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Gossamer Gear Air Beam...
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Matt Weaver
(norcalweaver) - F

Locale: PacNW
Gossamer Gear Air Beam... on 02/15/2013 19:19:44 MST Print View

Picked one up on a whim, came in today. Did a quick 5 miler with all my multi-day gear to give it a whirl, love it. I recently cut down my regular Xlite pad to ~46" and was planning on using the sitlight pad that came with my Kumo to stick under my legs below the xlite when sleeping, but saw this air beam and had to give it a chance. I wasn't going to bring the supplied bulb pump with me but glad I did. Found I liked the AB a fair bit more underinflated then I initially anticipated. I'll now use the AB below my pad. It'll be a much better fit as the lumbar section of the AB is about an inch and a half so makes for a fairly smooth transition from bottom of xlite to it; far more agreeable then with the sitlight. As far as the ABs function as a pack frame, so much comfier then the sitlight. The sitlight has been fine really with my packed weights of ~15lbs, but regardless of how I packed my bag it still felt like I was carrying a cylindrical tube. The AB flattens it out very well, and has larger baffles along the edges going down your back, and also a cluster of larger baffles that hugs the lower small of your back. Like mentioned, when I made this impulse purchase I had no intent of carrying the inflation bulb with me, but I enjoyed being able to quickly deflate or add a little more air throughout the hike. Much like tightening/loosening straps to redistribute pressure points and weight every now and then. The complete setup weighs 2 ounces more then the foam back pad I was previously using, but since I cut off 4.5 ounces off my xlite we'll call it good. Some times comfort trumps weight.

Anyways, before I purchased the AB I couldn't find any info or reviews on it so maybe this will help some folks out who are considering picking one up. I thought it would be gimmicky and partially hoaky but I really, really like it. It hugs the back exceptionally well, makes the frameless bag actually feel like it has a frame, and the weight penalty is not terrible.

http://gossamergear.com/featured/gg-airbeam-pack-frame.html

Gossamer Gear Air Beam Kumo 1

Gossamer Gear Air Beam Kumo 2

Edited by norcalweaver on 02/15/2013 19:24:06 MST.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Gossamer Gear Air Beam... on 02/15/2013 19:59:48 MST Print View

Thanks Matt! I had started a thread about these kinds of "frames," wondering about their practical use. Good to see some reports coming out.

Chad Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
Re: Gossamer Gear Air Beam... on 02/15/2013 21:21:19 MST Print View

Do you find this pad to be cooler than your sitlight pad when used as the back frame in your pack? Do the chambers allow more air flow?

Matt Weaver
(norcalweaver) - F

Locale: PacNW
Re: Re: Gossamer Gear Air Beam... on 02/15/2013 21:43:48 MST Print View

Today it was in the low 50s with a real light breeze so really it was ideal hiking weather and kept me from ever getting hot, back or anywhere else. When I was hiking in the hotter weather last year though I do remember getting some warm spots from the sitlight pad, because I never felt like the pad was evenly distributed against my back. It laid heavy on the backs of my shoulder blades and lower back, but squished in so it didn't feel like just the dimples were contacting me, more like a solid piece of warm foam laying across those contact areas. But, as said I haven't hiked with the air frame in comparably hot temperatures, but this frame contacts my whole back very evenly; I don't feel like one spot is being smashed against me any more then another area. So, it feels like it's sitting lighter on the back which I think will cut down on the "warm spots" I was experiencing before.

Some of this is speculation though on my part, I'll find out for sure in a couple months with some real world warm weather testing.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Re: Re: Gossamer Gear Air Beam... on 02/16/2013 08:49:41 MST Print View

Matt,

Thank you for the write up. It sounds as if the AB may improve the comfort and load carrying capacity of your GG pack by quite a bit. I just received my Kumo in the mail a few days ago and it'll be interesting to hear how you and others like carrying the AB as opposed to the flimsy CCF pad.

I am too interested in the potential for how well it keeps sweat off ones back. Speaking of which, I wonder if Gossamer will come out with an estimated R-Value? ;)

Edited by timdcy on 02/16/2013 08:59:08 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Air Beam on 02/17/2013 08:29:31 MST Print View

"I wonder if Gossamer will come out with an estimated R-Value?"
With no internal insulation, baffles or reflective layers, the pad is simply an air space, which is R-1.0.

Edited by dandydan on 02/17/2013 08:30:11 MST.

Art Tyszka
(arttyszka) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
WOW on 03/23/2013 11:20:39 MDT Print View

So I'll preface this with the disclaimer that I am prejudiced to an air frame, I have a MLD Exodus FS as my primary pack and LOVE it. I've worked hard to get my base weight to rough;y 9.75 lbs for temps down into the high 20's but still prefer the carry of a true suspension, so the Exodus FS was a dream come true for me, the ARC Blast may be next.

