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Randy Alexander
(randy7fx) - F
GG Gorilla vs.MLD Exodus FS on 04/26/2012 15:02:37 MDT Print View

I have been backpacking for approximately 6 months, and have recently started wrapping my arms around lighter gear, and the benefits that brings. I own a Gregory Baltoro 75 that I love and is extremely comfortable, but I realize I don't need to carry 40+ lbs on my back whenever I go. As such, I am looking at both the Gossamer Gear Gorilla (2012 model) and the Mountain Laurel Design Exodus Full Suspension. I did search the forum, but I believe both of these packs are relatively new, and I wasn't able to find anything in terms of comparison's of the two. Does anyone have any perspective on this?

Also, when I purchased my Boltoro at REI, they pounded it into my head that I had to try on, walk around the store for 20 minutes with 30 lbs in it before I bought it. "That's the only way to determine comfort" is what they said. While I see value in that, I imagine carrying 40+ lbs has a significantly greater variation of comfort than carrying 15 lbs. Question is: How do I talk myself into spending $200+ without ever seeing (or trying on) the backpack? Is there something inherently different that minimizes the need to try one of these on? Or, do I just need to come to terms that ultra light means less comfort? Help!!!

Thanks in advance.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Ultra Light Packs on 04/26/2012 15:20:20 MDT Print View

An ultralight pack should be just as comfortable as a heavy duty pack assuming its not overloaded. The reason your Gregory pack is so heavy is that its built to carry 50 pounds. If you're only hauling 25 pounds you can eliminate a long of that stuff and still have a comfortable pack.
Before you change packs make sure everything else is lightweight. The pack should be the absulute last thing you buy. Also it won't kill you to carry a lightweight load in a heavy duty pack so I'd take my time and research carefully before you pay for anything.

I can't tell you specifically about those two packs. If you wait a while there should be more feedback. Another option that looks good to me are the packs by Hyperlight Mountain Gear (a bit pricey though). If you're going to be carrying less the 20 pounds most of the time a frameless pack should work fine once you learn to pack it. Such packs are lighter and cheaper. If you plan on carrying over 20 pounds a lot of the time than I'd look for a pack with a frame. Check out ULA, Six Moons Designs, Gossamer Gear and HMG for light packs with frames.

Edit - How much does all your gear (minus food and water) weigh? If I knew that I could give you better ideas of what to look at.

Edited by Cameron on 04/26/2012 15:26:31 MDT.

Randy Alexander
(randy7fx) - F
Ultralight packs on 04/26/2012 15:38:43 MDT Print View

Thanks so much for the response, very helpful information. I am still in the process of purchasing/changing gear to lower my overall pack weight. I also won't carry needless "stuff" that I have carried in the past (the easiest and least costly way to lower pack weight I have been told). Looking at the big 3, my sleeping bag is 22 ounces, and my tent is 58 ounces (Big Agnes Fly Creek 3). I know the tent is heavy, but I will likely be using it with one or two others. I am not nearly to the point of counting grams, but I think my pack weight currently is likely around 11 lbs without food or water.

I do like your suggestion of not jumping into a new pack just yet, and focusing on the rest of my kit first and then determine what pack is needed to support my kit. I just saw the pack as a huge opportunity to get rid of 4 lbs, but I probably need to be patient with my approach.

Thanks again!!!

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 04/26/2012 15:43:09 MDT Print View

Here is a pretty good thread on the 2012 Gorilla:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=62829&disable_pagination=1

Having tried a 2012 Gorilla and also seen MLD's craftsmanship, I would lean toward MLD. IMO, Gossamer Gear cuts too many corners.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Another pack idea on 04/26/2012 15:56:40 MDT Print View

I think if you're going to be keeping that tent you might want to have a more surdy pack than the Gorilla. Also bigger, I doubt you could fit a tent that size into the Gorilla. Switching the tent for a tarp would quickly save you a lot of weight and a lot of bulk. FYI MLD makes really good stuff but I just didn't like the looks of that pack. Again I'd wait on a new pack till everything else is settled.
If you want a lighter pack you can try on check out the Osprey Exos 46 or 58.

Art Tyszka
(arttyszka) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Don't look back on 04/26/2012 19:39:48 MDT Print View

Randy, not too long ago I had a Baltoro 65 and a 40 lb total pack weight, it was ridiculous. I too went to REI to equip and was originally looking at the REI Flash when the sales guy told me it was only good to 30 lbs, and I should get a pack capable of 40+ - not knowing better I took his advice and got the Baltoro, a well built pack, but I wish I had discovered BPL earlier, as it is I've replaced just about everything I originally bought at REI.

