The new GoLite VO24 pack at 1600 cubic inches (size L) is a mid-size member of their Adrenaline Series designed for day hiking, weekend adventure racing, peak bagging, and mountain biking. Its brethren are the larger Lite-Speed (3200 cubic inches, size L) and smaller Rush (950 cubic inches, size L). All GoLite packs are available in men’s and women’s models, except the diminutive Ion. The VO24 replaces the Multi-Sport (2000 cubic inches, size L) that we previously reviewed. How does this new incarnation perform as a multi-purpose pack?
The GoLite VO24 pack at Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah.
- Panel-loading with water-resistant zipper
- Side load control straps
- Well-ventilated backpanel, hipbelt, and shoulder straps
- Lightweight durable fabrics make it suitable for bushwhacking
- Large capacity hipbelt pockets
- Very stable
What’s Not So Good
- Outside pockets collect snow and debris
- Water bottles fall out of short side pockets
- No security pocket
|2007 GoLite VO24|
|Size L tested, 1600 ci (26 L)|
|1 lb 6.1 oz (627 g) measured weight, size L; manufacturer’s specification 1 lb 7 oz (652 g), size L|
|Men’s M,L; Women’s S,M|
Torso Fit Range
|Men’s M fits 17.5 to 19.5 inch torsos, men’s L fits 19.5 to 21.5 inch torsos; women’s S fits 15.5 to 17.5 inch torsos, women’s M fits 17.5 to 19.5 inch torsos|
|210d nylon Velocity, polyurethane-coated|
|One front, two side, and two hipbelt stretch nylon/Spandex pockets; spacer mesh backpanel, shoulder straps, and hipbelt; load control strap on each side; panel-access with double pull water-resistant zipper, 3-liter internal hydration sleeve with two ports; two ice axe loops; haul loop; sternum strap with whistle; drain holes in bottom of front pocket and main compartment|
Volume To Weight Ratio
|72.4 ci/oz size M/L (based on 1600 ci and a measured weight of 22.1 oz)|
Comfortable Load Carrying Capacity
|20 lb estimated comfortable load for an average person carrying the pack all day|
Carry Load to Pack Weight Ratio
|14.5 (based on 20 lb and a measured weight of 1.38 lb)|
Our review of the GoLite Multi-Sport pack was focused on using it as an overnight backpack with small, compact loads. In contrast, the VO24 (size L) is 400 cubic inches smaller, and is distinctly a day-use pack. There are much lighter packs around that are better suited for ultralight backpacking, including GoLite’s Jam2.
There are some advantages to choosing an “adventure racing” type pack (like the VO24) as a day pack. It’s more stable, has a well-ventilated suspension system, has lots of easy access pockets and a good hydration system for eating and hydrating on the fly, and has lots of attachment points.
Views of the GoLite VO24. The front (top left) has a large stretch pocket, zippered access to the main compartment, and bungee cord attachment system. The backpanel, shoulder straps, and hipbelt (top right) are all spacer mesh for good ventilation. Each side (bottom left) has a stretch pocket. The top view (bottom right) shows the thickness of the pack.
The VO24’s suspension is designed for comfort, ventilation, and stability. The backpanel, shoulder straps, and hipbelt wings are all padded with spacer mesh for comfort and to disperse moisture. Contoured shoulder straps are 2.5 inches wide and adequately padded. The pack’s torso length is not adjustable, so the user must select the correct pack size and extend or shorten the shoulder straps to fit.
Spacer mesh shoulder straps and backpanel are well padded and ventilated.
Features and Utility
I personally like lots of easily accessed pockets on the outside of a pack so I can eat and hydrate on the fly. The VO24 comes through with a total of five outside pockets (1 front, 2 side, 2 hipbelt), and all can be reached with the pack on. The large stretch front pocket is big enough to accommodate a helmet or shovel, and the front bungee system provides a means to attach other bulky items. One thing I did miss is a security pocket for carrying my wallet and keys.
The stretch nylon side pockets are shallow and water bottles easily fall out. Hipbelt pockets are also stretch nylon and have lots of room. The side load control strap contributes to the pack’s stability.
The VO24 is designed for and works best with an internal hydration system. The sleeve has a 3-liter capacity and there are two hose ports. I tried using 1-liter (and smaller) water bottles in the shallow side pockets, but they easily fall out when I bend over or take the pack off.
Each hipbelt wing has a large stretch nylon pocket that will hold a surprising amount of gear. They will easily hold a GPS or digital camera, and still have room for thin gloves and snacks. The zippers are not the water-resistant type.
I used the VO24 on numerous day trips while skiing, snowshoeing, and day hiking. The pack tends to ride lower on the back (see photos), which increases its stability, makes it more suitable for mountain biking, and allows easier access to the pockets with the pack on.
Much of my use was in snow, and it was notable that snow tends to accumulate in the outside pockets, getting the contents wet. The same would be true in the rain without a rain cover. A water-resistant zipper on the front pocket would be nice in some ways, but it would restrict access with the pack on and would not allow the pocket to be used for a helmet or shovel. One solution would be to line the pocket with a waterproof stuff sack or dry sack. The pocket does have drain holes in the bottom for water to exit.
I used the VO24 a lot for winter sports. It’s remarkably stable, but snow easily gets into the front and side pockets. (Photo by Rick Hagar)
The VO24 fits like a body glove and load control is excellent. The pack stuck to me when walking ledges and maneuvering over boulders. I am very pleased with its stability.
Since the pack does not have a frame, the comfortable weight carrying capacity depends on the user’s shoulder strength. This pack cinches down snugly at the hips to put the majority of the load on the hips and lumbar region, to keep the center of gravity low. I rated the comfortable carrying capacity at 20 pounds, which is our usual rating for a frameless backpack.
The VO24 is a composite of all the right components and features.
Recommendations for Improvement
- Add a zippered security pocket
- Make the side pockets taller