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Luggage Transfer Correos

Panel Loading Pack

2020 Camino Guides

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I have noticed the preference some have stated for a mid-sized panel loading pack. I would like to present an offering from Gossamer Gear -- a high quality backpacking cottage manufacturer -- of a new 35 liter backpack which uses a panel loading system.
They are calling it the Ranger 35.

I learned of this just today when I received an email from their Products Manager asking if I would be interested in doing an extended gear test for the pack. As many of you know, when I am hired to gear test for a clothing, shoe, or gear manufacturer I am doing it for the purpose of specifically evaluating for faults, defects, and to provide suggestions on modifications or improvements. Gear testing is always a continuous process during that products inclusion in a company's inventory. Testing is done on the same model of product over the course of its existence; much of the reason for this is to keep comparing the old to the new in terms of absolute improvements and technology advances in materials and manufacturing techniques.

And yes, the Ranger 35 has already been tested for its usability, function, and performance. It is safe to consider as a purchase :)

I am excited about this new pack. it hits a big missing niche in Gossamer Gear's inventory. It will be popular, just as their Gorilla and Mariposa packs are now.

As for me, Gossamer Gear was informed of my health issues at the moment. They pushed back the current schedule for me and are now asking that I start formal testing this summer, which I am anticipating is very doable. :)

I will get the pack next week so that I can become very familiar with it, make sure the sizing is correct, and allow me to fine tune the fitting of the shoulder harness and belt. Usually I don't get extra time with a piece of gear to do this, I have to do it on the fly. This way, I don't have the distraction of my equipment observation that takes my attention to get things to fit as best they can; I can just jump right into all of the abuse, wear and tear, poking and prodding that the pack will have to endure.

Who knows... this might just become my new favorite mid-size pack. :)
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
There is another thread started today mentioning this same pack. The manufacturer must be getting their "shout out" far and wide! Dave, if you are ready to start "abusing" this pack on the trails, I assume your health is definately on the upswing! ☺
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
There is another thread started today mentioning this same pack. The manufacturer must be getting their "shout out" far and wide! Dave, if you are ready to start "abusing" this pack on the trails, I assume your health is definately on the upswing! ☺
Not yet, Chris :). As I said in my post, that won't take place until this summer... probably the last week of June. At least that is what I'm hoping for.

When I replied to the email explaining my situation to Gossamer, I though for sure they'd decide to by-pass me.o_O
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Dave: I am going in early May for two weeks on the Primitivo. Perhaps they might want me to evaluate as well?

I have been gear evaluation on my dime for 6 years... Pilgrim House and my local APOC chapter are the beneficiary of my 'fails.." Send me a PC if you need info,
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Dave, et al.:

I just reviewed the Gossamer Gear web page for this pack. I note that it is NOT a full panel loader, but a partial-panel loader.

Examining the bag photos carefully, it appears to me that they likely had a had a 38-liter bag, with a more squared off top, then they cut the upper top corner on a diagonal line. I presume so the bag fits in airline overhead bins.

The bag shape generally follows a luggage bin contour, IMHO. So, they score points for thinking ahead. Although, most rucks will compress to fit anyway. Still, a nice thought.

The bags features are spot-on, at least on paper. I have several baseline observations, based on experience.
  1. The waist belt should be thicker, like 1.5 inches. The added rigidity aids load bearing. Osprey use this principle. The added weight provide improved load carrying,
  2. All front, side and back load straps could be thinner, say 1/2 inches, instead of 3/4 or 5/8. This does the job with less overall weight. Sole exceptions are the shoulder and waist straps. Every gram counts, either way.
  3. The shoulder straps should have had additional "clip on" strap points. These are horizontal wed straps 'south of the shoulder' and 'north of the mesh pockets'. where you can clip stuff, like water bottles, sunglasses, etc., Clipping stuff to the top of the mesh pockets is a non-starter, as they will sag and you will lose things. That said, keep the mesh, shoulder-strap pockets... I would add two such horizontal clip-on points between the current strap holder on the shoulder and the bottom of the shoulder pad. Weight increase nil. Function increase huge, IMHO.
  4. The side mesh pockets should be taller, and straight-cut, not cut in a 'hockey stick' shape...many folks use one-liter water bottles and they are well-stored here. Pockets that are too shallow will cause these bottles to get lost, especially when gull of liquid. Nice attempt at style, but it loses functionality, IMHO.
  5. The two waist-belt pockets should be longer and rectangular, not styled as they are. The things you might put in here are better in a box-shaped pocket. Gossamer gear already makes some excellent waist pockets. I have a bunch of them. They should have adapted THAT design to this waist belt, at least IMHO. These pockets need not follow the curve of the waist belt. They can, and likely should be a sort of boxed, bellows pocket.
  6. The bungees on the bag of the bag are nice, but something allowing a walker to secure two hiking poles while walking would be better. A very good example of this is the Osprey Stow and Go lashing system. Each of these lashing points must have an upper and lower fastening capability, even if only bungees, to keep hiking poles from bouncing all over.
  7. I sincerely hope this bag is provided with a rain cover. The zips are all exposed, not covered. This bag will NOT be waterproof. I recommend any raincover be a high contrast, safety color, like neon-yellow (worn by road crews). Anything muted is not going to facilitate safety when road walking.
Okay, not even having touched this bag yet, those are my constructive suggestions. I tried to keep them small enough so as to not add apprecialy to the weight or mass of the bag. I DO like the basic design.

