Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 Backpack Review

Gear Reviews TopPicks

The Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 is one of the most comfortable ultralight backpacks on the market, and we like using it for trips where our load demands a little extra padding and support. With its affordable price point, perfectly sized capacity, and adaptable design, the Gorilla is one of our top picks from our Best Backpacking Backpacks guide. 

We have been hiking with the Gossamer Gear Gorilla backpack for years.
Quick Specs
MSRP: $240

MEASURED WEIGHT (med.): 1 lb. 13.7 oz.

VOLUME (med.): 50 L

MAX WEIGHT REC.: 30 lbs.
View at Gossamer Gear
The Gorilla is one of our top picks from our Best Backpacking Backpacks guide.
AFFORDABLE - The Gorilla is very affordably priced at only $240, which is considerably less expensive than our top ultralight backpack pick, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 2400. Despite its friendly price point, the quality is still on par with more expensive packs.

COMFORTABLE - The hip belt and shoulder straps of the Gorilla are generously padded, and they’re designed with breathable mesh. The Gorilla is the most supportive ultralight backpack we’ve used, and the sturdy frame transfers weight to the hips very well.

The well-padded hip belt and shoulder straps make the gorilla exceptionally comfortable.

ULTRALIGHT - The Gorilla is surprisingly lightweight - only 1 lb. 14 oz. - for how padded and supportive it is. There are lighter weight packs available, but we haven’t come across one that even remotely compares to the comfort of the Gorilla. This pack can be made even lighter by removing the hipbelt (removes 7.5 oz.) and the frame (removes 3.1 oz.), but we’ll talk more about that below.

The ultralight Gorilla is perfect for covering long distances.

ADAPTABLE - The Gorilla can be adapted to suit different styles since the frame, frame sheet, and hip belt are all removable. Because of the size of the pack, we don’t find ourselves removing the hip belt very often, and we wouldn’t recommend leaving it behind unless your load weighs 15 pounds or less. That said, it’s nice to have the option to cut out the extra weight. When the frame is removed - we only recommend this for loads around 20 lbs. or less - the Gorilla remains very comfortable thanks to its padded hip belt and shoulder straps. The collar top is also a lot easier to use than a more traditional drawstring and brain if you’re not completely filling the pack. 

The frame of the Gorilla can easily be removed if you’re carrying a very light load around 20 lbs or less.

GREAT POCKETS - The pockets on the Gorilla are very thoughtfully designed. The large mesh pocket on the front of the pack is great for stowing away jackets when the weather is variable. The side pockets are large, secure, and easy to grab a water bottle from without taking the pack off. The zippered pocket on the top of the pack is perfect for storing small items like first aid necessities, chapstick, and a map. And the large hip belt pockets easily accommodate a smartphone, some snacks, and whatever else you want to keep close at hand.

The mesh pocket on the back, the hipbelt pockets, and the side pockets are all very spacious.

CAPACITY - We find that 50 L is perfect for nearly any trip. It’s big enough that we can pack along some extras like a backpacking chair or a hammock on warm-weather trips, but not so big that we struggle to fill it. It’s also a great size for shoulder seasons and colder weather trips when we’ll be packing along bulkier layers and a fluffier sleeping bag.

We find the 50 L capacity to be pretty perfect for most trips.

DURABLE - We’ve been using the Gorilla for years now and have taken it over many miles - we’re happy to report that it’s still going strong. The pack body is mostly 70 d Ripstop nylon with 100 d nylon reinforcements in key places. The materials are slightly thinner than some other packs but still plenty sufficient for careful users.

We’ve taken the Gorilla to a lot of rugged places, and it’s still going strong.

INTEGRATED SIT PAD - The back panel of the Gorilla is a removable SitLight pad that you can use as a seat when you’re taking breaks. This is a nice touch for keeping your pants clean and dry on breaks, but it’s not as comfy or convenient as a Therm-a-Rest Z Seat. Still, if saving every ounce is important to you, using the SitLight as your backpacking seat can save you from carrying an additional 2 oz. Z Seat.

Backpacking with the ultralight and affordable Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 in early spring.
TREKKING POLE LOOPS COULD BE IMPROVED - It’s not a huge deal for us since we rarely stow our trekking poles in the loops of any backpack, but the Gorilla’s trekking pole d-rings are a little less convenient to use when you have bulky things in the front mesh pocket. We also prefer trekking pole storage systems to be designed with a dedicated gear loop for the handles, but the Gorilla system uses the side compression straps to hold the top of the poles.

The trekking pole D-rings at the bottom of the Gorilla aren’t as convenient to use when you have bulky things in the front mesh pocket.
If you’re looking for an ultralight backpack with a little extra space, check out the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 (31.2 oz.). The Mariposa is very similar to the Gorilla, but it has 10 more liters of capacity, and the side pockets are set up differently. It features one long side pocket on the left and two medium-sized side pockets on the right, which makes it easy to keep your essentials close at hand.

The Mariposa 60 has a unique two pocket setup on the right side.
The Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 is one of our go-to backpacks for ultralight backpacking. We find the pocket setup, adaptability, and comfort to be exceptional, and the price is amazing for the specs. We highly recommend the Gorilla for ultralight backpackers looking for an affordable backpack that doesn’t sacrifice quality.

The Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 is one of our go-to backpacks for ultralight backpacking.
We hope this review helps you determine if the Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 is right for you. As always, please leave a comment below if you have any recommendations, questions, or suggestions or visit our Facebook page and Instagram to join the community conversation. If you found this review helpful, please share on social media and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five!

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