I still have my original Gossamer Gear G4 frameless backpack. It has a few holes in the bottom from scraping over rocks, but it's still a perfectly good pack. Fast forward to the new Gossamer Gorilla pack and you'll notice some familiar features - front and side mesh pockets, rolltop closure, wide shoulder straps, sleeping pad sleeve, and you can still stuff socks for padding in the shoulder straps and hipbelt if you want. Conceptually Gossamer Gear packs have not changed, but there are huge improvements in the details that make them a whole lot better. The new Gorilla backpack, with its durable fabrics and removable curved aluminum frame, is state-of-the-art Gossamer Gear. (And you can still purchase a new G4 if you need a replacement.)

Gossamer Gear introduced an ultralight removable frame in their Mariposa backpack back in 2004, consisting of two straight carbon fiber stays (0.9 ounce/pair) inserted into sleeves on the backpanel. The Mariposa could be used either as a frameless backpack or with the stays inserted to increase its load carrying capacity. The concept was a big advancement at the time (an ultralight frameless or internal frame backpack ALL IN ONE!), but the straight stays were less than ideal for pack fit and load-carrying comfort. After experimenting with several prototypes, they developed a curved aluminum stay (3.4 ounces) that fits into the same sleeves on the backpanel. I have tested both versions, and can unequivocally say that the curved stay, along with other improvements incorporated into the Gorilla pack, are a big improvement.

ARTICLE OUTLINE

  • Introduction
  • Specifications
  • Description
  • Suspension System and Features
  • Field Testing
  • Comparisons
  • Assessment
  • What's Good
  • What's Not So Good
  • Recommendations For Improvement

# WORDS: 2760
# PHOTOS: 6
# TABLES: 1

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