But, for Camino use, they need to make it a tad more utilitarian. At present, it looks like a fancy college campus day-hiking bag. Too much style at the expense of function, at least IMHO, and based on six Caminos in as many years. I plan #7 this May.

Hope this helps.
 
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jmcarp

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
@davebugg and @t2andreo: First, thanks, Dave, for posting the link. I'm not in the market for a new pack right now, but if I were, it would certainly be at or near the top of my list for consideration. One of the reasons I never got too excited about some of the other ultra-light backpacks--i.e., GoLite, etc--was that they were too basic. I'm a pocket and compartments guy, and the simple "one big compartment" approach has never appealed to me. I especially like the mesh pockets on the shoulder straps--they're great for stashing a compact camera or cellphone, plus a smaller water bottle that's easy to get to. I don't like bladders, and the typical side pockets are impossible to reach on most packs without taking the pack off. This design (the Ranger 35) would allow stowing a larger bottle or bottles in the side or outer rear pockets, and a smaller sipping bottle on the strap.

Second, I agree with most of Tom's comments. I also like the Osprey approach to storing hiking sticks or ski poles, but that may be a proprietary design. However, sticks could easily be stuck through the upper compression straps and secured with a bungy or velcro strap through one of the daisy chain loops. I like your idea of a safety yellow or orange rain cover. I'd also like to see a set of adjustable loops at the top for temporary storage of an outer shirt or windbreaker while walking.

Finally, I hope your health issues improve quickly, Dave, and I look forward to seeing your final review of this backpack.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
also like the Osprey approach to storing hiking sticks or ski poles, but that may be a proprietary design. However, sticks could easily be stuck through the upper compression straps and secured with a bungy or velcro strap through one of the daisy chain loops. I
One of Zpack's accessories for their backpacks are trekking pole holders which look like they could be added to most backpacks, and would be easy to DIY.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
As far as I can tell, the Ranger 35 will be delivered either on Friday or Monday. It will be interesting to get a bit of hands on with it.
 

cchapin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
I have both a Gossamer Gear Gorilla, which I used on the Camino this past year, and a Kumo, that I use in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Both are well made packs. The new Ranger 35 appears to be bit heavier than both of the packs I currently have...will be interested to hear @davebugg views on the new offering.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Dave: I am going in early May for two weeks on the Primitivo. Perhaps they might want me to evaluate as well?

I have been gear evaluation on my dime for 6 years... Pilgrim House and my local APOC chapter are the beneficiary of my 'fails.." Send me a PC if you need info,
:) I don't know if Gossamer is hiring any new gear evaluators/testers, but I noticed that they have a program for folks who do a lot of hiking.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I have only used backpacks with a trampoline style back which creates space between my back and the pack. I'm concerned about having enough airflow to keep me cool without that feature. And the Ranger is a "one size fits most" pack. How would you adjust for torso length?
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I have both a Gossamer Gear Gorilla, which I used on the Camino this past year, and a Kumo, that I use in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Both are well made packs. The new Ranger 35 appears to be bit heavier than both of the packs I currently have...will be interested to hear @davebugg views on the new offering.
Good observations. Let me try and assess why the difference in weight, and a few other thoughts.

1. The Kumo is a well-designed and comfortable frameless pack for loads that are under 20 pounds. It can carry more, but its design as a frameless pack was for extremely ultralight loads. Because of its target load, it is constructed of a much lighter fabric and less hardware. Since it uses no frame other than the backpad, that also means less added weight.

2. My Gossamer Gear Mariposa is slightly lighter than the Gorilla, even though it can extend its capacity from 40 liters to 65 liters. I still haven't figured THAT out, although there is a difference in some of the fabric materials used as well as hardware.

3. The Ranger looks to have only slightly less overall capacity than the Gorilla -- even the new model Gorilla that came out late last year. Yet, they both have the same recommended loaded weight range for hauling. In my mind that means that the frame system is probably beefier in the Ranger (more weight). It also looks like the Ranger uses a heavier fabric than the Gorilla in part of its construction. I also see that the shoulder harness of the Ranger incorporates added adjustments (load lifters). And the addition of the zipper hardware for access to the main bag adds more material and weight in order to contain the extra potential for wear and stress failure points, not to mention the weight of the zipper itself.

