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Golite Pinnacle Pack

in Backpacks - Frameless

Average Rating
4.25 / 5 (12 reviews)

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( cuzzettj )

NorCal - South Bay
Golite Pinnacle Pack on 06/13/2007 11:14:34 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Down from a 5 to a 4... But still a 5 to me. Want to know why? Read on...

A few weeks ago I received the Golite Pinnacle Pack in the mail. I wanted the pack because I love the Jam Pack I purchased in July 2006. I needed the extra volume for gear I am required to carry for Boy Scouting outings like a Bear Canister, training material and/or the large group first aid kit.

The differences between the Jam and the Pinnacle I noticed:

1. The padding/support for your back is shaped to conform to your back (the Jam is a rectangle). The padding is stiffer and it provides more support than the Jam.
2. They added load stabilizer straps that connect the extended collar to the shoulder straps allows you adjust the way the load fits and helps keep a larger load from shifting (this feature is not part of the 360 degree view on the Golite web site for the Pinnacle Pack).
3. It is amazing how they kept the weight of the size large 4500 cubic inch pack down to 1 pound 10 ounces (my digital scale) which is an ounce heavier than the listed weight.
4. The visible sign that contribute to the low weight of this pack are all compression straps and gear loops are made from a narrower webbing.
5. The harness/shoulder strap padding is better than on the Jam. A little thicker and stiffer. A feature I like for the heavier loads I will be carrying (I never had a problem with discomfort using the Jam, but those loads were never more than 21 pounds).
5. Another favorite is the ability to compress the load down and shrink the actual capacity to accomodate smaller loads. See Golite's web site for details.
6. The color choice of Palm is a much better choice than offered in the past. It is not as light of a green a it apeared on the web. Mine was pretty dark. Which I like when following the LNT guidelines.

Field Test 1

After weigh in for our mini-backpacking trip (we included the younger scouts on this hike) my pack weighed 26.1 pounds. With the addition of a couple of 'old school' alcohol stoves, fuel (to show the boys alternative methods of cooking) and food for the cook group (I carried additional food as a 'just in case' for the boys still under 12, which I needed for them) I was at 30.6 pounds (a monster load).

The hike was realitively easy as it was many of the boys first time hiking. Though it gave me ample time to try all of the pack's features and concider the load's comfort at this weight. Here is what I found:

-Shoulder straps and additional collar/load stabilizing straps rocked!
-Hip belt worked great, however, it took me a while to figure out how tight to make it to stabilize the load.
-I absolutely love the side comression straps. They can be unclipped to get around bulky sleeping pads and as a convienence for strapping hiking poles or jackets to the side of the pack.
-After we arrived to camp, set up, and ate we headed to our service project. I carried essentials and the bulky first aid kit with me in the same pack. The added ability to reduce the dimensions of this pack down to less than (I estimate) 1500 cubic inches makes this pack a real winner. I didn't need and additional fanny pack (I never liked them anyway) or other bag to run around with as many others brought saving additional weight.

***The only negative... and reason I am changing this from a 5 rating to a 4 is had I been on a rougher trip and needed to carry a few more pounds than I did (God forbid), I am not sure the hip belt is up to snuff. Golite doesn't pad or stiffen the hip belt in anyway except to increase the surface area of the what goes around the hip by extending a wide piece of pack cloth to start the hip belt off before you get to the strap. A great feature that I really like. But as I stated earlier it took me a bit to figure out the right adjustment and position for this to stop the pack from shifting at the hips and to get the load off of my shoulders a bit more.

So... the Pinnacle Pack gets a rating of 4 of 5 because the weight versus volume ratio is amazing. If you want to carry a few bulkier item and still keep out of the 3-5 pound pack range... this is a great pack for you!!!. I was worried I would not have any other choice. But Golite came through for me again!!! The cost of $110 (retail is $130) was especially great! I will be picking the same pack up for my son.

I am going to encourage my Troop to move twords this type of pack. I saw a lot of boys carrying loads that were twice as deep as they were or more. It reminded me of my time in the Infantry and bothered me more than you know. I may have even sold many of the adults on lighter methods. Or at least put the thought in their heads. Though I know it may be a tough sell for those advocating external frame packs only in Scouting.

Edited by cuzzettj on 06/25/2007 17:51:40 MDT.

