17 Jun 2012

Gear Alert - Kathmandu Sale - NZ & Aussie Subscribers

Just been to my local Kathmandu Store - the regular sale (every three month) is on. I am always suspicious of these as the sale price is really the "true" retail price - i.e. the cheapest they can sell it to you and still make a profitable margin. If you monitor these price there are some bargins to be had.

Today they were selling the Adult Pullover V2 Half Zip top for $39.99 (normally $139. 99)

This may seem like a great bargin,if it works!

It is constructed of Altica100 - lightweight warmth, breathable and quick drying.

I am a great fan of merino and my equivalent in this layer is a 150 Icebreaker or Smartwool top. 

Let's look at weight - The merino top is 265 grams and the Kathmandu is 270 - a bit heavier, but, after wearing the Kathmandu for a day I think it is warmer and if it gets wet will dry quicker.

Food for thought, and for $40 bucks I am going to give it a shot - This will be my second layer. So I have my 150 merino tea-shirt (163gms) as first layer, then the Kathmandu top (270gm) - over this would be my insulated (Cocoon Bozeman Mountain Works) jacket (270gms) and then my Zpacks Cuben fiber rain coat (185gms).

I think this would be an acceptable, safe layered system for 3 seasons - still nervous about letting go of merino!!

Obvious the Zpacks cuber fiber rain coat would "fit" anywhere between these layers depending on temperature as it can also serve as a wind jacket. 

9 Jun 2012

2012 Gorrilla Pack First Outing

It was a three day w/e so I headed for the hills (Whirinaki Forest Park) with the Auckland Tramping Club to test the 2012 version of the Gorilla. I already had confidence in the pack as I had the 2010 version and used it on many hikes of the last two years including the JMT (with a bear barrel).

The first thing I noticed on unpacking was Gossamer Gear have dropped the magnet closure - well done! They now have a bungy draw string - see photos. However, the bungy does gets in the road when packing. I would suggest (and will do) sewing and extra two loops on either side of the centre one. This would help to keep at least one strand of the bungy out of the way when packing.  

What I like:
  • The shoulder straps are a huge improvement. So comfortable. No internal foam slippage.
  • I love the Dyneema fabric.  It seems a newie version - shinny and lighter compared to that on my MLD Burn and my previous ULA Circuit?
  • The pockets are much better sewn into the hip belt and easier to open on the fly. I like the way you can tuck the hip belt ends behind the pockets and there is an elastic loop to hold them from flapping around.
  • The side pockets seem more assessable with the pack on - I found it easy to tuck my gloves and beanie away whilst hiking along.
  • The wider hip belt works really well.
  • The chest strap positioning options added comfort and make sure the selected position stays. 
  • I don't use a cell foam sleep pad anymore, so only have a single sheet in the back. But I did find it much simpler to pop it in and out at rest stops to sit on.

What I don't like:
  • The bungy closure gets in the road when packing, unpacking - see solution above.
  • Why not a waterproof zip on lid? Are Gossamer Gear thinking the water will get in anyway so why bother - pack stuff in lid in zip lock bags?

This pack is an absolute "killer" - I love it. It was way too much volume for my three day trip, But had to try out the new "toy". I can really recommend this pack - light, tough and so comfortable!   

Brian Green has a very extensive review at http://www.briangreen.net/2012/04/2012-gorilla-ul-backpack-updating.html

Lid drawstring closed and ready to fold lid over
Lid ready to fold closed
View of bungy cord set up inside top of pack