Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Considering a GG Gorilla, but afraid to give up my osprey frame...
Display Avatars Sort By:
Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Gorilla on sale on 09/21/2012 08:14:46 MDT Print View

I just got an email from GG saying that the Gorilla packs that are in stock will be on special price sale for $185 for this week only, while they last.

Curt Peterson
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Pack Frames on 09/21/2012 08:31:14 MDT Print View

"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."

Almost exactly my experience - to the pound. I believe a few years back Ryan wrote that the very first place he adds weight back to a light load is the pack. Couldn't agree more. At the risk of confusing the weight carried conversation even more (base weight, FSO, consumables, etc) I've often wondered about the benefit of stating the load as "abc pounds of gear inside an xyz pound pack". It really is such a difference. 18 pounds in a grocery bag is entirely different than 18 pounds in a framed pack. Night and day for the same load in my opinion.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Nick on 09/21/2012 09:28:28 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


It's a small. It has the sleep pad holder. No belt. Short torso. Also the cuben strap slippery over a wind shirt. The Bump is about the same volume as a Mumur. But the Bump is perfectly sized to my body. And the stays are formed to the exact curvature of my spine. Since all other gear is so light the extra weight of the pack does not negatively impact me -- actually I hike faster and negotiate difficult terrain like a big horn because the almost becomes part of my body. Never ever discomfort from the shoulder straps or hip belt.

My point is that if you minimize all your gear a proper fitted framed pack will make more efficient and happier. But you will lose your SUL "bragging" and only be UL.

Hoever my main focus is always total pack weight, not base weight.

And for the OP, that is my point.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Nick on 09/21/2012 10:09:49 MDT Print View

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

I am not sure this is quite correct. Your knees will take the same strain whether the load is supported by your shoulders or your hips. Taking the weight off the shoulders and onto the hips has no additional effect on the knees. Does it have an effect on comfort, yessir.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
But.. on 09/21/2012 10:17:57 MDT Print View

Think about it, a lighter frameless pack = less weight on your knees, and hips + shoulders depending on how you like load transfer.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: But.. on 09/21/2012 10:22:36 MDT Print View

Yeah - I am with you on the lighter weight = less strain on the entire body, including the knees. My point was only that if you can do all that and put most of the weight on the hips, you can get maximum comfort and as such, won't affect the knees any differently. Quite frankly, a pair of stays can weigh as little as 2 total oz and provide optimum weight transfer, assuming the rest of the pack is designed well (i.e. nice, wide belt, etc).

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Considering a GG Gorilla on 09/21/2012 11:29:33 MDT Print View

My Gorilla is a thousand times more comfortable than the Exos 46 I had. In fact, every pack I own is more comfortable than my Exos 46 was. Exos is a cool, well thought out pack though.

Gorilla is on sale, buy one and test it at home. All it will cost you is shipping. But like others have said, the weight difference between a Gorilla and the 46 is not exactly huge. Probably more fair to compare the weight difference in the 46 and the Mariposa+.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
don't give it up on 09/21/2012 20:17:49 MDT Print View

I didn't even bother to read the replies.

If you like the Exos 46 and it fits you well keep it. It will carry more weight comfortably than any frameless pack. It will keep you cooler than any frameless pack. For that extra pound of weight you will be much more comfortable and be able to use it for more if needed.

Since I wrote this review ( ) I have put many hundreds of miles on the 46. It is my most used pack. The 34 is a close second.

Now if you are a cold-blooded person that never sweats when hiking hard and wants an extra layer on your back to keep you warm disregard this post. ;-)

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Keep It on 09/21/2012 20:33:32 MDT Print View

This may be somewhat cynical of me to say, but after testing a wide number of packs over the last two years, I have decided that a well-fitting pack is worth several ounces. I currently carry a pack that I would love to shave a good 8 ounces or more off of, but nothing carries like it does for me. And that's really the kicker. Fit is so personal, especially as custom packs require a significant investment of money or MYOG skill (which often means money too as a pack goes through several iterations to get it right). If you find a pack that works for you, I'd spend my money elsewhere on other ways to lighten the load or deepen my trips into the shoulder and winter seasons.

That said, having tried the Gorilla, GG customer service was excellent and easy to deal with. I'm always down for trying one more pack on to see if the fit is even better. So, buy it while it's on sale, and if it doesn't work, you'll only be out for the money shipping there and back. That's well worth the piece of mind and the learning you'll gain from studying another pack closely.

Also, the Gorilla hoop stay is quite brilliant. I am already planning on ways to modify my Granite Gear Crown to add it permanently. I'm a big believer in having products in hand to examine closely and consider.

Dale South
(dsouth) - M

Locale: Southeast
Gorilla, Exos, Zpack on 09/21/2012 21:01:57 MDT Print View

I have a Gorilla, an Exos 46, an Exos 34, a Zpacks Zero Small, and a GG Murmur. I haven't used the Exos packs in over two years. I really hate the frame and hate the shape of the interior pocket because of the frame. I use the Gorilla and the Murmur for all of my trips and have for the last two years. I just purchased the Zpack for SUL summer trips. I also have a ULA Circuit. There is just nothing more comfortable than my Gorilla and Murmur with my particular gear. YMMV.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Considering a GG Gorilla, but afraid to give up my osprey frame... on 09/21/2012 21:17:10 MDT Print View

You won't save much weight and it won't carry as well and will be hotter too. The Gorilla is technically an internal frame pack. The large Gorilla is spec'd at 27oz and the Exos is 35oz. What would you gain to lose 8oz?

Loading the Gorilla will be a pickier process than your Exos I think. I got an Exos because I got tired of fiddling with frameless packs and the need to load them carefully to get good weight transfer.

