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Having just finished my 140 mile hitch-hiking a couple days ago I wanted to talk about the new gear I carried and my experience with it. Later this week I will be posting a trip report to talk about our experience, but here I wanted to discuss the gear.

First, this was my first time carrying the Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack, moving up in weight from my G4. I carried my G4 on my trip with Stick  over Thanksgiving. These two packs each have their pros and cons and are better suited for different situations (in my opinion).

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There are a lot of reviews for both of these packs already, so I will just take some time to describe my experience using both side by side.

Fully loaded, I had no problem fitting everything in the Gorilla pack, but my friend who has not gone quite as light as I have would have not been able to use it. The G4 is a much larger pack (nearly 20 L larger) and its design allowed him (and myself) to keep just about anything in the huge mess pockets.

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In my mesh pocket, I would keep my rain gear, gloves, and ankle brace. As for his pack… well you can see the above photo. When I carried the pack with 17 lbs, I had problems getting the pack to sit comfortably, but for Noah it never ceased to ride well. The G4 is, in my opinion, a more convenient pack when it comes to stuffing or fitting gear in it that isn’t quite “ultralight”. If you can keep the overall weight within its carrying capacity while still needing some extra space for the fluff of extra clothing or messy packing, I prefer the G4. The Gorilla is, in my opinion, for a much more intentional packer.

Unfortunately, I have a slightly curved spine, so I am constantly readjusting my pack trying to get the weight to transfer more weight forward. When I carried the G4, I could never get the weight to stop pulling on my lower back. My friend never once voiced a similar complaint. I am going to revisit the G4 and see if I can pack it differently and improve its comfort for me. Because of my back, I really preferred the Gorilla.

The G4’s design allows easier packing, is lighter, and less expensive. Also, I really prefer the draw sting top closure system over the Gorilla’s closure system.

The Gorilla, since I don’t use a water bladder, has better side pockets since I can use them without having to take the pack off, can carry weight more comfortably (for me), and has built in hip belt pockets.Overall, I preferred carrying the Gorilla pack in comparison  to my G4. The Gorilla rode better for me than the G4, but I would like to keep practicing with each.

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Disclaimer: I would like to thank Brian Green for sending me the Gorilla pack for trial. There is an incredible community of backpackers out there! I did pay for the G4 with my own funds. In no way does having received the Gorilla affect my review as I think being honest about both an items pros and cons is the best way for innovative companies to improve and provide a better product.

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2 thoughts on “GEAR TALK: Gossamer Gear Gorilla

  1. Nice write up and observations. I’m not entirely sure which pack you preferred overall though, does it depend on the duration of the hike and destination? I’m with you on the Gorilla’s OTT closure system and that’s why I still *love* my original GG Gorilla pack with the draw string/roll top. If you had to pick on of the packs (if you could have only one of something) which one would you choose?

    BTW – it was fun to follow your updates via Facebook in pseudo real-time, thanks for posting those! If you want to hang onto the Gorilla pack for a while longer you can, return it when you’re done. It was cool to get your perspective on it 🙂

    1. If I could only have one, I would go with the Gorilla. For its weight carrying comfort I prefer the Gorilla over the G4, but I felt that I should comment that my friend didn’t seem to notice to lack of frame. I think it could be my back shape or just the different in the way we pack, but in any case I definitely prefer carrying the Gorilla over the G4.

      I should have answered this question in my post, but with the experience I had carrying both I cannot see a time that I would ever carry the G4 over the Gorilla. When carrying the same load, the Gorilla performed better. If I had to move up in weight to accommodate more of something, I can’t imagine the pack being more comfortable with say 5 or 10 more lbs. I might be inclined to test it now by adding extra weight to see which I could carry if I had to carry 25-30 lbs.

      That being said, that’s just me. Like I said in the post, my hiking partner had no issues with carrying comfort which causes me to think it could just be my back, his lack of having another pack to compare his experience to, or that I packed incorrectly my other times using the G4. I commented on the positives of the G4 because I think its great for someone like Noah who has a great tolerance for his carrying comfort but is a messy packer.

      I would like to keep carrying the Gorilla and swap back and forth between that and the G4 to get a more thorough comparison! Thanks for letting me hold onto it a little bit longer!

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