Quite frankly, I am a bit puzzled as to 'why' the Ranger was added to the Gossamer's inventory. The Kumo -- and the new Camo Kumo -- are sorta the piece of gear for day pack, overnight, or extreme ultra-ultra light fastpacking.

The Gorilla and Mariposa hit the right chord for multi-day backpacks and even appeal to the ultra lightweight crowd for long-range thru hikes like the Pacific Crest Trail.

Most backpackers do not like panel loading style zippers as the access to the main bag because of the inherent weakness of zippers at surviving stress pressures, in addition to the fact that they add a potential point for water intrusion. Zippers can become impossible to zip open and closed as they age under the conditions encountered during heavy backpacking use -- dirt, debris, wear of the mechanism, etc.

In using a zippered access to a pack -- an old Jansport -- I once became so frustrated with the jamming of the main zipper that I cut open the fabric next to the zipper so that I could get into the pack. I punched holes along the newly cut opening so that I had away of tying the opening closed until getting off the trail. :)

So the Ranger is not going to be a big seller to serious backpackers. BUT, the pack seems to be designed for those who are doing a lot of flying and who want a suitcase style panel loader with the capability and comfort of a traditional backpack for doing things like Camino. It certainly meets airline carry on dimensions, although both the Gorilla and the Mariposa do also. But the Gorilla and Mariposa are not as well 'shaped' to more easily fit in above seat airline bins, although they will fit --- they are just not quite as 'elegant', perhaps.

I am looking forward to getting more 'hands on' with the Ranger in order to better assess the 'whys' and wherefores and functionality.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I have only used backpacks with a trampoline style back which creates space between my back and the pack. I'm concerned about having enough airflow to keep me cool without that feature. And the Ranger is a "one size fits most" pack. How would you adjust for torso length?
It is likely that the shoulder harness and belt, like on some other Gossamer Gear packs, allow for that kind of adjustability. It seems a broad range, but it does work for their Kumo packs.

As to airflow and coolness, most of my packs do not use a trampoline style mesh raised system. A couple do, especially the ones I use, like the Osprey Stratos, for my daily workout hikes. For me, I do not notice much difference with coolness or 'back sweat' between the trampoline style, or an open mesh/foam pad style that is properly designed (the key word is 'properly' :) ) like one of the styles offered by Gossamer Gear as an example.

Even with the 'flex' style packs, like the Zpacks Arc Flex or the Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor, if I am working with effort while hiking, my shirt will be damp on my back. :)

The older style, and still very practical and comfortable external frame systems, have far more air space when worn, and yet it won't keep a shirt form getting damp with sweat. Even if exercising without a pack, like running or aerobics, back sweat and shirt dampness will occur.

BUT.... just as you noted Trecile, the style and type of back support with a pack can make a big difference as to how much heat is retained, and open mesh styles will reduce that phenomenon. And the trampoline styles can most certainly have an advantage in that regard.

In my mind the bottom line with backpacks is to choose carefully for fit and comfort first. Part of that evaluation is to be concerned with what Trecile has emphasized: the back support system for increased comfort as it relates to air circulation methods and heat dissipation technique, as well as protection from pressure points and assistance with support of the pack's bag.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
It is likely that the shoulder harness and belt, like on some other Gossamer Gear packs, allow for that kind of adjustability. It seems a broad range, but it does work for their Kumo packs.

As to airflow and coolness, most of my packs do not use a trampoline style mesh raised system. A couple do, especially the ones I use, like the Osprey Stratos, for my daily workout hikes. For me, I do not notice much difference with coolness or 'back sweat' between the trampoline style, or an open mesh/foam pad style that is properly designed (the key word is 'properly' :) ) like one of the styles offered by Gossamer Gear as an example.

Even with the 'flex' style packs, like the Zpacks Arc Flex or the Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor, if I am working with effort while hiking, my shirt will be damp on my back. :)

The older style, and still very practical and comfortable external frame systems, have far more air space when worn, and yet it won't keep a shirt form getting damp with sweat. Even if exercising without a pack, like running or aerobics, back sweat and shirt dampness will occur.

BUT.... just as you noted Trecile, the style and type of back support with a pack can make a big difference as to how much heat is retained, and open mesh styles will reduce that phenomenon. And the trampoline styles can most certainly have an advantage in that regard.