The Gorilla is $40 off for a few days.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
fit on 09/22/2012 10:45:07 MDT Print View

a pack must fit ... get whatever pack fits best and does what you want ...

doesnt matter if its a little osprey birdie or a 800 pound gorilla ...

what you shouldnt do is go out and buy a pack simply because you feel some virtual BPL pressure to not use a slightly "heavier" mainstream pack that you can buy at REI vs. some cool cottage BPLers approved one that has some UL snob appeal ;)

id just use a pack that fits and works well till it dies personally ... there will ALWAYS be "better" upgrades, no matter what shiniest newest toys you may have ...

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Nick on 09/23/2012 08:16:58 MDT Print View

I'm with Nick. Having a framed pack with the stays that fit the curvature of your spine makes for a much more comfortable trip, even when costing an extra 1-2 lbs. The reason is 1) the pack moves with you, 2) you can get proper weight transfer and, 3) you can have proper hiking posture. Sure, a framed pack bumps me out of the SUL weight class, but do I really care about that, when I'm more comfortable when I'm actually outside? Not at all. The purpose of going ultralight is 1) minimalism
and 2) comfort. A framed pack doesn't impact 1), and greatly improves 2) (for me), despite being in good shape and an active 30 years young. My base weight with a 20oz pack is between 6 and 7lbs, and most trips are sub-15lb. Even at these weights, the difference is substantial.

Even if you pack a frameless pack correctly for proper weight transfer to the hips (packed tightly), you'll have a triangular gap between the shoulder strap connection and your upper back. This makes a pack carry less stable and creates a rearward force when hiking. You can easily compensate by slouching forward, but over long miles, this isn't very comfortable. Many people will say that you can use soft goods in the pack, and punch the pack into submission (to form to your back), but this doesn't last. I found that I had to do it quite frequently - the formation wouldn't stay that way. It was a real hassle. This is because you had the pack it tight in order to get good weight transfer.

I've tried both the Burn and the Gorilla, with and without stays and sitpad.

I found the Gorilla very uncomfortable overall. The sitpad inteferes with pulling the hipbelt tight, by creating firm corners that dug into the back of my hips. The pack was infinitely more comfortable with the sitpad INSIDE the pack. The shoulder straps were too wide as was the hipbelt. IMO, they're unnecessarily wide, and are created in a 'squarish' design that doesn't work well with curves of the human body. When you add the hoop stay, I found that even though you can curve it to fit the curvature of your spine, the connection to the hipbelt is quite poor. The frame (and pack) will rotate away from the hipbelt and create the same backwards forces that a normal frameless pack will do. My opinion is that any frameless pack with a hoop stay will do this. If you want a frame to do what it does best, you have to design the pack AROUND the frame, and create an extremely strong connection to the hipbelt to avoid this backwards twist. However, I absolutely LOVED the side pockets on the Gorilla. They're very well structured and make it very convenient for water, food, a rain jacket, etc.

The Burn was fine, but it still had the backwards forces that all frameless packs tend to have. I also found the hipbelt too short to properly grip my hips. It wasn't much better than a webbing belt.

IMO, if you want to try a frameless pack, skip the Gorilla/Swift/Ohm and go all the way with something like the Murmer Hyperlite, SMD Feather, MLD Burn or ZPacks Zero/Blast. All the fancy convert-a-frame features in the world don't make up for a pack that's really a frameless pack with a frame added as a secondary thought.

IMO, frameless packs are good if you don't mind carrying most of the weight on your shoulders. Then you can pack it loose and conform it to fit your back for a good fit, and you can have proper posture when hiking. The minute you pack it tight enough for hip weight transfer, you lose the ability to conform it to your back, and you have to begin hiking in a forward leaning posture.

Note that with a framed pack, you don't have to carry all the weight on your hips. You can easily loosen the hipbelt to variably shift some (or all) of the weight onto your shoulders. I do this all the time.

I find that a good pack is like a good sleeping pad. If you find a pack that allows you to hike comfortably, screw the weight. If you find a sleeping pad that allows you to sleep comfortably, screw the weight.

EDIT: Another big problem with almost every frameless pack, is that they have hipbelt wings. There's a big difference between the comfort of hipbelt wings, and a centrally-attached hipbelt (where the attachment of hipbelt-to-pack is ~6" wide, in the center of the pack).

EDIT: You don't need a frameless pack to have it be lightweight. It's just an unfortunate side-affect of manufacturers that make framed packs. I'd love to see a cottage gear maker like SMD/GG/MLD/Zpacks design a REAL framed pack, where the frame is an integral part of the backpack (none of this hybrid crap). You can easily make them around 20oz. It's unfortunate that no one does this and you have to enter the MYOG world. I've spoken with Paul briefly about the 16oz framed pack he designed:

I plan on making one myself, soon (waiting to find some DX40-like material). I'd gladly pay $200-300 for such a backpack. Do you hear me SMD/GG/MLD/Zpacks!?!? No one makes anything like this on the market! Yes, you heard me right... absolutely NO competition AT ALL!

I even contacted Chris Zimmer at Zimmerpacks, and he didn't want to design this sort of properly framed pack. The only framed pack he would do was the traditional frameless-converted-to-framed backpack, with hipbelt wings and corner stay attachment. I was pretty disappointed.

Edited by lindahlb on 09/23/2012 08:59:18 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Brian on 09/23/2012 09:03:37 MDT Print View

Brian do you have plans for that MYOG pack of yours? If so I'd love too see them. I just got fabric and a frame for a MYOG pack project.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re Brian on 09/23/2012 09:35:11 MDT Print View

Paul sent me detailed plans and patterns for his pack. I think he anticipated on writing up an article about it at some point. I can certainly forward on what he gave me. Send me your email address in a PM.