Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review

Lower volume ultralight backpack with removable stays and other components - so you can set up the pack for individual trips and personal preferences to your heart's content.

Hightly Recommended

Overall Rating: Highly Recommended

It’s rare to review a product with only minor flaws, and for those exceptional products, we reserve our Highly Recommended rating. The Gorilla is a perfect size for ultralight backpacking, for a wide range of trip lengths. Many of its components are removable, so it can readily be set up for individual trips and user preferences. This versatile pack can be stripped down to a 15.6-ounce frameless backpack for light loads, or built up to comfortably carry 25-plus-pound loads when needed. For the ultralight backpacker, this is one pack that will do it all.

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by Will Rietveld |

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review - 1
The new Gorilla backpack is Gossamer Gear's latest and greatest - 2800 cubic inches and 24.5 ounces (size Large). It's constructed of durable fabrics and mesh and has a new contoured removable aluminum frame.

Introduction

I still have my original Gossamer Gear G4 frameless backpack. It has a few holes in the bottom from scraping over rocks, but it's still a perfectly good pack. Fast forward to the new Gossamer Gorilla pack, and you will notice some familiar features - front and side mesh pockets, rolltop closure, wide shoulder straps, sleeping pad sleeve, and you can still stuff socks for padding in the shoulder straps and hipbelt if you want. Conceptually, Gossamer Gear packs have not changed, but there are huge improvements in the details that make them a whole lot better. The new Gorilla backpack, with its durable fabrics and removable curved aluminum frame, is state-of-the-art Gossamer Gear. (And you can still purchase a new G4 if you need a replacement.)

Gossamer Gear introduced an ultralight removable frame in their Mariposa backpack back in 2004, consisting of two straight carbon fiber stays (0.9 ounce/pair) inserted into sleeves on the backpanel. The Mariposa could be used either as a frameless backpack or with the stays inserted to increase its load carrying capacity. The concept was a big advancement at the time (an ultralight frameless or internal frame backpack ALL IN ONE!), but the straight stays were less than ideal for pack fit and load-carrying comfort. After experimenting with several prototypes, they developed a curved aluminum stay (3.4 ounces) that fits into the same sleeves on the backpanel. I have tested both versions and can unequivocally say that the curved stay, along with other improvements incorporated into the Gorilla pack, are a big improvement. This pack is near perfection!

Description

The new Gossamer Gear Gorilla is designed to be as versatile as possible. The pack comes in three sizes (S, M, L) and three hipbelt sizes are available. The pack body is the same for all pack sizes; the shoulder straps are simply sewn on at different heights to create different pack torso lengths. Many components (frame, hipbelt, sternum strap, shoulder strap and hipbelt padding, bungie system) of the pack are removable, so the user can choose the components he/she wants to use. Accessory hipbelt pockets are available for hikers who want to add them.

The Gorilla (2800 cubic inches, 23.2 ounces size Medium) is the second lightest internal frame backpack available. The lightest is the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus (3600 cubic inches, 22.3 ounces size Medium), which is constructed of lighter fabrics and has the same stay (yes, the stay is interchangeable, and older Mariposas can be easily retrofitted).

The key factors that differentiate the Gorilla (besides its lower volume) are more durable fabrics (210 denier PU coated ripstop body and durable stretch nylon pockets) and removable curved stay. The revised Miniposa (14.5 ounces size Medium) has the same dimensions and feature set, but it is constructed of silnylon and does not have a stay. The difference in weight between the two packs is 7.8 ounces, which is the weight added to the Gorilla by the removable frame and durable fabrics.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review - 2
Views of the Gossamer Gear Gorilla: The front view (top left) shows the pack's large front pocket made of durable stretch nylon. There are six loops in the side seams to attach a bungie system (not shown). The backpanel view (top right) shows the pack's wide shoulder straps and backpanel sleeve to hold a sleeping pad. The hipbelt pocket on the left is my camera case, and the right pocket is a Gossamer Gear add-on hipbelt pocket ($15). A side view (bottom left) shows a lower mesh pocket designed to make water bottles reachable. And the top view (bottom right) shows the pack's drawcord closure and top compression strap.

Suspension System and Features

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review - 3
Gossamer Gear's new curved stay (left) is made of aluminum tubing and weighs 3.4 ounces. It easily slips into sleeves sewn on the inside of the pack's backpanel (right). A silnylon hydration sleeve is visible inside the pack.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review - 4
Like other Gossamer Gear packs, the Gorilla has a mesh sleeve on the backpanel (left) that allows the user to insert a sleeping pad for padding. The mesh used in the sleeve is much improved over previous versions. Shoulder straps (center) measure nearly four inches wide from edge to edge, have removable closed cell foam padding, and are faced with 3D wicking mesh on the inside. The removable hipbelt (right, 4.1 ounces size Medium) is a similar width and construction.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review - 5
The new stretch nylon pockets on the Gorilla are really stretchy and very durable. The bottoms of the three exterior pockets (one front, two side) are 210 denier ripstop nylon for increased durability.

Note that the Gorilla pack does not have a torso length adjustment, so it's important to measure your torso length and choose the correct pack size. Hipbelt sizes are based on hiker girth. The only pack fit adjustment on the Gorilla is the shoulder strap length; the pack does not have load lifter straps or hipbelt stabilizer straps.

Field Testing

I tested the Gorilla on a number of on-trail and off-trail summer backpacking trips in the southern Rockies, carrying weights ranging from 10 to 25 pounds. For one quick overnight trip, I stripped the Gorilla down to a 15.6 ounce minimalist frameless backpack (I did leave the 0.4 ounce shoulder strap pads in) and carried 12.5 pounds. I also tested the pack fully equipped on walks near home with weights ranging from 25 to 35 pounds to determine its comfortable weight carrying capacity.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review - 6
Fully loaded Gorilla pack with 21 pounds (left), and the same pack used on a day trip from a base camp (right).

My immediate (and continuing) impressions of the Gorilla are as follows:

  • For me, the pack volume is perfect for ultralight backpacking (same for the Miniposa). It has the right amount of room for my ultralight gear kit, plus room for food, water, and fuel for up to eight days.
  • The construction is excellent. Stitching is close and tight, and there are adequate reinforcements in stress areas.
  • The new curved aluminum stay is golden! I really like the pack's fit.
  • I love the pack's wide shoulder straps for distributing weight, and the 3D mesh backing resists sliding on my shoulders.
  • The new stretch nylon exterior pockets really stretch out and will hold a lot of gear, and they're very durable. Outside pockets on some packs are tight and hard to get items in and out, but not so on the Gorilla.
  • The backpanel sleeping pad sleeve is much improved; it has stretch nylon panels on the side and 3D wicking fabric face, and it doesn't stretch out of shape and bleed dye like the mesh used on the old Miniposa.
  • The side pockets are shorter and angled to make a water bottle reachable with the pack on, but I use a hydration system, so I would prefer taller side pockets that would hold more (can't satisfy everyone!).
  • It's easy to access the hydration sleeve, and it's very easy to pass a drink tube through a port and down a shoulder strap.
  • The Gorilla functions well as a daypack for going on a day hike from a base camp
  • I really like the durable fabrics; this pack is built to last. The added weight is about 4.3 ounces.
  • The hipbelt requires some effort to remove because it has a Velcro patch on both sides. It's much easier to put back on.
  • Likewise, the sternum requires some effort to remove and replace. A screw driver helps.
  • The stay is very easy to remove and replace. The curvature can be changed by bending it over something round, but I found the pre-bent curvature just fine.

