Sunday, July 14, 2013

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack

One of the things I hear from backpackers all the time is that I must have a closet full of gear.  At one time that was a true statement but as I find gear that works for me I tend to stick with it and resist changing.  I guess that's why when Earlylite suggested as a Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador I should carry one of their packs I had mixed emotions.  I have carried ULA packs for over five years logging at least three thousand miles on the Conduit that climbed all the way up to Baxter Peak with me.  On the other hand I was spending more and more time reinforcing stitches sometimes by headlamp.  May be it was time for a new pack.

So as they say, in the interest of full disclosure, Gossamer Gear gave me my choice of one free pack when I became a Trail Ambassador.  The only requirement was that I wear it on most of my hikes.  Not a hard requirement to comply with since straight out of the box it was an instant attraction.  At 26 ounces it is slightly heavier than my old pack but the suspension is a lot beefier allowing for more weight (up to 35 lb.) and comfort.  Without the removable aluminum stay it weighs the same as the Conduit.  I recently did a 100 mile trek without the stay and the pack was very comfortable with a 20 pound load.

There are several features that I really like about this pack.  The position of the side pockets are in a perfect position that I can reach without having to stretch like some contortionist.  I like walking along and grabbing a bottle of water and replacing without having to stop or ask for help.  That's a real plus when I'm by myself. I also like the zip pocket on the Over-the-Top closure.  It was great to have a place for my first aid kit, bug spray and other things I use during the day but didn't need in the belt pockets.  While this pack is not waterproof, I did hike a couple of days in the rain and the fabric did not absorb water.  That was important since I throw it under my legs at night for padding.

Overall I'm very happy with the Gorilla pack.  I would be even happier if it was on my back and crossing some mountain ridge right now.  However just like most other backpackers, there is another trip in the planning stages.