Introducing the Gossamer Gear Tamarisk

I’m pleased to make the world premier of the new Gossamer Gear Tamarisk pack here on Bedrock & Paradox.


I’d like to thank Gossamer Gear for allowing me to do so, and for integrating my feedback into the design, which is a very new direction for them. Named after the tenacious, ubiquitous invasive plant found throughout the American Southwest, the Tamarisk pack is meant for multi-day adventures in rugged terrain.


Simple, functional, and above all durable, while also being lightweight. The primary fabric, tan to blend with the environment, is a revolutionary new heavyweight, silicon-impregnated cordura. As waterproof as traditional silnylons, as abrasion resistant as 1000 denier Ballistics nylon, and with outstanding stitch retention, this new fabric promises to set a new standard for practical lightweight backpacks.


The suspension is modeled after that found in the Gorilla, adapted for highly abusive environments, and the need to eliminate as many straps and buckles as possible. A folded foam pad slots behind a fabric sleeve, and is held in place by the customary wide and durable Gossamer Gear shoulder straps. A single aluminum stay inserts through the gap in the bottom, and is held in place by a pocket on the bottom of the hipbelt.


The pack can be used with or without the stay, though the single stay achieves such a remarkable combination of load transfer and flexibility few will choose to leave the stay behind. Torso collapse is minimal even at 40 pounds, while maintaining the ability to climb and bust brush.

I should also mention that all of the above is a fib. I built this pack for myself and to my own specs, and Gossamer Gear has nothing to do with it beyond providing inspiration, and they have my apologies for my mischief.


After returning from Utah with holes in most of our packs it was obvious that I’d need a tough pack for multiday stuff. This one is made primarily from 1000D cordura, which is tough enough and (when purchased on closeout, as this was) fairly inexpensive. The three daisy design shown on the main panel, above, is the cleanest solution I’ve yet found to having enough attachment and compression to carry just about anything. Side panels and bottom are tapered, the former to provide a better fit, the later to lift the bottom and provide clearance when downclimbing.


The inside liner is 70 denier polyurethene coated, with a stripe of 1000D at the bottom. The bottom sides are the part of the pack which get the most abuse in canyons. A double layer of fabric provides a bit of additional abrasion resistance and waterproofing, and more importantly a surface for Aquaseal bonding when patching holes.


The shoulder straps needed a bit of alteration. 1 inch buckles for the straps, for better abrasion resistance. The slider buckle for the sternum strap is a point of abrasion, which I’ve seen wear through the adjustment webbing.


A big grab handle is always a good idea, with lots of reinforcing bartacks. The small red loops are for the lid I’ll eventually build.


The velcro patch enables use of the belt without the stay.


A hydration hose port centrally located above the straps is a good idea in a desert pack.


The pack is 10 inches wide at the back, six inches deep at the bottom, and 39 inches to the top of the extension collar. The belt began life as a Kifaru wraptec. I wasn’t fond of the width or the 2 inch buckle (or the crap sewing), but the cut and especially foam are excellent. Belt pockets get shredded in canyons.  The side seams are triple stitched, then felled and triple stitched again.  This final exposed stitching was coated in Aquaseal.  The bottom panel was triple stitched in, and the finished seam Aquasealed on the outside.  I built it with a single stay because I’d never built one like that before.  Initial carpet testing gives me cause for much optimism that the inflated claims above will be substantiated.

As always, questions below.

17 responses to “Introducing the Gossamer Gear Tamarisk”

  1. Very nice. Why did you decide to go without load lifters?

    1. With a back length close to the users torso length, they don’t do much with loads less than 50 pounds.

      1. Gotcha. I have used them almost entirely to adjust fit to my short torso, so that makes perfect sense to me.

  2. Very nice. Great details on the shoulder straps. It looks like your building skills have come a long way since your first packs.
    I’m actually planning a very similar pack right now. Is there anything holding your foam back pieces in place or are they just cut to shape and slipped in there?

    1. Nothing more than friction and the shoulder straps. It’s a single 19″ by 21″ piece.

  3. I take it you’re liking wide straps these days? I had a Gorilla several years ago and I quite liked the wide straps, even on my bony skinny frame, but I never had any success making them comfortable or functional myself so I kinda dismissed and forgot about it. I think the key with wide straps is that they’re as flexible as possible and probably with minimal padding. Great pack. That’s some cool fabric.

    1. Yep, sold on the 3″ straps. The padding is thin, but very stiff until it breaks in a bit.

  4. I should add a few things. The blue fabric used in the back panel is 500D cordura, as is the second layer of the bottom panel (under the outer 1000D). Saves a hair of weight and makes things less bulky. The side daisy chains don’t go all the way to the bottom seam because that isn’t needed for lashing, and would get shredded pretty quick anyway.

    The full height single stay feels really good, but this requires pretty aggressive bending, especially in the upper few inches, to get it exactly contoured to ones back.

    The skinny, tapered shape naturally puts weight up towards the shoulders, which I prefer. Such a tall pack is not so good in Montana forests, at least for bushwacking, but that is rarely a downside on the Colorado Plateau.

  5. Maybe since you call it the tamarisk you could make the single stay so it also works as a machete. Just a thought. Love the pack.

    1. If I got some kevlar weave to build the stay channel with that might work.

  6. Had me going for a second. I thought you’d convinced Grant to add some color to the GG packs! Ha ha!

    1. When I first saw this I though “holy sh*t, they straight up let Dave design an entire pack!” Looks great, anyhow.

      1. I’ve been sending lengthy emails frequently, and mailed them a pack to look at the other month. We’ll see what comes of it.

  7. […] weighed the Tamarisk the other week, and was surprised that even with all that burly fabric, aluminum stay, foam pad, […]

  8. Hey David I’m working on a similar pack and would be very interested to know if you have any sketches of this? Also I’m really curious about the size of the lumbar area. It looks like the “lumbar pad” is kind of wide. Does that make is harder for the hipbelt to hug your hips or is there enough flex in the design for it to wrap snugly?

    1. It depends on the stiffness of the foam pad you use.

  9. […] The relatively clean exterior was driven by time constraints more than anything, as I realized that this pack wasn’t going to be quite big enough, nor carry ~40 pounds as well as the Paradox […]

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