The heavier loads I carried with the Gorilla were 21 pounds on a base camping trip with my wife, and 25 pounds on another trip where I carried a friend's ridiculous 7-pound tent to help reduce his 40-pound-plus load (we talked a lot about how to reduce his pack weight!). I found the Gorilla, with all of its components, surprisingly comfortable carrying these weights. The wide shoulder straps really function well to distribute weight, so I did not have any shoulder strap pain at all, and tightening the hipbelt worked as expected to transfer weight to my hips.

From my weighted pack tests I conclude that the maximum weight carrying capacity (for me) for the Gorilla is about 30 pounds, and the comfortable weight carrying capacity is around 25 pounds. The stay in the Gorilla pack simply resides in sleeves on the backpanel. It is not anchored to the hipbelt at all, so there is no structural connection to support the weight. My opinion is that 25 pounds is a comfortable maximum weight for this pack, but it can easily carry up to 30 pounds when needed.

The Gorilla can be stripped down to a frameless backpack weighing 15.6 ounces (with 0.4 ounce shoulder strap padding left in). It requires some effort to remove the hipbelt and sternum strap, but once it's accomplished, pack weight can be reduced by half a pound. The Gorilla is delightful to carry frameless with a light load; the wide shoulder straps distribute weight very well, and the 3D mesh backing minimizes sliding on the shoulders.

Comparisons

The following table compares packs currently available that have removable stays, allowing the pack to be used either frameless or with an internal frame. Note: information is manufacturer data for a size Medium pack.

Pack Total Weight With Stays Volume (cubic inches) Fabric Stay Description Stay Weight (ounces) Adjustable Torso Cost (US$)
Gossamer Gear Gorilla 23.2 2800 210d ripstop Contoured aluminum tubing 3.4 No 165
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus 22.3 3600 70d ripstop Contoured aluminum tubing 3.4 No 160
Six Moon Designs Starlite 30.0 4200 210d Dyneema 2 flat curved aluminum 5.0 Yes 175
Six Moon Designs Traveler 31.0 3800 210d Dyneema 2 flat curved aluminum 5.0 Yes 190

Note that all comparable backpacks have a much larger volume than the Gorilla, so the Gorilla is in a class by itself. If you are looking for a smaller volume backpack with removable stays, the Gorilla is the only one available. If you need more volume for lightweight backpacking or bulkier loads, you have a choice of three pack models that have removable stays. Of those, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus is the lightest by 8 ounces, but it does not have an adjustable torso.

Assessment

Some readers may wonder why a 2800 cubic inch backpack needs a frame at all. The general rule of thumb is that a frameless backpack is comfortable to carry with loads less than 20 pounds. Of course that number will vary a bit up or down depending on hiker size and strength. For carrying more than 20 pounds, an internal frame backpack is recommended, and the sturdiness (and weight) of the pack will increase as the load increases. The Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack is extremely versatile because it can be used as a frameless backpack up to about 20 pounds, and the lightweight stay can be added to comfortably carry loads up to 25 pounds, or more. With food, water, and fuel, my pack weight is usually in the 17- to 21-pound range, occasionally higher for longer trips, so I find the frame to be a benefit on most of my trips.

Another potential issue may be the need for heavier, more durable fabrics in an ultralight backpack. There are definitely lighter packs available for ultralight backpacking, but they are strictly frameless backpacks. A removable frame backpack requires stronger fabrics to avoid damage from the stays wearing through or seams blowing out when the pack is under stress from heavier loads.

More durable fabrics also extend the life of the backpack considerably. The initial trend in ultralight frameless backpacks was to make them as light as possible, which meant really light fabrics like spinnaker and cuben fiber. And, yes, it is nice to have a super light pack for the times you want to backpack as light as possible. However, the current trend is to balance lightweight and durability, as evidenced by many of the current backpack models offered by Gossamer Gear, Six Moon Designs, Ultralight Adventure Equipment, and Mountain Laurel Designs. Pack designers and users have realized that incorporating durable fabrics into a pack does not increase weight that much, but it vastly increases durability and longevity. If you subscribe to that rationale, the Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack is an excellent choice.

Since I most frequently carry loads in the 17- to 21-pound range, I was inclined to use the Gorilla with all of its components because they simply work well together to provide a very comfortable pack that carries a moderate load very well. I personally found all of the features on the Gorilla worth their weight, except the bungie system, which I don't find very useful, but it's easily added when it's needed. The 1.6-ounce SitLight pad provided with the pack is also very useful as a backpanel pad, if you don't use a sleeping pad that is compatible with the pad sleeve (like the Big Agnes Clearview pad or Therm-a-Rest NeoAir pad). The bottom line is the Gorilla comes with a full complement of features, and most of them are removable, so you can set up the pack to match the trip and your personal preferences to your heart's content. Or, if you simply use the pack the way it comes out of the box, it's still very light and very comfortable to carry with moderate loads.

Specifications

  Year/Model

2009 Gossamer Gear Gorilla (www.gossamergear.com/)

  Style

Removable internal frame, top loading, roll down top with top compression strap

  Volume

2800 cu in (46 L) total
2,400 cu in (39 L) in main pack body and extension collar
400 cu in (6.5 L) in front and side pockets

  Weight

Size L tested, includes pack, frame, shoulder and hipbelt pads, bungie attachment system.
Measured weight: 24.5 oz (695 g)
Manufacturer specification: 24.2 oz (686 g)

  Sizes Available

Unisex S, M, L; 3 hipbelt sizes

  Torso Fit Range

Small: fits torsos 13-17 in (33-43 cm)
Medium: fits torsos 16-20 in (41-51 cm)
Large: fits torsos 20-24 in (51-61 cm)

  Fabrics

210d PU coated ripstop nylon, 30d silnylon, 4.5 oz/yd2 stretch nylon

  Frame Material

6061 aluminum tubing

  Features

Durable fabrics, removable curved aluminum stay, removable hipbelt available in 3 sizes, removable/adjustable sternum strap with whistle buckle, removable padding in shoulder straps and hipbelt, removable front bungie system, sleeping pad sleeve on backpanel, one front and two side stretch nylon pockets with 210d ripstop nylon on bottom, twp side compression straps, Y-top compression strap, extension collar, drawcord closure, 3D wicking fabric on inside of shoulder straps and hipbelt and on the backpanel, hydration sleeve with two hose ports, ice axe loop, haul loop

  Volume To Weight Ratio

114.3 cu in/oz (based on 2800 cu in and measured weight of 24.5 oz)

  Maximum Comfortable Load Carrying Capacity

25 lb estimated comfortable load for an average person carrying the pack all day

  Carry Load to Pack Weight Ratio

16.3 (based on 25 lb and a measured weight of 1.53 lb)

  MSRP

US$165

  Included

Pack with curved aluminum stay and hipbelt, closed cell foam pads for hipbelt and shoulder straps, bungie system, SitLight pad for backpanel

What's Good

  • Lightest lower volume removable frame backpack available.
  • Pack volume is just right for ultralight backpacking.
  • Three pack sizes and three hipbelt sizes to fit most hikers.
  • Removable stays allow use as a frameless or internal frame pack.
  • Many components are removable, allowing the user to set up the pack for individual trips or personal preference.
  • Durable fabrics and mesh.
  • Contoured tubular frame is very lightweight and fits well.
  • Stretch nylon pockets are very durable and stretch easily to hold a lot of gear.
  • Fits well (if you choose the correct size).
  • Comfortably carries moderate loads.

