Saturday 7 November 2009

Hip Belt Pockets

In anticipation of the impending review of the Ultra light Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack……

Last night as I pushed open the front door I could hear that familiar sound of a packet being brushed aside along the floor– I bloody love that.

Back in Sept when I ordered the Gossamer Gear Gorilla, like the blithering idiot I can be, I made the mistake of not ordering the hip belt pockets at the same time. Back then I was so excited to have received the pack in time for the Scotland trip (thanks to Grant) that I didn’t fret about the absence of waist level storage and saw it as an opportunity to try with some gusto the OMM Trio chest pouch.

In short, whilst the pouch worked fine I just didn’t get on with it. Besides making me look like an overzealous member of a SWAT team, over time it became tedious to have to arrange myself, the pack and the pouch each time I had to down tools. On a short trip it probably wouldn’t be quite so annoying but I just missed the convenience of the hip belt pockets in terms of position and comfort.

After a bit of research I decided on the pockets (size medium) supplied by Mountain Laurel Designs as user experience seemed to suggest these were more robust and kept their shape a little better than the competition. I ordered a pair and an internal mesh storage pouch at the same time. A few weeks ago, a packet was brushed aside by my front door but I opened it to find the mesh pouch and only one pocket. A quick email to Ron Bell and voila, the other one arrived last night.

Mountain Laurel Designs Hip Belt Pocket The pocket attached to the belt via the elasticated loops

I’ve fitted them to the pack via the elasticated straps, and secured both in position by way of the plastic clips that lock directly to the webbing of the belt. This isn’t ideal for the Gorilla as the straps are a little too wide for the clip but I’ve attached one at each end to stop the pocket from moving along the belt as tends to happen when operating the zips a few times.

Overall I’m really pleased with the quality of the pockets and by nature of the construction in Dyneema with water resistant zip, they should keep a bit of weather out at least - I always use ziplock bags for my phone and camera anyway but its good to know.

The elasticated loops at the rear The pockets can be made to fit almost any pack with either the elasticated loops or the webbing clips supplied.

The medium size will hold a fair few bits and bobs and I intend on using one to hold my camera and phone and the other for money, cards, and choccy bars. I can just about get four Mars Bars in one if that helps gauge the size for anyone who’s interested!

Bear in mind that these are made of quite thick Dyneema X with fairly substantial zip pulls so could always be lighter. So as you will have guessed I’ve weighed them (with Dyneema pull cords attached to the zip) and the all up weight is 28g each, which isn’t bad considering the OMM Trio pouch weighs in at 125g.

Each pocket weighs 28 grams Robust but light at 28g

Now to just get out and use them….


davehollin said...

I really love MLD kit. Its so functional, light and well designed.
I know what you mean about hip belts. I cant do without mine and i also tried the OMM front pocket and didnt get on with it, although to be fair its great for storing your map.

Nielsen Brown said...

I have the GG hip belt pockets, but i do like the look of the MLD pockets. I will be interested to hear how they work on the Gorilla.

Marcus said...

Yes lads, MLD stuff is good but a tad expensive! I've been lucky enough to skip customs charges on all occasions I've used so far but on the bigger stuff, that just won't happen.

The pockets look good and the only point I really want to test is how they stay in position with use. I've heard that in some case a safety pin is required on the outer loop to prevent it moving along the belt - I'll have to see.

I've got a cheeky winter trip planned for the end of Nov so maybe I'll get to find out then.

Anonymous said...

As my kit keeps getting lighter and less voluminous I plan to cut down my Golite Gust to 45L once I learn how to operate Mother in Law's Singer.
Your piece sugests what to do with the offcuts - custom made hipblet bags for waterproof camera etc.
Thanks for the inspiration!
Loved the write-up - you had a great time....John

Marcus said...

Cheers John,

Glad to be of service! Good luck with the sewing machine though!