In my mind the bottom line with backpacks is to choose carefully for fit and comfort first. Part of that evaluation is to be concerned with what Trecile has emphasized: the back support system for increased comfort as it relates to air circulation methods and heat dissipation technique, as well as protection from pressure points and assistance with support of the pack's bag.
I'm looking forward to your first impressions of the Ranger. It's frustrating not being able to see these packs from small manufacturers in person without ordering them. I was just at my local REI, and their inventory is limited to Osprey, Gregory, Deuter and their own REI brrand. I might have to drive up to Wenatchee to see it in real life. 😄
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Most backpackers do not like panel loading style zippers as the access to the main bag because of the inherent weakness of zippers at surviving stress pressures, in addition to the fact that they add a potential point for water intrusion. Zippers can become impossible to zip open and closed as they age under the conditions encountered during heavy backpacking use -- dirt, debris, wear of the mechanism, etc.
So the Ranger is not going to be a big seller to serious backpackers. BUT, the pack seems to be designed for those who are doing a lot of flying and who want a suitcase style panel loader with the capability and comfort of a traditional backpack for doing things like Camino.
As a non-serious backpacker, but a serious Camino-er, I prefer the panel load system. I'm not setting my pack down in the dirt often, and I don't pack to bursting, so there's not a lot of stress on the zippers. And I think that the traditional drawstring with multiple belts, buckles and lid would drive me crazy after getting used to the ease of accessing my panel loading pack. The only real problem that I have with my Marmot Graviton 36 is that it's a bit too long to fit as a carry on on all airlines. And the other thing that I don't care for is the color, which is very light, and has become dingy looking after two Caminos. If Marmot would come out with a new women's Graviton (I tried the men's version, and the straps weren't comfortable) that's carry on compatible and in more subdued colors I'd probably buy it.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I'm looking forward to your first impressions of the Ranger. It's frustrating not being able to see these packs from small manufacturers in person without ordering them. I was just at my local REI, and their inventory is limited to Osprey, Gregory, Deuter and their own REI brrand. I might have to drive up to Wenatchee to see it in real life. 😄
You would be more than welcomed :). We have plenty of comfortable guest rooms, each with great views.

I think that, as I have mentioned before, when one finds a piece of gear like a backpack that is working well for them and is comfortable, be extremely hesitant and discerning before moving on to something new. For example, is there a significant weight savings because of newer material and manufacturing techniques that can be achieved. Or is the current backpack simply too worn out, or can no longer be patched and remain functional.

I have several packs because of the efficiencies gained from being able to choose a size or style to fit the type of backpacking or hike that I am doing. I spend the money ( or sometimes get to keep a piece of gear that I am hired to test) because the equipment is utilized on a regular and frequent basis because it is what I do for both recreation and -- to some extent -- earning a bit of money.

An analogy would be someone, like yourself, who sews their own clothing and other items as a hobby, or to save money, or to sell to the public. With a very frequent need to sew, and with a variety of sewing functions and types one might frequently need to engage in, there may be a few different higher end types of sewing machines in the crafting/sewing room. Along with all of the attachments and accessories needed to get the task done more easily and quickly.

Someone who only sews a few times a year can only really justify spending money on a competent, base model sewing machine.

By the way, how is your SleepSac project coming along as a potential offering to the public? I was really excited when you expressed your thoughts on that to see if you would take it to implementation. :)
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
As a non-serious backpacker, but a serious Camino-er, I prefer the panel load system. I'm not setting my pack down in the dirt often, and I don't pack to bursting, so there's not a lot of stress on the zippers. And I think that the traditional drawstring with multiple belts, buckles and lid would drive me crazy after getting used to the ease of accessing my panel loading pack. The only real problem that I have with my Marmot Graviton 36 is that it's a bit too long to fit as a carry on on all airlines. And the other thing that I don't care for is the color, which is very light, and has become dingy looking after two Caminos. If Marmot would come out with a new women's Graviton (I tried the men's version, and the straps weren't comfortable) that's carry on compatible and in more subdued colors I'd probably buy it.
:) :)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
By the way, how is your SleepSac project coming along as a potential offering to the public? I was really excited when you expressed your thoughts on that to see if you would take it to implementation. :)
I have sold a few Sleep Sacks, but it's more of a labor of love/hobby than a money making endeavor. I really enjoy making them, and I love the idea of fellow pilgrims using them, but the amount of labor required is not extremely profitable, and I don't really think that I want to try to find a manufacturer and get into a full scale business. I have several in production, and I will probably put them on Etsy.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I have sold a few Sleep Sacks, but it's more of a labor of love/hobby than a money making endeavor. I really enjoy making them, and I love the idea of fellow pilgrims using them, but the amount of labor required is not extremely profitable, and I don't really think that I want to try to find a manufacturer and get into a full scale business. I have several in production, and I will probably put them on Etsy.
Good to hear that you have pursued this. A couple of thoughts toward your evaluation of what you want to decide to do:

1. Seemingly simple things which make something better or solve a niche need can reasonable make a far higher return on investment than one would imagine. The cost of time and materials is only a baseline from which to determine the retail value of an item. For example, it is the demand for the product becomes a part of determining the overall price schedule. Because you have a pretty creative and unique solution to the Camino bedding issue, there is a lot of value to your idea.