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Alfred Sidman
( sidmanac )

Pacific Northwest
Excellent mountaineering/cold weather pack. on 08/15/2007 00:17:30 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The Golite Pinnacle is the larger, but apparently similar, sibling to the Jam2. I have now taken my new size L Pinnacle on three 3-day trips and several shorter ones, and can share my impressions. I have not weighed it full, but it has held 60m of 8mm rope, harness and glacier gear, picket, light ice ax & crampons & helmet, tiny tent, and clothing for summer Cascades at altitude, as well as the usual light gear and food. I found it comfortable with this load. The hipbelt 'wings' have some padding and a slight cup for the hip. The shoulder straps are reasonably padded. The lifter straps don't work quite as well as on a frame pack, but they do serve to vary the feel a bit as you go and to prevent the top of the pack from sagging over. The back panel has thin padding. Assuming you're not carrying rocks or a giant water bladder inside, a frame would not add anything to a pack of this volume. It holds its shape well when filled. As with other frameless packs, the more it is loaded, the stiffer the pack gets. The volume reducing system at the bottom (see BPL's review) works to some degree, but with light loads it nonetheless becomes more flaccid. Ideally you'd use a smaller, full pack instead.

The side mesh pockets allow for easy reach of water bottles. I holster a 1L collapsible Platypus upside-down in each pocket so as not to catch on the mesh going in. The Pinnacle has an internal pocket for a bladder with drinking tube, but it has the usual problems with refilling when the pack is tightly loaded. The rear pocket, which has no bellows or gusset, is a bit tight and thin when the main compartment is full. The roll-top works fine. The generous compression straps allow for strapping things to the sides.

My biggest concern is durability, and I'd give it a 4.5 due to that. The Dyneema fabric is adequate, but threads are visibly straining at several seams when this 4650 in3 (76L) baby is full. This is noticeable along the vertical seam at the edge of the backpad, around the top shoulder strap attachment points, and where the roll-top strap is attached. The seam opening is ever so slight and not about to fail soon. Nonetheless, perhaps six additional ounces of reinforcement plates could be justified. Even if raised from 1 lbs 10 oz (size L) to 2 lbs, it would still have an excellent volume to weight ratio and a comfortable ride.

The Pinnacle admirably serves for several days with light technical gear, for winter overnights, a week of warm-weather ultralight backpacking, or carrying gear for two. It offers significant weight savings over the 3-5 lbs large climbing packs that usually fill this role, at perhaps the cost of a slight decrease in longevity. It is now my most-used pack.

Edited by sidmanac on 08/15/2007 00:44:27 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Platypus Drinking Tube priced at: $9.75 - $12.95
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Forrest G McCarthy
( forrestmccarthy )

Planet Earth
close to perfection on 11/20/2007 07:59:44 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

According to the folks at Go-Light The Pinnacle Pack was designed to replace the Gust (now discontinued). It is essentially the same “grocery bag” design with a few extra well spent ounces. Notable additions included a more comfortable hip belt, sternum strap, compression straps, and mesh pockets. While the beauty of the Gust Pack was its simplicity the Pinnacle Packs adaptations are functional and justified.

If Go-Light would replace the drawstring with a more secure role down (dry bag style) closure and a larger rectangular frame sleeve perfection would be attained.

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Kevin Sawchuk
( ksawchuk - M )

Northern California
Excellent winter pack on 11/21/2007 13:37:03 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I'm not sure this would have enough support for long winter ski trips but it is an excellent and comfortable pack when you need extra volume for high loft clothing/bags/pads. I've sewn on my own hip belt pockets to the large waist belt supports and I wish that Go-Lite would spend the extra ounce making these standard. (I used a stretch material, 1.5 inch deep, following the contour of the waist belt and with a light zipper.)

bobby c
( bobbycartwright )

i don't need no stinkin badges!
Pinnacle for any season on 02/04/2008 08:29:55 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have been very impressed with my GoLite Pinnacle. I've had it loaded down with my winter kit and 5 day's worth of food and it's didn't even blink, something around 25 to 28 lbs. Like a previous post noted, the seams do seem to be stretched to capacity when the pack is fully loaded, but they show no signs of popping. Any other pack that was packed as full as I pack this one would show the same stretching on the seams. This pack makes alot more sense to me than the Jam because you get the thousand or so extra cubes for only 3 ounces or so, allowing it to hold those larger winter loads. Carrying loads in the summer when I don't have all of my winter comfort gear is a breeze. I've hauled 6 days's worth in the summer consisting of 1.75 lbs of food/day, 2 liters of water with my refined UL kit. Excellent pack for anyone who desires a good fit with alot of comfort and a large capacity. If you're debating between this and the Jam2, get this one.