What's Not So Good

  • No backpanel ventilation.
  • Frame not anchored to hipbelt.
  • Shoulder straps may be too wide for some hikers.
  • Grosgrain loop on frontpanel interferes with tightening the top strap.

Recommendations For Improvement

  • None, the Gorilla pack is as ideal as it gets.


Citation

"Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/gg_gorilla_backpack_review.html, 2009-10-13 00:10:00-06.

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Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/13/2009 14:05:38 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review

Thomas Gauperaa
(gauperaa) - F - M

Locale: Norway
Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/13/2009 16:02:00 MDT Print View

Very nice review - thanks!

Edited by gauperaa on 10/13/2009 16:02:46 MDT.

JASON CUZZETTO
(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
"Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review" on 10/13/2009 16:19:45 MDT Print View

Great article and well written. Though I am not compelled to go out and buy this pack. Maybe because the author is slanted as he uses a G4 already (not trying to offend)?

I would like to see this pack compared to some of the other new packs on the market. Maybe the BPL staff could have a contest and everyone could take a turn with a different pack. Decide the over all favorite and give us pros and cons.

Has anyone looked at the new light Osprey packs? I was suprised by the well thought out features of those. Heavier than anything I have anymore. But I like them. They are on clearance at REI.

Edited by cuzzettj on 10/13/2009 16:21:53 MDT.

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Love my Gorilla too on 10/13/2009 16:41:48 MDT Print View

I've used my Gorilla with loads up to 26lbs and it carry's like a dream. I have it outfitted with dual shoulder strap and hip-belt pockets. I'd did have the hip-belt pockets coming loose from where they anchor with the Velcro tabs, but I plan to put a few stitches in, attaching the tabs to the hip-belt to alleviate this problem.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/13/2009 20:15:09 MDT Print View

>Has anyone looked at the new light Osprey packs?

BPL has tested the Exos series packs.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Love my Gorilla too on 10/13/2009 20:17:59 MDT Print View

+1 Gorilla so far. I have used it for less than 200 miles... but so far it looks like it's going to retire my GGVT which has been my goto pack for the last six years. I pretty much agree with everything Will said.

The one thing I would add is that the stays aren't connected directly into the hip belt which can limit weight transfer. If a bit of care is taken when packing this isn't an issue though the pack has a bit of side-to-side motion around the center where the pack fabric and he belt connect. I actually find this slight pivot makes the pack more comfortable for me with <25lb loads.

As to the Osprey Exos line... there was a review of the Exos also by Will here earlier. For my purposes I found the Gorilla just the right size where the Exos 46 was the wrong shape to take a bear canister and the 58 was too big. For me, the Gorilla is more comfortable carrying up to 25lbs. I thing that from a feature standpoint they are most pretty nice. The only thing that the Exos is notably better at is back ventilation. The Gorilla is worse than average, the Exos is better than average.

--Mark

Edited by verber on 12/27/2009 00:24:20 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/13/2009 20:21:37 MDT Print View

Am I the only one that sees this pack as direct competition to the ULA OHM? What am I missing?

In any event, I think a comparison test is due by BPL with competing packs are in order (including frameless ones).

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/13/2009 20:28:21 MDT Print View

> Am I the only one that sees this pack as direct competition to the ULA OHM?

Nope. Those were the two packs I tried this summer. I tried the Ohm the first half of summer and then switched to the Gorilla. I think the Ohm is visually more attractive, likely more durable... and I might have slightly preferred the Ohm's usability (type/location of pockets, closure system, etc). But when it came to carry comfort I much preferred the the Gorilla. I think the combination of the shaped stays and the encircling hip belt of the Gorilla are an improve over the the wing attached hipbelt and strait stays on the Ohm. The Ohm carry reminded me of the GVP Miniposa with the strait stays. Ok, but not great.

--Mark

Edited by verber on 10/13/2009 20:31:20 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/13/2009 20:30:18 MDT Print View

"Am I the only one that sees this pack as direct competition to the ULA OHM? What am I missing?"

Nope. There are at least two of us. :)

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : "Keeping hands dry in winter" on 10/13/2009 21:34:34 MDT Print View

An annoying feature of packs like this, is that the sleeping pad can become soaked when it rains. More an annoyance than a major problem, but enough to put me off. My Starlite suffers from the same issue.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Love my Gorilla too on 10/13/2009 22:27:52 MDT Print View

Mark, I'm also a long-term user of the Vapor Trail but have been tempted to try the Gorilla for the weight savings. How would you compare the volume of the main body of the Gorilla? Is it more, less, or about the same as the VT?

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/13/2009 23:11:42 MDT Print View

I thought the sleeping pads were closed cell.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/13/2009 23:23:35 MDT Print View

"I thought the sleeping pads were closed cell"

Depends what pad you use. :)
CCF mats will not absorb water, but they still become wet. My Thermarest outside fabric did soak up water.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Goriila on 10/14/2009 00:30:23 MDT Print View

I was very close to getting a Gorilla, but in the end I felt the capacity was a bit too small to make the most of its weight carrying ability. Instead I decided to try the frame less route with an MLD Exodus. For a few years now I have been using a frameless sack I made myself by modifying an existing sack and have been quite pleased. However if the Exodus doesn't work out for me I will going back to the GGG.

Tracy Novak
(tracyn) - F
Have a woman review it. on 10/14/2009 04:30:11 MDT Print View

I'd like to see a review from a woman about the fit. Those shoulder straps do look wide.

Andy Waters
(dirtyhiker) - F

Locale: NC mountains
gorilla rocks!!! on 10/14/2009 07:20:11 MDT Print View

Deadbear here!! Just finished the 130 mile 100 mile wilderness... Monson to Katadhin... 6 pound base and 8 pounds food and water, HOOOOOORRRRAAYYYYYY for the gorilla!! A very cold and mostly wet hike the Gorilla responded superbly.. Even working as a foot box cover to protect my down on the worst of nights... Large shoulder straps no problem for me although you need lots of poofy down , or a bear canister, to fill it up to the point you can tighten down the center strap... The pockets are perfect.... did i say perfect? I mean absofreakinglutley perfect... Wet tarp, water bottle, rain jacket, camp shoes, any thing you can imagine... Greatest pack ever!!!

