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Golite Gust

in Backpacks - Frameless

Average Rating
4.43 / 5 (7 reviews)

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Stephan Guyenet
( Guyenet )
Golite Gust on 09/08/2005 00:18:42 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

This is my first really lightweight pack, and all I have to say is "wow". Why was I carrying around 4 extra pounds? The Golite Gust is a no-frills pack that preserves essential functionality while losing the chaff. It's very sturdy, with spectra-reinforced ripstop fabric (thicker than 1.3 oz silnylon packs) and skillfully bartacked stress points. Golite claims it weighs in at 20 oz for a medium, with 3600 + 1000 c.i. capacity. I haven't weighed it myself but I have no reason to doubt their claim. This weight includes a flimsy back pad which I have replaced with my Z-rest. This probably saved me a couple of ounces, bringing the pack closer to 17 or 18 oz.

I carry a fairly bulky 20 lb or less load (includes food for several days and 1 L of water), because I don't like to stuff my sleeping bag hard and I'm a cold sleeper. For this configuration, the pack is very comfortable. Its bulk is largely horizontal, which I'm not sure how I feel about. It also doesn't really have compression straps except for one half-assed webbing buckle at the top. It does have sewn webbing loops that could easily be used for compression with ropes or bungees though.

The shoulder straps are a little stiff but I should mention that I don't usually use the hipbelt with the weights I carry (highly recommended by the way!).

So, overall it's a very sturdy, lightweight, well-designed pack. Did I mention it's cheap too? I got mine on sale for $70.

Update: I carried about 30 lbs in it this weekend and it was adequate. This is the maximum recommended carry weight of the pack and I would agree.

Edited by Guyenet on 09/12/2005 11:44:18 MDT.

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paul johnson
( pj )

LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Beauty in Simplicity on 01/07/2006 02:58:02 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Austere and Spartan+ROBUST fabric+no "frills" = a solid 4+ (4.5 given this pack's design intentions).

IMHO, slightly better weight carrying ability would push this rating to a 5, and, to my way of thinking, would be acceptable if the pack's weight didn't rise more than, let's say 2-4oz to accomodate the improvements in suspension - so it would be in the SMD Starlite "frameless"-mode weight range - the generally accepted "pack mule" of sub-32oz and 32oz packs. some might consider the SMD Starlite, in frameless mode, a competitor due to the use of a somewhat similar Dyneema grid fabric, however the Starlite has ~15% less volume than the Gust. this is NOT to disparage the Starlite, which is, from all accounts, a stellar performer given its intended Thru-Hike design intentions - it certainly can carry heavier loads than the Gust, as well as having more features (suspension and external pockets) than the Gust.

[Note: unless i'm mistaken, so don't take this as "Gospel", the SMD Starlite and Comet packs may be getting those nice hip-belt pockets that the new SMD Essence pack has - sometime in the spring '06. "pj, how do...? - don't ask. i, for one, hope that this occurs.]

while there is at least one similarly large volume pack which is 4 or so ounces lighter (GG G4), this pack's Spectra/Dyneema rip-stop grid is much more robust. also, the GoLite Trek, while similarly large, and more feature laden, is a bit heavier at ~28oz sans the silNylon top-pocket (on my scale), and a Mfr claimed 32oz with the top pocket in place, and so is significantly heavier than the 19 or 19.5 oz that the Mfr claims this pack to weigh for model year that i have.

its simplicity is its beauty. although, quite honestly, i would have appreciated some mesh side pockets so that frequently accessed items could be retrieved while "on-the-move". also, an exterior mesh front pocket (like on the Breeze and G5 packs) would have been appreciated for drying my poncho after the inevitable New England rains. but...

then, adding these features would cause the Gust pack to cease to have the "character" that this elegantly simple (or is it simply elegant? - perhaps, both descriptions are correct) pack possesses in its minimalist configuration.

personally, i found that it carries quite well with 20lbs in it. for me, though, its chief virtue is NOT its weight carrying ability (it is after all a frameless rucksack), but its voluminous interior - it almost seems larger inside than outside (sic)!!!

mine is a black medium (got it on sale for only $60 - an '03 model i believe; a leftover purchased in early '04 - so it's ~0.5oz lighter than the last 2 or 3 yrs models of Gust pack). a medium-sized Gust pack is perhaps slightly too large for my 18" torso (18" being the minimum torso length/height recommended for this pack in size medium) - they had no small sizes available on sale. therefore due to, the torso length (i couldn't afford any collapse of the virtual frame), together with the interior circumference of this pack, i always needed to use a 59"-62" sleeping pad in order to achieve an adequately strong virtual frame. with a pad this size, good thing the pack had such ample volume. i rolled the pad into a cylinder, so there MUST be some overlap of the pad inorder to achieve a reasonably strong virtual frame, i.e. the pad must form a complete cylinder, so minimally, a bit more than 360 deg. of wrap (more is better) is req'd based upon my experience with this pack.

subsequently i found an '04 small on sale for $30 and scooped it up. my mistake though, i thought the Forest Green color was the Moss color of my GoLite Dawn pack. big mistake! i don't know what "forest" has this near-psychodelic, virtually-flourescent green color (10-mile green i fascitiously call it), but no forest i ever saw in Hobbiton of the Shire ever had this color of green to it. if the Incredible Hulk ever decides to go UL, then this "Forest Green" would be his color choice for a pack!!! if a forest plant or herb was this "warning" shade of green, it would be a "dead give-away" that it was poisonous and inedible!