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Tim Heckel
( ThinAir - M )

6237' - Manitou Springs
Shaky Quality on 05/28/2008 10:58:25 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

The top strap on my Golite Pinnacle pack started coming off during my first weekend trip. The straps are sewn on with a flimsy stitch. I immediately took the pack to a local gear seamstress (who does work for our search and rescue group) and had her properly reinforce the stitching on all the straps. Having her do that and shorten the straps to a reasonable length for me (I'm thin) added significantly to the overall cost of the pack. That said, I agree with most of the reviews given to date. I like the single large top-load style of this pack, and I love the outside pockets. I'd likely give this pack a 5 if I felt I could trust the workmanship.

Buck Nelson
( Colter )

Good Light Pack on 10/06/2008 14:24:50 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

On my recent Continental Divide Trail ( hike I started out with a Golite Infinity pack. This was a very good pack but the material was too weak and ripped in several places. Golite quickly, cheerfully and efficiently exchanged the pack for the pack of my choice. I chose the Pinnacle.

My first concern after getting this pack was whether the material would be strong enough. The Pinnacle is made out of a much stronger material and I expect it to last a long time. The seams are looking good after hundreds of miles on the trail and the material looks almost new.

I found the Pinnacle to be quite comfortable. The hip belt is comfortable, and the Pinnacle has a sternum strap, which I like. The shoulder straps are ergonomic and comfortable. The inner back pad is light and effective. The pack rides well when loaded and adjusted properly (heavy stuff near the shoulder blades, center of gravity kept high, etc.) The compression straps on the sides are useful to reduce the pack volume when necessary. They also work well for attaching a sleeping pad or other appropriate items on the side of the pack.

Next, I like plenty of room in a pack. (I am fairly disciplined and am not tempted to add items to my load if there is extra room.) I liked having the extra room when leaving town with a week’s worth of food, or when packing up on cold or rainy mornings when I wanted to get moving. The construction quality is very good. I like the roomy zipper pocket also. When the main pack is stuffed full there’s still enough slack in the zipper pocket so it’s easy to access.

And of course it’s very important to me that my pack is reasonably light. At 1 lb 9 oz for a pack of this volume, comfort and strength, I think it will be a hard pack to beat.

Criticisms? Neither of my Golite packs came with instructions. Some features that may be obvious to the designer may not be to the user, so include some tips on adjustments and features, Golite! I would put two compression straps on top, each attached where the load lifter straps attach. This would make the load lifter straps much more effective by preventing the slumping of the top of the pack when the load lifter straps are tightened. (I made this modification myself for the PCT.)

Overall a great pack that I plan to use on my next long hike. (This review is for the 2008 version of the Pinnacle.)

Update: I used this pack for all of the PCT in 2010. Unlike some other light packs I've used, this pack has lasted for thousands of miles and has plenty of miles left in it. I've changed my rating to a "4" from a "5" because these packs have a tendency to "slump" if they aren't packed just right. Most people I talked to that carried a Pinnacle reported that the back pad would start folding somewhere around the small of their back. At worst this fold would rub against the carrier's back, and reduce the transfer of weight to the waist belt.

It's still a good pack, and by doing things like using a closed cell pad as an inside vertical cylinder, along with packing that tube tightly to act as an internal frame, the pack rode nicely without slumping. Nevertheless, it was an issue that most owners had to deal with.

Edited by Colter on 01/09/2011 09:03:02 MST.

Zack Karas
( )

Lake Tahoe
Not quite the 'pinnacle', but close on 09/08/2009 09:18:41 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I recently purchased an older, unused model (2008 model?) for a thruhike of Iceland (northern-most tip to southern-most tip). After trimming straps, removing the hydration sleeve, one ice-axe loop and strap, and compaktor clips the pack weighs 22oz. I also added 2 GG hipbelt pockets, so that puts the weight up to just under 24oz.

