Custom Strap Alterations For Gorilla Pack

Gorilla Backpack Shoulder Straps

If you read the post about my recent trip to Mt Whitney, you may recall that I had a few problems with the width of the shoulder straps on my Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight backpack. Even though I’ve used my Gorilla pack for numerous other multi-day backpacking trips, this time the straps really rubbed me the wrong way, no matter how I adjusted them or how I repacked my pack.

If you’re not familiar with the Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack you may not know or be able to appreciate what I mean, so let me show you. The photograph below shows a close up of the top section of the Gorilla’s shoulder straps with a ruler for scale. As you can see the width of the straps at roughly the point where they begin to go under your armpit is almost 4 inches (3.75 inches) from seam edge to seam edge. I’m willing to bet that these are wider than any of the other backpacks out there and challenge you all to measure yours and leave a comment below so that we can compare.

Gorilla Backpack Shoulder Straps

As I had expected, Dave and Grant from Gossamer Gear noticed my comments about the width of the straps and reached out to me to get some additional feedback. It seems that they have received several other requests over the years to make narrower shoulder straps on the Gorilla pack and were already in the process of making a prototype with thinner straps to test.

Dave very kindly offered to make the same prototype shoulder strap alterations to my existing Gorilla pack for free so that I could test it out before they committed to the change in their production version. I don’t know if Gossamer Gear intend to offer only the new narrower shoulder straps on the Gorilla pack if the go forward with it or whether there will be the option of an original and “narrow” version, I also don’t have any details as to when the changes will be available as part of production.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack

Last week I shipped my Gorilla pack to Grant so that he could make the alterations to my shoulder straps. I’m really excited about getting it back and seeing how narrow they were able to make the straps without drastically changing the load bearing properties of the pack. In fact I’m more excited about getting back my altered old pack than I would be about waiting for a new pack to arrive!

It will take a week or two at least for them to make the changes and probably a little longer by the time it gets shipped back to me, but I’ll post an update as soon as I receive it.

Are there any other GG Gorilla backpack owners out there that have experienced the same issue with the rather wide shoulder straps?

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  • http://summitandvalley.com/ Martin Rye

    It a fantastic pack but the flaws are: 

    1. Shoulder straps are too wide and the velcro opening is abrasive and rubs.

    2. The attachments for the frame is too weak and told them that

    3.The material is robust but not good in the wet.  Pack a liner that tis totally waterproof.

    4. Side compression strap at the top is not the best design.  

    But it carries superb and I love it.  

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Spot on Martin, and I guessed you would have already provided GG with that feedback. It is a great pack and so close to being exactly what I want in a simple lightweight pack.

      I’m curious to see what the new straps look like with the seams removed and the velcro openings altered, I’m sure you are too. I always use a pack liner with this bag, it’s actually quite absorbent based on my own experience which is less than ideal. A more water resistant fabric would be a nice touch.

      I haven’t had as much issue with the side compression straps though which may be a result of using it in a pretty full packing configuration most of the time. Now I’m going to check it out. Cheers Martin.

  • http://summitandvalley.blogspot.com/ Martin Rye

    It a fantastic pack but the flaws are: 

    1. Shoulder straps are too wide and the velcro opening is abrasive and rubs.

    2. The attachments for the frame is too weak and told them that

    3.The material is robust but not good in the wet.  Pack a liner that tis totally waterproof.

    4. Side compression strap at the top is not the best design.  

    But it carries superb and I love it.  

  • Rob

    Brian – I totally agree with you re shoulder straps . I have also just finished the JMT with my Gorilla. The straps are too wide and I also agree with ALL of Martin’s comments above. The Gorilla is a great pack, but GG can make it greater! Another thought, what about Dyneema fabric? 

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Rob, yes Martin in definitely right on the money with his feedback. The Gorilla pack is by far my favorite (of many) and I’m eager to see what Grant and Dave alter on mine and what other changes they have in mind for the next iteration of the Gorilla pack. Dyneema X maybe?

  • Rob

    Brian – I totally agree with you re shoulder straps . I have also just finished the JMT with my Gorilla. The straps are too wide and I also agree with ALL of Martin’s comments above. The Gorilla is a great pack, but GG can make it greater! Another thought, what about Dyneema fabric? 

