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- Product Review (submitted on January 9, 2014):
In anticipation of a five day vacation over New Year, I bought the Dyneema version of the Minimalist Ultralight Daypack to use, as you might expect, as a daypack. Unfortunately, I can only provide initial impressions due to short amount of time I have possessed the pack. During that time however, the Minimalist became invaluable to me.
When I first received the pack I was surprised at how compact it was. It is a very thin and lightweight pack that utilizes a cinch-top enclosure. It registers 10.8oz on my scale out of the bag. It is manufactured in Mexico using US components according to the tag.
The pack includes a foam frame sheet to provide some structure along the back, and some thin foam padding in the 3 inch wide shoulder straps.
There are a total of four pockets that comprise the pack: the main body, the elasticized front pocket and a small zipper pocket inside the main body. There is also a pocket on the back of the pack where the frame sheet goes. Interestingly, there is a small gros-grain loop in the center underneath the top handle. Possibly for a hydration reservoir? - ANSWER -YES - GG staff
An adjustable sternum strap with a built in emergency whistle is also found on the Minimalist, along with a buckle attached to the ends of the shoulder straps. When worn, this "waist" buckle came up to my abdomen, rather than anywhere near my waist. I removed it immediately and didn't feel like I was missing anything.
The front and back of the pack are sewn together at the bottom so that the pack resembles an envelope, rather than having any depth along the bottom of the pack. This initially caused me some concern as I thought there might be a bulge, or some other obtrusion from the contents of the pack pushing against my back when wearing the pack. My concerns were immediately nullified when, having loaded the pack with several odd and hard edged items, there was no pressure or discomfort at all!
Consuming its contents with ease, the Minimalist simply conformed easily and completely to my back. The wide shoulder straps dispersed the weight of the load evenly over my shoulders making me forget the pack was even there most of the time.
The elasticized front pocket, which seems to be a key feature of most Gossamer Gear packs, accommodated a thick wool jacket in addition to several other smaller pieces of gear that were stashed in with it. It showed no signs of stress and did not pull awkwardly or have much effect on how the pack carried.
My load, probably overkill, but never the less, consisted of a two person meal (dehydrated), my cook kit, 1L water, Aquamira, Microspikes and a sil-nylon jacket, an MSR Pocket Rocket and a fuel canister. Overall weight was probably around 5-8 pounds depending on water volume.
Overall I was very, very happy with this pack! The only complaints of note were the placement of the "waist" buckle. In my opinion, it is too high up to be of any real use. It if is meant to be a waist strap, maybe add an actual waist strap, otherwise leave the buckle off. NOTE : Te buckle works as a way to keep the pack from bouncing. It is up to the customer if they choose to use it or not - It is not a waist belt. Thanks GG staff. My wife did not like the cinch top closure. She felt it was cumbersome to utilize and access with gloves on. I didn't agree on this point, but it's good to have alternating viewpoints. Finally, my wife felt as though the shoulder straps were too far apart. This was another point we disagreed upon, but I felt I should mention it. My wife is fairly small framed, 5'2", whereas I am 6'00" and more broad shouldered. I was very happy with the shoulder straps and how they rested on me.
The merits of this pack far outweigh any complaints. The Minimalist is light, sturdy and visually appealing (to me anyway). I really enjoyed the cinch-top enclosure and the inner zip pocket was great for stashing wallet, keys, lighter (for the stove) and other odds and ends. The Minimalist deftly carried my day-hike load without fuss or complaint. I would happily buy this pack again!