You may recall that several weeks ago I returned my beloved Gossamer Gear Gorilla ultralight backpack to GGHQ for some rather radical harness modifications. Well now it's back, updated with an entirely new harness, and better than ever.
Recap: During my recent trip to Mt. Whitney, I encountered some significant discomfort from the straps of my GG Gorilla backpack. I hadn't had any issues with them previously and wasn't carrying an especially heavy load, but for some reason the wide straps rubbed me raw. I mentioned this in my Whitney blog post and Dave and Grant from Gossamer Gear reached out to me to learn more.
Long story short, Grant offered to modify my existing Gorilla pack by converting my existing straps, you know the ones you can stuff your socks in, to be closer to those of their upcoming new backpack line-up. How could I possibly refuse?
Now it's back, and I wanted to give you all a glimpse of the new (I should say "modified") harness just days ahead of the official launch of Gossamer Gear's new Murmur backpack, which will be using a similar but not identical version of this style harness. Look out for more on the Murmur coming on Monday...
So to be very clear; this is a custom alteration of my old Gorilla backpack with an updated harness that Gossamer Gear is prototyping for use on their new line of backpacks coming out soon. It is not the exact style of the final shoulders strap or harness that GG will be using. This one is my original Gorilla harness, hand-modified to closely represent the new style GG is working on. Therefore the material and colors are those of my original Gorilla pack.
Editor's Note: If you are reading this with a mind to purchasing a new Gossamer Gear backpack, please know that this is not indicative of what the new packs are using. This is a custom modification to an old pack "in the style of" the new shoulder straps and harness that GG is developing. Please check the GG website product page for exact information and photos. If you have any questions, contact them.
Well, if you're familiar with the rather wide straps of the original Gorilla and other GG backpacks, you'll notice that these are drastically narrower.
At the widest point where the shoulder straps begin to curve under my arm pit, the straps are now only 2.75" wide compared to the original straps that were almost 4" wide. The external seams that used to allow for the straps to be opened so that the foam inserts could be removed or changed are now gone and the straps are now permanently sewn shut.
A new feature on these straps is the vertical row of webbing loops and D-ring. These can be used for the sternum strap or for attaching items. Stay tuned for some news for Gossamer Gear about new shoulder pockets and sternum pouches that can be attached to this new webbing system.
The new straps now have more pronounced taper as they meet the adjustment straps. An additional D-ring has been added as an attachment point. The modified sternum strap came attached at a much lower point down on the shoulder straps than I would typically wear it. I meant to point this out as a potential problem, but realized that is could easily be moved further up and adjusted mine to suit shortly after taking these photos.
I've been a fan of the Gorilla pack from the moment I bought mine. It's been as close to the perfect pack for me as I could find (without buying a dozen different backpacks), but I had always had concerns about the shoulder straps. That eventually flared up into some soreness on my last big trip.
My new one-of-a-kind custom harness has beautifully addressed the problem. It feels like a completely new backpack because it sits differently and is much more comfortable. I have to give Grant and Dave huge thanks for going to such considerable lengths to modify my Gorilla pack. They went above and beyond to get this change made and get the pack back to me for feedback.
So what does this mean for you? Well, the new harness on my pack was a prototype for the sort of changes you will see coming in all of the Gossamer Gear packs over the coming months. In fact, I have in my possession a brand new, fresh off the factory line and over-nighted, GG Murmur ultralight backpack that has the actual finished version of their new harness. It's not exactly the same as this, but it's pretty sweet. I'll be taking it out over the weekend and posting an update about it on Monday - so stay tuned.
What do you think of the new straps? I know that several of you have spoken openly about the width of the GG Gorilla straps, what do you think of the improvements?
Disclosure: The author is a Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador and has received a complementary modification to his Gorilla Ultralight Backpack courtesy of Gossamer Gear for testing and review purposes. The original Gorilla backpack was purchased using the author's own funds.