Rating: 5 / 5
I have used the old GG G5 pack for well beyond a servicable lifetime. Patching, reinforcing, and repatching...it finaly died and I replaced it with a 2012 Murmur, one of the first off the production line. The heavier Dynema fabric was everything the old spinaker was not. The straps are a bit narrower, but better built. The overall quality of the sewing was near perfect. This extended to inside seams which were double stiched WITH ribbon to prevent premature wearing. The pad pockets were well put together and "will" fit my normal, longer sitlite/thin pad...5 sections at a total thickness of just over 2-1/4".
This nearly maxes out the shoulder harness but, not quite...it works.
The torso strap is much improved, albeit, still lacks the virsatility of a full elastic one...my thoughts of perfection and I cannot hold that against a pack.
Unlike the G5, the bottom of the shoulder harnes is sewn through both layers and the core.
The detachable belt looks average. Since it will always be used, I will remove this complexity and replace it with a sewn in one. Again, personal preferance.
Overall, this pack should last 3-7 years without 1/4 as much effort as I put into the old G5.
A big well done.
Long Term review
I took the pack on a two week trip up the NPT. It carried well with the 23# starting weight...well over the design spec.
A couple quibles:
1) Front Mesh Pouch: This worked pretty well, but note that it was a bit loose. While the size is good when I placed my fuel bottle in it it sagged below the pack body. A bit awkward picking the pack up or setting it down. I had the feeling it should have been tighter.
2) The mesh workes well, I guess. I would prefer the old style silnylon on the front pouch. It caught on scrub and I put two small holes in it.
3) The bottom shoulder harness and torso strap was not well thought out. A longer strap fastened at the bottom and extending up to the top dynemaX shoulder reinforcement would be better by reinforcing the shoulder harness. This would prevent the stretching of the silnylon in this area. But, I WAS overloaded with food...
4) The shoulder harness slipped after a couple miles. The ribbon used for the bottom needs to be heavier to prevent the slipping. This continued throughout the trip and was NOT a product of overloading. After the first week I was withing carry-spec, but it still slipped. This did not really bother me, since I drop the pack on downhills(cooler, lower center of gravity) and lift it on uphills. Annoying on road hikes, however.
(edit, March, 2013: Gossamer Gear replaced the entire pack. This has poly straps. Better because of the water repellancy, and, the increased thickness. This solved the problem of the straps slipping.)
5) I used a 3 section nightlite pad as a frame that worked well. But I was within a couple inches of maxing the waist belt. Also, the wast belt was a bit narrow for 20#+ loads. After the first week it was fine.
6) The sternum strap (wrapped around the shoulder strap) caused some wrinkling of the foam/shoulder strap. Better would have been to only use the mounting strap rather than the whole shoulder strap.
7) I carry a SVEA 123, and where the pouch/OTT lid mounted caused some fraying of the silnylon. I place the 123 in the pouch (along with the cup and windscreen.) Easily repaired and probably a product of overloading with food, but, it did not get worse once it frayed. I believe the seam was a bit tight.
Mostly minor quibles and nothing to change my opinion generally. It carried the 23# easily and I often left the pack on for rest stops. 1 resupply at Blue Mountain pushed the weight over the 15# limit again (~18#.)
June 2, 2015
The redesigned the pack again in 2014. I was given one to test for a few weeks.
I had it out for two weeks, one for hiking and one while canoeing. This version was nearly perfect with most of the old problems solved.
1) There is a real hip belt with pockets. It is adjustable for two positions. A rather novel way of changing pack sizes. It actually fit my daughter (5’0”!) However one problem with the hip belt was noted. It detaches when setting the pack down. A couple drops of super glue were used to remedy this.
2) The Over The Top panel was changed out for a roll top on the extension collar. Since Gossamer Gear does not count this, this easily extends the volume for cold trips where extra clothing is needed.
3) The pockets are taller! This fits the old SVEA! Since the cord locks were removed from the pack, it also removes the source of any fraying.
4) Using mesh and thin padding for the shoulder harness and hip belt. It seems someone recognized the need for a real hip belt on this pack, even at 10 pounds.
5) They added a fabric panels to the large front pouch. This easily keeps it from sagging.
6) However, GG also included a hydration port with no internal sleeve. They included tube keepers on the shoulder harness. They included two pole keepers as well as an ice axe keeper. For me, all this could be eliminated.
7) The improved the external attachment points and compression system.
8) They added a strap OVER your shoulders for overload strength. Yeah! I am always overloaded at the start of my two week jaunts, usually 21-23pounds.
9) The Fabric is VERY water resistant. Always a good thing when cannoing.
10) The sternum strap is clipped on, not a simple split buckle. It does NOT come off when setting the pack down like the old model did.
11) The Pad Keeper is much tighter. I used a three layer pad (NightLite) in it, but I am getting a bit old. I brought my NeoAir anyway.
12) The SitLight corners now need to be rounded slightly to fit into the pad keepers.
This is a nice pack compared to the first versions. Even adding weight (from about 5oz to 12.5oz) from the first Spinnaker packs, it has gone into durability. A serious SUL pack for most, with trimming extra strapping, plastic bits, etc, you can get this pack down to 11.3oz. Well less than the needed 1pound for SUL camping. I wish I could give this pack more stars.
It carried really well, even overloaded. It took the trail abuse of the Adirondacks with only one small hole. It easily expands to fit my overload at the start of the trail. It even went through rain with the majority of my gear, bone dry. Only when I opened the pack, did it get some wetness inside, you can hardly fault the pack for my bad decision. This is perhaps the best of the SUL packs available.