite nice. I like how versatile it is, although I would likely use it WITHOUT the frame most of the time.

I was a bit surprised to read that Will would use this WITH the frame most of the time, since he acknowledges frameless packs are comfortable to 20 lbs and all but one of this trips was 21 lbs or less. Maybe the frame is that good.

The lack of a comparison to the Ohm surprised me too. My guess is that it was just an oversight. At 21oz, the 3500 cu in Ohm is a compelling pack although it seems that it isn't quite as versatile. I like how the Gorilla lets you remove the frame and some straps. Then again, the Ohm's "suspension hoop" does only weigh 1.2oz.

I was surprised there were no 'recommendations for improvement' since 4 cons were listed. All of the 'cons' seem like they could be areas for improvement.

Edited by dandydan on 10/15/2009 10:27:32 MDT.

James Gealy
(surnailz) - F

Locale: White Mountains
No Improvements Possible? on 10/15/2009 06:27:33 MDT Print View

I agree with that, Dan. It does look like at least one thing could be changed (Grosgrain Loop).

On the other hand, the others may not be, now that I think about it. The back panel uses a foam pad as a way to go multi-use. Putting a ventilation system would move the weight even further away from the body.

As for the hip belt and the suspension system, perhaps the lack of a connection between the two is so the hip belt is more easily removable. It may also allow for the hips to move more freely and naturally than otherwise. I don't have this pack, but maybe GG could put small sleeves for the frame into the hipbelt, somehow giving the option between connected and not.

The shoulder straps seem a matter of personal preference with some people loving them and others not so much. Perhaps there could be a recommendation here to have two strap width options?

Finally, speaking of recommendations for improvements, in looking at the Mariposa Plus, now that it is available with the same aluminum stay as the Gorilla as opposed to the old carbon fiber stays, would it now receive a 'Highly Recommended' rating? Also, do they have similar weight carrying capacities? The GG website says no and I was curious as to why.


Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 06:55:38 MDT Print View

I've been biting my tongue every time I see the mention of back ventilation but I can't take it anymore. When you exercise you sweat. Get over it or don't exercise. No pack you wear is going to prevent your back from sweating, I don't care how fancy it is or what it's made out of.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 09:10:15 MDT Print View

But, few people CHOOSE to exercise while cocooned in plastic wrap. Most wear breathable clothing. Similarly, having a backpack back that vents is desirable. (Though we often willingly compromise this one.) That's a large evaporative body area that is lost to you if it isn't vented- at least theoretically leading to easier overheating.

And, a lot of people hiking hard in cool conditions WON'T sweat. I just spent three days in Great Sand Dunes National Park this weekend and generally didn't sweat. It was nice not to be clammy for a change. (But, I was also using an Exos...)

I propose that saying "suck it up" is pointless. Indeed, most of us do choose to suck it up and accept that trade-off, but it isn't a trivial issue.

Edited by acrosome on 10/15/2009 09:14:56 MDT.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Re: Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 09:17:59 MDT Print View

Bah. Do I wear breathable clothing? Sure. Does it keep my back from getting wet? Not at all. Even if I go out and exercise completely nude my back will get wet. Solid fabric pressed against my back doesn't stop the sweat from evaporating off me. I sweat no more appreciably with a pack against my back than I do with nothing there.

I didn't sweat much or at all on WT3 carrying a Pinnacle. It had nothing to do with the pack and was all about proper layering for my exertion level in the cooler temps.

Edited by simplespirit on 10/15/2009 09:20:15 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Packs and Ventilation: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/15/2009 09:24:28 MDT Print View

There are other issues with packs that pursue back venilation: frames that jut out from the back, pushing the load outside one's center of gravity, reducing load stability and in some cases, load transfer to the hips. Gimmicky.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 09:26:21 MDT Print View

>> Even if I go out and exercise completely nude my back will get wet.

Yes. And it will evaporate as it should. (Unless it drips, in which case it is also wasted.) Evaporative cooling also will not happen under a layer of closed-cell foam- which is all that I've said. Most people will compensate by sweating more elsewhere on their bodies.

I maintain that a ventilated back is desirable. I don't think that saying "desirable" is much of a stretch. I didn't, after all, say "essential." I'm boggled that you can even argue that point.

>> Do I wear breathable clothing? Sure. Does it keep my back from getting wet? Not at all.

