HomeHikingGossamer Gear Gorilla 50 Backpack: A Complete Evaluation

Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 Backpack: A Complete Evaluation

Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 Backpack Review (2024)

The Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 Ultralight Backpack (up to date in 2024) is a multi-day inside body backpack that’s optimized for ultralight backpacking and thru-hiking. Now in its fifth technology, it’s a terrific backpack for individuals who wish to transition from carrying a a lot heavier again to a lighter-weight one, with out having to interchange all of their current backpacking gear with smaller ultralight objects. Many individuals additionally select the Gorilla over the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 as a result of it has two identically sized proper and left facet pockets, making it simpler to steadiness your load.

Specs at a Look

  • Body: Sure
  • Quantity: 50L (32L major, 18L exterior pockets) + 10L within the extension collar
  • Weight: 33.5 oz / 949g
  • Gender: Unisex with female-friendly S-shaped shoulder straps and two hipbelt choices
  • Pockets: 4 closed, 3 open
  • Hip belt pockets: Sure
  • Hydration suitable: Sure
  • Load lifters: Sure
  • Most beneficial load: 25-30 lbs
  • Supplies: 70D and 100D Recycled Robic Nylon (PFAs-free)
  • Torso Vary (a number of sizes): 16-18″; 18″-20″; 20″-22″
  • Hipbelt Vary (a number of sizes): 21″-61.5″
  • Canister Compatibility: the BV500 matches vertically whereas the BV475 matches horizontally in the primary compartment.  You possibly can carry a BV500 underneath the highest lid pocket, however the BV475 matches extra securely.
  • See Gossamer Gear for full specs and sizing

Backpack Storage and Group

The Gorilla is a top-loading backpack with a complete capability of fifty liters as much as the highest of the body,  not together with an extended extension collar. This contains 32 liters of inside quantity and 18 liters within the pack’s exterior pockets.

The pack has three open exterior pockets: an enormous entrance stretch mesh pocket that’s good for storing the whole lot you possibly can want throughout the day, so that you don’t need to cease and open the primary compartment up. I maintain snacks, layers, and moist stuff in mine, together with my filter and squeeze bag.

The side pockets can hold multiple bottles while the hip belt pockets are huge.

There are additionally two giant facet pockets made with stable material for higher sturdiness. It’s straightforward to achieve again and seize a water bottle and put it again in. The facet pocket can also be large sufficient to carry a Jetboil Stash, for instance, if you happen to don’t wish to pack it inside your pack (as a result of it’s moist.) All three pockets have drainage holes on the underside.

The Gorilla 50 has an extension collar that extends one other 11.5 inches above the body and provides roughly 10 liters of capability to the pack quantity. That further quantity can be utilized to retailer a bear canister (vertically) or a number of baggage of Doritos after a city resupply. It additionally turns the Gorilla 50 is a a lot greater pack than you’d count on at first look and offers you much more flexibility to overload it on the excessive finish.

The Over the top pocket is sized to hold a map but can fit so much more.
The Excessive pocket is sized to carry a map however can match a lot extra.

The Gorilla 50 has an “Over-the-Prime” closure that’s basically an ultralight model of a standard top-lid as a substitute of the roll-top discovered on most ultralight backpacks. It clips collectively on the high after which folds excessive of the primary compartment. It has a big exterior zippered pocket that may maintain numerous gear: I exploit it to retailer a headlamp, Aquamira drops, maps, compass, hats, gloves, PPE, my pockets, keys, you identify it. The entrance of the Over-the-Prime closure is connected to the pack by lengthy webbing straps anchored to the perimeters of the pack.

It’s also possible to scrunch gear, rope, clothes, and even a bear canister underneath the Over-the-Prime closure, which is helpful if it’s dripping moist with rain or bear slobber to maintain it separate out of your gear. Right here’s what that appears like with a Bearvault BV500 bear canister, though the BV475 is a little more safe when strapped down this fashion. (The BV475 additionally matches horizontally in the primary compartment).