Quick edit- After reading the rest of the posts I just wanted to say that 5 days/ nights of intermediate to heavy rain/ snow on white top/ ice on Katadin, my gorilla happily kept everything dry without rain cover... The only stuff that got wet was because of me being s moron!!!

Thanks Grant for your help and absolute amazing customer service!!!!!

P.S> the G.G. Lightrek 4 poles--- I have never touched anything as cool as these before... I love my ninja stix!!!!

Edited by dirtyhiker on 10/14/2009 07:28:44 MDT.

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Stay Correction on 10/14/2009 07:30:37 MDT Print View

I believe the statement that the stay is made from aluminum tubing is incorrect. The stay in my Mariposa Plus is made from solid aluminum. I had a discussion with Grant at GG about it. He said they tried aluminum tubing but ran into manufacturing and durability problems. The discussion was for the Mariposa, but since they list the same stay weight (3.4 oz.) for both packs, I assume the same rod material in the Gorilla.

I wouldn't characterize this as nitpicking because in a backpacking genre in which label removal as a means of weight reduction is considered rational, so too then would a quest for a workable means of forming high strength tubing to shave of a few ounces.

I would also like to add another facet to this review. The company behind the gear is almost as important as the gear itself, and in this respect, I find Gossamer Gear in the very top tier of the industry. They are responsive to inquiries and stand staunchly behind their products. They go to great lengths to assure long term customer satisfaction.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Ohm on 10/14/2009 07:36:40 MDT Print View

My Ohm in medium with no accessories weighs 20.1 ounces so the statement about the Gorilla being the 2nd lightest internal frame pack available is incorrect. At 3000 cubes it's also a direct competitor with the Gorilla as mentioned above.

Darin Butler
(darinbu) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Great Review on 10/14/2009 07:54:49 MDT Print View

Thanks, Will. Some questions:

1. Are you saying that the NeoAir can, or cannot, be used in the pad sleeve? Would the NeoAir size matter (I have a Large), and would you have any NeoAir durability concerns when doing so?

2. What size of bear canister is usable with this pack? I have both the BV450 and the BV500; will they both work?

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Love my Gorilla too on 10/14/2009 08:00:35 MDT Print View

> How would you compare the volume of the main body of the Gorilla?

I would say that it is less. The Gorilla lists the main bag and collar to be 2400ci. The GGVT main section (without the ridiculous collar) is somewhere between 2600-2800ci. The packs are similar width, the GGVT main body is a tiny bit taller, and the real difference is that GGVT is deeper.

--Mark

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: bear can in Gorilla on 10/14/2009 08:23:29 MDT Print View

The bear cans are wider (and taller) than the pack is deep. Never the less I found that the bear vault 350 (same size as the 450) could be comfortably carried inside the pack though I ended up carrying it with the bottom against my back rather than my more typically vertical position.

The bearikade weekender II (and I assume the larger bear vault) can be placed inside the main body but it's an awkward fit. It took a several tries packing until I had things arranges so I didn't feel the canister against my back. Doable but not ideal. I think the recommended method for carrying larger canisters is to strap it to the outside using the V straps. I haven't actually carried a can like this since all my use has been with the bearvault solo except a short test hike with a fullsize can inside. Hmmm.... I wonder if that gossamer ribbon which I found annoying helps when attaching a bearcan to the outside.

--Mark

David Wilkins
(jaywilks18) - F

Locale: Tetons (via Idaho)
Re: The Gorilla is awesome! on 10/14/2009 09:57:36 MDT Print View

I must agree with Will. Although I have only taken it out on a few weekend trips, I have found the Gorilla to be spot on. It is the perfect size for an ultralight kit, and the tougher fabric is a huge plus in my opinion, as that previously turned me away from Gossamer Gear packs. The wider shoulder straps really do a nice job of spreading the load and alleviating shoulder pain. It's also great to see some that the original features that set GG apart, like socks in the shoulder straps, are still available. I think this is also a great example of product development and iteration from the folks at GG - way to go!

I cant wait to get out on some longer excursions and really push this thing to its capacity and weight limits in order to further evaluate the aluminum stay's ability to distribute weight.

As far as I am concerned, this will be my go-to pack for trips ranging from 2-8 days.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
GG Gorilla on 10/14/2009 10:27:02 MDT Print View

I want to like this pack but find myself time and again turning to my trusted MLD Prophet for trips requiring a pack of this volume/size.

I found the Gorrila's materials and workmanship to be of high quality and the design to be well thought out (and likely highly functional for most users, just not me). I do not like the Y strap closure or the pad sleeve.

I want to like this pack, honest. But having said that do not be surpised to see a slightly modified and dyed black Gorrilla, in size medium, for sale on BPL very soon.

Edited by thomdarrah on 10/14/2009 11:00:07 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: GG Gorilla on 10/14/2009 11:45:39 MDT Print View

> I want to like this pack, honest

Packs are very personal. Over the years there have been a number of packs that other people adored... that I really wanted to like, but in the end, they didn't do it for me. So I keep returned to the GGVT even though I wasn't 100% thrilled with it. As the saying goes, we all need to hike our own hike. For some number of folks, the Gorilla will be the end of the quest, for others a step along the way.

--Mark

Jeremy Gustafson
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
Gorilla vs ULA Ohm on 10/14/2009 12:02:13 MDT Print View

I would also like to know why the Ohm was not included in the comparisons as an equivalent size pack with internal frame and yet lighter yet... Anybody have any thoughts since this wasn't included??

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Gorilla vs ULA Ohm on 10/14/2009 12:16:22 MDT Print View

> why the Ohm was not included in the comparisons

send email to will... he is the only one who knows for certain. But I don't think it was a conspiracy :-) Until David asked about the ohm, I hadn't noticed that it was missing from the table. The reason I didn't notice it missing was that all the other comparative packs were designed to be used both frameless and with the stays. As far as I could tell, the Ohm's design is built around the stays being in all the time so it didn't come into my mind when reading the review.

--Mark

Edited by verber on 10/14/2009 12:18:24 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Tempting on 10/15/2009 00:30:46 MDT Print View

This pack seems to be quite nice. I like how versatile it is, although I would likely use it WITHOUT the frame most of the time.

I was a bit surprised to read that Will would use this WITH the frame most of the time, since he acknowledges frameless packs are comfortable to 20 lbs and all but one of this trips was 21 lbs or less. Maybe the frame is that good.

The lack of a comparison to the Ohm surprised me too. My guess is that it was just an oversight. At 21oz, the 3500 cu in Ohm is a compelling pack although it seems that it isn't quite as versatile. I like how the Gorilla lets you remove the frame and some straps. Then again, the Ohm's "suspension hoop" does only weigh 1.2oz.

I was surprised there were no 'recommendations for improvement' since 4 cons were listed. All of the 'cons' seem like they could be areas for improvement.

Edited by dandydan on 10/15/2009 10:27:32 MDT.