2. People will pay a premium for convenience. Customers either do not have time, or do not want to expend the time, or do not have even the most basic skills or desire to make a copy of your product. Convenience creates a willingness of the consumer to pay more for either a product or a service.

3. A lot of outdoor equipment cottage manufacturers started out making things one at a time --- made to order. The decision to increase production was after they determined they could no longer meet a reasonable time frame between receiving an order and getting their product into the customer's hands. What that time frame might be is based on an assessment of the tolerance of a potential customer base to willingly wait for that product after placing the order.

Example.... if a start up backpack maker has an online store and states that an order will be in the mail 7 to 10 days after an order is placed, and the waiting list is still growing, then extend she may extend that wait out to new customers -- noting those customers to whom the 7-10 day commitment was made -- to 14 days or 21 days. If the new customer waiting list stops growing or shrinks, then she knows what the customer tolerance for waiting on her product is. It is at this point that a cottage manufacturer can decide how and in what way to increase production.

The demand for the niche her product meets, will determine a customer's willingness to wait. In real life, there are a couple of boot makers and backpack makers who have waiting lists for their custom product more than a year long. ULA, for example did their first expansion by just hiring a few local women, part time, who were stay at home moms looking for some extra household money.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Good to hear that you have pursued this. A couple of thoughts toward your evaluation of what you want to decide to do:

1. Seemingly simple things which make something better or solve a niche need can reasonable make a far higher return on investment than one would imagine. The cost of time and materials is only a baseline from which to determine the retail value of an item. For example, it is the demand for the product becomes a part of determining the overall price schedule. Because you have a pretty creative and unique solution to the Camino bedding issue, there is a lot of value to your idea.

2. People will pay a premium for convenience. Customers either do not have time, or do not want to expend the time, or do not have even the most basic skills or desire to make a copy of your product. Convenience creates a willingness of the consumer to pay more for either a product or a service.

3. A lot of outdoor equipment cottage manufacturers started out making things one at a time --- made to order. The decision to increase production was after they determined they could no longer meet a reasonable time frame between receiving an order and getting their product into the customer's hands. What that time frame might be is based on an assessment of the tolerance of a potential customer base to willingly wait for that product after placing the order.

Example.... if a start up backpack maker has an online store and states that an order will be in the mail 7 to 10 days after an order is placed, and the waiting list is still growing, then extend she may extend that wait out to new customers -- noting those customers to whom the 7-10 day commitment was made -- to 14 days or 21 days. If the new customer waiting list stops growing or shrinks, then she knows what the customer tolerance for waiting on her product is. It is at this point that a cottage manufacturer can decide how and in what way to increase production.

The demand for the niche her product meets, will determine a customer's willingness to wait. In real life, there are a couple of boot makers and backpack makers who have waiting lists for their custom product more than a year long. ULA, for example did their first expansion by just hiring a few local women, part time, who were stay at home moms looking for some extra household money.
Thanks for your thoughts.
 

skyedogstudio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
future (2020)
I have both a Gossamer Gear Gorilla, which I used on the Camino this past year, and a Kumo, that I use in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Both are well made packs. The new Ranger 35 appears to be bit heavier than both of the packs I currently have...will be interested to hear @davebugg views on the new offering.
i am planning for the cf in late sept. trying to pick between kumo and gorilla. do you think one would be better than the other for cf? i am carrying about 8-10 pounds not including food/water. also, with either of these did you choose poncho or rain jacket/pack cover option? any help appreciated!
 

cchapin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
I think having a bit more room made it easier to pack up in the morning, so I prefer the Gorilla for the Camino. Having said that, I had a base weight of 12-13lbs (not including water), so you may prefer to use the Kumo if you are able to keep your base weight in the 8-10lb range. I carried a rain jacket and rain pants as I'm not a big fan of ponchos. I like to use my rain jacket occasionally as an extra layer for warmth and wind protection when it wasn’t raining out. I find Ponchos a hassle when it gets windy. I saw a lot of people with ponchos though, so either will work. I did use a sea to summit pack cover when it rained.
 

skyedogstudio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
future (2020)
Thanks so much. I should get the gorilla 40 this week. I have a fantastic Enlightened Equipment Apex jacket that I plan to wear under the poncho. I do have a lightweight rain jacket but wonder if that would be overkill to bring along since the Apex is so versatile though not totally waterproof it is somewhat water resistant and dries very quickly with no problem (unlike down.) Thanks re the sea to summit pack cover idea. I have an REI pack cover I can use and also plan to use Sea to Summit dry stuff sacks for my stuff inside the pack. Can hardly wait!! Thanks again :)
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
i am planning for the cf in late sept. trying to pick between kumo and gorilla. do you think one would be better than the other for cf? i am carrying about 8-10 pounds not including food/water. also, with either of these did you choose poncho or rain jacket/pack cover option? any help appreciated!
At the weight you are planning to carry the frameless Kumo will work as well as the framed Gorilla. So what you can do is look at the size, how you plan to use a backpack in the future as well as for this Camino, the features of each pack, and THEN decide which will be more user friendly to you in the long run.

The carrying capacity is only relevant if you want to use it for longer wilderness backpacking trips where it is likely that you will exceed to comfort range of the Kumo's carry weight, OR if a larger capacity bag interferes with a desire to use the pack as carry on luggage to avoid checking a bag.

Both the Kumo AND the Gorilla meet the dimensions for a carry on. As does the even larger Mariposa.

I cannot speak for skyedogstudio, but, even thru hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and the Colorado Trail (with its daily afternoon thunderstorms and downpours) I much prefer my poncho. It covers everything, I can grab it out of my side pocket and quickly put it on, and later take it off and stow it, without having to remove my backpack. I don't even have to really stop walking. I find that using my poncho provides the thing needed most to prevent condensation soaking clothing, airflow. The airflow is at a far higher level than rain jackets, and even the most breathable fabric, Ventum, will not pass through water vapor efficiently enough to match what occurs with the airflow of my poncho.

Ponchos, like a rain jacket, can be used as an extra layer on top of a shirt or insulative garment to provide extra chill protection. It can be used as a tarp, ground cloth for sitting on wet ground, and as a sun shade if needing to sit and relax a bit during hot weather.

I've gear tested a lot of rain protection garments for manufacturers of backpacking outerwear over the years, and I always come back to my poncho. And that includes in windblown rain as well. :)
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Thanks so much. I should get the gorilla 40 this week. I have a fantastic Enlightened Equipment Apex jacket that I plan to wear under the poncho. I do have a lightweight rain jacket but wonder if that would be overkill to bring along since the Apex is so versatile though not totally waterproof it is somewhat water resistant and dries very quickly with no problem (unlike down.) Thanks re the sea to summit pack cover idea. I have an REI pack cover I can use and also plan to use Sea to Summit dry stuff sacks for my stuff inside the pack. Can hardly wait!! Thanks again :)
The down garments and sleeping gear now use hydrophobic amendments to down, so it is no longer a real issue if down becomes wet. In fact, hydrophobic down jackets have been worn while users have jumped into lakes and swimming pools, and they keep the majority of their loft and insulating capacities.

That being said, let me address the issue of walking in cooler weather and layering strategies. Here is a repost of something I wrote which may -- or may not -- be of benefit:

--------------------------------------------------
Layering is a biggie in cool and cold weather, as is controlling exertion levels to minimize perspiration.

An important principle is: You never dress with the amount of clothing needed to keep you warm at the start of walking or hiking... you wear the amount of clothing needed to keep you warm 10 minutes after you start walking.

In cold weather, or even cool weather, one needs to do what is necessary to prevent overheating and sweat. That includes how fast a pace one is moving as part of one's total level of exertion, as well as how much clothing one is wearing, and how much air circulation one is able to maintain.

It does not take long, with any layering amount, to saturate clothing with sweat. THAT is when the danger of hypothermia, and at the very least a chilly discomfort will begin to take its toll. If saturation or wetness happens, the only recourse is to change into dry clothing. Since there is usually a limited amount of clothing carried in a backpack, it is essential to adopt strategies to control sweating. Keep in mind that the material of your layers will also determine the effect to you from the above scenario. Focus on clothing made from merino wool or specialized synthetics. These will allow the garment to remain somewhat insulative even though saturated with sweat. Cottons and cotton blends are a menace and can accelerate a hypothermic condition.

Strategies include those mentioned above:
  • Limit layers of clothing to only that which is needed when full exertion is achieved. :) For those who just can't suck it up for a few minutes when first starting to walk, wear only layers which can be quickly and easily removed. For instance, adding a poncho will add about a 15 degree F advantage to existing layers. It allows for good air circulation. As you warm up during the first 10 minutes of your walk, the poncho is easily removed and stashed into a side pocket of your pack.
  • Move as slow as you need to, within reason, to keep perspiration to a minimum. This may also mean stopping to allow your body to cool down. Even with a single, lightweight layer, some folks walking under load will tend to over-heat. Keep monitoring yourself.
  • Keep an insulative layer, like a puffy down jacket or vest, near at hand so that if you are wetting-out while walking, you can put it on quickly when you stop for a break. Keep it in an outside pocket or on top of the other contents in your pack. A light puffy jacket or mid-weight fleece or a down vest works well here. The key is to keep this layer dry and to use it as a last resort when at rest. If this strategy is needed, do not continue walking until you have been able to stop sweating and you can achieve some level of dryness to your clothes.
In the above scenario, you may actually become warmer by removing your saturated layers so that you only have on your dry insulative layer. Dig out a towel and dry off excess sweat as best you can. Wring out your other layers and let them start to dry. If you have a second shirt, put it on. Hang your wet things from your pack so that they can dry. After you have cooled down, and with your dry layer and your insulative layer on, walk slowly to avoid re-heating. You will make progress down the path, stay warm, while letting your wet layers become dry. The real goal at this point is to dry your layers, not achieve distance.
  • Do not discount the amount of added warmth a light scarf or bandanna or a buff will bring as it insulates your neck. Wearing one can make wearing less layers very comfortable. It will also be a good first line of defense against over-heating and excess sweating by the ability to remove it, thus allowing the neck to act as a radiator in helping to shed body heat.
  • Yes, the type of head gear worn makes a big difference in one's body's heat loss or retention. A hat that works well for sun is not going to be the best choice for cold weather. Wool is king, as it is far less impacted by sweat affecting its inuslative properties than most other materials. And even though wool weighs more than other types of insulation, you do not need a heavy cap of wool to keep you warm. Wool is also far more breathable than many materials which aids in heat control.
As with neck wear, a wool cap can be easily removed to assist with cooling the body to prevent overheating.