It's a very versatile pack due to the compression straps and compaktor clips (though I have removed those as I found that they deformed the bottom of the pack). The large volume allowed me to carry items on this thruhike that my other packs (Golite Jam, ULA P2) wouldn't have had the room for--namely a tent and 10 days of food. While my shoulders were tender with 35+ lbs in the pack, I found this acceptable as the majority of the time for the thruhike my pack was at or below 20 lbs.

I plan on using this pack for winter backpacking, as it seems perfectly designed to carry high-loft high-volume gear without the weight penalty that other packs possess.

My only criticism is that I have had the cap of my hydration bladder push through the backpad of the pack and bruise my back (why I cut it out) and that the zippered back pocket can be hard to maximize the space and to find things in it.

Edited by on 09/08/2009 09:21:22 MDT.

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Elliott Wolin
( ewolin )

Hampton Roads, Virginia
Worked great for my wife on 11/28/2009 20:08:42 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

My wife borrowed my daughter's new woman's Golite Pinnacle pack for our 4-day trip down the Grand Canyon (mid-Nov 2009). She was very happy with it, and found it perfectly comfortable for our 20 lb loads (incl food and water).

The extra volume was handy for rehydrating food and for breakable crackers, or for just quickly stuffing everything into the pack and not being particularly careful to use up every last cubic inch of space.

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john braun
( Hitman )

West Florida
Great Pack on 01/08/2010 22:56:28 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I've used this pack on three different trips. I love how light it is. And it's very comfortable since I usually have 25 lbs thereabout in the pack. It's one of my favorite pieces of gear.

Jeremy Greene
( tippymcstagger )

North Texas
Big company has advantages on 01/21/2010 14:38:48 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Bigger company:
Found this for a good sale price and at my door in 5 days. It is visually appealing too.

Haven't used it yet, but inspected and started trimming. First use will be a 30-mile weekend at the end of this month. It seems like what I will need year-round in TX, OK, AR, NM. It replaces my internal frame for winter. Having the bottom "compactor" and cool mesh straps/padding, it might replace my Breeze for summer.

My size large Ridgerest Delux at 25" wide reaches the load lifters and should make a serious virtual frame.

Overall fit and design seem good. My torso measures 19.5". A size L seems to sit correctly around my hips.

Minor complaints:
Would prefer crossed static cord and locks instead of compression straps and buckles. This would be lighter and more easily removed or shortened. Upper "compactor" seems a poor design (but lower is nice). Curved zipper on pocket catches on its storm flap.

My pack surgery is solving all above complaints accept for the zipper. Original weight 910g, current weight 737g.

Edited by tippymcstagger on 02/09/2010 15:16:14 MST.

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Elena Lee
( lenchik101 )

Pacific Northwest (USA)
Great pack with some issues on 01/29/2010 12:07:50 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have a women's version size small. I'm not sure if there is any difference between men's and women's besides the size. I also have an Osprey Talon 33 pack.

What i use it for:

I bought this pack originally for climbing. My Osprey doesn't have enough space for the added climbing gear. I used this pack on several climbing trips, as well as search and rescue training weekend outings.

What I like:

-Volume. The grocery bag design allows instant volume adjustments as well.

-Weight. Very lightweight.

-Material. I like this dyneema strong material, good for climbing situations where some serious rock abrasion is possible.

What i dislike:

-Lack of form compared to my Osprey. It seems that even though Osprey is heavier, it's more comfy to carry because of its frame. This wouldn't be an issue for backpacking, when my max loads are 15 pounds. But with added climbing gear, the shape of the backpack is noticable with some added strain on back muscles, shoulders, and soreness in hip belt area. This pack slightly sags and folds a bit when i carry my inflatable pad, not a closed cell foam. I still try to inflate it a bit to form an extra padding and form giving layer on my back. my i can feel the difference and more pulling on my shoulder straps. I can carry the Osprey on my hips alone - not the same feeling with Pinnacle.

-Sternup strap. For me, it is positioned too high. it cuts in my chest and doesn't pull the pack to my body in the most efficient manner. i actually need to reposition it lower, which i think would enormously help with the ergonomics of this pack.

-Ice axe loops. While mine are ok so far, my husbands loops on his Jam2 (which are essentially the same) , tore off the body of the pack. Which tells me the craftsmanship of this pack is not top notch.

Overall, it's a great compromise for those seeking higher volume packs for less weight and economical price.

I do recommend this pack.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Osprey Talon 33 - Men's priced at: $99.95 - $129.00

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