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The 50 pound (GGear) Gorilla
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
The 50 pound (GGear) Gorilla on 06/19/2013 17:45:31 MDT Print View

[Disclaimer: as a GG trail ambassador I got this pack for free. The modification itself is neither supervised, condoned, or monitored by Gossamer Gear. Use at your own risk.]

I couldn't help myself. When I have what seems like a good idea, I have to see if it works. In this case, if you ever intend to use your Gossamer Gear Gorilla to haul a ~27 pound mountain bike and 4 days of gear over a 10,000' ridge, you might consider the following.


Photo by Casey Greene.

Kifaru and other packmakers who specialize in obscene loads have stays which insert from the bottom up, and pockets built into the hipbelt which help retain the stays when the lumbar pad folds over and attaches. You can do something similar with a Gorilla by sewing pockets into the belt and cutting holes in the backpanel so the stays can protrude out of their channel and into the new belt pockets.


I laminated (with seam grip) ovals of 500D cordura to the backpanel fabric about 7 inches above the bottom of the stay channels. This layer is intended to keep the thinner backpanel fabric from ripping or unraveling. Then, very carefully, cut a hole in the Cordura, backpanel fabric, and the layer of grosgrain which forms the back of the stay channel. Don't cut the outer layer of grosgrain, or outside the stitching which holds the stay channel in place. Melt the fabric layers into an ellipse. Squish the fabric edges together. Make the hole just big enough for the stay to go through.


The stay pockets in the belt should be pretty burly. I used a double layer of ballistics nylon, which holds stitching well and is resistant to abrasion. Pockets were 9" apart center to center, which matches the spacing of the stay pockets at the bottom of the pack.


Bartacks at the corners, and triple stitching down the edges. Bartacks along the edges wouldn't be a bad idea, if your machine can do it.

Once completed, the stay can be used as stock, or pushed out the hole and inserted into the belt pockets. Weight transfer with the later is quite a bit better. The only limitation is that the stock sitlight pad might not be enough to alleviate pressure points from the stays in the belt. A thin, stiff layer of foam under the sitlight would probably solve that. I haven't got there yet.

As I said, use at your own risk.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: The 50 pound (GGear) Gorilla on 06/19/2013 20:43:34 MDT Print View

Have you run into problems with the 6061 aluminum stock GG uses? From my experience with the Gorilla, the stay is pretty bendy. Also, the one I loaded up and wore around the house had a very poor connection between the hipbelt and pack. The velcro that they use was not enough, IMO.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: 50 pound Gorilla on 06/19/2013 20:51:08 MDT Print View

I'm sure I had a decent bit over 40 pounds on the pack the first day of this trip, with the bike being most of that and not exactly an optimal application of said weight. The pack, with my mod, carried the weight well. I was able to downclimb 3rd class rock and dirt, and 40 degree snow, as well as could be expected. In short, I've been quite impressed with that little piece of tubing.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: re: 50 pound Gorilla on 06/19/2013 23:56:22 MDT Print View

Glad to hear it. I imagine that the difference in body type is as much a part of pack performance. I found it completely inadequate for my needs--largely due to the shoulder straps design (sewn straight across at an angle) to adapt to my trapezius muscles and the stay's inability to completely compensate for this. Whatever performance it could muster was then completely compromised.

Sadly, I actually quite like GG's newest designs. I recently tried the Kumo for a 3-4 day pack, since that will be most of my trips for the summer. But the straight-across shoulder strap design wrapped my shoulders very poorly, and I had to send it back, despite several attempts to make it work. Comparably, ULA and HMG have my profile pretty well nailed.

Again, this shows just how personal pack fit can be. If something works for you, it can really work. But if it doesn't--well, shit.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
The 50 pound (GGear) Gorilla on 06/20/2013 00:52:32 MDT Print View

Very interesting and kind of makes me wonder why someone hasn't made a pack like this already. I love my Gorilla, but never carry more than 25lbs so wont be making it into Frankengoriila.

Dave - how do you find the Gorilla as a bikepacking pack? I haven't used mine in that mode yet and also don't have any experience with other packs in a bikepacking environment to compare it to. Having read your BPl article on bikepacking packs I reckoned it could be quite good. It would save me having to get another pack, which seeing how much I have spent on bike stuff this year would be good.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
bikepacking with the Gorilla on 06/20/2013 07:29:39 MDT Print View

Jason, for this trip it was ideal. Most of our riding was pretty non-technical, and in those situations I had the heaviest stuff off-loaded into a seatbag or partial framebag. The Gorilla had maybe 10 pounds of clothes, bag, and shelter. The pack was easily big enough for everything while packing (I.e. carrying) the bike, but I could also put more weight in the pack for the longer pushing sessions, which makes pushing the bike easier.

The hipbelt is a bit wide (I'm on the narrower side of a medium belt) and thus digs into my stomach a little while pedaling if the belt is cinched up. Not an issue as I don't like using a belt to take weight when I'm pedaling.

kevin timm
(ktimm) - MLife

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
obscene loads on 06/24/2013 08:25:29 MDT Print View

You might want to add Paradoxpacks to the obscene load group. We've been doing extensive testing and are almost ready for production. I have had up to 130 lbs in one and the pack has been a lot better than me. Weights are 2.5 to 4.5 lbs depending on configuration. It is also extremely comfortable at lower loads such as 20 lbs