View Full Version : GoLite Jam (3233) or GoLite Pinnacle (4636)

09-29-2010, 10:48
I am planning a thru-hike this summer with my roommate and I'm contemplating the proper pack size for our hike.

We both just purchased the GoLite Jam pack for $125 at 3233 cu in. We plan to be smart about packing and of course only bring the essentials and have one person carry the tarptent contrail and the other carry the kitchen.

I just saw that the GoLite Pinnacle is only 2 oz more and can carry up to 4636 cu in. Would it be nice to have the extra space available for extra food or an extra top? Or would I find myself adding more unnecessary items that would just weigh me down?

09-29-2010, 11:00
I'd go with the Pinnacle unless you're very certain that you can fit everything in the Jam. 4600 seems too large to me though, I'd consider something on the middle like the Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone (3800 cu in) or ULA Circuit.

Unless you're both dwarves I don't think a TT Contrail is going to fit you both however.

09-29-2010, 11:34
I used the Golite Pinnacle for my thru hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. It was my first (basically) frameless backpack. My base weight was 10.5 lbs at the Mexican border plus the three days of food and 3 liters of water meant I was just about 22 lbs. The pack worked fine for me at this weight. I did notice that whenever I carried much more than this it tended to "fold" near the base of my back transferring most of the weight to my shoulders. I learned to counter act this by stuffing my ridgerest (folded in three) into the pack between the load and my back. This helped a lot and particularly for the sierra section when I had a bear can and a ton of food. As for the load lifter straps on the Pinnacle.. I never adjusted them. In other words they were unnecesary IMHO. A couple of my hiker buddies in 09 used the jam and I noticed they did not have the "folding" issues. It could be they were not carrying as much weight. OR My theory is that the smaller volume of the Jam meant that their gear when stuffed inside, made a more rigid carry and effectively functioned as a "frame".
I loved my Pinnacle. I now carry a Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus which is about a pound lighter but was only possible for me due to my experience with the golite pinnacle. One thing about the Golite I most appreciated was the Angled water bottle holders. I dunno what folks use on the AT but on the other two trails people use Aqua Fina or Soda Bottles for water containers. The Golite has the easiest and most ergonomic bottle holders of any pack I have seen. That being said the ULA packs can hold a pair of 2 liter bottles on the sides! (Thats how hiker 'Double Barrel' got his name!)
The Golite Pinnacle was a great pack for the PCT and my 10 lb base weight. YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) :sun

09-29-2010, 14:01
To me ...

I don't see how you wouldn't be able to fit everything into a Jam. I have one and actually feel like when I use it, I bring more than I need because so much will fit in there. It has the extension collar if your food bag gets big or something. If your base weight is around 10 - 15 lbs, I'd say its a great pack. More than enough extras. I cut mine off and saved a lot of weight. (Foam back pad, it's sleeve, water bladder sleeve, excess straps, ice axe loops, haul loop, etc. It can still hold just as much.

And I agree on the contrail. Probably too small. I'd sleep in there with my girlfriend. But not another guy friend unless we really needed to. If you plan on sleeping mostly in shelters, it might be a good backup.

09-29-2010, 15:27
The only way to tell if you have all the space you need is by packing as if you're heading out and seeing if it all fits. Some need 4500 cu.in. for a weekend, personally my entire thru-hike setup fits in 1800. The experience of myself or others may be totally irrelevant depending on how and what you personally pack.

09-29-2010, 15:51
My partner has a Jam, and it works for him. Just keep your base weight down below 15 pounds or so.

Did you really mean that you'll be sharing a Contrail with your partner? It's kinda small unless you *really* like each other. In any case, the only person I'll share a tent with on the trail is my wife -- any hiking partners can use their own shelters. This rule makes for a much happier partnership.

10-01-2010, 14:06
Thanks for the advice!

I'm going to stick with the Jam, it should have plenty of space and it'll help from over-packing. Also, it's probably better to have everything fit "well" in the pack instead of having to strap the pack down if there's excess room.

I think we're getting the Tarptent Squall 2 as that'll be better for two men. We're not "partners" - at least not yet but I've heard anything can happen on the trail... hah

10-01-2010, 17:09
My experience with the Pinnacle (and Jam) mirror Iceaxe's. The Pinnacle is so huge you can overload it in a heartbeat.

10-01-2010, 23:00
I think we're getting the Tarptent Squall 2 as that'll be better for two men. We're not "partners" - at least not yet but I've heard anything can happen on the trail... hah

Try the Squall before you start your hike. My wife and I used one for a couple of nights -- borrowed from a friend -- and it was rather tight for us. The floor had enough space, but there wasn't much headroom for two. (That said, I am a huge Tarptent fan. Great products.)

Of course, you might end up just staying in shelters every night, so no harm done. But there are plenty of ways for hiking partners to get separated, and then one of you has the tent, and the other doesn't. The usual advice is for hiking partners to be completely self-sufficient -- food, stove, water treatment, shelter, etc. -- because this tends to work out better all around. The exception is romantically paired couples of whatever sort.

Besides, if you meet someone on the trail, you'll have a hard time finding privacy if your roommate is home, ya know?

If you really want to share a shelter, check the Double Rainbow (good floor space, still kinda tight on headroom, we sold ours for this reason), the Rainshadow II (a great 3-person tent, which is amazing for two people), and the Six Moons Designs Lunar Duo (our current two-person tent, with unbelievable interior volume.) Having two separate doors and two vestibules makes a big difference in living comfort for two people.

Good luck.