Over the last year or so, I've become interested in lightweight/ultralight backpacking, become a member of this site and have been re-thinking and re-outfitting my gear. I've posted to a handful of threads on here but mostly just lurk and soak up the wisdom. I gotta' say, I'm really enjoying the benefits of carrying a lighter load and being more knowledgable about my gear.
Anyway, the old heavy stuff has now been mostly sold and a lot of the new light stuff has been made myself (thanks MYOG forum) or purchased from the Gear Swap forum.
I think I'm now at the point where my primary remaining heavy item that needs replacing is my backpack. I currently use an Osprey Atmos 50. I really enjoy certain features of this pack, namely the light waist belt and shoulder straps, the waistbelt pockets, the ventilated back and the way the waistbelt sinches (pulling the tails of the waist belt together out in front of you rather than towards your sides). I don't particularly like the weight (~3.5 lbs) and the awkard frame shape which makes it difficult to fully use the volume of the pack.
My trips mainly range from a simple overnighter to maybe a week at most. My base weight is probably heavier still than most of you folks since I mostly hike with my girlfriend and tend to carry all of our "common" gear like the tent (TT Squall 2 or Rainshadow 2 depending on whether the dog is with us), cooking system (caldera inferno & 1.3 Evernew pot), water treatment (gravity filter), etc. in addition to my own clothes/food/misc personal items. I'd estimate my base weight is in the 10-12 pound range not including the pack. I haven't had any problems fitting all of the stuff into the Atmos pack but I don't have a ton of extra room either so I'm not sure how much smaller (volume-wise) of a pack I could go to without major overhauls of other gear (like switching to a quilt, etc.). We mostly hike in Los Padres National Forest and spend a lot of time off trail or on poorly maintained trails, so a pack that can take some punishment from brush/rock is probably a good idea. I don't often carry a bear canister but it would be nice to be able to accomodate one when necessary.
I like the idea of the GG Gorilla but fear the volume may be too small. The GG Mariposa Plus or ULA Conduit seem like they are around the right volume but I don't know too much about durability, comfort, etc. I'm sure there are other packs I'm neglecting to mention that could fit the bill as well. Perhaps in the future I'll be ready to have a quiver of UL packs for different sized loads, but for right now I'm looking for a good all-around pack that can fit most of my needs most of the time.
Any thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks.