I am on a quest to search out the excellent backpack.

“However wait,” you say. “That’s such a subjective title to offer a extremely variable piece of drugs!”

Have you ever learn none of my earlier articles? Making goal statements primarily based on subjective opinions is my favourite factor to do. For the primary time, I’ve determined to check out a pack with a body to see if the added help and stability will increase my consolation sufficient to justify the extra weight.

There is no such thing as a higher pack to place to the take a look at than the most-used backpack in our 2023 Appalachian Path hiker survey: The Gossamer Gear Mariposa. And, for some additional enjoyable, I’m making an attempt out the freshly revamped Mariposa launched in 2024.

A bit winter journey with me, the Mariposa, and my marmot, Bean Dip.

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa At a Look

MSRP: $315
Capability: 60L
Weight: 34.5 oz.
Supplied Sizes: Small, Medium & Massive
Supplies: 100D and 210D Recycled Robic Nylon

Circumstances of Assessment

I introduced this bag on a weekend journey in snowy Colorado, in addition to a checked bag on a aircraft journey from Colorado to Ohio. I wished to see the way it carried my full backpacking load, in addition to the way it held up by way of the wear-and-tear of an airport expertise.

Supposed Use

Designed for multi-day backpackers with a full loadout underneath 35lbs, this bag has rapidly risen to the highest of the recognition checklist amongst thru-hikers.

In regards to the 2024 Replace

The Mariposa has been a thru-hiker favourite for a few years, nevertheless it received a makeover this spring. Apart from a cool new colorway, the revamped Mariposa encompasses a new body and redesigned load lifters, in addition to extra selections to your hipbelt (select between a number of sizes and both a straight or curved design).

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Options

Rely ’em: 3 pockets on the facet, 1 stretchy mesh on the entrance, 1 map pocket on the high, 1 principal compartment, 2 hipbelt pockets, and 1 again storage compartment.

8 Pockets: The 60L Mariposa makes group straightforward with eight pockets along with the primary compartment: a stretchy Darlington mesh entrance pocket, two asymmetrical facet pockets plus a small stretch pocket on the best facet, two built-in hipbelt pockets, a again panel pocket, and a high map pocket.

Detachable Sit Pad and Keep: The pack comes with a small foam sit pad included; you’ll discover it slipped contained in the again panel, the place it could present extra help and cushioning to your again whereas mountain climbing.

In the meantime, though that is an inner body pack, the keep will be eliminated if you wish to go frameless and avoid wasting weight.

Lid Closure System: Gossamer Gear recommends storing your bear can vertically inside the primary pocket. That’s what I’d advocate doing too, however in a pinch you’re technically capable of strap it to the highest due to the lengthy lid straps.

Robic Nylon Building: The Mariposa is produced from Robic nylon, which is thought for its sturdiness and abrasion resistance. I’ve scraped this pack over rocks, leaned in opposition to it as a backrest on the path, checked the bag whereas flying, and customarily tried to beat it up fairly nicely. It has not torn, dented, bent, or in any other case been broken in any approach.

Not solely is Robic Nylon nice for sturdiness, however it could additionally supply some safety in opposition to mild rain and different moisture. That is nice for mountain climbing in areas that could be foggy or humid, as you’ll be able to belief your pack to guard in opposition to a number of the components.

Learn Subsequent: Prime Backpacks on the Appalachian Path: 2023 Through-Hiker Survey

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Execs

I love having the ability to retailer gadgets like my sleeping pad, sit pad, and rain gear in opposition to my again. It permits me to entry them with out undoing the pack, and in addition provides a bit extra help to the body.

The Pockets

The Mariposa strikes an exquisite stability between effectivity and group. The pack itself is 60L, which sounds very giant for a backpack of this dimension. Nevertheless, this quantity is distributed throughout eight pockets and a big principal compartment. Every added pocket decreases the quantity effectivity of the bag, however the clear thought into the design makes me very joyful.

Entrance Mesh Pocket: The stretchy mesh pocket on the entrance of the pack is produced from Darlington Mesh. I discover this materials far stretchier than many entrance pockets I’ve seen in backpacks. I introduced a special Gossamer Gear bag (the G4-20) on a thru-hike of the Colorado Path, and located that entrance pocket able to swallowing basically something.

Facet Pockets: The 2 major facet pockets are asymmetrical, with the longer pocket being an ideal dimension to retailer many tents. I discover that longer pocket excellent for storing my trekking poles and solar umbrella. The decrease facet pocket on the best securely suits two 1L SmartWater bottles and is stretchy to accommodate bottles of many sizes.

