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A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get.
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Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get. on 04/11/2011 21:44:09 MDT Print View

Hi All,
Looking to replace my current pack (just one - gasp!) as it generally is too big for even my winter trips now (for reference, I almost always use an exodus, which is too big, even when use the bottom compression loops, roll the top down and have my versalite with me) Here is what I'm looking for, in order of importance:

1. Ability to comfortably carry up to 22lbs, with or without a frame
2. Main body holds up to 2300ish cubes but effectively compresses to 1600 cubes (maybe the real challenge)
3. Something that stays relatively dry against the back (Here the osprey exos packs are great)
4. Hip belt pockets
5. Ability to tie on snowshoes (the elastic on the MLD packs works great)
6. Ability to carry a bearcan

The contenders:

ULA Ohm - questions about the compression capabilities
SMD Swift - 2300 cubes seems about right but the lack of compression is a minus. The removable stay is a plus.
MLD Prophet - I have my concerns with compression and carrying comfort when pushing 20lbs
GG Mariposa Plus - no hipbelt pockets

What else am I missing?


Michael Mathisen

Locale: Oregon
Re: A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get. on 04/11/2011 22:40:30 MDT Print View

Can't think of any others. But I think the Ohm and the Swift are the two best options. Isn't SMD in Portland? You could probably drop in and play around with the Swift. I think Next Adventure in P town carries some Ula packs, not sure which packs they have though?

Tyler Barcelli

Locale: Southeast
Re: A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get. on 04/11/2011 23:03:12 MDT Print View

I think that the Mariposa Plus is a little on the large side for what you are describing. I have a Gorilla and it is more of the size pack you are looking for judging by the others posted. I love the Gorilla and I can really cinch it down to make it not too much larger than a day pack. Remove the hipbelt when you don't need it and you are good to go

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Re: Re: A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get. on 04/12/2011 00:03:45 MDT Print View

+1 to Tyler. GG Mariposa is more than you will need...and its ability to compress is only so-so. The gorilla would be the better choice if you're only looking for ~35-40liters

Also, GG sells detachable hipbelt pockets for both the mariposa and the gorilla, so no worries on that end.

*shoot! Didn't see the last bit about the bear can. Yeah, no on the gorilla, maybe the mariposa is for you...but again, not very good compression. In addition to the MLD prophet, have you thought about a golite pinnacle? maybe find a 2009 one? I have a 09' jam and the compression system is great, and it carries snowshoes fine. It does have 3D mesh on the back--however I've never found it to be great at keeping me dry, and would rather have a pack without it for weight savings. For heavier loads, I duct -taped a single aluminum stay to the foam pack panel provided with the pack. Provides decent support and great structure that matches the curvature of my back.

Edited by Konrad1013 on 04/12/2011 00:10:19 MDT.

Elizabeth Camp
(scamp_80) - MLife

Locale: Portland, Oregon
A new pack-I know what I want, but don't know what to get on 04/12/2011 01:14:30 MDT Print View

The Gossamer Gear packs should still be in the running I think.

As far as the bear can issue, it depends on whether you'd like the bear can to fit inside the pack or not for the Gossamer Gear (GG) packs. There seems to be some folks who are dissatisfied with the y-strap solution on the GG packs.

Here are some perspectives on bear can in some of the packs you are considering:

BTW I have a Gorilla in Medium and am located in PDX if you'd like to try it on (PM if interested). The Mariposa has pretty much the same fit.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get. on 04/12/2011 01:43:07 MDT Print View

Chris, you might want to define what you mean by a bear can. There are several different sizes. Some packs will accept one turned and dropped in on its side so that the flat lid is against your back. Some packs will accept a cylinder dropped into a cylinder.


Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get. on 04/12/2011 09:41:45 MDT Print View

Another Gorilla fan here, but I haven't tried a bear can with it. I like the numerous, non-permanent configuration options like removable frame, hip belt, and sternum strap. My medium is 16.7 oz with all but some shock cord removed.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Thanks on 04/12/2011 10:05:44 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the feedback.

So the Gorilla is back in, but doesn't it have heavier fabric? Is this really necessary when not bushwhacking?

Regarding the bear can, I'd like to use the pack for Sierras or Olympics trips that will require a bearikade weekender or smaller, and packed upright is fine - so it looks like this is a go with all of the above options. The snowshoe lashing need is for trips up the gorge during the shoulder seasons - I can always fashion something on afterwards, though.

Choices, choices.

Edited by ChrisMorgan on 04/12/2011 10:06:58 MDT.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Fabrics on 04/12/2011 10:17:50 MDT Print View

Chris, the gorilla does indeed use a burlier fabric. I do not own a gorilla, but I do have a mariposa plus. The mariposa uses 70D with touches of 210D for the highwear areas...which I think is fine for everything but bushwhacking. In your case, since you're not bushwhacking, maybe the gorilla, which is made almost entirely of the 210d stuff) is more than necessary. But having said that, the 210d stuff is awesome material...reminds me of dyneema grid (but without any of the spectra threads) so the reassurance of it might be welcoming. If you don't need the capacity of the mariposa, I would stick with the gorilla. I've read many reports indicating that the Gorilla rides better because it's a shallower(width) pack, which ensures the load is closer. I also prefer the tougher lycra mesh pockets to the large-holed mesh pockets on the mariposa. I think the gorilla is only 1 oz more than the mariposa, so weight isn't really of concern

Be aware though--if you are on the skinnier side, theres a good chance the shoulder straps won't work for you. They rub me in all the wrong places (pinch my neck, and interfere with my arm swing) and I'm in the process of making a curved harness to replace it with.

