Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Backpack Review - Gama 8.0 Internal Frame Pack

So I finally decided to retire my 25 year old Army issue ALICE pack and get myself a new bag for 1-to-3 day hikes. I was skeptical about buying a budget-pack from Wal-Mart, but so far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with its performance. The Outdoor Products Gama 8.0 Internal Frame Pack is designed to provide a great pack for hiking or shorter backpacking trips. It has all of the modern conveniences that a good pack should have. For anyone who wants to use this pack as a street bag, you may not be happy with it. It has an over-sized waist belt and comes in 2 ugly colors… olive green (shown) and orange. I chose the olive green because I’m not thrilled about standing out on the trail… however I do live in Texas and the orange one might be better for protecting me from drunk, gun-toting rednecks (That was a joke so lighten up people). I took this 39.1L pack for a 2-day tryout and I must say that it met the test. I've not tried it on a longer trip or in overly rugged terrain, but for a low-budget pack I still feel pretty good about it.

For my overall assessment of this pack, READ MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

This bag features a suspended mesh back panel for maximum airflow and deluxe back padding with molded texture for added comfort.
After 2 days of lugging it around carrying about 25 pounds worth of food and gear, I must say that it is quite comfortable. While it does sit closer to the back versus other packs like the Osprey, it still has good airflow... This Gama Pack is equipped with a lightweight aluminum internal stay to stabilize large loads and a padded, ergonomically designed waist belt that comfortably supports heavy loads...

It also features articulated yoke-style shoulder straps with sliding sternum adjusters to get the chest strap in the position that's best for you.

The shoulder straps come with top and bottom adjustment straps for your comfort and convenience. The ends of all adjustment and compression straps are doubled back on themselves which is helpful when wearing heavy gloves or mittens.
The shoulder straps also feature webbing to attach M.O.L.L.E type gear or to run your hydration hose through as seen in the photo...

The very roomy Internal Frame Pack has a large capacity main compartment with a sleeve for a 2 liter hydration bladder (not included). At the top, there is a small Velcro strap that attaches to the bladder to help hold it high and keep it from sinking into the sleeve.
On my trip, there was plenty of room in this compartment for a tent, extra clothing, food, heavy jacket, and a few other odds and ends...

The Pack has a front stash-pouch that stores quick-access gear...

On the outside of the stash-pouch is yet another pouch for carrying your shovel, rain gear, or whatever...

The top flap has yet another zippered pocket perfect for stuffing your rain-fly (not included)...

This pack has double side pockets. The inner pocket is great for storing you water bottles and the gusset pocket can hold your sun screen, snacks, or whatever you choose...

In addition to compression straps, the bottom has D-rings that are handy for attaching a sleeping bag or other bulky items...

Suspended mesh back panel
Compression straps galore
Budget friendly
Sturdy build and stitching

No pockets on waist belt
Zippers could be higher quality
No rain-fly included

Overall Assessment:
This is an excellent pack for day hikes and shorter camping trips. It is very comfortable, breathable, and has lots of pockets. I would definitely recommend this pack for day-hikers and weekend warriors.

Manufacturers Specifications:

Outdoor Products Gama Internal Frame Pack:

· Lightweight aluminum internal stay to stabilize large loads
· Suspended mesh back panel for maximum airflow
· Deluxe back padding with molded texture for added comfort
· Extra padded, ergonomically designed waist belt comfortably supports heavy loads
· Articulated yoke- style shoulder straps with sliding sternum adjusters
· Backpacker organizer located in front pocket
· Left and right accessory pockets with zipper closure
· Fits most 2L reservoirs (hydration reservoir not included)
· Vertical and bottom compression straps
· Large capacity main compartment with zipper closure