But anyway, I've been using a 2012 Murmur as a daypack and took it on one very light overnight last year. I love the pack for day trips, but with my full kit, or close to it, it deformed too much for my liking. It didn't sit very well on back and just didn't feel nearly as well placed as the Exodus FS.

I just received a medium Air Beam from GG, and all I can say is WOW. It's like a whole new pack, the AB gives the pack a much more rigid structure and it transfers much more weight to my hips. Before, with the SitLight pad the hip belt was more for balance and to keep the pack from bouncing around. With the AB it can actually transfer weight and it doesn't deform with gear in it.

I loaded it up with a quilt (for volume) and some crap laying around the basement to get it to ~15 lbs and walked around a bit, it's a whole new pack. If you're on the fence about adding an AB to a GG or any other pack, give it a try, I'm sure glad I just did. Now I just need to get "out there" and give it a real test.

Edited by arttyszka on 03/23/2013 11:22:39 MDT.

Herbert Sitz
(hes)

Locale: Pacific NW
Why Airbeam vs. Sitlight? on 03/23/2013 15:18:42 MDT Print View

Interesting info on airbeam, I may end up trying one out.

I would say, though, that the little Sitlight pad that GG ships with their pack is pretty pathetic at adding structure to the pack, and not much better at just being padding. I use my Murmur with the 3-panel GG Nightlite Torso in the external pad pockets and a rolled up 3/16"x72" GG pad inside the pack with main items packed inside that pad's hollow cylinder.

Like the Airbeam my pad combination is way better than the puny GG Sitlight, and just the 3-panel GG Nightlight Torso alone would be too. I'm kind of curious how the thicker Nightlight Torso compares to the Airbeam, with or without additional pad tube in main body of pack.

Edited by hes on 03/23/2013 23:58:20 MDT.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
My New Pillow on 03/23/2013 19:14:24 MDT Print View

And I think I just found my new pillow.

gg1

gg2

Compared to my Exped air pillow.

gg3

Kevin Manley
(manleyk) - F - MLife

Locale: Denver-ish
Hot... on 06/19/2013 00:34:33 MDT Print View

Anyone use the Air Beam yet for hiking in hot weather? I'm wondering if it is any cooler than the sit pad that comes with the Gorilla.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Why Airbeam vs. Sitlight? on 06/19/2013 04:51:44 MDT Print View

I bought one for my daughter a couple months ago. I used it last week for a day and she used it the rest of the week long trip.

1) It was fairly light in her Gossamer Gear G5. The entire pad/pack combo was around 11oz.
2) It was fairly effective transfering her load, but I thought it was a bit whimpy. I had about 24 pounds (total pack weight, including food and water) She was carrying about 15 pounds. My pack was the GG Miniposa with a 5 layer, 3/4 lenghth NightLite, but both of these are no longer available. The pad was 5.8oz before taping it back together, 9.2oz after all the duct tape. Overall it carries 15 pounds OK, but no more. The modded NightLite carries 25 pounds comfortably. The modded pad was thicker at around 2.5". The AirBeam(AB) was about 1.75". The AB has vertical partitions making it rather rounded, making it seem more "tuby" on my back. The modded pad was much flatter making it feel like a pack. Load transfer was whimpy. Even pumped up to the max (~100 pumps) it tended to fold near the hips where max load was. The modded pad did not and carried 24 pounds fine.
3) As a pillow (folded in half in a stuff sack with a few pumps) it was OK. But it needed a sweater wrapped around it inside the stuff sack for comfort.
4) It was easy to put in the pad keeper. Easier than than the modded pad.

If you are using SUL gear, I would probably not use it. The modded pad (52" long) worked fine for many years. For light weight packing it is too whimpy for loading 20-25 pounds. Soo, it doesn't really have a good home. As a pillow it worked OK. As a 3 season pad extender it works OK, but it gets easily seperated. You really need some sort of velcro to lock the two pads together. Without some sort of heat baffle, you cannot take it down to 32F or below...it will bleed too much heat.

Kevin Manley
(manleyk) - F - MLife

Locale: Denver-ish
Review on 06/19/2013 11:40:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for the review! I was thinking of using it with the aluminum stays if it was floppy.

I think your final comment tells me what I was asking about (though the rest was helpful, too). Am I correct in assuming that the Air Beam is cooler on the back than the sit pad?

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Review on 06/19/2013 14:00:42 MDT Print View

Kevin, Well, I cannot comment on the heat. The trip was mostly in the rain...damp and rather cool. My day hike with it was when there was still a bit of snow on the ground. It did real well with a 10 pound day pack (a GG Murmur, lunch, my SVEA, and some extra clothing.) In any case, a "frameless" pack is always warm on your back. I don't really expect any difference between them.