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Considering a GG Gorilla, but afraid to give up my osprey frame...
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Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Considering a GG Gorilla, but afraid to give up my osprey frame... on 09/20/2012 16:10:30 MDT Print View

I'm relatively new to going UL...I've gone from an 8# Gregory pack and 9# REI tent through several incarnations of my kit... Lighter REI tent, Big Agnes hexamid cuben fiber solo-plus (that I can't stop drooling over!)

I've gone from that massive Gregory to an Osprey Atmos 65 to an Osprey exos 46...and now I'm finding myself drooling over the Gorilla.

However...I've never had a frameless pack before ( does it carry like a frameless if it has an aluminum stay?) and I've kind of been skeptical of them.

Obviously I need to just order it and try it out, see if I like it. But I'm dropping a lot of cash on gear these days and I'm not all that keen on a $225 experiment.

Those of you who have made the you like it or just deal with it because it's so much lighter? What do you like about the frameless? Does it still carry on your hips, or more on your shoulders?

Convince me one way or the other to shave another pound+ off my base and go Gorilla...or stick with my exos that I really do like...

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Frames and such on 09/20/2012 16:22:14 MDT Print View

If you want convincing one way or the other I'd start with the SOTM report on frameless packs. Will Rietvelt also reviewed the latest version of the Gorilla on his blog a while back.
Personally I'm not convinced the weight savings are worth it, especially if you are currently happy with your exos. You can ditch the lid to save a few oz and you won't be much heavier then a fulled featured Gorilla. If you want a frame the Exos is a good pack, if you want frameless there are lighter options then the Gorilla.

Edit "Those of you who have made the you like it or just deal with it because it's so much lighter? What do you like about the frameless? Does it still carry on your hips, or more on your shoulders?"

The main thing to like about the frameless is light weight. If you are just carrying 13-14 pounds total then you can get away with a pack that doesn't transfer all the weight to your hips (although some helps).

A frameless pack CAN put weight on your hips up to a certain weight (about 25 pounds) but this is dependent on packing properly and a well designed pack. Again the series of articles in the SOTM are a good place to start.

Edited by Cameron on 09/20/2012 16:27:34 MDT.

Andrew Weldon
Go for it on 09/20/2012 16:24:44 MDT Print View

I went directly from a Osprey Aether 70 to a tiny little totally frameless MLD Burn. Base weight went from ~27lbs to 5.5lbs in 3 weeks of research, looking for used gear, etc.

Carrying over 30lbs in the osprey was comfortable in terms of back and shoulders, but it was slow degrading hell carrying 35-40lbs with food and water regardless of how well the pack dispersed the weight.

Coming from that, I get a (very) mild shoulder soreness with ~18lb absolute max of total weight (6 days of food and fuel, 3L of water), but it's totally manageable and I'm a thousand times more spritely with so much less weight. For me, the weight is about equal between my shoulders and hips. It's easy to put more weight on the hips or more on the shoulders with strap adjustments (even without load lifters). The burn is actually a little bit short for me. I've got a really long torso.

I had a Gorilla briefly before determining that I didn't need anywhere near the amount of space it had (the Burn is 2200ci total, 1500 main compartment, and it's perfect for me). The stays will transfer a lot more load to the hips. I played around with the Gorilla somewhere in the 12lb base weight range and it carried very well.

I'd recommend going for it, and returning the pack if you don't like the way it carries. I suspect you'll be happy with it, though.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Hm on 09/20/2012 16:32:51 MDT Print View

The great gear enabler says: do it.

If you feel like you really want to shave the weight, go for it. Buy the Gorilla, load it up, and try it out. You can always return it. I'd also recommend taking a look at the ULA Ohm 2.0 - the hipbelt is pretty fantastic, the CF hoop distributes weight pretty well, and I love the compression system and side pockets. It also comes with quite a few removable components to get the weight down even further.

On the other hand, if you're really in love with the exos, is there something else you could spend that money on to more effectively lighten your load? Or maybe even better - spend it on a trip!

Edited by aaronufl on 09/20/2012 16:49:21 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Cost benefit on 09/20/2012 16:39:32 MDT Print View

I don't think the Gorilla is bad, its just not super different they what you have weight wise. If you want to go frameless something like the Burn, Murmer, Zpacks Blast, or a custom pack by Chris Zimmer would save way more weight. I might focus on lightening everything else then get a back that is a lot smaller and lighter then what you currently have.

If you want to try a frameless pack you could try ordering a Golite Jam and loading it up. They are heavy for frameless packs but they have a good design, they are cheap and readily available (unlike some cottage gear packs that may not ship for a few weeks). If you like it then you can get something even lighter.

Edited by Cameron on 09/20/2012 16:40:36 MDT.

