The Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Backpack 2012 edition has been on the market for a bit over a year now. I purchased one to give it a try and found I really loved a lot of the features of this backpack. Most of the below is from an article I wrote about a year ago on an old website I no longer use, and I wanted to get it moved over to HikeLighter.Com – so I have taken some of the below from my previous article and updated it with further thoughts after having used it a bit more.
The Gorilla has been a very popular backpack on long distance trails and it has a nice 3,000 cubic inches (46 liters) of total capacity with a 35 pound maximum carry capacity – pretty much perfect for a thru-hiker or weekend hiker that needs the extra volume.
The backpack averages 715 grams (25 ounces / 1.56 pounds) in weight, so as an UL/SUL long distance hiker it is something I could use, but is 10 ounces heavier than the ZPacks Arc Blast (3,200 Cubic Inches / 52 Liters – so significantly larger volume) and it is three times heavier than my primary custom made front panel loader backpack which is 2,200 cu in (36L) and 240 grams (8.47 oz). But as we all know, there are times when a heavier backpack is a very good thing. The Gorilla can take a serious load and keep you going without causing pain from having to heavy of a load in a backpack that does not have enough support. It has remained in my gear room specifically because of its ability to provide me the ability to handle a heavier load.
The backpack comes with pretty much every feature that we are use to seeing on high end full size backpacks – including a center loop which can double as an iceaxe strap, 6 exterior pockets, a crazy tough 140 denier Dyneema, padded hipbelts, curved shoulder straps, sternum strap, so on and so forth. Everything a weekender/long distance hiker needs in a backpack of this size.
Two very sweet features of the 2012 version is that the internal stay support is now removable. This means that if you do not need to be out there with a 30+ pound TPW setup, you can pull out the stays and save yourself 96 grams (3.4 oz.), and the hipbelt is also removable, allowing you to remove another 148 grams (5.2 oz) from the overall weight, bringing it down to around 470 grams (16.57 oz).
The hip-pockets are very streamlined – which is nice for hiking in brushes and bushes and not getting caught on everything – and have a very good forward angle cut on them making it easy to get your bottle of water out of them. The shoulder straps have a three loop daisy chain with a sternum strap, which even has an integrated whistle buckle. The sternum strap is removable as well.
To me the 2012 Gorrilla Backpack is one of the most exciting backpacks that are in the 3000 c.i. range that is on the market right now. This backpack is perfect for those looking for a backpack smaller than what ULA offers and not willing to go down the path of a Cuben Fiber backpack like what ZPacks offers.
A lot more hikers are discovering the joy that comes with smaller backpacks and the 3000 cubic inch capacity is just about the perfect size for those in the Ultralight world of hiking.
The backpack has proven to be amazingly tough, even through the wicked blackberry bushes and 6′ tall ferns we have here in my area. Low hanging trees branches and other low shrubbery have no effect on the material.
The unique approach to the top of the backpack took me some getting use to. Once you do, if you have too get use to it, you will discover it is a rock solid approach to closing a backpack.
I would have liked to have some side compression straps on a backpack in the 3000 cubic range, especially for those time when using it without the stay and hipbelt and a much lighter load, in order to reduce the overall bulk size of the backpack while hiking.
The shoulder straps are a traditional J-style cut, with the curve fairly far down. Really looking forward to a future S-Style shoulder straps from Gossamer Gear, if they ever decide to offer this option. I would prefer both a S-Style shoulder strap and have the shoulder straps curved out rather than be straight down, but these are just my personal preferences for backpacks.
All in all a very impressive backpack for those looking for a 3000 cubic inch backpack and/or for those with a Total Pack Weight of 25-35 pounds.
You can purchase the Gorilla directly from Gossamer Gear at: http://gossamergear.com/packs/backpacks/gorilla-ultralight-backpack-all.html
Here is a video produced by Gossamer Gear on this backpack:
In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that the products mentioned within the content of this article were not supplied to me in exchange for services. I am a Trail Ambassador/Sponsor of Gossamer Gear. All products mentioned within the content of this review are free of endorsements between myself and the manufacturers and meets all FTC 16 CFR.255 compliance requirements.