Tyler Barcelli

Locale: Southeast
Re: Fabrics on 04/12/2011 13:08:37 MDT Print View

"Be aware though--if you are on the skinnier side, theres a good chance the shoulder straps won't work for you"

When deciding on the Gorilla, I read that many people seemed to complain of this same thing. I am 5'9" 135lbs so I am not the biggest person. I so far have not had a problem with the width of the shoulder straps. To prevent the straps from rubbing my neck, I just pull up the collar of my shirt a little bit. It has also been said that you can use some of the pipe insulation tubing instead of the provided foam to provide a narrower strap, but I have not tried this.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
gorilla straps on 04/12/2011 13:24:46 MDT Print View

I'm pretty small (about the same as Tyler) and love the gorilla straps. I find them very comfortable. I think it has to do more with body/shoulder/neck shape than large or skinny or whatever.

Justin Nelson
(jnelson871) - MLife

Locale: CA Bay Area
Re: A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get. on 04/12/2011 13:40:49 MDT Print View

Just finished a trip with my SMD swift. Holds a lot of gear. It distributes weight well especially w my zlite pad. I highly recommend it.

Edited by jnelson871 on 04/12/2011 13:47:24 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get. on 04/12/2011 14:26:23 MDT Print View

I'm thinking GG offers skinnier straps now.

Tyler Barcelli

Locale: Southeast
Re: A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get. on 04/12/2011 15:04:07 MDT Print View

I do know that if you order a small torso size then the straps are already a little skinnier with the foam sewn in. Shoot them an email with any questions and they will be more than happy to help you. That actually goes for all the makers of the packs you are looking at. They really care about what they do and they want to make sure that you are completely satisfied.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
straps on 04/12/2011 15:41:15 MDT Print View

Tyler and Brendan, weird how these things work out....I'm alongside both of you guys, at 5'9" , 140lbs...I have a 38" chest, and 15" neck and fairly broad shoulders in relation to my size--but it just didn't work out for me. Good call on pulling the collar up...if I were to wear the pack with a collared shirt, it would mitigate the discomfort, but I didn't like the idea of being limited in what tops I could wear with it. For me, (and Javan Dempsey for that matter) I found the straps to be sewn too close together at the top. They are sewn at an angle so that they resemble an inverted "V." Couple that with the fact that they are 4 inches wide and straight, I found that they pinched/rubbed my neck up top, while hanging off to the side of my ribcage down below, thus hitting my inner arm when I walked. But I'm glad to hear that it works out for a good amount of smaller people too. Like everyone else mentioned, they def build the thinner shoulder straps for the size small torso packs (with the caveat that the foam is no longer removable). Also rumor has it that they were supposed to implement a curved anatomically correct harness as well. Again, maybe shoot them an email.

About the Y strap on their itself it's not very good at holding a bear can stable...the grosgrain ribbon is just too slippery. People have modded it by attaching sticky velcro to their bear can, and corresponding velcro onto the Y-strap. But you also have to have a full pack for this to work well. G'luck!

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Swift on 04/12/2011 16:14:17 MDT Print View

The Swift compresses with the side cords pretty well. I have used it on day hikes away from camp compressed down. Carries great with a ridgerest pad too.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Gorrila straps on 04/12/2011 18:30:57 MDT Print View

I am 6 foot 154 lbs, small chest and neck - classic bean pole. I need to wear a collared shirt to prevent rubbing and have also replaced the stock foam with a narrower piece I cut myself. I am now happy with the shoulder straps, but still think they need a little re-think. Overall though the GG is the most comfortable and functional pack I have ever used. I would definitely give one a try. If you don't like it you can return it or sell it easily on Gear Swap if you have used it in the field. I realise that there is a cost to this, but getting a pack that fits for you is pretty important to enjoying the hike.

Christopher Graf
(cgraf) - M

Locale: So Cal
GG Gorilla Straps on 04/12/2011 18:40:33 MDT Print View

The thinner shoulder straps are currently only available on the size small packs. Hopefully an anatomically shaped design will be offered in the future as overall it is a great pack with the internal frame distributing weight nicely.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
GG Videos on 04/12/2011 18:57:00 MDT Print View

I've gotta say, GVP's new videos are super great. I can't help but laugh at his little bit at the beginning about getting a package in the mail - it smacks a little of Mr. Rogers - I was waiting for him to put on a patagonia sweater and tie his trail runners.

Down to the Gorilla, Ohm and Prophet.

Christopher Graf
(cgraf) - M

Locale: So Cal
"A new pack - I know what I want, but don't know what to get." on 04/12/2011 19:17:41 MDT Print View

Another pack you may consider is the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Railrider. It is in the same size/capacity and weight as the Ohm and Gorilla and has an internal frame. Under gear deals last years model is on sale for $175.
Between the Ohm and Gorilla I preferred the Gorilla as I liked how the internal frame curved perfectly to my back.
I may be in the minority here, but when having to carry a bear canister I prefer a light weight internal frame of some sort.