The Gossamer Gear Quiksak is a lightweight, packable backpack with a multitude of uses. You could use it for hiking excursions from a base camp or for long day hikes. It packs into its own lid pocket, so you could pack it nicely in your luggage when you head out on vacation. Let me tell you, it actually works pretty well as a lowly gym bag, too. I’m going to go over a few of the features and give you a look into my first few days with the Quiksak.
The Quiksak weighs in at a wispy 8.1oz on my scale, which is exactly as stated on Gossamer Gear’s Spec Sheet. I love when that happens! The 50D Ripstop fabric is very thin and almost slippery to the touch. The pack features vented, padded shoulder straps, side water bottle pockets, a hydration sleeve, and a zippered pocket in the lid. A section of nylon webbing runs down the pack, which both secures the lid and can be used as a daisy chain for external gear attachments. There are small loops sewn into the sides of the pack, through which you can thread cord for compression. In lieu of a hip belt, the excess webbing from the shoulder straps can be clipped around your ribs to keep the pack from swinging around too much.
I carried this pack for two hikes on Memorial Day weekend, one of which was 30 miles long. This really isn’t enough time for a 100% thorough review, but I think I can give you a pretty good preliminary report. On both hikes, I started out with about 7 pounds in the pack (food, water, rain jacket, first aid kit, etc). The Quicksak carried the weight well, and was barely noticeable for the 15 miles or so. After that I did have some very slight discomfort between my shoulders, but this is pretty common for me, no matter what pack I’m carrying. I started out with my trekking poles strapped to my chest under the sternum and rib straps (a configuration I liked using with my Gossamer Gear Minimalist), but had to eventually move them to one of the water bottle pockets (for reasons to be named later). This position allows me to deploy/stow my poles on the fly, and reduces the need for stops. I promise it isn’t as uncomfortable as it looks!
The shoulder straps on this pack are quite dreamy. They are sewn a bit too close together for me (I have a thick neck), but the straps were soft and flexible enough to just sort of push out of the way. A more rigid strap in the same position would rub into my neck causing chafing in a rather short period of time. This was not an issue at all with the Quiksak. The strap padding is vented, which is a nice feature. I could definitely feel the air coming through as I hiked.
As I hiked and sweated (profusely, as I often do), the moisture did work its way into the pack and made a few things damp. Since this material is very thin and Gossamer Gear makes no assertion that this pack is in anyway water resistant, this was probably my own fault for not using a pack liner of some kind. The fabric was, however, more durable than I would have thought. While I’m sure it wouldn’t hold up to much bushwhacking, I gave it as much of an on-trail beating as I could, and the pack still looks like new.
If I had to say that I had a problem with the pack, it probably started with my first sip of water. I started the hike with the Quiksak riding pretty high on my back, and locked down tight with the sternum and rib straps. This was an EXTREMELY comfortable configuration for me. When I reached back to grab my water bottle for the first time, I had trouble getting the bottle out of the water bottle pocket, and it was impossible for me to get back in. I had to unclip the pack and swing it to the side to get the bottle back in. Unclipping the straps meant that my poles were no longer secured to my body. This persistent problem forced me to move my poles to one of the water bottle pockets, which was less convenient for me and stretched the pocket out permanently (I think). Eventually I adjusted the pack so it would ride lower on my back. This solved my water bottle/trekking pole issues, but was slightly less comfortable than my original configuration. A shorter or angled cut on the water bottle pockets would solve this. I’m not entirely sure if these problems will be typical of the average hiker because I have an average length torso but very broad shoulders. I tend to have at least minor problems with most water bottle pockets, and my preferred trek pole carrying method is also atypical. A person with a narrower frame who stows their poles in a more civilized manner may not have the same problems.
When my poles were in the water bottle pocket, I did find that the pack was very simple to access while hiking. I would swing it around and wear it on my chest for short periods of time when I was eating or digging out the map. This allowed me to continue hiking and allowed me to cut out countless 1-2 minute stops. Even though the poles weren’t in my favorite position, I found it to be an acceptable trade-off because I my poles were stowed for at least 20 of the 30 miles on Saturday anyway.
After two days of use, I really like this pack. Priced at $68.99, I think it is a very good value. It is lighter than just about any full-featured day pack on the market, but still carries well and seems to be durable enough to get the job done. Bottom line, this pack is poised to become my favorite day pack, but I need a little more time before I’m willing to commit. I’m going to keep this pack in my normal rotation for a while, and I’ll check back in later with a more thorough look at the pack!
Disclaimer: I am a Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador and received this pack for free for the purposes of this review. Gossamer Gear has had no editorial control over this review, and all opinions are my own.