James Gealy
(surnailz) - F

Locale: White Mountains
No Improvements Possible? on 10/15/2009 06:27:33 MDT Print View

I agree with that, Dan. It does look like at least one thing could be changed (Grosgrain Loop).

On the other hand, the others may not be, now that I think about it. The back panel uses a foam pad as a way to go multi-use. Putting a ventilation system would move the weight even further away from the body.

As for the hip belt and the suspension system, perhaps the lack of a connection between the two is so the hip belt is more easily removable. It may also allow for the hips to move more freely and naturally than otherwise. I don't have this pack, but maybe GG could put small sleeves for the frame into the hipbelt, somehow giving the option between connected and not.

The shoulder straps seem a matter of personal preference with some people loving them and others not so much. Perhaps there could be a recommendation here to have two strap width options?

Finally, speaking of recommendations for improvements, in looking at the Mariposa Plus, now that it is available with the same aluminum stay as the Gorilla as opposed to the old carbon fiber stays, would it now receive a 'Highly Recommended' rating? Also, do they have similar weight carrying capacities? The GG website says no and I was curious as to why.

-jim

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 06:55:38 MDT Print View

I've been biting my tongue every time I see the mention of back ventilation but I can't take it anymore. When you exercise you sweat. Get over it or don't exercise. No pack you wear is going to prevent your back from sweating, I don't care how fancy it is or what it's made out of.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 09:10:15 MDT Print View

But, few people CHOOSE to exercise while cocooned in plastic wrap. Most wear breathable clothing. Similarly, having a backpack back that vents is desirable. (Though we often willingly compromise this one.) That's a large evaporative body area that is lost to you if it isn't vented- at least theoretically leading to easier overheating.

And, a lot of people hiking hard in cool conditions WON'T sweat. I just spent three days in Great Sand Dunes National Park this weekend and generally didn't sweat. It was nice not to be clammy for a change. (But, I was also using an Exos...)

I propose that saying "suck it up" is pointless. Indeed, most of us do choose to suck it up and accept that trade-off, but it isn't a trivial issue.

Edited by acrosome on 10/15/2009 09:14:56 MDT.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Re: Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 09:17:59 MDT Print View

Bah. Do I wear breathable clothing? Sure. Does it keep my back from getting wet? Not at all. Even if I go out and exercise completely nude my back will get wet. Solid fabric pressed against my back doesn't stop the sweat from evaporating off me. I sweat no more appreciably with a pack against my back than I do with nothing there.

I didn't sweat much or at all on WT3 carrying a Pinnacle. It had nothing to do with the pack and was all about proper layering for my exertion level in the cooler temps.

Edited by simplespirit on 10/15/2009 09:20:15 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Packs and Ventilation: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/15/2009 09:24:28 MDT Print View

There are other issues with packs that pursue back venilation: frames that jut out from the back, pushing the load outside one's center of gravity, reducing load stability and in some cases, load transfer to the hips. Gimmicky.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 09:26:21 MDT Print View

>> Even if I go out and exercise completely nude my back will get wet.

Yes. And it will evaporate as it should. (Unless it drips, in which case it is also wasted.) Evaporative cooling also will not happen under a layer of closed-cell foam- which is all that I've said. Most people will compensate by sweating more elsewhere on their bodies.

I maintain that a ventilated back is desirable. I don't think that saying "desirable" is much of a stretch. I didn't, after all, say "essential." I'm boggled that you can even argue that point.

>> Do I wear breathable clothing? Sure. Does it keep my back from getting wet? Not at all.

My sympathies. I, too, tend to sweat like a pig while exercising. Which then evaporates, and cools me. Which it won't do under a foam back-panel. :o)

>> There are other issues with packs that pursue back venilation:

Well, yes, it is all a trade off. A lot of desirable characteristics are mutually exclusive. For instance, classically, light weight and durability. No argument.

Edited by acrosome on 10/15/2009 09:35:32 MDT.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 09:57:35 MDT Print View

It's not so much of an issue that people prefer ventilation over non-ventilation. My problem is people thinking they won't perspire under physical exertion because they have a pack with a ventilated back panel.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Back ventilation... on 10/15/2009 09:59:47 MDT Print View

It's true that no pack will prevent your back from sweating, but some packs are better at letting that moisture escape and some are packs are worse by both trapping the moisture and not wicking it away from the contact surface. The Gorilla performance in this area is down near the bottom along with every sil-nylon backed ultralight pack I have tried. Given the Gorilla's design, there is "nothing to improve" because providing better ventilation would require use of a non existent material to replace a foam pad and/or a radically different suspension system making it a completely different pack.

If I found the Exos carried weight as comfortably as the Gorilla, I would be using the Exos right now. For me, the Gorilla is a lot more comfortable, even if it soaks my back.

I haven't used the Exos extensively (just borrowed a pack for a long weekend)... but I have been using an VauDe Siena 40l pack since 2002. The Siena was one of the first packs using the aeroflex frame/mesh panel. The ventilated back really does help. It's far from perfect though... you would be surprised how much mesh (even when there isn't a pack body a couple of inches away) cuts down air movement. That's why you will see me using a courier bag rather than a backpack whenever it's practical.

--Mark

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Gorilla Observations on 10/15/2009 17:28:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for an excellent review of the Gorilla. Just a few remarks concerning some questions & observations. I have used a small NeoAir pad in the pad sleeve partially inflated & found that it isn't as comfy as a SitLite pad. Same goes for a BA Clearview & MontBell 90 pad. These also significantly increase the "sweat factor" in warmer weather more so than the "corrugated" texture of the SitLite or foldable GG torso length pad which gives a little bit of ventilation.
I also own the Ospry Exos 34 which, to my knowledge, has not been reviewed on BPL, other than my previous brief discussion back in mid September. The 46 & 58 versions have been reviewed. The Gorilla, in my opinion, is more comfortable in cooler weather, but the Exos is "heaven in the heat" because of the ventilated back panel. The Gorilla's shoulder straps & hip belt are more comfortable than the Exos 34 & the Gorilla can carry more gear (meaning volume & not necessarily weight). My rather narrow shoulders require the use of a collared shirt with the Gorilla or the straps will irritate my neck so I agree the straps may be too wide for some users. However, I think the Exos straps are too narrow & rather poorly padded. The Gorilla is also about 7 oz lighter than the Exos.
Because of these features, I use the Gorilla in winter, spring, & fall. The Exos 34 is my summer pack. If Gossamer Gear could do a Gorilla with a ventilated back panel that would be truly "year round heaven"!! :)

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/15/2009 20:06:52 MDT Print View

"Yes. And it will evaporate as it should."

Not where Chris and I hike!

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/15/2009 20:37:46 MDT Print View

Yep, here in the Southeastern USA we call it "air you can wear!" ;)

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
ULA Ohm? on 10/16/2009 04:22:10 MDT Print View

"Am I the only one that sees this pack as direct competition to the ULA Ohm? What am I missing?"

+1. Though I guess it wasn't considered because you can not remove the stay.

