The Quest is the starship of the GoLite re-designed line of internal frame backpacks. At 4250 cubic inches and 3 pounds 3 ounces, it’s one of the lightest and most capable internal frame backpacks around.
GoLite has redesigned their entire pack line for 2007, replacing 28 previous packs with a new line consisting of 9 packs. The Quest at 4250 cubic inches is a mid-sized pack in their new Venture Series which replaces their Unlimited Series intended for lightweight backpacking and mountaineering. GoLite got it right with their new pack line, and especially with the Quest. It’s right on target for the lightweight backpacker in terms of volume and load-carrying capacity and feature set. At only 3 pounds 3 ounces and a volume to weight ratio of 83.3 cubic inches per ounce, it’s a half pound lighter and more weight efficient than its competitors. It’s also a good value.
- One of the lightest internal frame backpacks available
- Lightweight composite framesheet with two aluminum stays can easily be shaped as a unit to fit the contour of your back
- Frame is easily removed to create a high volume frameless backpack
- Firm, comfortable shoulder harness and hipbelt
- Water-resistant zippers and fabrics make the pack nearly waterproof
- Huge front pocket
- Total of six outside pockets provide plenty of convenient storage
- Side compression straps join to opposite side for attaching snowshoes, etc.
- Compacktor system reduces the volume of the main compartment
- Men and women specific models, both in two sizes
- Lightweight durable fabrics
- An excellent value at $175
What’s Not So Good
- Torso length is not adjustable (except by lengthening the shoulder straps)
- Side and top compression straps do not loosen easily
|GoLite 2007 Quest|
|Internal frame, top loading, drawstring closure with top compression strap, floating top pocket|
|Size medium 4250 ci (70 L)|
|3 lb 3 oz (1.45 kg) measured weight; manufacturer’s specification 3 lb 2 oz (1.42 kg)|
|M, L in men and women’s specific models|
|PU-coated nylon Velocity with DWR|
|Composite framesheet with two attached aluminum stays|
|Floating top lid, 7-inch extension collar with drawstring closure, four side and one top compression straps, side compression straps connect to opposite side, water-resistant zippers on top and front pockets, two stretch-woven side pockets, two large stretch-woven hipbelt pockets, large fabric front pocket, Compaktor system to reduce pack volume, two ice axe loops, internal 3-liter hydration sleeve with two ports, haul loop, load lifters, sternum strap, two tool attachment loops|
Volume To Weight Ratio
|83.3 ci/oz size Regular Torso (based on 4250 ci and a measured weight of 51 oz)|
Comfortable Load Carrying Capacity
|40 lb (18.2 kg) estimated comfortable load for an average person carrying the pack all day|
Carry Load to Pack Weight Ratio
|12.5 (based on 40 lb and a measured weight of 3.2 lb)|
The new GoLite Quest internal frame backpack will be introduced in early 2007 along with the rest of their new backpack line. The Quest will be of particular interest to lightweight backpackers because (in my opinion) it is dead on in terms of light weight, pack volume, volume adjustment, load-carrying capacity, comfort, and feature set. Another plus is that it is available in men and women’s specific models.
The Quest is a traditional tried and true design – top loading with an extension collar, drawcord closure, top compression strap, and a floating top pocket. The following gallery provides a tour of the pack.
Views of the GoLite Quest. The front of the pack (top left) has one huge pocket with a water-resistant zipper. The backpanel and shoulder harness (top right) are contoured spacer mesh. Each side (bottom left) has a nylon/Lycra stretch side pocket plus two compression straps that will connect to the opposite side. The Quest is a top loader (bottom right) with a drawstring closure, top compression strap, and floating top pocket.
Frame and Suspension
The frame in the Quest is a composite framesheet with two attached aluminum stays. The whole assembly is easy to remove from its sleeve, and can easily be bent as a unit to fit the curvature of the user’s back. Removing the framesheet (12.5 ounces) creates a large volume frameless backpack with a comfortable suspension system and weight of only 38.5 ounces, somewhat similar to the old GoLite Trek pack.
Shoulder harness and backpanel padding are a comfortable and supportive spacer mesh. The lumbar area and hipbelt are firm foam faced with stretch-woven fabric.
The Quest’s composite framesheet with two attached aluminum stays (left) is easily removed from the pack and shaped as a unit. The shoulder harness and backpanel (right) are a thick, contoured, supportive spacer mesh.
Noticeably absent is any means to adjust the pack torso length. Both the hipbelt and shoulder straps are solidly sewn to the backpanel, so the Quest has no torso length adjustment other than shoulder strap and load lifter strap length. Getting a proper fit amounts to choosing the correct pack size (men’s medium or large, women’s small or medium) and adjusting the shoulder straps and load lifters – which is not a lot of adjustability.
I tested the Quest on six fall and winter backpacking trips with loads of lightweight gear weighing up to 28 pounds, and found it to be one of the most comfortable packs I have carried. I also did some testing with loads of heavy gear and water up to 45 pounds to find its upper limits. It readily transferred all of the weight to my hips when I wanted it to. GoLite claims that the Quest will haul 60 pounds comfortably, which is a lofty claim and I question how a 4350 cubic inch pack can be loaded with that much weight. For most lightweight backpackers, who typically carry loads in the 25 to 35 pound range, and occasionally loads over 40 pounds, the Quest will easily carry the freight. I settled on 40 pounds as the comfortable load carrying capacity of the Quest for an average person carrying the pack all day. A stronger person could carry more, but the pack’s volume capacity will probably max out before its weight carrying capacity.
The Quest is feature rich, as shown and described in the following photo gallery.
Notable features. The Quest’s front pocket (top left) is huge and has a full width water-resistant zipper with two sliders. The top pocket (top right) fits well and has a welded-on water-resistant zipper. Hipbelt stretch-woven pockets (center left) are the biggest and best I have seen. Inside, there is a 3-liter hydration sleeve (center right) with two hose ports, shown here being used for my inflatable sleeping pad. The new GoLite Compaktor system (bottom left) is a simple loop and hook at the bottom of the pack that works in combination with the pack’s compression system to reduce pack volume by as much as two-thirds. The side compression straps (bottom right) will attach to the opposite side to carry large items on the front of the pack.
Although it’s a traditional top-loading design with floating top pocket, the Quest stands out because of several attributes and features that I found to be very useful.
- At 51 ounces it is the lightest pack I know of with this design and capacity
- It comfortably carries a good-sized load
- Its huge fabric front pocket is highly water-resistant and keeps gear dry compared to packs with large mesh pockets
- The top pocket has a good capacity and it’s water-resistant zipper also keeps contents dry
- The side compression straps release and connect to the opposite side, making it easy to attach larger items to the outside of the pack
- The hipbelt pockets are the largest I have seen so far
The Quest’s water-resistant zippers and fabrics, large capacity front pocket, and wrap-around capability of its side compression straps make it very suitable for winter backpacking and snow camping, and for attaching gear to the outside of the pack..
The GoLite Quest on a winter backpacking trip in southern Utah. It’s just the right size for cold weather gear, and will easily shed a rain or snow shower.
The Quest has most everything right in terms of its size, weight, carrying capacity, comfort, and feature set. There are very few perfect packs around, and this is one of them, provided you get a good fit with the sizes available.
Recommendations for Improvement
I have only one recommendation, but it’s a significant one. While I have an “average” body and was able to obtain a fairly good fit with the Quest, I must point out that the pack has very little torso length and other suspension system adjustments to fit hikers of various shapes and sizes. It would greatly help to incorporate more adjustments in the design of the pack’s suspension system to ensure that most hikers obtain a good fit.