I can speak to the Exodus FS as that's one of the 2 packs I have now. It's an absolutely awesome pack and very comfortable with a load of ~ 20 lbs. I've not carried more than that, but expect it'd be plenty comfortable up to 30. But why? With the right gear, and more importantly just taking less, you should have no problem getting your kit into the 20's. At that weight the Exodus is like a feather on your back and all the serious suspension of the Baltoro becomes unnecessary, but the Exodus FS has a very capable suspension. MLD is renowned for the quality and durability of their gear, the Exodus is absolutely top shelf.

I like the design of the new Gorilla as well, and can at least speak for the new GG packs in general, I have the 2012 Murmur. It too is an awesome pack and carries like a dream with 15 lbs, so I suspect the new Gorilla is even more capable. I don't think you can go wrong with either pack, just go for it, and make sure you get your base weight below 20 lbs and you'll be surprised by how comfortable it is and how much more you enjoy the hike.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
plan on 04/26/2012 19:55:37 MDT Print View

Order several packs, try them all out in the comfort of your home and yard with your own gear, and select the one you prefer.

It will not always be the lightest, or the one you expect. Also, stated torso length is not always true to fit.

Yes you may spend $50 shipping returning a couple of packs, but it is money well spent.


Some costs are just part of process, that you have to accept to get the best pack for you. If you cannot afford them, then you may end up dissatisfied and buying a new pack in the future. Or, you could get lucky too. Its a gamble. Testing them out first, is not a gamble, its a sure thing.

Edited by livingontheroad on 04/26/2012 20:02:16 MDT.

Cody Lebow
(CLebow) - F

Locale: Orange County
Packs on 04/26/2012 21:06:48 MDT Print View

I have them both and there each very nice. I would say its more of a question of how much voulme you need. The exodus is quite a bit bigger. I agree with others that addressing your shelter first would be a better way to spend cash.

Randy Alexander
(randy7fx) - F
Thanks! on 04/27/2012 06:52:08 MDT Print View

Thanks so much for all of the great advice. Based on what I have learned from you all, I think I am going to continue lowering the weight of all of my other gear, and then purchase both packs. Try them in my home, pack them with gear and see which one does the better job. Keep the winner and return the looser.

You have all provided great insight - thank you very much!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
ULA packs on 04/27/2012 12:56:45 MDT Print View

Take a look at ULA (Ultra Light Adventure) packs like the Circuit ot other smaller packs they have. Excellent quality and design.

I now use an older REI Cruise UL 60 (now Flash 65) and like it. But I think I'll be getting an Osprey EXOS 58 because I love its comfort, something I'm willing to have for a few extra ounces. To me the carry comfort FAR "outweighs" the extra ounces. (Forgive the pun.)

Brandon Vidrine
(bvidrine82)
Exodus vs Gorilla on 08/28/2012 09:35:39 MDT Print View

Randy,

I think both the Gorilla 2012 and the Exodus represent the best frameless packs available. The Exodus is a larger pack, but the Gorilla is very capable of handling loads of 20-25 lbs. If you have truly reduced your pack weight to 11lbs then either pack would be fine for you.

You should really look into tarps. At 50 + oz for your tent shelter, you could easily drop about 30 oz or so depending on what tarp material you choose, and what bivy you choose.

Brandon Vidrine
(bvidrine82)
exodus vs gorilla on 08/28/2012 10:28:20 MDT Print View

Personally, I have used both the Gorilla and the Exodus (not the FS). I own the original gorilla and the 2012 Gorilla, and I recently ordered the Exodus. They are both great packs; I think your decision should be based primarily on the volume of pack you will need.

On a side note, I do like the compression and top strap on the previous model gorilla better than on the 2012 gorilla.

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
Good time to get a gorilla on 08/28/2012 12:11:37 MDT Print View

I think GG's craftsmanship is great and find their packs very comfortable. Lots of bells and whistles for the weight too. Hip pockets, outside pockets, lid pocket, sternum strap for no extra cost.

That said, if you are going to keep the bigger tent, I'd look at the 2012 Mariposa. It's only two ounces more than the gorilla and will hold your current gear while you transition down. But ... it's a good time to buy a Gorilla if you're in the market.

There are seconds - it appears an early '12 model with wider straps. You can grab one for $155 in the "deals" section of the GG website. It's all I can do to keep from clicking add to cart.

Edited by bcutlerj on 08/28/2012 12:18:08 MDT.