Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack
Full disclosure, I am a Trail Ambassador and Athelete for Gossamer Gear, Mont-bell, Ruffwear Dog Gear, Sawyer, TurboPUP, Purple Rain Adventure Skirts, Toaks, and Barker Bags. I do however try to keep these reviews as no-biased as possible. As far as backing gear goes, I have been using these brands products over the years and wolud not be an ambassadorfor them if I haven't.
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack
Weight Medium Size 27oz
Allgood’s Recommendation-A great Ultra Light pack for overnight and extended trips. The pack is comfortable, light, and able to fit enough gear including a bear canister when needed.
When I became a Trail Ambassador (TA) for Gossamer Gear (GG) one of the questions they asked me was, “what type of pack I carried, and was I married to it?”. At the time had been using an ULA Circuit for the past 2 years. My response was “no, but I do like my pack” Part of their program ask that you use one of their packs when it’s suitable when on trail. Fair enough I said, and was soon the proud owner of a Mariposa Pack in Medium.
Picking a pack online can be tough, for comparison I started by reviewing my ULA packs specs on size etc, and made a quick list of what I liked on that pack. Then I went to the GG site and started to look at packs of comparable size and feature. Knowing that I have to carry some of Karluk’s gear at times, plus a bear canister for food when needed, I narrowed my decision down to two packs the Gorilla Pack and the Mariposa Pack, as they both had comparable volume to my old pack and had similar features.
The one thing that caught my attention on the Mariposa was the bigger side pocket that extended the full length of the pack, and then 2 additional pockets on the opposite side. The Gorilla Pack has just two shorter pockets on each side, similar to my ULA, I remembered how often times I thought it would be nice to have a full length pocket on trail. After leaning towards the Mariposa I read some online reviews by other owners and decided to go with the Mariposa.
Next it came time to determine the size, luckily GG has excellent measuring instructions on their website, and within minutes my wife and I determined I needed a Medium Pack and Hip belt.
I have been able to use my pack now for a few different trips. I used it on some day hikes prior to taking it on a backpacking trip. These shorter hikes allowed me to get familiar with the pack and determine if anything needed to be tweaked, added or removed before a big trip.. I also like to know if there are any pressure points that could cause a raw spot when I am on an extended trip,
The first few times I used the pack it was love at first carry. Instead of the sit light pad that comes with the pack I use the GG Nightlight Sleeping Pad (torso length) that is Karluk’s sleeping pad. This gave a greater cushion on my back and also just saved us weight by having Karluk’s pad become part of the pack. The shoulder straps were nice and wide and distributed the load nicely, and didn’t cause any pressure points at all on my shoulders. A big plus for me as I broke my shoulder back in the winter of 2012 while skiing. My ULA pack actually gave me some more pain in the shoulder due to the narrower straps.
I had a hard time trying to figure out the best place for my hydration bag. I use a Platypus Hoser and it didn’t work well inside the pack because of the unique top closer of the pack. I solved this by putting my hydration bladder inside the large external side pocket, it fit perfect and had plenty of space for other items like my GoLite Chrome Dome Umbrella.
I recently took my pack out on an 2 day backpacking trip. It was warm and we had a section that was dry for 11.5 miles. Even loaded up with all my gear, food and extra water the pack handled the load flawlessly. I was amazed the entire time at how much more comfortable this pack was compared to my ULA Circuit. The overall height of the pack is great, when fully loaded the top of pack is still well below my head, this is huge when you are down on all fours crawling under a log. The low height prevents the pack form getting hung up, and also allows you to easily tip your head back and look up through the trees.
I use a hip belt with the pack, and found the hip belt to be well padded and very comfortable. The load transfer to the hip belt was on par with every other pack I have owned. The hip belt also has some small stash pockets, these are great. I keep my camera, sunblock, knife, compass, lip balm and other sundries I need during the day nice and handy.
The outer pockets are well thought out, the larger as I mentioned I used for my hydration pack. The lower one on the opposite side I used to carry an extra water bottle, trowel, and my denatured alcohol. In the upper pocket I fit my Trail Design Stove, and bug repellent.
The front pocket is a big improvement from my old pack. The mesh material is super stretchy, and non-abrasive, unlike my ULA Circuit. It’s great for throwing in my spot, some rope, a wet tarp or ground sheet in the morning, or anything else you can think of.
Finally the other thing I love is the top closer and lid. Just one clip and flip and the pack is folded up and ready to go. This is a huge time saver when you need to get in your pack, and now I think I will access more things in my pack during the day without the dread of having to undo the top. The top pocket has a zipper pocket and inside is enough room for your map, a wallet, keys, etc. I just slip my map up there for easy access.
Overall I am really happy with this pack, I plan on using for all my adventures going forward including winter outings in the cascades. I will report back on the pack and how it’s holding up at the end of this years backpacking season
Easily fits a bear canister
Back pad doubles as a sleeping pad
Top Closer is quick and easy
Top pocket easily fits a map
Low height prevents snags
Ample pockets that are well designed
Not one great solution to place a hydration bladder
Hip pockets could be bigger to fit items more easily