I have been giving my new Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack a test run.
All the gear and food for a couple of days for myself and my dog do fit in the smaller (40 + 8 litre pack) – as you can see. Shrinking your kit (from 52 litres) like this exercises a profitable degree of discipline which it is worth emulating. I omitted nearly 1.5 kg I didn’t need for a short-ish trip. Some are things I might need (say) on a ten day trip in colder weather without resupply and where help is far from hand. A few are things I can probably permanently do without. Even so I have food aplenty for myself and Spot (the JR) as well as his bed, and room to lash the pack raft on the top if I wanted to. The other side of the pack can easily hold a water bottle, hiking poles and the paddle, even my gun in take down mode. If I was going away just by myself with this pack I reckon I could squeeze a 5-7 day expedition into it and still lash the packraft on top! Spot’s bed and food alone take up space that could otherwise be occupied by at least three days of my food. On this occasion I am also carrying a pair of crocs for the river crossing, & etc…I am working on smaller/lighter dry shoes. (http://gossamergear.com/gorilla-ultralight-backpack-all-bundle.html – NB: they have a special price on them right now)
The pack (as configured) has four handy pouches for odds and ends one might need on the trail: two on the hip-belt and two Gossamer Gear shoulder pouches I bought for my G4 long ago. (http://gossamergear.com/shoulder-strap-pocket.html) I am using the (supplied & easily removable) waist belt and aluminium stay both designed for serious load transfer. I might sometimes omit both to save weight, as the shoulder straps are very soft, wide & comfortable so that I might not need load transfer for such a small (40 litre) pack. Or I might swap the hip belt for a simple home made webbing one and substitute the ‘Sitlight’ pad the pack came with for an Air Beam pad which will do much of that work at a lesser weight penalty, a saving of say 250 grams. (See http://www.theultralighthiker.com/air-beam-pad/ & http://www.theultralighthiker.com/klymit-air-beam-inflatable-pack-frame-update/)
The Gorilla is made from Gossamer Gear’s new ‘Robic Nylon’ material which is even tougher than the 4.8 oz/yd2 Dyneema material we are used to seeing in such heavy duty packs. It would take some extreme effort to puncture it, and I very much doubt you could rip it without a very heavy, sharp knife! Not something which is going to happen with any normal bush or trail wear and tear anyway. As such the pack will make an excellent hunting daypack being well able to hold up to heavy use in thick scrub, blackberries etc, at the same time having the load carrying capacity to pack out a heavy load of meat should the occasion arise. The muted grey colour suits this purpose well as does its expandability. It can be shrunk down to comfortably contain less than 20 litres with those compression straps on the side and top, and the heavy duty elastic mesh in the rear pocket – but it quickly transforms into a heavy haulage 48 litre pack when eg you have a monster to lug out of some deep gully in a remote hunting spot. There are lots of other loops to tie extra gear on should you need to plus ice axe and hiking pole fittings. Inside you will find a hydration sleeve and drinking tube keeper loops to both shoulder straps. With the two shoulder pouches I have added there are seven external pockets plus two compartments inside (counting the hydration pocket).
Below is a breakdown of what I managed to fit on/in this excellent pack. Here it is on the chair with the packraft strapped to the top. You will note the two reflective strips glowing at you from the shoulder straps. That’s a good safety feature as you can often find yourself walking out in the dark. It has reflective strips on the back too.
NB: It’s a lot of individual items isn’t it? I carry pretty much the same kit for a weekend as for a week. I admit I have still a few double-ups (3 head torches and multiple lighters for example) and a small number of things which might be dispensed with, but everything here has been needed and used, though obviously I don’t always carry a canoe, machete, hunting equipment or a pair of Crocs.