Much of the above is what I have used when mountain climbing at high altitudes. Patience and light, multiple layers is the key to preventing hypothermia when being active outdoors.
 

skyedogstudio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
future (2020)
Hi Dave- thanks for your comments and very well done on hiking the PCT and Colorado Trail! I was wondering about the ability to carryon the gorilla 40 so that is great. I assume even with the insertable frame?

I am leaning toward the whole poncho thing as you have described. Makes a lot of sense and its many uses beyond mere rain protection also are votes in its favor.

Question- if you are using the poncho in heavy downpours etc, what do you wear on your legs? a rain skirt? I am considering just letting my lightweight hiking pants get wet and they will quickly dry anyway, but not sure if this is stupid if colder conditions on the trail. I am not sure exactly when I am going due to a family situation but it should be late this year (as in sep/oct) or early next (april/may.)

This is a wonderful resource and any and all comments are appreciated. So incredibly helpful!
 

skyedogstudio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
future (2020)
The down garments and sleeping gear now use hydrophobic amendments to down, so it is no longer a real issue if down becomes wet. In fact, hydrophobic down jackets have been worn while users have jumped into lakes and swimming pools, and they keep the majority of their loft and insulating capacities.

That being said, let me address the issue of walking in cooler weather and layering strategies. Here is a repost of something I wrote which may -- or may not -- be of benefit:

--------------------------------------------------
Layering is a biggie in cool and cold weather, as is controlling exertion levels to minimize perspiration.

An important principle is: You never dress with the amount of clothing needed to keep you warm at the start of walking or hiking... you wear the amount of clothing needed to keep you warm 10 minutes after you start walking.

In cold weather, or even cool weather, one needs to do what is necessary to prevent overheating and sweat. That includes how fast a pace one is moving as part of one's total level of exertion, as well as how much clothing one is wearing, and how much air circulation one is able to maintain.

It does not take long, with any layering amount, to saturate clothing with sweat. THAT is when the danger of hypothermia, and at the very least a chilly discomfort will begin to take its toll. If saturation or wetness happens, the only recourse is to change into dry clothing. Since there is usually a limited amount of clothing carried in a backpack, it is essential to adopt strategies to control sweating. Keep in mind that the material of your layers will also determine the effect to you from the above scenario. Focus on clothing made from merino wool or specialized synthetics. These will allow the garment to remain somewhat insulative even though saturated with sweat. Cottons and cotton blends are a menace and can accelerate a hypothermic condition.

Strategies include those mentioned above:
  • Limit layers of clothing to only that which is needed when full exertion is achieved. :) For those who just can't suck it up for a few minutes when first starting to walk, wear only layers which can be quickly and easily removed. For instance, adding a poncho will add about a 15 degree F advantage to existing layers. It allows for good air circulation. As you warm up during the first 10 minutes of your walk, the poncho is easily removed and stashed into a side pocket of your pack.
  • Move as slow as you need to, within reason, to keep perspiration to a minimum. This may also mean stopping to allow your body to cool down. Even with a single, lightweight layer, some folks walking under load will tend to over-heat. Keep monitoring yourself.
  • Keep an insulative layer, like a puffy down jacket or vest, near at hand so that if you are wetting-out while walking, you can put it on quickly when you stop for a break. Keep it in an outside pocket or on top of the other contents in your pack. A light puffy jacket or mid-weight fleece or a down vest works well here. The key is to keep this layer dry and to use it as a last resort when at rest. If this strategy is needed, do not continue walking until you have been able to stop sweating and you can achieve some level of dryness to your clothes.
In the above scenario, you may actually become warmer by removing your saturated layers so that you only have on your dry insulative layer. Dig out a towel and dry off excess sweat as best you can. Wring out your other layers and let them start to dry. If you have a second shirt, put it on. Hang your wet things from your pack so that they can dry. After you have cooled down, and with your dry layer and your insulative layer on, walk slowly to avoid re-heating. You will make progress down the path, stay warm, while letting your wet layers become dry. The real goal at this point is to dry your layers, not achieve distance.
  • Do not discount the amount of added warmth a light scarf or bandanna or a buff will bring as it insulates your neck. Wearing one can make wearing less layers very comfortable. It will also be a good first line of defense against over-heating and excess sweating by the ability to remove it, thus allowing the neck to act as a radiator in helping to shed body heat.
  • Yes, the type of head gear worn makes a big difference in one's body's heat loss or retention. A hat that works well for sun is not going to be the best choice for cold weather. Wool is king, as it is far less impacted by sweat affecting its inuslative properties than most other materials. And even though wool weighs more than other types of insulation, you do not need a heavy cap of wool to keep you warm. Wool is also far more breathable than many materials which aids in heat control.
As with neck wear, a wool cap can be easily removed to assist with cooling the body to prevent overheating.

