Extremely Early Draft... move along, nothing to see here
May, 5 2012
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Pack (2009, 2012)
Volume Listed: 2,800 c.i. (46 l.) total, 2,400 c.i. (39 l.) in main pack body/extension collar
Listed weight: 24.2oz (fully configured)
Weight as delivered: 24oz
MSRP: $165, $205
For me, carry comfort is the driving issue, but I consider other issues such as pack weight, appropriate volume, ease of use, and durability when selecting a pack. For light weight, moderate volume loads I have found the Gorilla to be as comfortable as my previous favorite pack, The GG Vapor Trail. This is saying something. In the last ten years I have tried sixteen different packs looking for the one pack which really suited me. During this time, I continued to return to the Vapor Trail for it's carry comfort. The first generation Gorilla wa˜s not quite as comfortable for me as the Vapor Trail, but was much more convenient to use, requires less fiddling to get a comfortable fit, and is just about the perfect volume for me. I also appreciate that the foam used as part of the frame can be used as a torso or foot pad at night. I have found the second generation Gorilla is at least as comfortable as my old Vapor Trail.
See the Gossamer Gear website for a complete description. I will add more here when I have more time.
Hiking around the California Coastal Ranges, and Sierras. Weather from 20s-80s F. Elevation from sea level to 13k ft. The amount of weight carried in the pack has varied between 15lbs for quick weekend trips to 25lbs on an 8 day trip with a bear canister. The original Gorrilla has been used extensively between 2009-2012. I have much less experiece with the 2012 version of the Gorilla, just 80 miles with it so far, but given it's simularity to the first version pI feel comfortable writing about it.
I have been very happy with both the original and the 2012 Gorilla. In 2000 I started to transition from a heavy weight approach to backpacking to what is now somewhere between an ultralight and lightweight approach. As the weight of what I carried dropped, so did the volume. My trips vary from 24 hour overnights to 3 day snow trips, to 8 day three seasons trips that require a bear canister. I have found that the Gorilla is able to handle the variability from both a volume and weight carrying perspective of my my standard gear. The compression system effectively manages the smallest loads I tend to carry. My largest loads include a Bearaide Weekender which I insert into the pack vertically. The diameter of the Weekender + the Platypus water bladder which I carry push the Gorrila to the limit, causing the sides of the pack to pull away from the back slightly. I was initially concerned that this might make the pack uncomfortable to carry, but the combination of the foam sit pad and the internal stays kept the pack comfortable, even though it looks like it is being deformed by the bear canister. The official recommendation for larger bear cans is to place them on the otherside of the pack under the lid top strap. I experimented with this, but felt uncomfortable doing this for two reasons. First, I was always worried that it was slip out and fall. The second, is that I found that I was more likely to bump into things becaue the cansister is wider than I expect.
As mentioned above, I have been very happy with the carry comfort of this pack in the range I use it, between 15-25lbs. According to some analysis done by backpackinglight in the Backpack Carry Capacity (2011) state of the market review suggested that the Gorilla would be comfortable to 30lbs when used with the stays and a coiled foam pad. Personally, I won't use the Gorilla to this weight. I think 25lbs or so it as high as I would use the Gorrilla to preseve my comfort. Part of this might be that I am more sensitive than some people, or it could be that the rolled foam pad (which I don't use) provides the stiffness required for the 5+ lb difference. I have found with >20lb loads I sometimes forget that I have a pack on my back.
One of the more unusual features of many of the Gossamer Gear packs are the extra wide shoulder straps. Some people seem to love them, some hate them. The original Gorilla had "user fillable" shoulder straps which
Ease of use
Seems great so far, but not enough miles to have a really long term perspective.
Six Moon Designs StarLite (my review)
Granite Gear Vapor Trail (my review)
backpackinglight.com gossamer gear gorilla backpack review