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Spot on Martin, and I guessed you would have already provided GG with that feedback. It is a great pack and so close to being exactly what I want in a simple lightweight pack.

    I’m curious to see what the new straps look like with the seams removed and the velcro openings altered, I’m sure you are too. I always use a pack liner with this bag, it’s actually quite absorbent based on my own experience which is less than ideal. A more water resistant fabric would be a nice touch.

    I haven’t had as much issue with the side compression straps though which may be a result of using it in a pretty full packing configuration most of the time. Now I’m going to check it out. Cheers Martin.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Rob, yes Martin in definitely right on the money with his feedback. The Gorilla pack is by far my favorite (of many) and I’m eager to see what Grant and Dave alter on mine and what other changes they have in mind for the next iteration of the Gorilla pack. Dyneema X maybe?

  • Joe Newton

    Martin’s comments +1

    GG are close with the Gorilla, really close. Good size, carries well, great weight/durability ratio, ingenious back pad system and it’s modularity is great. But the fabric should be swapped for xPac and the shoulder straps replaced with narrower, ‘S’ shaped ones in mesh.

    The side compression deficiencies I dealt with my removing it almost completely and packing in a burrito/cloud style that keeps my pack around the same volume whatever I’m carrying.

  • Rob

    Joe, what is “burrito/cloud” style? Sounds like a mexican lunch in a whiteout!! 

  • Rob

    Joe, what is “burrito/cloud” style? Sounds like a mexican lunch in a whiteout!! 

  • joenewton

    Martin’s comments +1

    GG are close with the Gorilla, really close. Good size, carries well, great weight/durability ratio, ingenious back pad system and it’s modularity is great. But the fabric should be swapped for xPac and the shoulder straps replaced with narrower, ‘S’ shaped ones in mesh.

    The side compression deficiencies I dealt with my removing it almost completely and packing in a burrito/cloud style that keeps my pack around the same volume whatever I’m carrying.

  • taedawood

    I had the same problem with my Gorilla straps digging into my neck so I called Grant asking for advice. He suggested that I use a marker to outline where I wanted them cut to make them more narrow.  So I made semicircular “cutouts” around my neck, shipped the pack to GG for alterations and two weeks later I had it back.  This past weekend I gave it a try with a maximum gross weight of 18 lbs.  It worked great.  I now find the Gorilla pack to be very comfortable.  But Brian, I am very interested to see a photo of how they altered your straps. 

    A couple of things I would like to see in the next version:
    1.  Narrower, contoured straps.
    2.  Dyneema fabric.
    3.  Replace the elastic cord closure on top of the mesh pockets with non-elastic cord and mini-locks to prevent things from falling out.   

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Grant told me that my pack is being altered as we speak. As soon as I get it back from him I will post new photos. Do you happen to have any photos of the alterations you had made?

  • taedawood

    I had the same problem with my Gorilla straps digging into my neck so I called Grant asking for advice. He suggested that I use a marker to outline where I wanted them cut to make them more narrow.  So I made semicircular “cutouts” around my neck, shipped the pack to GG for alterations and two weeks later I had it back.  This past weekend I gave it a try with a maximum gross weight of 18 lbs.  It worked great.  I now find the Gorilla pack to be very comfortable.  But Brian, I am very interested to see a photo of how they altered your straps. 

    A couple of things I would like to see in the next version:
    1.  Narrower, contoured straps.
    2.  Dyneema fabric.
    3.  Replace the elastic cord closure on top of the mesh pockets with non-elastic cord and mini-locks to prevent things from falling out.   

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Grant told me that my pack is being altered as we speak. As soon as I get it back from him I will post new photos. Do you happen to have any photos of the alterations you had made?

  • sygyzy

    I wonder if they can make the Maripossa Plus straps narrower as well?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I don’t see why not. I think that GG is showing off some photos of their new pack designs right now on Facebook…

  • sygyzy

    I wonder if they can make the Maripossa Plus straps narrower as well?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I don’t see why not. I think that GG is showing off some photos of their new pack designs right now on Facebook…