Re: Adjustable Torso, that's just soooooo unnecessary, I am amazed that something like that gets mentioned on a BPL review. It gets used exactly once, and then that's it (Exception from the rule: you share your backpack with a lot of people, your still growing). So you got 6 ounces sitting there for something you don't need - I guess you're better of to measure your back once correctly and pick the right backpack.

Re: Gorilla, it looks like a nice pack, but for the moment I am happy with my ULA Ohm. Maybe if I can convince the girlfriend to go lightweight, I would get her the Gorilla.

Kent C.
(kent) - M

Locale: High Sierra
straps rub neck on 10/19/2009 21:01:24 MDT Print View

>> James: "My rather narrow shoulders require the use of a collared shirt with the Gorilla or the straps will irritate my neck so I agree the straps may be too wide for some users."

possible solution (I had the same problem), here's what worked for me:

remove the orig. strap padding and replace with foam pipe insulation. Comfy over the shoulders and gets the inside edge off your neck!
foam insulation
Kent

PS small, 1"(as I recall) size

Edited by kent on 10/19/2009 21:05:51 MDT.

Paul Lippi
(Ozniot) - F
winter-size Gorilla on 10/20/2009 08:14:53 MDT Print View

I've had my new Gorilla out for 6 hikes and am still excited with the fit. I've been carrying 9-11 kilos. I don't have an extensive frame of reference, but to my back it carries much better than my wife's frameless MLD Prophet. The extra weight-hit of the frame is worth the comfort. I only wish GG had a larger capacity version available for winter.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
adjustable torso and Ohm's pockets... on 10/20/2009 09:19:53 MDT Print View

"Re: Adjustable Torso, that's just soooooo unnecessary, I am amazed that something like that gets mentioned on a BPL review. It gets used exactly once, and then that's it (Exception from the rule: you share your backpack with a lot of people, your still growing). So you got 6 ounces sitting there for something you don't need - I guess you're better of to measure your back once correctly and pick the right backpack."

Unfortunately, this is one of those (big, IMO) compromises we make when we buy off-the-rack packs (the 2nd compromise is the distance between shoulder straps). I have yet to find a one-size fits many or more commonly "2-3 sizes fits even more" pack that fits me well. More often than not, the torso length is too long. I don't want my shoulder straps to be load lifters. I want them to wrap slightly around my shoulders. The best way to get this is to not follow the manufacture's instructions and measure your torso, and look up the pack size in their chart, but to contact them and find out the exact distance between the center-line of the hip belt and the shoulder strap attachment point. If that distance is "what you like", then you can order that size pack. If it is not, you are screwed. But not so with adjustable torso length packs. Another reason for adjustable torso length packs is winter vs 3-season hiking, where your layers can affect your "effective" torso length.

Also, someone above mentioned the Ohm doesn't have compression? From the looks of it on the ULA website it certainly does. My biggest grip with the Ohm are the side pockets. They are too short. It is possible for a bottle to drop out of them when you bend over. I want my side pocket to be tall enough to cover, or nearly cover, the top of my bottles. Otherwise you risk having them fall out when you are not paying attention.

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Re: adjustable torso and Ohm's pockets... on 10/20/2009 09:55:57 MDT Print View

Tony, the Ohm's pockets are big. They might look small, but they're big enough to hold a 2l Platypus, energy bars, head torch, without anything falling out. I've been climbing and bushwacking with my Ohm and never had the problem of a bottle falling out. The secret is that they are tight.

Re: Adjustable Torso Length, I see your point. However, for me that is still not an option. I measured my back, three times, asked existing Ohm owners for their opinion on the forum, and got a perfectly fitting backpack as a result. As I am not wearing that many more layers during winter the Ohm will also then be the right size (I'll be wearing a merino baselayer, a smock and if its frigid a synthetic jacket on top, which will be maybe a centimeter or two thicker than what I wear in spring/ summer/ autumn). YMMV.

Re: Ohm Compression, in my opinion the best there is. Compresses the bag evenly and without letting anything move around inside.

David, I think if one measures well and shops around, one might be able to find a good fitting bag. I reckon that for some people an adjustable Torso is a blessing, for me its unnecessary weight. You always could MYOG a backpack, you know ;)

Edited by skullmonkey on 10/20/2009 10:00:31 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/20/2009 09:55:59 MDT Print View

"It gets used exactly once, and then that's it (Exception from the rule: you share your backpack with a lot of people, your still growing)."

Well that is true, except that an adjustable torso does allow one to get as close to a perfect fit as possible. I am a hard fit so this is paramount for me.

Re: the OHM's compression - bar none the best I have ever seen; much like the one used with Mchale Subpop packs. The OHM compresses evenly from top to bottom. I expect to see this as a running change on future iterations of Brian's packs.

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/20/2009 19:56:32 MDT Print View

Kent, thank you for the suggestion. I may also try substituting extra socks or gloves for the stock foam padding.
Paul, you might want to look at the Mariposa Plus which is similar to the Gorilla but with more volume for bulkier winter items. I've never been able to fill up the Mariposa Plus even when leaving items uncompressed

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
stays on 10/22/2009 06:48:58 MDT Print View

What is the purpose of the stay. On the one hand the reviewer (Will)says.
"...tightening the hipbelt worked as expected to transfer weight to my hips."

This makes sense. This is the main purpose of a frame, but then Will says,

"The stay in the Gorilla pack simply resides in sleeves on the backpanel. It is not anchored to the hipbelt at all, so there is no structural connection to support the weight."


If the stay or frame is not connected to the belt which would then transfer the weight up off the shoulders, what is the purpose of the frame. In frameless packs doesn't the pack shape conform to the shape of one's back. Does the stay just better maintain the pack's conformity to the shape of the hiker's back?
Cinching in the belt on a frameless pack to lift weight off the shoulders, just makes a pain in the stomach area from a too tight belt, like cinching up a girth on a horse.

Edited by rambler on 10/22/2009 06:52:43 MDT.

Lisa Frugoli
(alfresco) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 10/25/2009 15:25:14 MDT Print View

Tracy - I'm a woman and have been using the GG Mariposa Plus for 2 years now & absolutely love it. I don't find the shoulder straps a problem, but I do have broad shoulders. The shoulder straps come with padding that you can use or you can use extra clothing. You can also shave down the padding that comes with the shoulder straps.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Lisa

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: stays in gorilla + pockets and compression in ohm on 10/25/2009 22:59:29 MDT Print View

STAYS

> what is the purpose of the frame?

One purpose of a frame is to maintain the pack torso length as weight is added. There was a discussion of this in Ryan's Quantitative Analysis of Backpack Suspension Performance. The frame in the Gorilla does this fine. From my experience the Gorilla does this fine up to 25lb. I haven't really carried more than 25lbs... typically 18-22lbs

As to transferring the weight to the hip belt... I can certainly get the weight off my shoulder and on top the hip belt so I guess it's effective. The frame + modestly tight packing hold the material taut, and the hipbelt is attached via velco the the pack fabric. I didn't have a sagging problem, and found the slightly dynamic interface better the belt and pack might have made the pack more comfortable... though it does sway more than some packs.

