New Harness for my Gossamer Gear Gorilla

Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack with custom harness

You may recall that several weeks ago I returned my beloved Gossamer Gear Gorilla ultralight backpack to GGHQ for some rather radical harness modifications. Well now it’s back, updated with an entirely new harness, and better than ever.

Recap: During my recent trip to Mt. Whitney, I encountered some significant discomfort from the straps of my GG Gorilla backpack. I hadn’t had any issues with them previously and wasn’t carrying an especially heavy load, but for some reason the wide straps rubbed me raw. I mentioned this in my Whitney blog post and Dave and Grant from Gossamer Gear reached out to me to learn more.

Long story short, Grant offered to modify my existing Gorilla pack by converting my existing straps, you know the ones you can stuff your socks in, to be closer to those of their upcoming new backpack line-up. How could I possibly refuse?

Now it’s back, and I wanted to give you all a glimpse of the new (I should say “modified”) harness just days ahead of the official launch of Gossamer Gear’s new Murmur backpack, which will be using a similar but not identical version of this style harness. Look out for more on the Murmur coming on Monday…

So to be very clear; this is a custom alteration of my old Gorilla backpack with an updated harness that Gossamer Gear is prototyping for use on their new line of backpacks coming out soon. It is not the exact style of the final shoulders strap or harness that GG will be using. This one is my original Gorilla harness, hand-modified to closely represent the new style GG is working on. Therefore the material and colors are those of my original Gorilla pack.

Editor’s Note: If you are reading this with a mind to purchasing a new Gossamer Gear backpack, please know that this is not indicative of what the new packs are using. This is a custom modification to an old pack “in the style of” the new shoulder straps and harness that GG is developing. Please check the GG website product page for exact information and photos. If you have any questions, contact them.

What’s Changed?

Well, if you’re familiar with the rather wide straps of the original Gorilla and other GG backpacks, you’ll notice that these are drastically narrower.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack with custom harness

At the widest point where the shoulder straps begin to curve under my arm pit, the straps are now only 2.75″ wide compared to the original straps that were almost 4″ wide. The external seams that used to allow for the straps to be opened so that the foam inserts could be removed or changed are now gone and the straps are now permanently sewn shut.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack with custom harness

A new feature on these straps is the vertical row of webbing loops and D-ring. These can be used for the sternum strap or for attaching items. Stay tuned for some news for Gossamer Gear about new shoulder pockets and sternum pouches that can be attached to this new webbing system.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack with custom harness

The new straps now have more pronounced taper as they meet the adjustment straps. An additional D-ring has been added as an attachment point. The modified sternum strap came attached at a much lower point down on the shoulder straps than I would typically wear it. I meant to point this out as a potential problem, but realized that is could easily be moved further up and adjusted mine to suit shortly after taking these photos.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack with custom harness

I’ve been a fan of the Gorilla pack from the moment I bought mine. It’s been as close to the perfect pack for me as I could find (without buying a dozen different backpacks), but I had always had concerns about the shoulder straps. That eventually flared up into some soreness on my last big trip.

My new one-of-a-kind custom harness has beautifully addressed the problem. It feels like a completely new backpack because it sits differently and is much more comfortable. I have to give Grant and Dave huge thanks for going to such considerable lengths to modify my Gorilla pack. They went above and beyond to get this change made and get the pack back to me for feedback.

So what does this mean for you? Well, the new harness on my pack was a prototype for the sort of changes you will see coming in all of the Gossamer Gear packs over the coming months. In fact, I have in my possession a brand new, fresh off the factory line and over-nighted, GG Murmur ultralight backpack that has the actual finished version of their new harness. It’s not exactly the same as this, but it’s pretty sweet. I’ll be taking it out over the weekend and posting an update about it on Monday – so stay tuned.

What do you think of the new straps? I know that several of you have spoken openly about the width of the GG Gorilla straps, what do you think of the improvements?

Disclosure: The author is a Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador and has received a complementary modification to his Gorilla Ultralight Backpack courtesy of Gossamer Gear for testing and review purposes. The original Gorilla backpack was purchased using the author’s own funds.

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  • sygyzy

    Besides being narrower, what else has changed? Do the new straps still have the velcro sleeves where you can stuff things?

    • No! The velcro opening have gone completely. The padding is sewn in and cannot be changed, as with most packs. The straps are more curved and contoured, narrower, lighter, and comfortable. I’ll take that on a pack I was already mostly happy with.

      • sygyzy

        This is like music to my ears. I know that saving weight is the name of the game here but I couldn’t believe how cheap (ironic word) the straps and back panels felt on my Mariposa Plus. It’s so gimmicky with the stuff it yourself velcro pouches. I wonder how much the mod would cost?

        • Well to be fair the straps were not cheap, but did feel a little gimmicky. But here’s the thing, my modification was a one-off as a way to let me test the straps ahead of the production versions. I don’t know how cost affective it would be for GG to provide the upgrade, or for you as the owner to shell out more cash on your existing backpack.

          Would you be willing to pay for the mod on your existing backpack? If so, what would a reasonable price be for that?

          • sygyzy

            That’s a good question. I guess I don’t know. I think the easiest way to figure it out is if Gossamer comes up with a price and I figure out if it’s worth it (to me) or not. They’ll soon know if it’s worth it to them based on the feedback (customers) they get.

          • Jake suggested that $50 was a fair price for the mod, do you think that is reasonable?

  • sygyzy

    Besides being narrower, what else has changed? Do the new straps still have the velcro sleeves where you can stuff things?

  • No! The velcro opening have gone completely. The padding is sewn in and cannot be changed, as with most packs. The straps are more curved and contoured, narrower, lighter, and comfortable. I’ll take that on a pack I was already mostly happy with.

