Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Gear Talk: GoLite Pinnacle 2010 Backpack Review

On the TUFWT 1.0 was carrying all my gear in a nice red GoLite Pinnacle backpack. Its the 2010 model, and it's awesome for winter backpacking - which was the reason I got it. My original plan of taking my Joutsen/ Tunturisusi sleeping bag asked for a big backpack to accommodate it, as my ULA Ohm isn't up to the task. And if even Andrew Skurka is taking a GoLite Pinnacle for his Alaska-Yukon-Expedition in the winter, I can't go wrong with it, surely.

Packed, and my snowshoes on the sides.

I have the 2010 model in Size L. This 72 l monster brings 974 g on the scale, and yes, I know that its more than the predecessor. But considering that I carry around 15 to 17 kg with it for a longer trip, I still find it's an acceptable weight. Plus, it has space-a-plenty for all that bulky winter gear to fit in. So, as I learned from Joe's fantastic Montane North Star review, I am giving you the photographic run down of all the details of the GoLite Pinnacle 2010, paired with my thoughts on the backpack. Click on the photos to see them bigger if the shown size is too small.

Packed up and ready to go on a trip last December.



Hipbelt detail.

Close up of the double wishbone hipbelt. Also the ComPACKtor straps can be seen.

Shoulder strap detail.

Lets start with the back of the pack. It has a comfy backpanel made of mesh, with a removable back pad made of CCF. You can take it out in case you don't need it, I left it inside as I use the backpack as part of my sleep system under my legs, and so I get a bit more insulation. If you're inclined to take it out, it will save you 62 g. I haven't yet bothered with that for a trip, as I like the bit of stability and shape it gives me; though as I either way carry a rolled up CCF pad in there I could as well leave it out. You also got a internal hydration pockets with openings on the top left and right, as I don't use hydration bladders I can't comment on it, but its useful for flat stuff like maps and books to store.

The hipbelt is comfy for my slim frame and sits where its supposed to sit. The two hipbelt pockets are integrated and work well, the zippers are easy to open and close, even with gloves on. I have usually my firestarter kit in one pocket, and some snacks in the other one. You can fit about three normal bars in one pockets, which should be plenty. As you can see underneath, the shoulder straps do not connect to it, but are connected to the bottom of the backpack, this helps in my opinion to transfer the weight quite nicely. Finally, the shoulder straps. Also made of a soft mesh, they sit well on my shoulders, though on the last trip there were moments late in the day when they felt like they're cutting into my shoulders. They have a sternum strap with a whistle, which should be handy in emergency situations. I'd think it would be useful to engineer the sternum strap so that you can take it off and put it back on, so that's a suggestion for improvement. Furthermore, it also has a handle to grip it from, and from experience I can say that that's the right place to lift a backpack.

View of the hipbelt from the outside, mind that the shoulder strap connects to the little wing down on the left.

Load lifters and tube ports.

Props to GoLite to walk the talk and use recycled content in their 2010 backpacks and clothing.

As you might know, GoLite is now using recycled materials in their line. In the case of the 2010 Pinnacle that means Tier 1 recycled 210 Denier Nylon Gridstop + Dyneema, as well as Tier 1 recycled 210 Denier Nylon Double Ripstop. The quality of this material is as good as made from virgin material, but results in a 70% reduction in energy use and CO2 emissions for the recycled nylon, and even an 80% reduction for the recycled polyester. Way to go!

GoLite goes Green with recycled materials!

The gaping mouth that is the front pocket.

From the back we go to the front, where the Pinnacle has its huge front pocket. Its massive, and I carry my kuksa, puukko, spoon, toilet paper, first aid, hygiene bag, sunglasses, polar buff, snacks and food for the day in it, and there's still heaps of space. It gives me a way to store all the smaller pieces of gear as well as the stuff I need to have handy during the day. It also keeps the stuff inside dry, as no snow or water can get through - with a mesh pocket you'd need to think what can go in there. Love it.

Zippers on the front pocket. Easy to use also with gloves.

Side pockets. Plenty of space.

Bottom of side pocket, with drainage.

The side pockets are big, and stretchy. Fill them up with a Platypus, snack bars, and other things you want to have close by and ready to take without taking the backpack off. I can easily access them for taking stuff out and putting it back in. What I also like is that my snowshoes fit in the side pockets and can be fixated with the side compression straps, that's handy for when you don't need them.

Closed the roll top closure.

Cinch closure.


The Pinnacle has a volume of 72 l which is massive, could fit twins in there and still have plenty of space (I don't advise putting twins in there. If you do, you do so at your own risk and on your own responsibility). I had gear for a week in there, and still had some space to spare. I reckon that a week or two of food should easily fit in their with your UL gear, so if you make longer trips further away this would be a great backpack. I got it because of bulky winter gear, like down clothing and my big down sleeping bag, for which it is made in my opinion. And once all your food is eaten, you can make the pack smaller with the ComPACKtor system; "Tada" and you got a pack roughly half the size.

Hydration sleeve, hook for valuables and the CFF pad pocket behind it.

Still not at the bottom.

ComPACKtor anchor and ice axe/ trail pole loops.

GoLite says it will carry up to 18 kg comfortably, I had close to 16 kg in it and it carried very well. The narrow and tall structure of the pack meant for me no excess width, easy maneuvering on the trail, and the before mentioned easy access to side pockets. You got extra space when you need it - start of a hike with plenty of food - and with the roll top closure and ComPACKtor system you can make it smaller while the journey continues. The material is sturdy, and I love the colour - its perfect for the autumn and winter in my opinion. It also has ice axe/ trail poles hooks and handle straps, so if you carry one or two of these there's a place to put them when they're not in use. And as you saw on the first photo, my snowshoes also can be fixated on them.

If you look for a new backpack for your winter adventures, or you're making your first steps in UL backpacking and need something lightweight yet durable with well-thought-out details, check out the 2010 GoLite Pinnacle. Ultralight Outdoor Gear in the UK already has the 2010 model, or check Bergzeit for the 2009 model. You could also check the GoLite website to find a retailer near you. They retail for 100€ to 150€, and you can find older models used for example here.

Side view.