Much of the above is what I have used when mountain climbing at high altitudes. Patience and light, multiple layers is the key to preventing hypothermia when being active outdoors.
VERY HELPFUL thank you!
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Hi Dave- thanks for your comments and very well done on hiking the PCT and Colorado Trail! I was wondering about the ability to carryon the gorilla 40 so that is great. I assume even with the insertable frame?

I am leaning toward the whole poncho thing as you have described. Makes a lot of sense and its many uses beyond mere rain protection also are votes in its favor.

Question- if you are using the poncho in heavy downpours etc, what do you wear on your legs? a rain skirt? I am considering just letting my lightweight hiking pants get wet and they will quickly dry anyway, but not sure if this is stupid if colder conditions on the trail. I am not sure exactly when I am going due to a family situation but it should be late this year (as in sep/oct) or early next (april/may.)

This is a wonderful resource and any and all comments are appreciated. So incredibly helpful!
Unless it is winter time cold, I only walk or hike in running shorts with a liner built in. If it rains, I just let my legs get wet. After all, skin dries off really quick.

If the rain is chilly, then I will either wear my rain skirt/kilt, or if it is really chilly out I will put my Smartwool baselayer bottoms on under the shorts. Even though the lightweight merino wool material will get wet, it will still keep my legs toasty. At the end of the day I just gently wring them out and hang to dry.

Letting your pants get wet is not an issue and it is not stupid. I have done that and so do many others. It does provide enough thermal protection in moderate weather, even in the fall. If that isn't enough, add your pair of baselayer bottoms. :)
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Hi Dave- thanks for your comments and very well done on hiking the PCT and Colorado Trail! I was wondering about the ability to carryon the gorilla 40 so that is great. I assume even with the insertable frame?

I am leaning toward the whole poncho thing as you have described. Makes a lot of sense and its many uses beyond mere rain protection also are votes in its favor.

Question- if you are using the poncho in heavy downpours etc, what do you wear on your legs? a rain skirt? I am considering just letting my lightweight hiking pants get wet and they will quickly dry anyway, but not sure if this is stupid if colder conditions on the trail. I am not sure exactly when I am going due to a family situation but it should be late this year (as in sep/oct) or early next (april/may.)

This is a wonderful resource and any and all comments are appreciated. So incredibly helpful!
For carry-on, I do not do anything with the pack except to tighten down the shoulder harness, and then wrap the hip belt around to the front of the bag and fasten it there in place. Usually, I have the hipbelt fastened in that manner prior to arriving at the airport, since I do not need the hipbelt for carrying the pack for catching airplanes. :)
 

skyedogstudio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
future (2020)
Unless it is winter time cold, I only walk or hike in running shorts with a liner built in. If it rains, I just let my legs get wet. After all, skin dries off really quick.

If the rain is chilly, then I will either wear my rain skirt/kilt, or if it is really chilly out I will put my Smartwool baselayer bottoms on under the shorts. Even though the lightweight merino wool material will get wet, it will still keep my legs toasty. At the end of the day I just gently wring them out and hang to dry.

Letting your pants get wet is not an issue and it is not stupid. I have done that and so do many others. It does provide enough thermal protection in moderate weather, even in the fall. If that isn't enough, add your pair of baselayer bottoms. :)
thanks very much- i clicked on your link and bought one. i hope you get credit for it! all great advice.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
thanks very much- i clicked on your link and bought one. i hope you get credit for it! all great advice.
Oops. There are a number of manufacturers who make these items. I should have noted that I was using the link as an example of what I was writing about, and not as an endorsement or recommendation. ULA makes a good product, and so do the others :)
 

skyedogstudio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
future (2020)
Oops. There are a number of manufacturers who make these items. I should have noted that I was using the link as an example of what I was writing about, and not as an endorsement or recommendation. ULA makes a good product, and so do the others :)
no worries- i have been looking into these and this one seems pretty good👍
 

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