Wes Kline
(weskline) - F

Locale: Adirondacks
Gorilla on 09/20/2012 17:08:01 MDT Print View

I like my 2012 Gorilla quite a bit, and I find it a really flexible and capable pack. I have found that it carries weights up to 20 lb really well, and I think that the hipbelt and straps are really comfortable. More comfortable than the Osprey Aether I used to have (I know the Exos has a different suspension). At the end of the day, I'm not sure if shaving a pound is worth 225 bucks, but I switched from a Granite Gear Blaze to the Gorilla, and I haven't regretted it at all. I find the Gorilla more comfortable for me than the Blaze. Your experience may differ. I would agree that sticking with the light pack you have, and maybe investing the money in a better sleeping bag/quilt might be a better expenditure, since you have a great tarp shelter already.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Go frameless on 09/20/2012 17:09:39 MDT Print View

I am using a Zpacks cuben blast right now at about 8 oz. I have been very happy with it. The cuben feels strong and I never notice any water getting in. I have an 8-9 pound base weight. For a long weekend, I will carry about 12-13 pounds total. At that weight, it feels great. I recently did an 8 day trip and had about 24 pounds total at the beginning(had more food than needed because of uncertainty in trip length). At that weight, I would say it didn't feel perfect, but not too bad either. I was happy with it even at that weight. 8 ounces is a really big weight reduction from any framed pack. I am happy enough with it that I am buying a Zpacks Zero in cuben for my 3day weekend trips, which are common.

If you buy a nice frameless and don't like it, you can probably sell it easily here too.

I have had the golite pack previously, and its fine. To me, if you're going frameless, it seems to make sense to go light with a zpacks or similar.

spectrum on 09/20/2012 17:19:39 MDT Print View

lightwt packs run the spectrum from almost like a fully framed pack, to just a sack.

So, they are all a bit different.

The less frame, the lighter you need to keep the pack, and the more care that needs to be taken in packing to keep it supportive and comfortable.

Try the Gorilla, you dont have to get rid of your other pack you know.

With any of these packs, take the mindset that 20lbs or less is REALLY where you want to be.

From 20-30 lbs, is differing levels of support and comfort depending on the pack.

Edited by livingontheroad on 09/20/2012 17:21:13 MDT.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Considering a GG Gorilla, but afraid to give up my osprey frame... on 09/20/2012 17:32:05 MDT Print View

"Convince me one way or the other to shave another pound+ off my base and go Gorilla...or stick with my exos that I really do like..."

If you really like your Exos just use it. I can compare the Gorilla 2012 to the Exos because my brother had the Exos and went to a SMD Swift 10. The Osprey packs are comfortable but they do not have convenient water battle storage locations like the Gorilla. I have used a Mariposa Plus for the last few years and recently just got a Gorilla. I really like the way the pack worked. With a canister and 4.5 days of food I probably had when full 18 lbs. It fit and rode real nice. I like the pack a lot. The 2 pockets attached to the belt are nice but the Exos has those too.

That's all I can say.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Get it. on 09/20/2012 20:59:46 MDT Print View

The sit light pad and aluminum stay makes the gorilla an internal framed pack. I can tell you it's extremely comfortable, and youll find so many uses for the pad. It's bound to be lighter AND more comfortable than the osprey, though maybe a little spacious with a hexamid depending on your sleep system.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
go big or go home on 09/20/2012 21:03:28 MDT Print View

I agree with Luke Schmidt.

If you are going to go lighter then go lighter!

Go all the way and get a Murmur, Kumo, zpacks etc...

Think sub 10oz...

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
What Luke sez... on 09/20/2012 22:26:15 MDT Print View

I agree with Luke that the small weight of a frame is well worth the weight transfer from your shoulders to your hips. Why put all the weight on your shoulders and compress your spine's discs now? Age will do that for you "sonny" - just ask us geezers.

And, as he suggested, read Will Rietvelds' articles very carefully and you will understand the NECESSITY of a small load with a frameless pack.

P.S. I'm considering an EXOS 58, even larger than your 46. I feel your EXOS pack is absolutely fine for UL backpacking. Don't burn your energy constantly adjusting and re-adjusting a framless pack that wants to sag.

Edited by Danepacker on 09/20/2012 22:31:53 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Considering a GG Gorilla, but afraid to give up my osprey frame... on 09/20/2012 23:27:29 MDT Print View

"Convince me one way or the other to shave another pound+ off my base and go Gorilla...or stick with my exos that I really do like..."

Scott said,
> If you really like your Exos just use it.

Michael said,
> Go all the way and get a Murmur, Kumo, zpacks etc...

My opinion. If you reduce all your gear to the absolute safe minimum, then a 10oz or 48oz pack isn't going to make all that much difference as a percentage of the total weight supported by your legs. And a proper and effective frame pack will make a big difference in your overall comfort.

Craig 006a
So here is a sub 4lb base weight. On a 4 day trip with this set-up, my total pack weight was 17lbs. The pack weighs less than 4 ounces (zPacks Zero).

