Gossamer Gear Minimalist Ultralight Daypack

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Relaxing on the bank of the Colorado River, Grand Canyon National Park, February 2013.

Specs: as taken from http://www.gossamergear.com

Weight (may vary slightly)
8.2 oz. (233g.) Pack
0.65 oz (19 g) Pad
8.85 oz (250g) Total

Size
14 x 23 in. (36 x 60 cm.)
1100 c.i. (18.25 l.) Main body
360 c.i. ( 5.9 ) Pocket

Materials
140 denier dyneema gridstop ripstop nylon (Main body)
210 denier double rip riptstop nylon
4.6 oz power mesh
XTC back panel
foam back pad

Ahh, the daypack. Finding the “perfect” daypack seems like a never ending search for me. Most I have tried seem to be too bulky, too heavy or way too much volume. I had finally reached the point where I said forget it, it’s just a daypack, stop being so picky and just use one of the many gathering dust in the closet. This actually worked . . . for a while.

Then one day I was browsing Gossamer Gear’s website (a dangerous past time, I know) and came across the Riksak. Ah-ha!, I think it’s time to try out a new daypack. But, there’s not just the Riksak, there is also the minimalist daypack. I couldn’t quite decide on which would suit my needs better, the Riksak, in it’s simplicity, really appealed to me but I was concerned about durability. The Minimalist Ultralight Daypack looked great but seemed a bit over the top as far as features. A tough decision, so of course, I ordered them both.

Riksak photo courtesy of gossamergear.com

Riksak photo courtesy of gossamergear.com

The Riksak excels in it’s simplicity, volume, design (except for the shoulder straps) and weight. But, and it’s a big but, the shoulder straps are ridiculously wide. So wide in fact that when I put the pack on, the inside edge of the straps were rubbing against my neck. No adjustment would remedy this, so I concluded this pack was not going to work for me. Narrower straps and this could possibly be the “perfect” daypack. Needless to say, it’s going back to Gossamer Gear.

the Minimalist

the Minimalist

When I pulled the Minimalist out of the box, I wasn’t sure what to think. Something about the pack was a bit odd, but at the same time intriguing. First thing I did was to remove the thin foam pad from the back pocket. This is very flimsy and would add very little support to the pack, I felt it was not needed. Keeping an open mind, I began loading the pack with what gear I would take on a typical day hike. Certainly no problem fitting everything inside, for having a spec’ed internal volume of around 18 liters, this thing seemed huge. In the internal zippered pocket I put a headlamp, lip balm, wallet and car keys. Inside went a rain shell, two 900ml Evernew bottles, first aid kit, emergency kit, map and a bag of snacks. Even with all this, there was plenty of volume left. And I hadn’t even touched the outer mesh pocket. In the outer pocket I packed a wool beanie, fleece gloves, ICEtrekkers and a Sawyer Squeeze water filter. No issues loading all this gear, so the Minimalist would certainly work for a long winter day hike.

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I have now used this pack over the course of five months on numerous day hikes. The longest stretch I have used this pack in a day is around 15 miles and I experienced zero issues with comfort. I like that I am able to tighten up the shoulder straps comfortably enough for the pack to sit at the top of my torso. One issue I have found with other daypacks is that the pack sits too low on my back, compromising comfort after a few miles. Durability of the pack has been outstanding. I’ve used it on and off trail, including some trekking through heavy dense brush and a couple days spent with a lot of sliding down granite boulders. The pack shows absolutely no signs of wear and amazingly, the outer mesh pocket has endured no damage.

A couple cons would be that the cinch top closure does not close very smoothly; the bell shape of the pack is a bit odd (which is why I added the trip tease to cinch at the bottom); useless included foam back pad; tiny d-rings at the top and bottom of the web daisy chains on the shoulder straps that do not seem very functional to me and finally, the price. I feel it is a tad over priced at $75. *update 6/4/13 – Now selling for $65.

All in all, I am happy with the Gossamer Gear Minimalist Ultralight Daypack. Fit and durability have proven outstanding, it easily holds all the gear I require for an extended day hike (with volume to spare), the outer mesh pocket is perfect for stashing items I regularly access throughout the day, as well as providing a nice place to stow wet items and the main thing . . . comfort. This pack feels good all day long and never gets in my way.

Added triptease and mini cord lock to cinch up for smaller volume

Added triptease and mini cord lock to cinch up for smaller volume

Internal zippered pocket

Internal zippered pocket

A better look at the internal pocket

A better look at the internal pocket

Pocket for hydration bladder and/or foam support pad

Pocket for hydration bladder and/or foam support pad

Rolls up small, approximately 5

Rolls up small, approximately 5″x9″

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On top of Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, December 2012.

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13 responses to “Gossamer Gear Minimalist Ultralight Daypack

  1. Did you look at the Mountain Laurel Designs Newt in your search? It seems like it would answer some of the complaints you’ve mentioned about this pack regarding the shape etc. I’m trying to decide between that and the minimalist, and think I will go with the minimalist based on price, availability, and features. I like the mesh pocket too

    • I did check out the Newt. If it would have had an external mesh pocket, I would have given it more consideration. I know some of the older versions of the Newt had more features but this latest version is pretty minimal. Not that that’s a negative thing, just personal preference. As far as the shape of the Minimalist, it’s not that bad, and after my initial impression, I really didn’t pay it much notice. If you want to minimize the bell shape, either trimming and reshaping the foam pad or removing it will adjust that a bit. I am still using this pack and still really liking it. I’ve done some heavy bushwhacking with this thing and still haven’t torn the outer mesh pocket. I could just be lucky, but I continue to be impressed by the durability and comfort of the pack. I also just got an email this morning that it’s on sale right now. Around $52 I believe. That is a great deal. Let me know which pack you decide to go with. Thanks for reading the post.

  2. Do you think the “2015 Minimalist 24 Ultralight Daypack” of today still relevant or have a better alternative?

  3. I recently saw GG has released an updated version of this pack. Looks like they merged the original Ultralight Minimalist with the Rukus. Pretty similar to the one I reviewed but with an updated fabric and side mesh pockets.

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