Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009)

The Gorilla is a refined internal frame or frameless pack - the outcome of years of ultralight backpack evolution.

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by Will Rietveld | 2009-07-24 00:07:00-06

Editor's Note: Backpacking Light is including new products from small online businesses in our Outdoor Retailer coverage. Most can't afford a booth at OR, but their new products are just as important to our readers as those from the big companies.

Technically, Gossamer Gear has already introduced the Gorilla pack, but supplies have been limited, until now. The Gorilla pack has a removable frame, so it can be used either frameless or internal frame. It's sized for ultralight backpacking at 2800 cubic inches and is both durable and light. With the Gorilla, Gossamer Gear is introducing their new curved tubular aluminum frame (3.4 ounces), which can be retrofitted to the Mariposa Plus pack. Another nice feature is its removable hipbelt and sternum strap. The Gorilla pack is available in three sizes, and three hipbelt sizes are also available.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008) - 1
The Gossamer Gear Gorilla is a durable pack for ultralight backpacking (or day hiking). It has a removable aluminum frame, weighs just 23.2 ounces (size M), and costs $165.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 2
The pack body is made of durable 210 denier urethane-coated double wall ripstop nylon.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 3
Front and side pockets of power stretch nylon, which is much more durable than previous mesh used in Gossamer Gear packs.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 4
Gossamer Gear's new curved stay slips into two sleeves on the inside of the backpanel and makes a huge difference in the pack's fit compared to the old straight stays.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 7
There are two mesh compression straps on the sides of the pack, plus a top compression strap.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 6
The shoulder straps on the Gorilla (and other Gossamer Gear packs) are a full 3+ inches wide; the underside of the straps is padded with 3D mesh.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 5
A pad sleeve on the backpanel is made of 3D wicking mesh. Gossamer Gear supplies a SitLight pad for the sleeve, which pads the backpanel.

Overall, the Gorilla shows the outcome of a lot of evolution in ultralight backpacks. Earlier packs were constructed of much lighter fabrics and mesh and had a limited lifespan as a result. Pack manufacturers have found that going to heavier fabrics and mesh do not add that much to a pack's weight, but they add a huge increment of durability and longevity. The Gorilla is a very refined pack, showing the outcome of this evolution. This could easily become my favorite backpack; look for an upcoming review in Backpacking Light.

Specifications and Features

  Manufacturer

Gossamer Gear (www.gossamergear.com)

  Product

Gorilla Backpack

  Style

Removable stays allows use as a frameless or internal frame pack

  Capacity

2800 ci total, including pockets and extension collar

  Weight

23.2 oz (size M)

  Sizes

S,M,L

  Materials

210d PU-coated nylon ripstop body; power stretch nylon pockets
3D mesh shoulder straps, pad sleeve, and hipbelt, anatomically curved aluminum stay unit

  Features

Large mesh front pocket, two mesh side pockets, extension collar, drawcord and rolltop closure with top compression strap, two side compression straps, sleeping pad serves as padded backpanel, removable sternum strap with whistle, removable hipbelt, three hipbelt sizes available, removable foam inserts for shoulder straps and hip belts, hydration bladder pocket with dual drinking tube ports, haul loop, ice axe loop

  MSRP

US$165


Citation

"Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009)," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/orsm09_gossamer_gear_gorilla.html, 2009-07-24 00:07:00-06.

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Forum Index » Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009 » Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009)


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) on 07/24/2009 13:36:50 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009)

jeffrey bennett
(jollygreen)

Locale: Near the bottom
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack on 07/24/2009 18:35:26 MDT Print View

Great pack. Have used mine for about 10 days total so far. Great for carrying extra water on those desert trips. Can be stripped down to about 16oz with out the belt and stay. I use my sleeping socks as padding in the shoulder pads.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Nice on 07/25/2009 12:06:38 MDT Print View

Sweet looking pack. I wonder if the 23oz weight includes the SitLight pad?

Paul Wozniak
(PaulW)

Locale: Midwest
Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack on 07/25/2009 12:16:23 MDT Print View

Jeffrey,

I've been close to pulling the trigger on this pack but.... maybe you or another Gorilla user can help.