  • Joe Newton

    Big improvement. I’m looking forward to seeing the new Mariposa and the rest of the range. In the meantime, the new Murmur is on it’s way to me right now :)

    • Let me know when you get the Murmur and what you think of it. A few of us got ours this past Wednesday and have already provided feedback to Grant that has resulted in changes to the production versions. How’s that for just-in-time manufacturing!

      With the improved harness and upgraded materials and accessories, the new GG backpack lineup is going to be pretty sweet.

  • joenewton

    Big improvement. I’m looking forward to seeing the new Mariposa and the rest of the range. In the meantime, the new Murmur is on it’s way to me right now :)

  • Looks good. The new Murmur looks interesting as well.

    • Yeah hard to beat a one-of-a-kind custom backpack :-) I’ll be posting my initial review of the Murmur on Monday if testing this weekend goes as planned. I think the Murmur would be a great platform from which to build some serious kids backpacks.

  • Looks good. The new Murmur looks interesting as well.

  • sygyzy

    This is like music to my ears. I know that saving weight is the name of the game here but I couldn’t believe how cheap (ironic word) the straps and back panels felt on my Mariposa Plus. It’s so gimmick with the stuff it yourself velcro pouches. I wonder how much the mod would cost?

  • Companinny

    Здорово братуха.Как Житуха?

  • Companinny

    Здорово братуха.Как Житуха?

  • Aboman

    Will GG be retrofitting this new system to existing packs

    • Grant at GG has been asking me that very same question. He’s willing to consider it as an option. Would you be willing to pay for the mod on your existing backpack? If so, what would a reasonable price be for that?

  • Aboman

    Will GG be retrofitting this new system to existing packs

  • This is fortunate to you, but unfortunate to me as a GG Mariposa and GG Murmur user.  My 3-season base weight is SUL, so I never needed padding in the shoulders and I left the padding at home to save weight.  I think part of the reason I am able to do this is the SUL load, but the other is the historically wide GG straps over my shoulder that distributed the weight.

    In any event, I’m glad it has worked out for you and I just hope they leave the consumer the option to go either way in the future. :)

    • This wasn’t a special favor that GG did just for me, it was a way to test out some strap modifications. that said, I know that Grant and Dave at Gossamer Gear are very interested to hear back from existing GG backpack owners on whether or not this modification would be something that you would like to have offered as an option?

      It’s going to give my Gorilla pack a new lease of life, so if you could have this done to your Mariposa and Murmur, what would a fair price be for the modification?

  • This is fortunate to you, but unfortunate to me as a GG Mariposa and GG Murmur user.  My 3-season base weight is SUL, so I never needed padding in the shoulders and I left the padding at home to save weight.  I think part of the reason I am able to do this is the SUL load, but the other is the historically wide GG straps over my shoulder that distributed the weight.

    In any event, I’m glad it has worked out for you and I just hope they leave the consumer the option to go either way in the future. :)

  • Let me know when you get the Murmur and what you think of it. A few of us got ours this past Wednesday and have already provided feedback to Grant that has resulted in changes to the production versions. How’s that for just-in-time manufacturing!

    With the improved harness and upgraded materials and accessories, the new GG backpack lineup is going to be pretty sweet.

  • Yeah hard to beat a one-of-a-kind custom backpack :-) I’ll be posting my initial review of the Murmur on Monday if testing this weekend goes as planned. I think the Murmur would be a great platform from which to build some serious kids backpacks.

  • Well to be fair the straps were not cheap, but did feel a little gimmicky. But here’s the thing, my modification was a one-off as a way to let me test the straps ahead of the production versions. I don’t know how cost affective it would be for GG to provide the upgrade, or for you as the owner to shell out more cash on your existing backpack.

    Would you be willing to pay for the mod on your existing backpack? If so, what would a reasonable price be for that?

  • Спасибо! Право на вас.

  • This wasn’t a special favor that GG did just for me, it was a way to test out some strap modifications. that said, I know that Grant and Dave at Gossamer Gear are very interested to hear back from existing GG backpack owners on whether or not this modification would be something that you would like to have offered as an option?

    It’s going to give my Gorilla pack a new lease of life, so if you could have this done to your Mariposa and Murmur, what would a fair price be for the modification?

  • Grant at GG has been asking me that very same question. He’s willing to consider it as an option. Would you be willing to pay for the mod on your existing backpack? If so, what would a reasonable price be for that?

  • Jake Heide

    I think 50 bucks seems like a fair price.

    • Timslaydon

      I’d go $50

  • Jake Heide

    I think 50 bucks seems like a fair price.

  • sygyzy

    That’s a good question. I guess I don’t know. I think the easiest way to figure it out is if Gossamer comes up with a price and I figure out if it’s worth it (to me) or not. They’ll soon know if it’s worth it to them based on the feedback (customers) they get.

  • Jake suggested that $50 was a fair price for the mod, do you think that is reasonable?

  • Jim Shireman

    Maybe it is because of my size and build I actually find the straps on my Mariposa Plus which I purchased 4 years ago to be very comfortable and although gimmicky I like stuffing my extra socks into them. However, that being said I am looking forward to the new Murmur as it is time for a replacement…

  • Jim Shireman

    Maybe it is because of my size and build I actually find the straps on my Mariposa Plus which I purchased 4 years ago to be very comfortable and although gimmicky I like stuffing my extra socks into them. However, that being said I am looking forward to the new Murmur as it is time for a replacement…

  • Timslaydon

    I’d go $50

  • rcMike

    Brian, are the new straps attached to the main pack at an angle like some other packs or are they coming off the pack at 90°?

  • rcMike

    Brian, are the new straps attached to the main pack at an angle like some other packs or are they coming off the pack at 90°?