I have a habit of buying new rucksacks. Nothing is perfect. Then I got a Golite Pinnacle and never looked back. I was sceptical of them. No frame, lumber pad and the like. Eventually I had a closer look – the rest is history. It is the simple design that works for me. Nothing to break. Easy to store as it lays flat in the kit box. It is the old school of rucksack design. Uncomplicated and light in weight. Some people think Golite kit is getting heavy, but compared to many pack makers they are light. I then got the Jam2 as well. It is now my main overnight pack.
Recently Bob had a pre-release stock of the new Peak pack. It arrived last week. I see it as my new day, winter and possible summer overnight pack. It is different and unisex in design, unlike the Pinnacle and Jam 2. I don't like that, to be honest, as men's back shape, shoulder width, and waist measurements are very different to women's.
The Peak has a lot to make it a good choice as it is customable in its design. You can if needed strip out the hip-belt. Add in the recycled material called Tier one. Which is woven in with the Dyneema material to make a strong durable pack that is good for the environment as well.
It has all the usual Golite features like the compacktor™ system to help reduce the volume which is 40L for the long back length which I got. It is claimed to be in a large size 765g in weight. That is light enough for me.
There is a front pocket like on the Jam 2 and Pinnacle which I think is superb for having kit you would need to get in a hurry during the walk and organising your kit. The zip is covered to help reduce water ingress - but don't assume the pack - or any other - is waterproof. Always use a dry sack to keep kit dry inside or when you slip on a river crossing. Good side straps allow the load to be tightened up and it has the new mesh-lined back which is good. I have used the old design of Pinnacle which had no mesh on the back and would soak up sweat. This caused the pack to slightly deform near the small of the back when it mopped up the sweat and damp.
Adding the mesh to the Pinnacle and Jam 2 was a good thing and I got the upgraded Pinnacle last summer to make use of the improvement in design the mesh offers. The Peak benefits from having this. The Peak’s side stretch pockets are made with a better material in my view than the Jam 2 and Pinnacle. There is the usual lack of lid and that is no issue with me. Rolled over well it keeps the rain out contrary to the view of some gear editors in the outdoor mags.
Two big differences in design are the shoulder straps and the hip-belt. The Peak’s shoulder straps are thicker and wider than the Jam 2 shown on the right in the side by side comparison. This is a good thing as it is like the Pinnacle, which has thicker and better load bearing shoulder straps than the Jam 2. The only complaint is that the unisex design means they are not contoured to a male torso like the Jam 2 is or the Pinnacle pack. The mesh backing will help keep moisture at bay on the shoulders as it wicks it away.
The hip-belt concerns me that it would not be as effective as the Jam 2’s or the Pinnacle’s. It is removable and held in place by buckles, unlike the others which are stitched in. The Jam 2 using loads under 10kg and the Pinnacle, which can handle more weight if needed, are very comfortable and effective hip belts. Another big difference here is that the buckle is nowhere as large/robust as the Jam’s or Pinnacle’s. The Peak’s hip-belt would most likely be good up to 7 to 8kg max. load. The pockets on the hip-belt are useful like its bigger brothers’ as well. You can put choccy bars and the like in them. Saying that, the removable nature of the hip-belt makes it a useful addition in the kit collection as it offers me something different in kit choice for trips. Time will tell how good it is.
Lastly, a good improvement is the sternum strap, which on the Jam 2 and Pinnacle is not a great design. This has been redesigned on the Peak. The whistle built into the buckle is the right way up now for easy use, and overall this is much better - I hope Golite update the Pinnacle with this design and the Jam 2. The Peak should prove to be a good pack and will be used soon.