In terms of a sweaty back I'm wondering what is the difference between the Gorilla with its mesh pad holder and a textured SitLite pad (possibly with holes drilled in the pad per another post) and a direct-against-the-back pack like the Jam, etc. How significantly better is it in this respect. Minimal or impressive?

I like everything else about this pack. Glad you like yours.

Paul

scott Nelson
(nlsscott) - MLife

Locale: So. Calif.
Bear Can? on 07/25/2009 18:38:24 MDT Print View

Can you get a standard Bear Cannistr inside it and still have reasonable capacity? I love my Miniposa, but hate straping the bear can on top. The Miniposa fabric seams a little thin for the stress of a bear can, too. Any experience with toting a can in one of these?

jeffrey bennett
(jollygreen)

Locale: Near the bottom
Re:Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack on 07/25/2009 19:14:19 MDT Print View

Paul,
I would say minimal on the sweat but you do get a little more air flow. This pack has replaced my osprey Aether and It is cooler than it. I have not had a lot of experince with the Jam style packs so it is hard for me to compare. But the gorrlia is very comfortable against you back.

Scott,
It is the same size as the miniposa. Just made out of 210 denier 4 oz./sq. yd.(135.7 g./sq. m.) urethane-coated double wall ripstop nylon.

Edited by jollygreen on 07/25/2009 19:16:36 MDT.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) on 07/26/2009 12:01:59 MDT Print View

Long time ago, famous mountaineer Rob (?) Lowe was fed up with the big external frame packs and decided he could do better if he put the frame on the inside. SO he stitched a few pieces of fabric together put some metal on the inside and the first internal frame pack was born. Other manufactures quickly copied the idea and the packs got more and more (over) designed, which made them heavy.

Enter a few radical thinkers, like Ray Jardin, Ryan Jordan and Glen Van Peski (controversy aside I think that most people frequenting these fora initially were drawn to light weight backpacking by Ray Jardine and Coup), who all figured that we could do without all these fancy features and go with a very simple pack instead.

It seems to me though that even the most important light weigh aficionados are now straying away from hardcore lightweight ideals in favor of more traditional feature sets like durability. What does that mean? Does UL, SUL, XUL simply not work, or are they getting older and do their older bones need more comfort and consequently heavier, sturdier gear that will hold a heavier gear set?

Where will the lightweight industry develop to? UL external frame packs? If you would look at this website five years ago, you would find THE best lightweight gear and I guess this still is THE place to be, though for the really light stuff you're better of to shop around at the lightweight cottage companies. Five years ago a internal framed backpack would have been blasphemy.

So where will we be 5 years from now? Will material development bring us UL gear on par with regular gear durability, or will Ryan, Glen, Ron Moak and the likes fess up that after all (X/S)UL sucks? That it's something for crazy young people, but not for them anymore?

I wonder...

Eins

Edited by EinsteinX on 07/26/2009 12:04:27 MDT.

jeffrey bennett
(jollygreen)

Locale: Near the bottom
old bones and value on 07/26/2009 16:42:23 MDT Print View

I understand were you are coming from but it has a lot to do with the value of a product. Companies have to sell products to live. Most people only have so much cash to spend on luxury items such as backpacking supplies. For me there has to be a trade off between light weight and how long something will last. I think most of the free thinker understand this. Can I still buy a 5 oz pack. Yep but it ain't cheap. Cuben fiber hurts my back pocket to much. If have x number of dollars to spend on a pack. Do I buy a heavy enternal frame back or do I buy the lighest enternal frame pack that can be converted to a frameless pack. I do need the frame since I carring up to 3 gallons of water durnig desert trips. For the averge joe this pack makes a great start into the light weight way of life. The newest pack from GG is the mummer in silnlyon. It should weigh about 1 oz more than the spinnaker version but last longer. It just makes since to build a product that will last longer and is still light weight.

UL is still here. It is just that there are a lot more options out there than ever before. Can stll go SUL (under 5 lb) with a silnlon 9oz pack. Heck yeah. I can do it with a 23 oz pack also. Then take that same pack and carry all my water on those dry hikes.

