Last summer I spent 4 months thru-hiking the glorious Pacific Crest Trail for the first time. The incredible adventure of walking the entire length of the west coast was a challenge that I wanted to tackle by myself. I spent months in preparation testing backpacks for the right size, weight and versatility for the ultra light hike that I was about to endure. Weighing in at only 16.5 oz. this is how I came to meet The G4 backpack.

PCT Mexican border

At the Mexican border

The first 100 miles of The Pacific Crest Trail are some of the toughest on the entire hike, the ability to carry large amounts of water for this section is very important, as is the need for a sturdy pack to handle the weight. With temperatures in the desert reaching 100 degrees on one occasion I ambitiously overloaded my backpack with 20 pounds of water including 5 days food and gear the total weight came to around 35 pounds! The pack supported this heavy load surprisingly well and the padding on the shoulder straps made the weight bearable, THIS is the moment I feel in love with the G4 backpack.

water cache

Stocking up with water near the San Felipe Hills

backpack Three Sisters Wilderness

Three Sisters Wilderness

There are many great attributes to the pack; the ability to use a Nightlight sleeping pad as the packs frame is genius, the amount of times for rest stops I would pull the pad straight out the back of the pack to sit on was so useful. The removable waist belt is great because I preferred the pack without it but kept the sternum strap for support over my chest. When it began to rain in Northern Oregon and Washington I found myself having to dry gear daily, the large outside mesh pocket on the back was a real treat because I could stash my wet tent fly in this compartment to air.

Rainy Pass Northern Cascades

Morning Clouds lift just north of Rainy Pass Northern Cascades

The holding capacity is where the pack really excels. With a total capacity of 4000 cubic inches I could have taken the kitchen sink along (if I wanted to) and still have room for snacks, an hiking umbrella and sandals which would conveniently fit in the generously sized outside pockets. It was most comfortable when packed at full capacity, there were a few long stretches of 5 – 8 days between resupply in Washington when I chose to stay out on the trail that little bit longer and because the pack could easily fit the extra food it made these extended resupplies possible.

Canada boarder PCT

The G4 and I make it to Canada

For the entire 2660 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail my G4 backpack never let me down once. By the time I got to northern Washington there was some minor repairs needed to strengthen the haul loop, this was simple 'wear and tear' and pretty incredible considering it had endured and survived the previous 2400 miles of the rugged PCT. Completing the thru-hike in 2013 concreted my love for the G4 because it showed me what the well-made backpack was really capable of and what conditions it could endured. Whilst my next thru-hike is not yet planned when the time comes to head out into the great outdoors again I can guarantee Gossamer Gear will be right there with me.

This post was written by Gossamer Gear customer Mark "Sir Poppins" Rooke-Jones who hiked with Glen Van Peski for a few days at the start of his PCT thru-hike last year.

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March 12, 2014 — Brian Fryer