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Gossamer Gear Gorilla Voted ‘Most Versatile’ by Backpacker Magazine

Gossamer Gear Gorilla UL Pack

Thought I’d share a review I saw in the latest Backpacker Magazine email newsletter of five ultralight multiday backpacks. Here’s a breakdown of the five packs that were chosen and how they ended up ranking them:

I have to give a huge shout out to the guys at Gossamer Gear for being voted the “most versatile” of the packs tested, something I would whole heartedly agree with and as many of you know the Gorilla backpack has been my “go-to” pack for a long time now and for many reasons.

Gossamer Gear Gorillas Compared

I noticed that the photograph used in the review was of the old model Gorilla pack and some of the reviewer’s comments mention features that no longer exist on the new version, which surprises me for a reputable magazine like Backpacker. Why on earth would they be testing out of date versions, that’s just stupid and probably one of the reasons that I no longer care for the magazine personally.

If you own a Gorilla backpack, or any of the other backpacks that Backpacker Magazine reviewed on the list above, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the packs and whether or not you agree with the results.

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  • That’s awesome that they recognized it for versatility. I don’t have any of the above packs but my experience with the Osprey Kestrel and then the REI Flash has led me to the decision that versatility is my number one priority in my next pack. I never know what I’m going to encounter and my pack list is never exactly the same. I need a pack that can roll with that. This confirms my next pack will be the Gorilla.

    • Kory, I think we all struggle with the same issue of changing packing lists depending on circumstances – having a pack that can adapt to lots of scenarios is a big bonus for sure. There’s no one pack for everything, but I’m continually impressed with what the Gorilla can do :)

  • sygyzy

    I have to admit, no matter how much people criticize ‘big’ name publications for missing key points or not acknowledging cottage brands, I think this list is really good and thorough.

    • The recognition is huge for small cottage manufacturers, I just find it a little bit sloppy for them to not have ensured that they were testing the latest version of a product. All of the reviews were interesting to read though.

  • Diane Pinkers

    I note that the Zpacks Exo is also no longer offered, it has been replaced by the Zpacks Arc Blast. These articles do get written a while ago, and put in queue, but surely they could check things out before they actually go to print!

    • I’d like to think that Backpacker Magazine article queue is less than 8-12 months :)

  • anwar

    i dont own gg gorilla but own the new murmur and the old golite jam (forgot which version). Both are my favorite backpacks. use the murmur if i want the lightest load and the jam if weight is not my priority. Yes it’s a shame that backpacker magazine reviewed the old gorilla rather than the new one. How come they didn’t know that the new gorilla exist?

    • It’s unforgivable that thy are so sloppy and as I said another reason why I didn’t re-subscribe, which is a shame. I’m glad you mentioned the Murmur because that’s another great GG pack that I own and don’t use nearly as often as I should.

      • Jon Moriconi

        Hi Brian. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now. It’s good stuff, and thanks for taking the time to write it for us.

        However, even though I generally agree that quality of their content seems to be in the middle of a long downward spiral. I’m actually going to have to defend BP magazine on this one.

        This ultralight pack review originally appeared in the print magazine quite awhile ago. If I remember correctly, I think it was a few weeks before the 2012 version of the Gorilla was announced, and I would assume was probably written at least a few months before that.

        It seems like the majority of the content in the email newsletters is just republished straight out of the magazine a few months after the original release.

        • Thanks Jon. That explains it, but doesn’t make it acceptable. It is what it is, maybe a year from now they’ll catch up and compare the 2012 models :) In the end, all visibility is good visibility for the cottage manufacturers. I appreciate you standing up and having you say, even if it goes against what I had said. Every opinion counts and I thank you for that.

  • ronda

    I was also pleased that Backpacker highlighted the packs, maybe will introduce more readers to the lightweight community. I am so thankful that I did early on! This past summer I was ready to get a lightweight pack, but after trying the Jam, I knew I was not quite ready for a frameless pack and stumbled upon the Exos 46. I have a sm so actually it is a 44 lt. 2lb 4oz. I am more than pleased with the the pack. For my week in CO this summer I comfortably started out with 30lbs, which included the Bear Vault 500 which fit INSIDE the pack, despite the curve in the packs back panel. All my gear fits inside main compartment, zippered pocket, and outside pocket which I love – I hate dangly items and lashing items to the outside. I was concerned with the mesh back panel and how durable it would be and it is not showing any wear after summer trips. On another trip I added more weight when we divided up an ill members gear, not comfortable, but the pack survived the push on its limits. I was surprised that the reviewer was comfortable at 45lbs. Only thing I do not like is the mesh hip pockets, they are pretty small and hold on to moisture and dirt. So instead of trying to use with a camera or snacks, I have resigned to use them to store waterproof items like compass and headlamp. Love the fact that Osprey has a lifetime guarantee, which gives me the confidence that if something did fail, I would have it fix by the company. This will be my pack, until I learn to pack my food smaller and lighter, than I will be ready for a frameless.

  • I thought it was cool that three of the five packs mentioned are made by cottage manufacturers.

    • Oh absolutely! I’m just disappointed that the only visibility cottage manufacturers get is of out-dated gear. (sigh)

    • josh camp

      Off topic but, did the folks at Gossamer Gear ever decide a price for altering the old gorilla straps? I would definitely be interested in sending my pack out there for a little extra TLC.

      • Josh, I’m not sure if GG is even offering that service anymore. From what I gathered it was costing GG as much in shipping and labor as it was to make the alteration – and it was way harder to remove a harness and replace one that to sew it in while making the pack. I’ll ask them and let you know.

        • josh camp

          Thanks I’d be willing to pay the shipping and a little extra. Your converted straps look ideal.

  • josh camp

    I have the old gorilla and I will never retire it because of it’s versatility. I bought a GG murmur hyperlight for my lady to use as her daily soccer coaching bag and she loves it. I just got back from a 2.5 day 40 miler on the AT. The plan was to use the hyperlight with my sub12lb base weight, but I ended up taking the gorilla instead. It’s my safety blanket. I thought I might be asking to much of the little hyperlight, not to mention that my lady would kill me if anything happened to it. The gorilla is very rugged and it will carry well over 30lbs comfortably (I have even fit a bear vault 500 in the pack too.) Congratulations Glen and GG.

  • the camping trail

    Great looking bag. I got to say it deserves all the votes it got.

  • Daniel Eric Leasure

    Just found your blog love it! My ul pack I love is ospreys exco 34 in a large.

    • Thanks Daniel. Osprey do make some superb backpacks.