("or will Ryan, Glen, Ron Moak and the likes fess up that after all (X/S)UL sucks? That it's something for crazy young people, but not for them anymore?")

I bet their old bones have can still "Go lighter" than most of those younger crazy boys.

Edited by jollygreen on 07/26/2009 16:44:20 MDT.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack on 07/26/2009 18:18:26 MDT Print View

I've been very impressed with this pack on my limited viewing of it (owned by another BPL member). As I understand it, the pack is meant for off-trail hiking and mountaineering. This is represented in its more durable fabric and slimmer profile.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Gorilla on 07/26/2009 19:42:50 MDT Print View

Mountaineering? As a part time Mountaineer, I would suggest that the fabric may not hold up to substantial abrasion. As a backpacking pack - looks great.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Gorilla Backpack on 07/26/2009 20:05:07 MDT Print View

I thought about getting one, but as a hammocker I don't use pads.

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
Re: Re: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack on 07/26/2009 20:50:12 MDT Print View

From Matt..."I've been very impressed with this pack on my limited viewing of it (owned by another BPL member). As I understand it, the pack is meant for off-trail hiking and mountaineering. This is represented in its more durable fabric and slimmer profile."

I'm the owner Matt knows with the Gorilla Pack. I've used it for about 8 nights out and at least that many day hikes/training hikes with a full load. It's my favorite, with a comfortable carry for loads up to 26 lbs (my upper limit so far). I LOVE the 3 mesh pockets. This greatly simplifies gear organization for me and is a strong selling point for making the pack a flexible choice. I can see a future (cooler weather with more "stuff" to carry) where I would want a bigger capacity, but for late spring to early fall trips of 2 to 4 days, it hits the spot for me.

FWIW, it has sufficient capacity and can easily manage the load for a hammock, tarp and UQ.

Edited by Beep on 07/26/2009 21:12:11 MDT.

Paul Cronshaw
(beemancron) - F

Locale: Southwest US
The Gorilla IS my favorite pack on 07/27/2009 22:50:24 MDT Print View

I echo what Will says about the GG Gorilla. "This pack HAS become my favorite pack". Over the past 5 years, I have used most of the packs that GG has developed and been part of their pack evolution; the Gorilla has made the top of my list. The R & D and fine tuning that has gone into this pack has been excellent. It has helped take my hiking passion to a level of an UL zealot.

As a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger (VWR) in the Los Padres National Forest, I carry tools and other equipment for wilderness patrols and trails projects.
Gorilla and Trail gear


On a recent 5 day trip, I carried 27 pounds of gear, food, water and equipment. With the new contoured spinal support, the weight distribution was excellent. The slim profile and tougher material has given me the confidence to use as a bushwacking pack in the chaparral regrowth post Zaca Fire.

If you follow UL principles in your gear selection, the Wild Ideas Weekender bear canister fits in the Gorilla in the vertical position. I am headed to the Sierras for a 5 day trip next week with this setup; I will give an update when I return.

Pictures of a recent Spring trip carrying the Gorilla:

http://picasaweb.google.com/beemancron/2009VWRSpringTrip#

Happy Trails

Paul “The Beeman” Cronshaw
Gossamer Gear Trails Ambassador

http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/team_gossamer.html

Ed Barkowski
(edbarkowski) - F
all-time favorite on 07/28/2009 21:29:40 MDT Print View

Rocked the Gorilla for 740 straight miles on the A.T. this year. Loved every minute. Never an uncomfortable moment. Quite often, while passing Gregorys and Ospreys, I'd get the question, "what is that on your back?!". Many of these folks would have bought the Gorilla on the spot, had they not blown twice as much on their traditional/framed packs. Oh well... felt great to do it right the first time.

Thank you, Gossamer Gear, for designing my all-time favorite pack.

Edited by edbarkowski on 07/28/2009 21:30:21 MDT.

Tim Testa
(MichaelRedbeard) - F
I am really thinking about this one... on 07/29/2009 03:13:03 MDT Print View

They are out of my size now though. However, I wish I could see some pictures of how the inside looks like. Can any post some pictures. By the way, how many pounds can this thing safely hold?

