G.G. G4 or Golite Jam?

6:22 p.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Gossamer Gear G4 or the Golite Jam?

Hey everybody, I’m going to buy my first ultralight pack.

Ordinarily I’d just go with the Golite because it’s cheaper, but they are out of stock at Golite until sometime this fall, so I’d be buying the pack from a secondary seller making it as expensive, or more so, than the G4.  I know the Jam is the heavier of the two, but I’m not to concerned with that as the pack can be modified if I really wanted to lighten it up.   

So, I’m wondering if any of y’all have experience with these two packs and can help me decide between the two.

I’d make a UL pack, but I want to hit the trail with it as soon as possible and I think I'd rather buy my first UL pack.

The intended use it for one to five night trips, both solo and with my wife, possibly longer hikes in the future.

The gear carried will be a mix of traditional and UL gear ( at least at first ) and I certainly don’t anticipate any difficulty keeping the load down to 30 pounds on the longer trips, and hope to be able to work the load down to a good bit below that.   

Thanks!

6:46 p.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I had the Jam for a couple years and it was great as a small light pack! Plenty of pockets even on the waist straps and a whistle built into the chest strap! Zipper gave out in a pinch I gave it away for a goodwill daypack.

7:37 p.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I recently tried the new Jam for a 10 KM trek.  It is not as good as previous iterations.  To keep the weight down while adding a wider belt and load lifters (why you would need these on a frameless pack is beyond me), they skimped on the shoulder strap padding.  It is really bad and will be flat in no time.

What exactly is your price point because neither of the packs you mention work well with 30 lbs.  More like 20.

7:40 p.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Shall I confuse the issue even more?

Golite does have the 70 liter version of the Jam in stock, for 90 dollars. No doubt a great pack for a great price.

My only concern is that I reckon these frameless packs are best at 25 pounds or under, maybe can be pushed to 30.

The 70 liter pack seems huge for this sort of thing, and I wonder how it would work with smaller loads.

I gather the new Jam 70 is similar to the old Pinnacle?

Anybody got opinions?    

7:52 p.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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For me, frameless is comfortable around 20lbs.  The Jam 70, replacing the Pinnacle, is intended for high volume UL loads.  You are correct!

I might look at the Osprey Exos 46, for example.  Campsaver has them on sale for $134 with free shipping and it has a frame.

9:27 p.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I should add that if you are willing to spend more, there are some great cottage gear options - i.e. GG Gorilla, HMG Porter or Windrider (my choices), etc.

11:24 p.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Have you checked out the REI Flash 62?  I've been looking at the Jam and the Flash. 

1:08 p.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Have you checked out the REI Flash 62?

 

Yes, I did indeed take a good close look at the REI Flash.

It comes close to being a pack I could live with…. Almost….

But not good enough.

I like simple stuff, and the Flash is way way to busy for me.

Still, I gave it a good going over and tried hard to like it. I’d have to cut off half the junk hanging off the pack to make it tolerable, but I was thinking I could live with it.

REI packs are usually pretty good gear, and it wasn’t to expensive. My wife uses an REI Morning Star.

But what finally put me over the edge was the zipper on the bottom of the main compartment. It’s a totally useless complication.

The packsack isn’t very big, who the heck would ever use that bottom entry? It just ruins the integrity of the packsack, adds weight and complication and expense, and weakens the pack.

Maybe I’m picky, but no thanks.

That’s part of the appeal of UL packs for me, their utter simplicity. I’ve always been  “Bloody great sack” ( as Colin Fletcher wrote ) kinda guy, and most modern over-accessorized packs drive me nuts.

That, and the Flash felt like I was wearing a strait jacket!

My current pack is a very well-worn Carrimore Jaguar 75 that dates from the mid 80’s.  It definitely needs replacing, I can’t believe it has lasted this long. I never fill it to capacity anymore, even on long trips with lots of food. But it was a simple, top quality internal frame pack in its day, and over the years it has melded to my body ( or my body has melded to it! ) and it’s as comfortable as a worn glove. Well, with reasonable loads anyway, it never was ideal for 40+ pounds.

The Flash is a type of external frame pack with a very rigid suspension system that really did feel like I was wearing a strait jacket, and while I’m sure it does a fine job of carrying a load my body has much more flex than the pack does and wearing it all day long would probably be rather uncomfortable, even unhealthy.  I don't think the human bod isn’t meant to be lashed rigid like that all day long.