Craig 001 San Jacinto
Another trip. Total pack weight right around 17lbs. Base weight 7lbs. Pack weight just under 3 pounds with a real internal frame (McHale Bump).

So at the end of the day, which pack was the most comfortable, efficient, and enjoyable?

By far the 2nd one (McHale).

BTW, the first one was a 15 mile Hike with maybe a 2,000 foot elevation gain. The 2nd an 18 mile hike with a 9,000 foot elevation gain.

P.S. Craig Wisner took the pictures. I cropped them to enlarge the view of the packs. My photoshopping probably turned a couple of great pictures into slag. Sorry, Craig.

Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
feed the machine on 09/20/2012 23:53:35 MDT Print View

Be a good consumer and...consume.

Otherwise, be happy with comfort and rock the Osprey.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Nick on 09/21/2012 00:11:20 MDT Print View

Hey nick gatel what size zero was that?

As far as frameless packs go with weight transfer you have to pack them right. Also they can't be too empty, otherwise they do fine with weight transfer.

I would rather have sore shoulders and take the weight OFF my legs and knees Nyways.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Considering a GG Gorilla, but afraid to give up my osprey frame... on 09/21/2012 01:02:09 MDT Print View

If the Exos is working for you, carrying what you need comfortably, and at the end of the day you didn't notice the pack (no soreness, etc)... they I wouldn't mess with it. The only reason to change it would be to chance the elusive (least possible weight) which isn't that productive.

My personal experience was I found the Gorrila more comfortable than the Exos... but everyone is different.

Over the years I experimented with a lot of backs. Under <12-14lbs pretty much anything but a really badly designed pack works ok. If you are shooting for the lowest possible carry weight, and you have only 1-2 days of food, then sure, doing some 3oz minimalist pack lets you squeeze those last few ounces out can be cool.

My experience, your's could variety, is than when I got to around 14lbs something changed. That from that point on, I would happily carry an extra 1-2 lbs for a pack that has some sort of frame... it was just a lot more comfortable. I found that up to around 25lbs, the "frame" system could be fairly basic. The plastic framesheet in the GG Vapor Trail, basic stays and sit pad in the Gorilla, packs from SMD, etc. Above somewhere between 25-30lbs, the pack really need a good frame system or I would notice it at the end of the day.


Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Considering a GG Gorilla, but afraid to give up my osprey frame... on 09/21/2012 01:34:20 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the comments on this post. I'm also looking for a lighter pack and have been reviewing the GG Gorilla and the ZPacks new Arc Blast and Blast packs. I'm disappointed the Size Small Gorilla never came out and think I would have to work with Joe to customize one of his packs to fit me.

But, it's interesting to hear feedback from users of each, especially comparing GG and ZPacks.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
gorilla on 09/21/2012 04:12:20 MDT Print View

the gorilla is a great pack for sure. I've carried heavy loads on bc skiing approaches and I think the transfer is quite good. I actually would hesitate to call the gorilla a frameless pack. If you get a good fit, it will transfer weight effectively. That said, sounds like you are getting your load light enough to where load transfer is not such a big deal (I rarely use a hipbelt these days). Another advantage to packs like the zpacks zero and burn (besides oz counters pride) is that they are really low volume. There's a great feeling of freedom and mobility when using a pack like the burn, and it gets in the way less when scrambling and bushwacking. Anyway, my 2 cents.

Nick G
(HermesUL) - F
Just a thought.... on 09/21/2012 06:33:33 MDT Print View

The Osprey Hornet pack is lighter than the Gorilla (about 2 oz lighter), and has a frame. I've used it for about 100 miles and have found it very comfortable, even when pushing the weight up to 25 lbs (it could go up to 35 without an issue). The easily removable lid saves a few more ounces when you're packed light and don't need it.

Unlike other Osprey packs, they've managed to get the water bottle figured out on this one, at long last. Plus, you get the Osprey guarantees that promise free repair or replacement for the rest of your life.

It's still on closeout from REI at $111, shipped free.

Note: my torso is 18.5" and if I were any larger the small-med pack would not fit. If you're 19" or above, spend the extra 50 bucks.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Considering a GG Gorilla, but afraid to give up my osprey frame... on 09/21/2012 08:04:28 MDT Print View

I have to laugh at this thread because I have a Gorilla, and I've been considering trying an Osprey Exos or other model because of the mesh back. My back always seems too sweaty. I often like to use the Gorilla without the small back pad because that's insulation which keeps my back warmer.

I have the older model Gorilla. The aluminum stay can be removed or inserted very easily, even if the pack is loaded. Without the stay, it the load transfer with the hip belt is good if you use something inside the pack like a rigid foam pad or Thermarest Prolite folded with a slight bit of air. But, if you pack something large and rigid like tent poles, large pot, or bear canister, it pushes against your back in mildly annoying ways. This can be overcome with careful packing, but I almost never have time to do careful packing. So, I end up using the frame most of the time.