> Does the stay just better maintain the pack's conformity to the shape of the hiker's back?

They do this as well which I find quite helpful.

> Cinching in the belt on a frameless pack to lift weight off the shoulders, just makes a pain in the stomach

I tend to be pretty sensitive to this very issue. So far this hasn't been a problem with the Gorilla.

POCKETS AND COMPRESSION OHM

I would like to second that the compression and pockets on the ohm work very well. I tried the Ohm for a good bit of the summer. For me, it wasn't as comfortable to carry as the Gorilla has been so far. But I loved the pockets. The things I put in the pockets stay, but I could easily retrieve the items while the pack was still on. Excellent.

--mark

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
torso and weight bearing on 10/31/2009 12:52:31 MDT Print View

Mark, Thanks for your explantion and the Link. I had to re-read the points, but I think I got it now.
"We define a pack's load carrying capacity as the weight at which the weight-bearing torso length of the pack collapses to a distance that is less than the effective user torso length, ....."

The key word, I think, is "less". I kept thinking it should be "more" instead. For me with frameless packs, the biggest drawback is when they ride too low or creep down over the butt. I had an original G4, a size large, because I bought it at a discount. My torso is a medium, so as I added weight to the pack it carried too low. I thought it was more a weight issue than a pack size or torso issue.
Now I get it. When one loads up a frameless pack the torso fit should remain constant or LESS than the "effective user torso length"., ie. the bag should not sag below.
As the weight increases, it pushes down on the belt which the stays keep in place lifting the weight off of the shoulders. I get the concept, now, I think!

Again, thanks for the link to the very detailed, informative article.

Edited by rambler on 10/31/2009 14:41:21 MDT.

Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Gorillas in Stock on 11/01/2009 01:58:20 MDT Print View

Just checked out the site and saw that MEDIUMS & LARGES are back in stock. $165 either size.

Edited by czechxpress on 11/01/2009 01:29:47 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack Review on 11/03/2009 01:42:03 MST Print View

One critique Don raised was that the Grosgrain loop on frontpanel interferes with tightening the top strap. This had been my experience until this past week. My pack was more filled that any other trip using the gorilla. This time, the ribbon wasn't getting in the way and it kept the strap from falling to the ground each time I unstrapped the top strap. When carrying a smaller load I had unrouted the ribbon so it ran over the top of the retaining ribbon.

--Mark

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Re: Re: adjustable torso and Ohm's pockets... on 11/03/2009 13:28:59 MST Print View

I know this is old thread, but I don't get back here often...

Maybe the Ohm I saw was a prototype (it is owned by a ULA employee), so it is possible the pockets are taller now than those I saw on the pack I was looking at. But those that I did see, were definately too small (short). I remember talking to the employee about them.

Allan Birgerson
(skogsmulle) - F
adjustable torso length on 11/05/2009 16:33:04 MST Print View

Im a tad confused here...the gorilla pack has an adjustable torso length or not? I also find it a great feature.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Gorilla on 11/06/2009 08:23:45 MST Print View

The Gorilla does not have an adjustable torso, but is sold in 3 sizes and you can choose between 3 interchangeable hipbelt sizes.

omar M
(kashmir) - F

Locale: New York
neo air compatibility with gorrilla? on 02/14/2010 23:17:17 MST Print View

anyone using the neo air in the pad sleeve? if so, what are your thoughts?

also, has anyone taken the pack or checked it in at airports? I am taking a long trip to S. Asia and want to know how it is best transported abroad.

Thanks in advance. I do hope this pack is in stock soon, as I would love to get my hands on it.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: neo air compatibility with gorrilla? on 02/15/2010 00:57:06 MST Print View

Omar:

No direct experience but I would be extremely reluctant to check this pack at the airport -- methinks there's a fair chance that straps and/or webbing belts can get caught in conveyor belts and tear off! And I doubt the mesh front pocket will last very long.

While this may be GG's toughest pack, it's still a very light weight pack -- and if you plan on using bus/truck for transportation -- know that luggage and packs often get tossed rudely into cargo holds or strapped atop the roof racks. I would be concerned with both the pack's light weight fabrics (esp. the mesh front pocket) and also the inability to lock down anything. Sometimes, folks sit atop bus roofs -- and some are known to "pass the time" rummaging through packs belonging to rich, first world travelers.

Final point -- this one is subjective -- a one big hole style backpack can be great for hiking -- but a pain in the behind for traveling. YMMV, of course.

If you aren't planning on any unsupported wild camping, I would highly recommend getting a smaller capacity travel pack -- something with tougher fabrics, an extra compartment or two -- and one that can be locked to discourage opportunistic thieves or just nosy people. Zippers -- good quality ones -- work much better than cords and straps when traveling.

Edited by ben2world on 02/15/2010 01:05:46 MST.

mark vasko
(vaskma) - F

Locale: Central Ohio
Why not compare to SMD Comet? on 02/21/2010 13:45:17 MST Print View

The SMD Comet has removable stays. I know the Comet is not made anymore. However, the comet was available when the GG Gorilla was first introduced. I compared the packs and bought the Comet. Similar size, weight, price, removable stays, and adjustable torso.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/25/2010 18:34:52 MDT Print View

How would you carry a full length sleeping pad with this pack (the full length NightLight, for example)? It won't fit in the sleeping pad pocket, and there are no straps at the bottom.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/25/2010 19:09:02 MDT Print View

There is a 'Y' strap on the top.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/25/2010 20:40:49 MDT Print View

I was planning on using the Y strap for a bear canister. I am looking at this pack for a 8-9 day trip, and I just can't see it being big enough if I have to put a sleeping pad or a bear canister inside. I suppose I'll just have to make do with a torso length sleeping pad.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/25/2010 22:14:18 MDT Print View

Andrei,
The canister, being much heavier, will carry better inside than on top. Any pad, being light, though bulky, will do just fine on top.

What canister are you looking at?

Look Here to gain some other perspectives. The Ohm is similar in size to the Gorilla.

Edited by greg23 on 04/25/2010 22:18:38 MDT.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/26/2010 10:28:26 MDT Print View

Greg,

Great thread, thanks for the link. I was about to give up on this pack, but I will now reconsider.

Bear canister - I was looking at the BearVault BV500, but I might actually get the Ursack S29. I have no experience with bear canisters, and very little with ultra light backpacking, and I'm not sure how many days worth of food I can fit in the Ursack (10.5L). Hopefully it will be enough for 9 days.

I use a Tarptent Moment for shelter. If I keep it in the stuff sack it came with, it looks like I might be able to carry it in one of the side pockets, and use the compression strap at the top to secure the other end. Alternatively, I can just take it out of the stuff sack and put it in the rear mesh pocket. It looks big enough for that.

Trekking poles - again, I'm a bit at a loss here. I plan to use adjustable poles, I suppose the side pocket / top compression strap combo could work.