My sympathies. I, too, tend to sweat like a pig while exercising. Which then evaporates, and cools me. Which it won't do under a foam back-panel. :o)

>> There are other issues with packs that pursue back venilation:

Well, yes, it is all a trade off. A lot of desirable characteristics are mutually exclusive. For instance, classically, light weight and durability. No argument.

Edited by acrosome on 10/15/2009 09:35:32 MDT.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 09:57:35 MDT Print View

It's not so much of an issue that people prefer ventilation over non-ventilation. My problem is people thinking they won't perspire under physical exertion because they have a pack with a ventilated back panel.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 09:59:47 MDT Print View

It's true that no pack will prevent your back from sweating, but some packs are better at letting that moisture escape and some are packs are worse by both trapping the moisture and not wicking it away from the contact surface. The Gorilla performance in this area is down near the bottom along with every sil-nylon backed ultralight pack I have tried. Given the Gorilla's design, there is "nothing to improve" because providing better ventilation would require use of a non existent material to replace a foam pad and/or a radically different suspension system making it a completely different pack.

If I found the Exos carried weight as comfortably as the Gorilla, I would be using the Exos right now. For me, the Gorilla is a lot more comfortable, even if it soaks my back.

I haven't used the Exos extensively (just borrowed a pack for a long weekend)... but I have been using an VauDe Siena 40l pack since 2002. The Siena was one of the first packs using the aeroflex frame/mesh panel. The ventilated back really does help. It's far from perfect though... you would be surprised how much mesh (even when there isn't a pack body a couple of inches away) cuts down air movement. That's why you will see me using a courier bag rather than a backpack whenever it's practical.


James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Gorilla Observations on 10/15/2009 17:28:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for an excellent review of the Gorilla. Just a few remarks concerning some questions & observations. I have used a small NeoAir pad in the pad sleeve partially inflated & found that it isn't as comfy as a SitLite pad. Same goes for a BA Clearview & MontBell 90 pad. These also significantly increase the "sweat factor" in warmer weather more so than the "corrugated" texture of the SitLite or foldable GG torso length pad which gives a little bit of ventilation.
I also own the Ospry Exos 34 which, to my knowledge, has not been reviewed on BPL, other than my previous brief discussion back in mid September. The 46 & 58 versions have been reviewed. The Gorilla, in my opinion, is more comfortable in cooler weather, but the Exos is "heaven in the heat" because of the ventilated back panel. The Gorilla's shoulder straps & hip belt are more comfortable than the Exos 34 & the Gorilla can carry more gear (meaning volume & not necessarily weight). My rather narrow shoulders require the use of a collared shirt with the Gorilla or the straps will irritate my neck so I agree the straps may be too wide for some users. However, I think the Exos straps are too narrow & rather poorly padded. The Gorilla is also about 7 oz lighter than the Exos.
Because of these features, I use the Gorilla in winter, spring, & fall. The Exos 34 is my summer pack. If Gossamer Gear could do a Gorilla with a ventilated back panel that would be truly "year round heaven"!! :)

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/15/2009 20:06:52 MDT Print View

"Yes. And it will evaporate as it should."

Not where Chris and I hike!

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/15/2009 20:37:46 MDT Print View

Yep, here in the Southeastern USA we call it "air you can wear!" ;)

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
ULA Ohm? on 10/16/2009 04:22:10 MDT Print View

"Am I the only one that sees this pack as direct competition to the ULA Ohm? What am I missing?"

+1. Though I guess it wasn't considered because you can not remove the stay.

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.

Re: Gorilla, it looks like a nice pack, but for the moment I am happy with my ULA Ohm. Maybe if I can convince the girlfriend to go lightweight, I would get her the Gorilla.

Kent C.

Locale: High Sierra
straps rub neck on 10/19/2009 21:01:24 MDT Print View

>> James: "My rather narrow shoulders require the use of a collared shirt with the Gorilla or the straps will irritate my neck so I agree the straps may be too wide for some users."

possible solution (I had the same problem), here's what worked for me:

remove the orig. strap padding and replace with foam pipe insulation. Comfy over the shoulders and gets the inside edge off your neck!
foam insulation

PS small, 1"(as I recall) size

Edited by kent on 10/19/2009 21:05:51 MDT.