I want to give a quick review of the Gossamer Gear Minimalist 24 Daypack. I’ve owned it for less than a week, but I’ve used it for an overnight trip to Grandfather Mountain last weekend, as well as around town as a way of carrying my stuff (I much prefer a backpack over a purse). I’ll update this review further down the road if I find anything else to add.
First of all, let me say that I had originally wanted the Gossamer Gear Type II 26 Summit Pack because of the hip belt, but it seems like they’ve at least temporarily stopped making that one. So when I got my Minimalist 24 pack, I was a bit hesitant to take it on an overnight. I’ve always used a hip belt.
The main compartment is big, and was able to hold my 20F Zpacks sleeping bag at the bottom, a bag of food, my 3L platypus, and a bag of clothes (my husband usually carries our two person tent, but I stuffed in our zpacks hexamid twin inside just to see, and it did fit just fine). The outer pockets are also larger than I was expecting, and I stuffed pretty much everything else in those: my first aid kit, headlamp, p-style, sunscreen, umbrella, etc. with room to spare.
The pack comes with a removable foam pad. You can access it from the outside of the pack, and so I removed this and replaced it with my XS Prolite Thermarest with almost no air in it and folded appropriately. I had to fold it in half and then in thirds to fit it in, but it fit just fine. The top of the pad compartment closes with a simple piece of velcro.
There are no water ports for a hydration bladder, but you hardly need them since your water tube can simply come out of the top of the pack. There are three loops at the top of the inside of the pack as well as a little zipper pocket which you can use to carry wallet, keys, etc. I’m a fan of that pocket. I played with using a tiny carabiner on one of the loops to attach my platypus, and that worked well when the pack was mostly empty. Otherwise, I just let the water sit behind my other gear against my back.
There are also loops on the side of the pack that you can add some cordage to and can then secure an umbrella or some poles. Since the pack is quite small, the size of my chrome dome was a bit comical compared to my pack. But once on, it’s less awkward. Similarly, my pole is another inch or so longer than my umbrella.
The real test for me was hiking without a hip belt. The pack has a sternum strap, and also a rib strap that comes off the shoulder straps. My pack was 16.5 lbs, maybe as much as 17lbs with my water completely full, and I was very surprised when it was comfortable to hike with. Probably even more comfortable than the same amount of stuff in my Gossamer Gear Gorilla with the hip belt and everything. I didn’t feel the need for the hip belt at all with that much weight. If I felt like the pack was at all heavy on my shoulders, I would tighten the rib strap a little bit, and that eased the weight off my shoulders and at the same time didn’t make me feel like I was constricting my lungs. I probably wouldn’t recommend carrying much more weight than that, though.
My only regret about not having a hip belt was not having a place for all the things that I normally keep in my hip belt pockets. But I managed to stuff all that stuff into the side pockets without much problem, and that stuff was just as easily accessible (headlamp, chap-stick, extra snacks, dropper bottle of bleach, map, camera/phone, etc.).
I also would like to add that my laptop (which I believe is a 15 inch model) easily fits inside. This will now be my “personal” item whenever I travel!
I would definitely recommend this pack to anyone who is looking for a new day pack, a very minimalist overnight pack, or a pack for traveling. It is extremely versatile!