Food - for 9 days, I will probably need around 15-16 lbs of food. Adding water, fuel and the rest of my gear (which is not all ultralight), I will be pushing 32-33 lbs. This seems to be at the upper end of the Gorilla carrying capacity. I was thinking of getting the hip belt / shoulder strap pockets and put some of the heavy / small stuff in there, which will take some of the weight off my back, but still leave me with 30 lbs. Has anyone tried the Gorilla with this weight?

I'm just throwing random ideas around, because I'm new to this, and I need to figure things out on paper before I commit and buy. Buying and returning is not a very good option for me either, I live in Canada, so shipping and customs for each package adds up to quite a lot.

Comments anyone?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/26/2010 10:46:48 MDT Print View

Andrei,

"BearVault...Ursack...Canada..."

Where are the trips? Are black bears a problem? Grizz? Will you be camping in "popular spots" prone to bears problems, or in off-trail "seldom if ever used" places?

"I'm not sure how many days worth of food I can fit in the Ursack."

It certainly depends on your food "style". And using an OP sack inside (recommended) reduces what you can get in there, due to the OP closure. Also, your first day doesn't need to go in.

I struggle to get 8 days in a Ursack. For more than 7 or 8 days I now take 2 Ursacks, and split the food. It's adds weight, but makes packing Much easier.

Edited by greg23 on 04/26/2010 11:01:11 MDT.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/26/2010 11:20:19 MDT Print View

My next trip is in Yukon, Kluane National Park, which is south of Alaska. Both grizzly and black bears. I wouldn't say they are a big problem in the area, and the camping will be entirely off trail - wilderness, to be exact. While that makes a bear encounter less likely, it also leaves me stranded if I lose my food, and I'm 3 days away from the exit point.

If you can only get 8 days into an Ursack, I can't expect to do any better. You seem to have been doing this for a while, and I'm just starting. However, after 2-3 days I will have consumed enough to fit all of my food inside, and during the first 3 days, whatever fits inside will be enough for me to bail out if I lose the rest.

Thanks for the answers, they help a lot.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/26/2010 11:27:47 MDT Print View

Yep...I'd give a canister a strong consideration!

As for experience...I've got None in that country. But there are others lurking about who have plenty. Hopefully they will chime in.

Edited by greg23 on 04/26/2010 11:34:25 MDT.

Brad Fisher
(wufpackfn)

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/26/2010 17:37:14 MDT Print View

I'm going to try the BV500 with my Gorilla this summer in the Sierra's for 7 days. I'm going to carry the canister empty on top using the Y straps (probably add some velcro to both). Food should fit fine in the pack with my gear, but will not have to deal with the bulk of the canister inside or heavy canister on top. Got the idea from some nice folks on this site.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/26/2010 20:31:17 MDT Print View

Brad,

That sounds a lot like what I'm planning. What do you figure your pack will weigh, everything included? I'm trying to find someone who has used this pack with around 30 lbs, to see how it carries with this weight. I know +30 lbs is a long shot on these forums, but you never know...

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/26/2010 20:32:53 MDT Print View

The velcro sounds like a pretty good idea, by the way...

Brad Fisher
(wufpackfn)

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/27/2010 08:23:30 MDT Print View

I'm between 30 and 31 pounds with 7 days of food. Base weight is around 14 pounds with the BV 450. I'm trying to see if two of us can get our food in 1 BV450 and 1 BV500.

I'm carrying a few extras like reading materials and probably have extra with some of my supplies (sunblock, TP, lighters, food, etc). My longest trip to date is 4 days, so this is new territory. I will learn from the trip and adjust accordingly.

I'm going the first week of August, so the weather will allow me to carry less clothes. For example:
- Rain gear: only bringing rain jacket (Marmot Mica)
- Layers: Golite short sleeve, thin smartwool long sleeve, Montbell EX
- Might bring one extra short sleeve shirt. On the list now
- Trail running shorts and a light pair of long pants to wear over them

i will carry my Marmot Hydrogen (30 degree) and that should be plenty with my layers. Based on past experience.

I will cook with the Caldera Keg and use the caddy for mug and freezer bag cooking.

Based on past use I should have room in the Gorilla for everything. I haven't carried over 20 lbs in the Gorilla, so I'm expecting the first couple of days to have some discomfort. Every day will get better and lighter.

That's the plan today, but I have several more months to adjust. I will also check the weather the day before flying out and adjust accordingly.

Have a great trip.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: Re: Re: Full length sleeping pad with Gorilla? on 04/28/2010 11:44:10 MDT Print View

Brad,

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, my trip got scrapped. I will be buying the Gorilla anyway, it looks like I might be able to squeeze in a shorter trip (5 days) later in the year. For 5 days I shouldn't have any issues with either space or weight.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Gorilla sizing on 04/28/2010 13:20:58 MDT Print View

I have a torso size of 19.5", so according to the sizing chart, I should be getting the Medium. However, I have been trying some Osprey Aether packs on, and the Large seemed to fit better. Their Medium is supposed to be good up to 20.5", and the Gorilla Medium only goes up to 20". Has anyone tried both packs? Is it a good idea to size the Gorilla based on how the Osprey fit?

Frank Steele
(knarfster) - F

Locale: Arizona
Re: Back ventilation... on 05/14/2010 17:05:42 MDT Print View

"No pack you wear is going to prevent your back from sweating, I don't care how fancy it is or what it's made out of."

Of course it won't prevent your back from sweating, its what happens with that sweat thats important. I have owned a GoLite Jam2, Litespeed and a GG virga, and none of them comes close to the air circulation of my Exos (which replaced an Atmos). Sure you are going to sweat, but the Exos allows the sweat to evaporate (thus cooling me off, important here in Arizona) The other packs didn't.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Contradiction? on 05/18/2010 14:37:47 MDT Print View

Per write up above:

What's Not So Good

* No backpanel ventilation.
* Frame not anchored to hipbelt.
* Shoulder straps may be too wide for some hikers.
* Grosgrain loop on frontpanel interferes with tightening the top strap.

Recommendations For Improvement

* None, the Gorilla pack is as ideal as it gets.

So which is it? 4 "not so good" points or a pack that's as ideal as it gets?

Looking at the 4 points, the wide shoulder straps are a subjective issue -- but points 1,2 and 4 read like improvement points to me. Are they? Or are they not?

Edited by ben2world on 05/18/2010 14:38:43 MDT.

David Moore
(jdmoore) - F
With Bearikade on 08/29/2011 13:07:04 MDT Print View

Hey there,

Does anyone have any experience of using the Bearikade Expedition with this pack? Thinking of buying this for a trip into the Sierras next year.

Thanks

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: With Bearikade on 08/29/2011 13:11:16 MDT Print View

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=52547

Ceph Lotus
(Cephalotus) - MLife

Locale: California
Gorilla has better mesh than Mariposa Plus on 09/02/2011 17:02:41 MDT Print View

The latest Gorilla has a finer mesh on its exterior pockets than the Mariposa Plus, which stretches more and doesn't snag on bushes, branches, etc. as easily. I've heard Gossamer Gear will be switching over to this finer mesh on all their packs, but that probably won't happen until 2012.