GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW

Lightweight 1600 cubic inch multi-purpose frameless day pack. Score another winner for GoLite!

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

GoLite really gets it together with the VO24. It’s a composite of all the right components and features for maximum utility and minimum weight. It’s not overloaded with extra straps and unnecessary features like many adventure racing type packs. It’s simple, clean, and functional, just the way we like it. The only thing I missed is a security pocket.

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by Will Rietveld |

Introduction

The new GoLite VO24 pack at 1600 cubic inches (size L) is a mid-size member of their Adrenaline Series designed for day hiking, weekend adventure racing, peak bagging, and mountain biking. Its brethren are the larger Lite-Speed (3200 cubic inches, size L) and smaller Rush (950 cubic inches, size L). All GoLite packs are available in men’s and women’s models, except the diminutive Ion. The VO24 replaces the Multi-Sport (2000 cubic inches, size L) that we previously reviewed. How does this new incarnation perform as a multi-purpose pack?

GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW - 1
The GoLite VO24 pack at Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah.

What’s Good

  • Panel-loading with water-resistant zipper
  • Side load control straps
  • Well-ventilated backpanel, hipbelt, and shoulder straps
  • Lightweight durable fabrics make it suitable for bushwhacking
  • Large capacity hipbelt pockets
  • Very stable

What’s Not So Good

  • Outside pockets collect snow and debris
  • Water bottles fall out of short side pockets
  • No security pocket

Specifications

  Year/Model

2007 GoLite VO24

  Style

Frameless, panel-loading

  Volume

Size L tested, 1600 ci (26 L)

  Weight

1 lb 6.1 oz (627 g) measured weight, size L; manufacturer’s specification 1 lb 7 oz (652 g), size L

  Sizes Available

Men’s M,L; Women’s S,M

  Torso Fit Range

Men’s M fits 17.5 to 19.5 inch torsos, men’s L fits 19.5 to 21.5 inch torsos; women’s S fits 15.5 to 17.5 inch torsos, women’s M fits 17.5 to 19.5 inch torsos

  Fabrics

210d nylon Velocity, polyurethane-coated

  Features

One front, two side, and two hipbelt stretch nylon/Spandex pockets; spacer mesh backpanel, shoulder straps, and hipbelt; load control strap on each side; panel-access with double pull water-resistant zipper, 3-liter internal hydration sleeve with two ports; two ice axe loops; haul loop; sternum strap with whistle; drain holes in bottom of front pocket and main compartment

  Volume To Weight Ratio

72.4 ci/oz size M/L (based on 1600 ci and a measured weight of 22.1 oz)

  Comfortable Load Carrying Capacity

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

  Carry Load to Pack Weight Ratio

14.5 (based on 20 lb and a measured weight of 1.38 lb)

  MSRP

$90 US

Performance

Our review of the GoLite Multi-Sport pack was focused on using it as an overnight backpack with small, compact loads. In contrast, the VO24 (size L) is 400 cubic inches smaller, and is distinctly a day-use pack. There are much lighter packs around that are better suited for ultralight backpacking, including GoLite’s Jam2.

There are some advantages to choosing an “adventure racing” type pack (like the VO24) as a day pack. It’s more stable, has a well-ventilated suspension system, has lots of easy access pockets and a good hydration system for eating and hydrating on the fly, and has lots of attachment points.

GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW - 2
Views of the GoLite VO24. The front (top left) has a large stretch pocket, zippered access to the main compartment, and bungee cord attachment system. The backpanel, shoulder straps, and hipbelt (top right) are all spacer mesh for good ventilation. Each side (bottom left) has a stretch pocket. The top view (bottom right) shows the thickness of the pack.

Suspension System

The VO24’s suspension is designed for comfort, ventilation, and stability. The backpanel, shoulder straps, and hipbelt wings are all padded with spacer mesh for comfort and to disperse moisture. Contoured shoulder straps are 2.5 inches wide and adequately padded. The pack’s torso length is not adjustable, so the user must select the correct pack size and extend or shorten the shoulder straps to fit.

GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW - 3
Spacer mesh shoulder straps and backpanel are well padded and ventilated.

Features and Utility

I personally like lots of easily accessed pockets on the outside of a pack so I can eat and hydrate on the fly. The VO24 comes through with a total of five outside pockets (1 front, 2 side, 2 hipbelt), and all can be reached with the pack on. The large stretch front pocket is big enough to accommodate a helmet or shovel, and the front bungee system provides a means to attach other bulky items. One thing I did miss is a security pocket for carrying my wallet and keys.

GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW - 4
The stretch nylon side pockets are shallow and water bottles easily fall out. Hipbelt pockets are also stretch nylon and have lots of room. The side load control strap contributes to the pack’s stability.

The VO24 is designed for and works best with an internal hydration system. The sleeve has a 3-liter capacity and there are two hose ports. I tried using 1-liter (and smaller) water bottles in the shallow side pockets, but they easily fall out when I bend over or take the pack off.

Each hipbelt wing has a large stretch nylon pocket that will hold a surprising amount of gear. They will easily hold a GPS or digital camera, and still have room for thin gloves and snacks. The zippers are not the water-resistant type.

In Use

I used the VO24 on numerous day trips while skiing, snowshoeing, and day hiking. The pack tends to ride lower on the back (see photos), which increases its stability, makes it more suitable for mountain biking, and allows easier access to the pockets with the pack on.

Much of my use was in snow, and it was notable that snow tends to accumulate in the outside pockets, getting the contents wet. The same would be true in the rain without a rain cover. A water-resistant zipper on the front pocket would be nice in some ways, but it would restrict access with the pack on and would not allow the pocket to be used for a helmet or shovel. One solution would be to line the pocket with a waterproof stuff sack or dry sack. The pocket does have drain holes in the bottom for water to exit.

GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW - 5
I used the VO24 a lot for winter sports. It’s remarkably stable, but snow easily gets into the front and side pockets. (Photo by Rick Hagar)

The VO24 fits like a body glove and load control is excellent. The pack stuck to me when walking ledges and maneuvering over boulders. I am very pleased with its stability.

Since the pack does not have a frame, the comfortable weight carrying capacity depends on the user’s shoulder strength. This pack cinches down snugly at the hips to put the majority of the load on the hips and lumbar region, to keep the center of gravity low. I rated the comfortable carrying capacity at 20 pounds, which is our usual rating for a frameless backpack.

What’s Unique

The VO24 is a composite of all the right components and features.

Recommendations for Improvement

  • Add a zippered security pocket
  • Make the side pockets taller


Citation

"GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/golite_vo24_backpack_review.html, 2007-06-04 03:00:00-06.

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GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW on 06/05/2007 22:02:58 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW on 06/06/2007 03:19:15 MDT Print View

Interesting ... on GoLite's website the VO24 clearly has bottle-sized side pockets ... was the pack tested a pre-production version?

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
GoLite VO24 Backpack Side Pockets on 06/06/2007 06:09:05 MDT Print View

Hi DW. You're very observant. I checked with GoLite on the side pocket height when I was writing the review. They said the photo makes them look taller than they are. The photos and specs in my review are correct; the side pockets are short and do not hold a water bottle very well. The VO24 works best with a hydration system. Cheers, Will.

Brian Markey
(bmlaw) - MLife

Locale: Northeast
VO24 on 06/06/2007 07:11:49 MDT Print View

I own this pack and use it only for day hikes. So far, I have been very pleased with it. It has a good suspension system and I really like the two hip belt pockets. Since I don't carry bottles on days hikes, the issue with the pockets has not been a problem for me

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: VO24 on 06/06/2007 09:55:46 MDT Print View

Question then, what the heck would you use the side pockets for? I have a pack that has the same dumb style of pockets (just not stretchy though) and it is useless! Being so shallow it seems almost anything would fall out?

Brian Markey
(bmlaw) - MLife

Locale: Northeast
Re: Re: VO24 on 06/06/2007 10:01:31 MDT Print View

Sarah: I don't use the side pockets because thay are too small and I'm afraid anything I place in them will fall out.