a medium sized Gust pack is voluminous. when my gear was more voluminous (particularly because of the 20deg synthetic sleeping bag and "lightweight", sub-3lb, dbl-wall one person tent) this was the pack that would fit it all plus my food, hydration bladder, 2+lb Med kit, and BO Nova stove with fuel bottle. you can tell that I was only beginning to wise up and lighten up. obviously, given this type of gear, only treks of shorter duration were possible given this pack's load (i.e. weight, not volume) carrying capacity.

given my diminutive stature, it almost could serve as a half/demi-bivy sack for me in an emergency.

sadly, it doesn't find much use now, as both me and my 5-8lb base load of gear would "get lost" inside of its cavernous interior. but i'm hanging onto it in the event i ever need to pack a -40 deg F expedition sleeping bag up to northern Maine, near the Canadian border, some winter.

volume would be impt for instance, when an extremely cold weather sleeping bag might be the requirement - you certainly don't want to compress the bag too much considering that you're bringing such a cold weather bag for one specific purpose - it's very cold out! for me, the time elapsed between setting up bivouac and climbing into the bag is not very long (generally, cooking and eating is done earlier 2+ miles away before making camp - even if no bears are expected), so my bag doesn't have much time for loft to restore before i expect it to keep me warm.

if you need both volume and robustness in a maximum of 20-25 lb load, then this pack is a serious "contenduh", IMHO.

Edited by pj on 01/07/2006 22:57:59 MST.

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Al Shaver
( Al_T.Tude - M )

High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Voluminous, Ergonomic, Light on 03/22/2006 13:56:06 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Despite the numerous modifications I've made to this pack I like it so much I give it a "5" straight out of the box. The volume allows it to swallow a rolled-up foam pad for the "virtual frame" effect which does help it to carry loads. With the pad on the outside the interior is large enough for multi week trips, backcountry roped climbing trips and synthetic winter sleeping bags. The only caveat is to not expect it to carry well when loaded over 30 lbs.

With 41 lb. start weight on a 12 day unsupported/unresupplied JMT hike, the 2 bear cannisters drove through the pack to my back with painful authority; and until I fashioned a sternum strap, my shoulders were in severe distress from being pulled backwards. At 30 lbs. it came into it's own and I had no problem running 25 miles/day for the final 6 days.

The heavy fabric on the bottom of the pack needs to extend about 5" further to discourage holes in the lighter Dyneema fabric to form from setting the pack down on hard surfaces.

GoLite should supply the pack with the 4 side compression straps found on most packs. Fortunately they do supply attachment points sewn into the seam. I recommend 1/2" webbing and ladderlocks from to save weight over the 3/4" that the pack uses in other areas. I cut off these other larger hardware and web pieces and replaced with 1/2". I added a few lash points including some for carrying skis and installed a shingled hydration tube hole in the base of the spindrift collar. As pj notes, this pack is large enough to use in a pinch as a non-breathable 1/2 bivy sack.

My family happily owns 4 Gusts.

Edited by Al_T.Tude on 03/22/2006 13:59:46 MST.

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Jeffrey Olson
( jjolson )
Excellent pack as part of system on 11/13/2006 20:51:38 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I am on my second Gust. The first's drawstring broke, and I had a second I purchased on sale from Northen Mountain Supply. I am totally satisfied with this pack.

I use a full length blue, closed foam sleeping pad with a 800# down quilt and one person 2.5lb tent. I roll the pad up and put it into the pack. Everything else goes inside the rolled up pad. The last thing that goes in is the sleeping quilt. I NEVER, EVER, NEVER stuff the sleeping quilt. I put it in its own lightweight garbage bag and then cinch the pack's drawstring down.

My base weight is about 12 pounds now, and I haven't been over 30 pounds in a long while.

The pack's waist belt is comfortable enough, and I don't even notice the shoulder straps, or the lack of a sternum strap.

The first pack lasted over 100 days on the trail before the drawstring broke. The second now has about 40 and is going strong.

The Gust is an excellent pack for lightweight and ultralight hiking. I've heard it disparaged as a "grocery sack."
But this is exactly what works for me. It is an excellent foundation for my backpacking system. My very expensive down quilt still lofts to original height after 100 nights of sleeping.

The only thing lacking are side pockets for water bottles, but I saw the new pack has four loops to put a homemade pocket on...

William Webber
( micwebbpl )
I've Never Used Mine, I Use the Breeze Instead on 11/15/2006 11:38:11 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have a couple of Gusts, too cheap and too elegant in the simplicity of their design to pass up. Since my hikes are short (1-2 nights) in mild summer weather, generally to High Sierra camps in Yosemite, the Gust is overkill even with an overkill quilt or synthetic mummy. So I generally use my Breeze instead.

BUT the design on these darn grocery sack (like that metaphor!) bags has one big flaw - you get a hot back from the rear of the pack hugging you.

I often half drape my Breeze off my shoulders to cool down, or carry it by one strap, but sometimes that is awkward.

In short - these poor ventilating packs are actually much better for cold weather work than the summer work they seem designed for.

Forrest G McCarthy
( forrestmccarthy )

Planet Earth
close to perfection on 11/20/2007 08:01:31 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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Robert Taylor
( Robtay )
hmm on 05/23/2008 14:45:04 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I loved my gust at first, would have been a 5 hands down if i had done this review 12 months ago, a great pack if your keeping your weight down. However i've had a couple of problems with mine, had a buckle go.. ok no biggie, but on the last trip, not sure how much i was carrying but the pack wasn't full, i noticed seams starting to fail and by the end of the "holiday" there was about 10" of thread showing up the side of the bag. It never did give out completely but i wouldn't trust it again until i get it repaired. I had the bag for about 16 months and it had been out with me many times, i swore by it. I just feel that greater care in the construction of these bags would add very little to the weight and offer greater durability. 3 seams a little tight, its more like 3.5. I've rounded down because its not the most comfortable pack i've ever wore.

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