 

I recently tried the new Jam for a 10 KM trek.  It is not as good as previous iterations.  To keep the weight down while adding a wider belt and load lifters (why you would need these on a frameless pack is beyond me), they skimped on the shoulder strap padding.  It is really bad and will be flat in no time.

What exactly is your price point because neither of the packs you mention work well with 30 lbs.  More like 20.

 

Ah see, that’s the input I need. I imagine my base weight would be in the ten to fifteen pound range.

My newest shelter is a Gossamer Gear Spin Twin tarp, and all up with stakes, polycryo ground cloth and everything it’s less than a pound.   

Solo I use a Kelty Light year down bag, it’s the woman’s long version that fits me very well and is a little lighter than a man’s bag. Not at a UL bag, but not to much more than 2 lbs.  

Food loadout and water could push me to the 30 pound range now and then, but mostly I hope to be under that.  Hard to say.

Eh, my price point is about 150 bucks, preferably no more.

I asked Golite and they say the Jam 70L will compress and work well with a load as low as about 25 liters.

I’m not sure I trust that? 70L just seems awful large for a frameless bag, but then again isn’t that 70L volume with the mesh pockets and extension collar stuffed to capacity?

I don’t ever expect to have to use the whole extension collar.  

I’ll take a look at that Osprey Exos 46, the price is right. I haven’t used a pack with a rigid frame since the early 80s though!

1:23 p.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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OK, I like the looks of the  Osprey Exos 46 very much, a nice simple packsack. It’s suspension system is similar to the very first packksack I ever owned back in the 70's, a Boyscout canvas rucksack with a removable aluminum tube shaped just like the one in the Osprey – “aluminium tubing (Easton tent pole type) twisted into a very fat inverted T shape, like distorting a large bicycle tyre. The vertical part of the T goes to the top of the harness”

My old rucksack didn’t have the webbing stretched across that frame though, and it dug into my back so I threw the frame away after the very first time I tried it and used the rucksack frameless. Interesting how some ideas resurface now and then, isn’t it?

But sadly, the pack is to small – According to a Backpackinglight review, “but the measured volume is way below the claimed volume”

So what about the 58 Liter version? According to the same review

“The lack of a lumbar pad did not worry me, but Sue was able to feel the aluminium frame tube running across the bottom of the harness on this Exos 58 pack, but less so on the Exos 46. Somewhat curiously, this bottom tube was well curved on the Exos 46 but less so on the Exos 58. Why this is so I do not know. On the other hand, the slightly greater curvature on the Exos 46 meant that the tube in the wings was closer to the sides of Sue's hips, and was slightly intrusive there - but not badly. Perhaps one could fine-tune the curvature in the tubular frame, but I am not sure how much of that the high-tensile aluminium tubing would take. Perhaps this is a design more suited to men than to women?”

 

This is NOT a pack I’d mail order, I’d simply have to try it on first.

Dang, I hate mail ordering packs and boots, and generally never do!  I suspect I can get away with it in a frameless pack – I mean, not a heck of allot to fit there, right? But the fit of a pack with a rigid frame is a different matter. Anybody got the 58L Osprey?  

1:15 p.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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I got the GG G4 and I've taken it on 5 trips so far and like it very much.  Replaced a much heavier Gregory pack and I haven't missed it.  I haven't loaded it up past 20 pounds yet.  Below that it has been comfortable, you can see my gear list on bandofbackpackers.com for an idea of what I'm fitting inside the pack.  The mesh pockets outside can store a ton of gear if needed.  Only draw back on those is you can't reach back there to get anything yourself without taking the pack off.  I'd definitely recommend it if you're committed to going light and willing to be careful with it.  I assumed my biggest problem would be dog claws in our shelter, but we've had so many downed trees  this year in Colorado I did catch one minor snag in the pack.

5:17 p.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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not to throw a monkey wrench in, but if you are looking for simple, light, and capable of carrying in the 30 pound range, have you considered the granite gear crown vc 60 or the Boreas Buttermilks? enough structure to carry the weight, but very simple designs & pretty lightweight (both are lid-less roll tops to save weight, like the Jam).  also, if you find them comfortable (REI may sell both, if that's convenient), i'm guessing you could find them online, on sale & in your price range.

I agree with the comments above that the Jam may not have enough support to carry what you want comfortably. 

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