Edited by bmlaw on 06/06/2007 11:19:37 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: VO24 on 06/06/2007 12:29:39 MDT Print View

From the pic it looks like the side pockets will hold the water bottle if the compression strap is used to secure the upper bottle.

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: GoLite VO24 Backpack REVIEW on 06/07/2007 05:37:07 MDT Print View

Thanks for the review, Will. Interesting to see that GoLite made a change in the side pockets from this pack's predecessor, the 24. See this catalog picture that shows much taller pockets. Although, they really only work with bicycle bottles. I've tried a 1L platy and found it's just not a fit.
PhilGoLite 24 catalog picture

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
GoLite VO24 Confusion on 06/07/2007 10:42:10 MDT Print View

GoLite's PhotoWill's Photo

Will:

Comparing GoLite's photo (left) to yours -- the side pocket and the lower side compression strap both look completely different! I read your post above that GoLite's photo just "makes the pocket look taller" -- but again, the two really look totally different. Can you elaborate more on this please?

Edited by ben2world on 06/07/2007 10:50:06 MDT.

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: GoLite VO24 Confusion on 06/07/2007 11:21:52 MDT Print View

I agree with Ben. GoLite's picture shows the top of side pocket nearly as high as the back pocket. In' Will's picture the side pocket is about 1/3 the height of the back pocket.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: GoLite VO24 Confusion on 06/07/2007 11:41:40 MDT Print View

Ben, it looks like maybe they were forced to shorten the pocket after adding the compression strap.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: GoLite VO24 Confusion on 06/07/2007 12:49:54 MDT Print View

That may well be... I just have a lingering doubt that current model has changed from the one that Will reviewed.

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643)

Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Re: Re: GoLite VO24 Confusion on 06/07/2007 13:00:22 MDT Print View

I saw one of these at REI last night. It has the shorter pocket like in Will's picture, not the one on Golite's website. The picture on Golite's website must be some pre-production model.

Brian Markey
(bmlaw) - MLife

Locale: Northeast
Pocket Size on 06/07/2007 14:08:11 MDT Print View

I measured the side pockets. Each one is about 3 1/2 inches deep.

Edited by bmlaw on 06/07/2007 14:09:16 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
GoLite VO24 Photo is Wrong?!? on 06/07/2007 14:15:33 MDT Print View

If true, then GoLite needs to change its photo! How long has it been since the website update? A few months now, right?

If Golite had posted a wrong price (say, too low) -- you can bet they'll fix it overnight -- at the latest!!!

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: GoLite VO24 Confusion on 06/07/2007 15:25:08 MDT Print View

"Ben, it looks like maybe they were forced to shorten the pocket after adding the compression strap."

It's not clear from the photo above, but the compressions strap is actually under the extended pocket in the photo on GoLite's website.

And the side pocket doesn't just "look" shorter - it's clearly about a third the height.

Dan Chrisman
(danchrisman) - F
GoLite VO24 Spacer Mesh on 06/08/2007 21:08:35 MDT Print View

Same Pack. Different Confusion. Just how much of a difference does the spacer mesh on the back panel make? I have used my GoLite Gust for 4-5 years on 1-3 day backpacking trips (3-25 miles)and have often experienced a damp pack on my back.

DAC

Richard L Halbert
(maybeoaks) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: GoLite VO24 Confusion on 01/03/2009 08:18:32 MST Print View

I recently purchased this pack, on sale at REI. I needed a pack with lots of external pockets and this fits the bill. The side pockets are about 5 inches deep. I checked my collection of water bottles and picked a 20 oz bottle with a short, fat profile. It fits nicely in the pocket. I sewed velcro (hook and loop) across the top of the other side pocket and will use it to store gear. I'll carry a 1 or 2 L. Platypus bottle in the hydration pocket to replenish the 20 oz bottle as needed. I also sewed velcro across the large external front pocket so that it will not fill with snow or other debris. With these modifications, I'm really pleased with the pack.