If you pack carefully, you can secure a BV500 or BV475 under the over the top pocket.
If you happen to pack fastidiously, you possibly can safe a BV500 or BV475 underneath the excessive pocket.

The Gorilla additionally has two hip belt pockets completely connected to the hip belt that shut with zippers. The pockets are made with stable material for higher sturdiness and are giant sufficient to comprise a number of meals bars, a GPS, a Garmin inReach, or a point-and-shoot digicam. They’re far bigger than the pockets you discover on typical backpacks and due to this fact extra helpful. I feel Gossamer Gear’s backpacks have among the finest hip belt pockets within the trade and I’ve a tough time adjusting to packs that don’t present this sort of handy storage.

Backpack Body and Suspension

Whereas the newest Gorilla 50 is outwardly the identical in look because the earlier mannequin, the body and suspension system had been fully changed to offer extra inclusive sizing for women and men of various styles and sizes. Prior to now, Gossamer Gear was very “unisex” in its orientation, however as the marketplace for ultralight backpacks has grown, it turned clear that girls (and folks with small statures) needed breast-friendly S-shaped shoulder straps and pre-curved female-friendly hip belts.

The Gorilla 50 comes with S-shaped shoulder straps which are comfortable for both men and women
The Gorilla 50 comes with S-shaped shoulder straps that are comfy for each women and men

Since S-shaped shoulder straps are comfy for each women and men, they’re now normal on the Gorilla 50 and the Mariposa 60. There are additionally two new PVT (stands for Pivot) hipbelt choices out there for the Gorilla and the Mariposa: a Straight hipbelt related in match to the unisex hipbelt offered on earlier fashions and one with curved wings designed for individuals (largely girls) with curvier hips and smaller waists. See Gossamer Gear for becoming directions (scroll down the web page).

The PVT hip belts are usually not suitable with older mannequin Gorilla backpacks, so that you’ll want to purchase a completely new backpack if you wish to improve. Gossamer Gear modified how the body connects the hipbelt, making it a lot easier to interchange (with out tearing your hair out) than beforehand. The underside of the body is curved and slots right into a pouch-like cup in the back of the hipbelt with the additional benefit that the perimeters of the hipbelt can Pivot, that’s, transfer barely up or down along with your hips as you stroll. Different backpack makers Gregory, Deuter, and Osprey have hipbelt methods that supply an analogous pivot profit though I feel it’s much more helpful on packs designed to hold a lot heavier masses than the Gorilla.

Curved and Straight PVT Hip Belts
Curved and Straight PVT Hip Belts

A much bigger good thing about the brand new Pivot system is that it’s a lot a lot simpler to swap in a brand new PVT hipbelt if you wish to change those that come bundled with the Gorilla. Gossamer Gear sells three out-of-the-box configurations of the Gorilla with preconfigured hip belts and 5 totally different hipbelt sizes, which value an extra $25 if you wish to customise your match. Gossamer Gear will refund the $25 if you happen to ship again the unique hipbelt – contact them for particulars.

The PVT body can also be a 360 loop as a substitute of the 270 diploma U-shaped body utilized in earlier fashions, making for a a lot stiffer and extra responsive carry. Gossamer Gear additionally added extra stiffeners to the again of the hipbelt, leading to higher load switch to the hips.

Load lifters help pull the frame forward and bring it closer to your torso.
Load lifters assist pull the body ahead and convey it nearer to your torso.

Load lifters had been additionally added to this model of the Gorilla 50 which tie into the highest of the body and allow you to pull it in nearer to your torso and hips for a extra environment friendly carry. 

As well as, there’s a new foam sit pad included that slots into mesh sleeves behind the shoulder straps. Whereas it has holes in it, they don’t present any air flow to dry perspiration in your shirt. Nonetheless, the sit pad could be very useful to tug out while you need a dry spot to sit down down in camp or a porch in entrance of your tent, and straightforward to fit again into the mesh sleeves while you’re able to take off once more. Whilst you can change the froth pad with one other of your selecting, you wish to keep away from utilizing one thing like a full Zlite foam pad as a result of it is going to be too thick and place the pack too distant out of your torso.