Edited by MichaelRedbeard on 07/29/2009 04:38:27 MDT.

jeffrey bennett
(jollygreen)

Locale: Near the bottom
"Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack on 07/29/2009 04:44:12 MDT Print View

They are out of my size now though. However, I wish I could see some pictures of how the inside looks like. Can any post some pictures. By the way, how many pounds can this thing safely hold?

I have had 28 lbs in mine before and it carried it very well. Sorry no pics but the inside is just a sack will a small bladder sleeve.

Edited by jollygreen on 07/29/2009 04:48:09 MDT.

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
GG Gorilla Pack on 07/29/2009 07:04:11 MDT Print View

I've carried 28 in my Gorilla with no problem.

Glen Van Peski
(gvanpeski) - F - M

Locale: San Diego
Re: I am really thinking about this one... on 08/01/2009 19:45:56 MDT Print View

Not sure of your size, but the mediums recently went in stock.

Glen Van Peski
(gvanpeski) - F - M

Locale: San Diego
Re:Old Bones on 08/01/2009 19:53:47 MDT Print View

Well, I can't speak for 'the likes', but I just got back from doing the Wonderland Trail with Henry Shires. Base weight heading out was 4.5 lbs., plus 6 lbs of food. I wasn't familiar with the trail, so didn't want to go really light. Sure, it would have worked as well in a murmur sized pack of something other than spinnaker, and if you don't happen to make gear, durability and value is definitely something to consider. It's probably no accident that our heaviest packs are what sell the best... But for me, I still enjoy going really light. HYOH


"So where will we be 5 years from now? Will material development bring us UL gear on par with regular gear durability, or will Ryan, Glen, Ron Moak and the likes fess up that after all (X/S)UL sucks? That it's something for crazy young people, but not for them anymore?"

Charles Kukla
(ckukla)
Questions about Gorilla - Miniopsa Retrofit on 08/04/2009 09:10:27 MDT Print View

I purchased the Miniposa last season and carried it with the two 1oz stays on 4 trips. It carried very well at about 19oz in size large carrying between 15-20 lbs - usually closer to 20lbs. GG retrofitted the miniposa with the new 3oz aluminum stay (for only $25 including shipping!!) and it is amazingly comfortable. I just went out with my girlfriend in the high sierra for 5 days carrying 30 lbs to start, and about 23 lbs at the end of the trip. I carried all our food, most of which fit in an overstuffed bear vault small/short size. Which fit just fine vertically inside the main compartment.

I was amazed that it really was just as comfortable at 25-30lbs as it was earlier in the year on 2 solo 3 day trips at 15-18 lbs. I've owned Gregory packs before, and the miniposa with the gorilla suspension is more comfortable to me because of the wider shoulder straps. At 25 lbs or less the pack really does "disappear" and you forget you are carrying it. With more durable fabric, I would love to have the Gorilla with 2-3 oz more weight. I've not had any durability issues yet scrambling over off trail passes and sliding down snowfields with my miniposa. Two concerns I would have would be extensive bushwhacking, which I don't do, and hiking in wet conditions. We had light rain/hail for two days of our 5 day trip, and the miniposa soaks through pretty quickly. Lowering the pack down briefly onto snowfields, the bottom got soaked through pretty quickly also, while my girlfriends Gregory pack stayed totally dry inside. I don't use a liner as I hike only in the Sierra and use a poncho if a thunderstorm is a real soaker.

As far as the question about back sweat with the sitlight pad - forget about a dry back if you are sweating significantly, but it does OK when sweating lightly or in colder conditions. But that's the trade off with a "frameless" pack. This pack is very stable on technical terrain and off trail scrambling with the center of gravity close to your body. I've not carried it without the suspension as it's only 3oz additional for more comfort without changing the center of gravity.

If you are not really rough with your gear/pack and generally don't hike in wet conditions, the new Gorilla pack probably carries the most weight at the least weight anywhere.

GREAT PACK - GREAT SERVICE from GG. I own their new lightrek 4 poles which are also a 5 star product.