Here are the contents of the external pockets (I could easily fit more). Left to Right, Bottom to Top: Rutalocura (shortened) hiking poles, UL paddles (they do break down further); orange Gossamer Gear Trowel; Mountain Laurel Designs UL gaiters, Crocs; 2 litre Platypus, 2 dog bowls, 1 litre Platypus; Klymit Packraft plus inflation bag (attached); Gerber Brush Thinner Machete; home made Tyvek Deer Hunter’s Tent (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-deer-hunters-tent/); Snaplock bag with glasses cleaner; self winding watch and compass; on green cuben stuff sack: Fenix head torch with homemade elastic headband, Gossamer Gear Stickpic, Minibic; on blue cuben stuff sack: Maratac torch/lantern attached to some Dyneema to suspend it, Leatherman Micra, Photon torch and headband/string, Minibic, Eze-lap sharpener; Spare blades and Razorblaze knife, 308 shells plus magazine, 2 Handletie meat bags, length of embryo wire for cutting bone, white cuben stuff sack; snaploc bag with hearing aid securing device; Dehydrated water ie lollies and chewie; on white cuben stuff sack: Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini phone & waterproof case.
Contents inside pack: two (grey and white) cuben food bags = 2 days food for self + dog; grey cuben rain kilt; yellow Event rain coat; on blue sea to Summit pack liner: white cuben ‘Possibles’ bag, Cyclone chair, in white cuben bag = JR dog sleeping bag, red S to S clothes bag, S to S grey waterproof daypack; front: blue S to S bag containing sleeping bag, bed; green cuben bag containing cookset.
Sleeping kit: Montbell UL super spiral #3 down bag in grey stuff sack, Thermarest Neoair Womens sleeping pad, Exped UL pillow, S to S ultrasil bag.
Cookset: Toaks 1110 ml pot with frypan lid on green cuben bag, Toaks titanium windscrren, Suluk TDW stove on white cuben bag, S to S Spork, 500ml Platypus for meths, in snap;loc bag, spices, shower cap, bicycle inner tube and esbit fire lighters, Minibic; measure; Vargo 450 ml titanium mug; scourer in snaploc; can lid and Brasslite Stove Turbo 1d.
Spare clothes: on red S to S Ultrasil drybag: Montbell Therma wrap vest, Goosefeet down socks, Montbell Ex Light down jacket – also inside bag Ray Jardine ‘bomber’ hat; Mountain Laurel Designs Event rain mitts, Hadrina wool singlet; Mountain Hardware wind shirt; Holeproof Heroes wool socks; ½ fibre towel; Montbell Dynamo wind trousers.
‘Possibles’ bag contents: on green cuben bag: ulralight fishing kit, 2 handlines containing hooks, sinkers, bait, self threading needle (repairs), two springers, 4 polystyrene balls, alum foil for cooking fish; on green S to S bag, Iridium Sat Phone; on white cuben bag: spare glasses in plastic case, Kabar knife, Adventure Medical Kits space blanket bag (emergency day pack & ground sheet); snaploc with glasses cleaner; Bushnell mini solarwrap charger; on white cuben bag: cuben bag with charging connectors AAA to AA battery converters, in blue bag spare batteries = 6 Eneloop AAA, 2 camera, 2 phone, 2 Photon, 2 hearing aid; USB AA/AAA battery charger; first aid kit: Antisan (bites) ointment, Mylanta (indigestion), earbuds in snaploc, Leucotape on cuben bag containing variety of plasters and blister pads, triangular bandage (sling) below: elastic bandage, cuben bag with variety of tablets eg pain, inflammation, diarrhoea, allergy etc; Toiletries on white cuben bag: wet tissues, 2 pocket Kleenex (enough for a week!); below on small green cuben bag S to S ultralight head net (mozzies – sleep) and microdripper of insect repellent (Deet); magnifier on mirror; square of silnylon for repairs with 2 stickon tie outs on top; spare trekking pole basket; clip on glasses cleaner; bottom row: on snaplocc bag length Dyneema, glasses repair kit, various bits and pieces: 2 safety pins, 3 line locs, 2 tarp tie outs, I carabiner, I mitten hook, 1 cord loc, 1 spare mini compass; on cuben bag, cuben tape (repairs) rubber band, spare bottle cap; on white cuben bag: 2 lightload towels, comb, Aloksack (for camera); on blue cuben bag: microdripper bottles containing: handcream, suncream, deodorant, iodine, wash, anti fungal cream, tube anti inflammatory cream, tub toothpaste, tub heel balm; anti allergy cream.
Posts about items mentioned in my pack contents (in the order mentioned) You will work it out. There are gaps. I can see some more posts I need to make!