GoLite Lite-Speed Pack

GoLite Lite-Speed Pack

May 4, 2010
by Anderson Bowman


  • Tier 1 Recycled 210 Denier Nylon Velocity™;
  • Tier 1 Recycled 210 Denier Nylon Double Ripstop;
  • High-Void Polyester Mesh

GoLite Lite-Speed Pack

I am a sucker for a new daypack and when the GoLite Lite-Speed arrived I was in heaven.  I have seen and used several GoLite Packs over the last few years and it appears as if they have been busy improving their packs while staying true to their vision of lighter is better.

Just by my first casual examination of the Lite-Speed I can see it is way more complex than the old GoLite Breeze I once owned.  The first thing that jumps out at me is that it is a panel loader.  This seems to be a pack design that has disappeared over the last couple of years, but GoLite has taken a chance and done it with the Lite-Speed.  The thing I like about panel loading packs is that it allows me to lay the pack out and see what is in it, rather than digging blindly like I tend to in top loading packs.

The back (front?) of the pack has a large expandable (elastic-like) pocket and a smaller zippered pocket as well.  There are two elastic-like side pockets (for water bottles?) on either side of the pack body and two small zippered pockets on both sides of the hip belt.

The inside compartment has a hydration pocket/sleeve and I think that brings an end to my list of the Lite-Speed’s nooks and crannies.

My first impression of this pack is a good one. GoLite seems to have taken a step back from a daypack being a big bag with straps and a hole in the top to stuff things into.  Instead, they have created a daypack that offers comfort and organization without getting too complicated. Not only does it hold a great deal (2135 cubic inches of space for the medium), but it gives me plenty of places to put my little stuff so that it can be quickly and easily accessed without digging in the main compartment of the pack.

Now all I have to do is load this bad boy up and hit the trail. I am very interested to see how well it wears as well as how comfortable it is. The shoulder straps look more substantial than I would have expected and to my amazement, there seem to internal frame stays as well as a frame sheet in this pack as well. So not only a good looking and well organized daypack, but obviously one that is engineered to be comfortable and carry a load as well.  Now all I have to do is figure just how much I can really carry in this pack.

An Apology of Sorts

by Anderson Bowman
June 30, 2010

I want to start off with an apology of sorts. My first report on the GoLite Lite-Speed Pack called this little wonder a daypack, but as I have been busy using it that way for over a month, I have come to realize that it is more.

This pack has accompanied me on several trips to my favorite fishing holes which means that I have logged over 20 miles in different parts of Southeast Texas with the GoLite Lite-Speed Pack.  My main load has been lunch, a canister stove, water filter, small pot, small tackle box, water, insect repellent, and my collapsible fixing rod/reel.  While not a tiny load, it almost gets swallowed up by the Lite-Speed.  This thing has so much room for what I first considered just a plain old daypack.

I have a couple of two night trips coming up in July and I am probably going to attempt to stuff my food and one person tent into the GoLite Lite-Speed Pack to see if it functions as well as I think it will for a 1.5 day or 2 day pack instead of something that just has enough room for an afternoon outing.

This may not be a use that works in other areas of the country, but other than a tent, I do not carry a sleeping bag or other covering during the summer months in Texas. This means that the GoLite Lite-Speed Pack hopefully has more than enough room to keep me on the trail for at least a full day and night and maybe two days and nights.

One thing I have come to love is the comfort that this pack brings along with it.  The back panel and stays make the pack very stiff against my back, which I really enjoy, and make carrying with a 12-15 pound very comfortable. I wish I could report that it also keeps my back cool and sweat-free in the summer heat, but I do not think that any pack can do that here in Texas.

I also have to rave about the shoulder pads. Not only are they wide enough, but the padding is absolutely soft and marshmallow like. They are just about perfect as far as shoulder straps can be and in some ways they seem almost too much for a pack of this size.  In short, they are luxury that makes this pack just that much better to carry.

The other thing that stands out for me with this pack (beyond size and comfort) is its functionality. I love the panel loading aspect of the pack and the fact that I can load GPS, camera, and multi-tool into the hip pockets (on the hip belt) and have easy access to them without taking the pack off.  There are pockets, pockets, and pockets on this thing and that is probably why I have so much spare room on the inside. Water bottles, fishing rods, tackle boxes, bait, and gps can all be carried without putting a single item inside the main compartment of the pack.

All I can say at this point is please come back in a month. I am going to attempt to pack at least two days worth of gear into the GoLite Lite-Speed Pack and see how far I can get on the Lone Star Trail before I give up or run out of space for food in the pack. I have a very peculiar idea that with as little as I have to carry in the summer heat in Texas, the GoLite Lite-Speed Pack is going to be a lot more than a daypack and that includes size, comfort, and functionality.

An End to Summer

by Anderson Bowman
September 1, 2010

The GoLite Lite-Speed pack is pretty damned amazing. I have agonized over how to say this without coming off as an idiot, so hopefully this fifth or sixth rewrite of this last installment of the GoLite Lite-Speed report will get it across the correct way.

My basic feeling about GoLite packs is that they are either under built or over built with no middle ground. This is not a complaint, but merely an observation on my part. The Lite-Speed seems to bridge this gap in an interesting and well designed way.

The pack is full of features and is way more than just a sack with shoulder straps that so many daypacks seem to be these days.  It has a real suspension, great storage pockets, and straps that make it comfortable to wear.  I even hate myself for bringing up the “daypack” label for the Lite-Speed because of its size and storage pockets.

I have been using this pack during the hot summer months here in Texas when the daily temperatures were regularly over 95 F and the nights never dropped below 80 F.  When I combine the heat with my not using a sleeping bag during the summer, the Lite-Speed became the perfect pack for a 3 day/2 night jaunts into the Sam Houston National Forest.

Like I stated earlier, I can get most of my real gear (stove, gps, camera, filter, and cooking gear) into the various external pocket and that leaves the main compartment to hold a one person tent, food, and a water bladder.  There was no way to escape from the heat, but there was a way to carry what I needed and stay comfortable and that is was the GoLite Lite-Speed pack.

My load never topped 15 pounds on most trips and I barely noticed the pack was on my back at this weight. On some occasions I had to add a bit more water to my gear, but even as the weight went up to 20 pounds, the pack was still a pleasure to wear. Not only was it comfortable on my back, but it stayed put and did not wander around if I had to bend over or bushwhack through thick growth.

In short, this is more of a day and a half or two day pack for me, especially in the warm months. I am pretty sure I can stuff a light sleeping bag in there for spring and fall use, but that is as far as I would go. Winter, even in Texas, requires too much gear even for this work horse of a pack.

What won me over besides the comfort and size was the design. There are pockets and not just random ones thrown on in strange places, but pockets that are well placed and big enough to hold real gear, not just a crushed up energy bar.  One thing that has made my trips fun is the integral sternum strap/whistle.  While I never needed to be rescued, I did amuse myself by blowing on it while alone in the woods.  I even think I scared off some feral hogs by blowing on it once, but most importantly, it was fun.

In all seriousness though, fun is a good word for this pack. The GoLite Lite-Speed allowed me to have plenty of fun this summer without worrying which size pack I should use. For me, in warm weather, this is the one-size fits all solution for me.  Big enough for two or three days on the trail and small enough to stash fishing gear in for an afternoon on the lake.  I did not matter if I was on a good trail or hopping through the brush to get to that perfect spot on the bank of the pond, the GoLite Lite-Speed went with me.

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