It has been a long time since I last blogged. Currently, I’m sitting in Yellowstone, nearly to Montana. Unlike last year, where I cruised easy miles and took many zeros, I’ve been pushing myself consistently every day out here. I’ve been hiking with handy Andy, and we’re determined to do and see as much as possible in the time we have; climbing side peaks, exploring canyons, mountains, and many areas the CDT misses. We’ve been pushing over 30 every day, much times well over that, and I get into bed every night completely exhausted. As such, I haven’t had neither the time, nor the creative energy to blog. Instead, I have focused all of my energy on the present, and making the most of this adventure. But trust me, I’ll catch up once I’m off trail! 

That being said, I recently got a chance to try out Gossamer Gears newest backpack, the 36 liter, roll top Pilgrim. I used it for over 250 miles, and really loved the functionality of the backpack. 

  Handy Andy tries the Gossamer Gear Pilgrim for a few miles to see what he thinks of it. He loved it, and said he wished he he it in 2014 on the PCT, as his gear would have been perfect for it as he was transitioning to a frameless backpack. 
The Pilgrim is a bit different than the other backpacks in Gossamer Gears lineup in that it features a roll top, much the same as the Murmur, rather than their over the top design on the kumo, gorilla, and mariposa backpacks. I really enjoyed this function, as it allowed me to pack a bit larger load than I’m used to using in the Kumo and pack the load down tighter. 

Another function of the Pilgrim that was noticeably different was the fixed hip belts with pockets. This is a unique design for a frameless backpack. Initially, I was skeptical, as I normally backpack without hipbelts using the Kumo, another frameless backpack. However, after taking out a large load with four days of food and three liters of water, I began to really appreciate the stability and load carrying capabilities that the hipbelts offer. Although I prefer not having hipbelts, I often times out of town wish I had hipbelts to help distribute the heavy load more evenly.  The hip belts are well cushioned, and have nice, large pockets to hold phones, snacks, maps, and anything else you may need while on the move. 

  The Pilgrim makes an appearance near Island lake in the Wind River Range, wth an especially cute model to show it off. 

One of the features that I really enjoyed is the large back mesh pocket. More than any pack I have had before, this mesh pocket is both durable and very, very large. I was able to fit all of my food for a day, my rain gear (a must have on the CDT) and maps, funnel, toiletry bag and more all in that pocket. This allowed me to never have to dig into my bag during the day, which saved me much time on the trail. 

More than anything, I loved the comfort of the backpack. Wether I had a larger load with food and water for the great divide basin in southern Wyoming or I had very little food or water going into towns, the backpack carried it comfortably between the hipbelts, wide shoulder straps, and the sitlite pad that not only pads your back but acts as a sort of frame. 

After using the Pilgrim for 250 miles, I came away very impressed. If you are considering going frameless, yet want a backpack that can still handle a heavier load comfortably for the first day out of town, this is the perfect pack to help you transition to this more ultralight style. I will surely be using this pack for further backpacking trips, summit hikes, and even day hikes where I may need to bring big coats. It’s a well designed, comfortable, do it all backpack. 

  The Pilgrim, with drying socks and a full outer mesh pocket high in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.