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Modifying a Golite Pinnacle
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Douglas Ray

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Modifying a Golite Pinnacle on 03/06/2011 21:40:54 MST Print View

I am in need of a new "big pack" since my original Cilogear 60L bit the dust. I am contemplating trying to modify a Golite Pinnacle pack to suit my needs since I can pick one up cheeply and it looks about the right size...

I am in the habit of using frameless packs a lot. I do a lot of alpine climbing and I like having a flexible pack that is less restrictive, and I don't mind carrying 20lb or so on my shoulders. I have carried 30lb in a Montbell Zero-Point 40l which has a 3/8in foam back pad and a 1.5in webbing belt. I have used the Cilogear with a very stiff foam back panel to carry 50lb in reasonable comfort. All of this requires that you pack properly but I'm pretty good at that. I rarely carry more than 50lb.

I am wondering if I can make a Pinnacle carry 50lb alright. I haven't gotten to handle the latest generation so I really have very little idea how well the hip belt will support weight. If I can stiffen the pack enough to get 30lb onto the hip belt, will that be comfortable or leave me bruised.

Also, I know there is a pocket inside that holds the backpad. Does it extend all the way up to where the load-lifters attach, or does it end down at the base of the shoulder-straps?

My scheme to modify the pack involved building a framesheet-and stay combination that goes into this pocket. Possibly I can extend the pocket up if need-be. If I find that this makes the pack carry acceptably than I will cut off all of the outside pockets and sew on the attachments, that I want to have, as well as maybe changing the compression system so it is a little stronger.

Anyone who owns the current generation of jam please pass along your thoughts and experiences, along with all you other gear tinkerers.

Thanks in advance.

Pilate de Guerre
(deGuerre) - F

Locale: SE, USA
Previous generations available on 03/06/2011 22:31:15 MST Print View

GoLite is have a clearance sale on old model gear starting tomorrow sometime. You can see a discussion of it over on Gear Deals.

They have several past years of Pinnacle for sale, if any of those are more suited to you. And you can't beat the prices $38-60 if I recall correctly.

a b
Golite Pinnacle Frame Sheet on 03/06/2011 23:39:49 MST Print View

I am looking at my GoLite Pinnacle from the PCT (The 2009 version) and the internal foam "frame sheet" pocket only goes up to the height of the shoulder straps. It does not extend up as high as the load lifters.
I think you could possibly mod a Pinnacle to transfer more weight by adding a stiffer framesheet. Although for 50lbs I wonder why you wouldn't just go with an internal frame pack.
Anyhow, a hard plastic or perhaps plywood insert in the Pinnacles frame sheet pocket might transfer more weight. As far as being comfortable I have no idea.

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
Chris Townsend's experience on 03/07/2011 02:52:39 MST Print View

I've not used the Pinnacle myself, but it has been a favourite of Chris Townsend for some years. On his blog (2nd of January 2010) he wrote that it was his "...choice for loads up to around 14kg."

However, it might be worth noting that when Chris embarked on his Pacific Northwest Trail last year he started with the Pinnacle but was forced to abandon it in favour of the heavier but sturdier GoLite Quest, due to the pack twisting and tearing. I seem to recall that he thought the problem might be due to an odd pack slipping through quality control and not necessarily a reflection of the model generally, but if you are beefing up the pack to cope with heavier loads then the stitching, fabrics and foam might show unexpected stresses. Necessary reinforcements might well take the weight of the pack into the realm of a different but already suitable model.

Don Selesky
(backslacker) - M
Re: Modifying a Golite Pinnacle on 03/07/2011 06:41:57 MST Print View

"I am wondering if I can make a Pinnacle carry 50lb alright."

I wouldn't suggest it.

I modified an old GoLite Trek pack to carry more weight, and ultimately abandoned the idea because it just wasn't working well. If you need to carry that much weight, get a real internal frame pack.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
pinnacle on 03/07/2011 07:27:57 MST Print View

this thread will definitely be of some help

50# might be pushing it even w/ a frame/stay(s)

I'll have a much better idea when mine arrives :)

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
pinnacle mod on 03/07/2011 09:09:19 MST Print View

I've carried an 11 day supply (~35 lbs pack weight) in my older model Pinnacle with the foam back pad removed (I used my folded ridgerest as a frame). It was quite uncomfortable on my shoulders for the first few days, but if I had used arrow shafts/stays folded into my ridgerest it most likely would have been much better. 50 lbs, I imagine, would be pushing it but you'll never know until you try.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Modifying a Golite Pinnacle on 03/07/2011 12:17:11 MST Print View

I walked around a gear shop for about 20 minutes with a Pinnacle loaded to 40 pounds and concluded that it wasn't for me.

For reference, I'm OK with a Granite Gear Virga (no frame at all and a 1.25" webbing "hip" belt) up to around 30 lbs ... been using the Virga for about 5 years.

Derek Goffin

Locale: North of England
Modifying a Golite Pinnacle on 03/08/2011 04:59:21 MST Print View

I am used to using a ULA circuit for long trips but we are going higher longer colder next winter so I bought a discounted Pinnacle to adapt. it is 62 litres. I expect to carry up to 50 pounds mostly because of food, so a reducing load, but also a lot of down this and that. I have added external straps for a tent and temporary dry bag "panniers" (for down things) off the load lifter anchors and reinforced the anchors with more stitching. I have added the loops and holsters for Aarn expedition front pockets. My feeling is if 15 pounds is in these the added strain will be less on the Pinnacle than if it were all on the back. I have resewn the hip belt to gather the top edge and form it to cup my hip crests.
On another forum or thread someone pointed out that the older model pinnacle did not have the wishbone hip belt wings. The one I have has these and it does seem that the 4 anchor points of the wishbones to the sack could be a weakness. The higher anchors look weakest. I am considering adding a webbing strap from the sack seam in the middle of the wishbone hole to take strain off the top wishbone anchors.
I am amending what people call the "front" pocket of the Pinnacle to loose the zip but be bigger to carry foam mats/supergaiters/rubbish, all light things. When you use Aarn front pockets you can't call the rear pocket of the sack the "front" pocket!
So far I have cut as much off the pack as I have stitched on. I did not include removable items: "pannier" dry bags, removable tent straps and the Aarn front pockets.
Heavy stuff mostly food ,but stove and water will be in the front pockets and against my back and at the bottom in the main sack.
If the sack crumples even with careful packing, I plan on transferring the ULA circuit frame to the Pinnacle, but a plank of thin wood also seems worth a try as I can imagine other uses.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
pics on 03/08/2011 07:01:05 MST Print View

Derek- pics would be most welcome :)