Exterior Attachment and Compression System

The Gorilla 50 has two tiers of facet compression webbing to compress your load and make it simpler to hold. The facet compression webbing may also be used to safe gear to the facet of your pack. For instance, if you happen to’re carrying tent poles or a fishing rod, you possibly can cinch them underneath the compression straps to maintain them safe.

Dual side compression straps make it easy to lash long objects like fishing poles or snowshoes to the side of the pack.
Twin facet compression straps make it straightforward to lash lengthy objects like fishing poles or snowshoes to the facet of the pack.

The facet compression straps are additionally fairly lengthy, making it straightforward to lash cumbersome objects to the facet of the backpack. That is very useful significantly in winter for carrying foam pads or snowshoes, which you’ll be able to’t match contained in the backpack. I want all pack makers had compression straps this lengthy! They shut with squeeze-style buckles as a substitute of linelocs making them a lot simpler to make use of in winter when carrying gloves and since they received’t freeze closed.

As well as, the Gorilla has 10 tiny webbing loops scattered alongside the facet and again seams of the pack so you possibly can rig up customized attachment factors utilizing an adjunct line and some cordlocks. Gossamer Gear sells a shock twine compression set for this function. Many individuals like so as to add a twine on the surface of the mesh pocket to dry moist socks or clothes whereas they stroll, as an illustration. It’s also possible to cling a photo voltaic panel this fashion.

Accent Pocket Attachment Factors

Hosekeeper loops, front webbing, and plastic rings make it easy to hang Gossamer gear accessory pockets form the shoulder straps.
Hosekeeper loops, entrance webbing, and plastic rings make it straightforward to hold Gossamer gear accent pockets from the shoulder straps.

Gossamer Gear additionally makes it straightforward so as to add accent pockets and digital gizmos to the shoulder straps of the Gorilla, which embody D-rings and horizontal keeper straps. They make a number of useful accent pockets to connect to the shoulder straps together with:

It’s price selecting up a number of of those if you happen to purchase a Gorilla 50 as a result of they’re purpose-built for Gossamer Gear packs. Gossamer Gear doesn’t sew daisy chains on their shoulder straps, so you possibly can’t use a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shoulder Pocket with the Gorilla 50.

Trekking Pole Holders and Ice Axe Loop

Trekking pole loops at the base of the pack make it easy to carry trekking poles.
Trekking pole loops on the base of the pack make it straightforward to hold trekking poles.

Gossamer Gear features a pair of trekking pole holders on the Gorilla that make it handy to stow your poles while you wish to maintain your arms free. The information of your poles slide into two elasticated loops on the base of the pack, whereas the tops could be lashed to the facet of your pack utilizing the higher compression strap or a twine lock connected to one of many Gorilla’s exterior lash factors. The identical holds for securing an ice ax to the pack utilizing the ice ax loop.

Comparable Ultralight Packs w/Frames


The Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50, now in its fifth technology, is best than ever. The brand new S-shaped shoulder straps and two hipbelt choices are a a lot better match for females or individuals with a smaller stature whereas the brand new body and cargo lifters make the pack a lot simpler to regulate for higher consolation. The Gorilla is an excellent comfy pack that’s straightforward to adapt to your wants whether or not you might want to carry further meals or cumbersome gear for winter backpacking, or if you wish to strip it down for a extra streamlined journey. The 2 issues that I like finest in regards to the Gorilla 50 are the 10L extension collar which supplies you a variety of flexibility with none added weight, and the extra-long facet compression straps for lashing cumbersome gear to the facet of the pack. If you happen to’re a four-season or multi-sport type hiker like me, that function is a large value-add that’s fairly onerous to search out on different ultralight backpacks.

Store at Gossamer Gear


Disclosure: Gossamer Gear donated a pack for an in-depth overview.

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