And the third, stretchy pocket on the higher proper facet is a singular characteristic I’ve grown to like. It suits my range and pot completely, however may additionally double as a house for a stuffed animal.

Hipbelt: The built-in hipbelt pockets are a pleasant contact, and are giant sufficient to retailer a handful of granola bars, an influence financial institution, or the rest you’d need all through the day.

Again Panel: The again panel pocket is one among my favourite options of the pack. The Mariposa comes with a foam sit pad in that pocket, which supplies consolation and airflow in opposition to your again when utilizing it. Moreover, you’re capable of shove comfortable gadgets into that again panel, which serves so as to add extra consolation and extra help to the body.

The one pocket I didn’t get a lot use from was the flat map pocket — extra on that later.

Match and Consolation

The load lifters assist curve the body of the pack round your physique. It noticeably redistributes the load of the pack in a approach that’s extra snug.

To somebody who has by no means used a framed pack whereas backpacking, the Mariposa felt like a dream. I loaded the pack with over 30lbs of drugs, meals, and water, and it by no means rubbed or consolidated all that weight to a particular a part of my physique.

The pack has load lifters, that are straps that join the highest of the shoulder straps to the interior body. By correctly adjusting these straps, I used to be capable of pull the load of the pack nearer in opposition to my again, shifting extra of the load onto my hips and away from my shoulders and again.

Gossamer Gear is thought for his or her snug hipbelts, and the Mariposa doesn’t disappoint. The belt is thick, soft, and greater than able to carrying the load of my gear comfortably. I’ve seen thru-hikers with hipbelts that dug into their pores and skin, gave them rashes, and ended up inflicting extra discomfort than help. Having the ability to belief the Mariposa’s hipbelt is an enormous deal for me.

Supreme Adjustability

I’ve all the time thought-about framed packs as not very customizable. The Mariposa proved me flawed. Not solely is the interior body detachable, which is incredible when you’re trying to see if a frameless pack is an efficient match for you, however just about each characteristic on the bag has a strap or twine that allows you to tighten or loosen the match.

This implies I can alter it for my proportions in addition to change how the pack carries underneath totally different hundreds.

Moreover, the pack has loads of locations so as to add DIY storage options. I tied some elastic to one of many loops on the pack, permitting me to simply strap in my ice axe and trekking poles when I’m not utilizing them. I all the time admire a pack that offers me some room so as to add the hyper-specific options I’m on the lookout for.

And, not that this actually impacts the performance of the pack, however Gossamer Gear just lately added extra coloration choices for the Mariposa. Whereas we declare to prioritize utility above all, us backpackers love a great coloration scheme.


Backpacking gear, typically talking, is pricey. I’m a agency believer that gear turns into well worth the price ticket when it features as marketed in addition to possesses distinctive options that set it aside from comparable manufacturers.

$315 might sound like some huge cash — and it’s! However for a totally featured, framed backpack with an included hipbelt underneath 35oz, I genuinely contemplate this an exquisite worth. When taking a look at different 60L framed packs, the worth is sort of similar to the Mariposa. And, when evaluating the packs themselves, the Mariposa has a ton of differentiating options that, for my part, place it above different related packs.

gossamer gear mariposa with bear canister strapped on outside below top lid

Gossamer Gear recommends storing your bear can vertically inside the primary pocket. That’s what I’d advocate doing too, however in a pinch you’re technically capable of strap it to the highest.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Cons

Flat Map Pocket

The flat map compartment on high of the pack is the one pocket I haven’t but discovered a great use for. I, personally, don’t use paper maps, and it’s a skinny sufficient pocket that I battle to suit something with actual bulk in there, like a headlamp or snacks.

Restricted Load-Carrying Capability

The Mariposa claims the flexibility to hold 30lbs of drugs, with the flexibility to stretch that quantity to 35lbs earlier than damaging the interior body. I personally contemplate this a Professional, as my absolutely loaded pack virtually all the time falls beneath that weight restrict. Nevertheless, contemplate the full weight of your gear (plus meals and water!) when trying into this pack, because it might not be the best choice for these with the next base weight.

Much less Comfy Sit Pad

The pack comes with a sit pad saved within the again panel. This isn’t actually a con — it provides to the general consolation and design of the pack. Nevertheless, the Mariposa’s sit pad is thinner and fewer snug than the one at the back of my G4-20. I’m unsure if all Gossamer Gear sit pads have modified, or if the G4-20 simply encompasses a extra snug model, however I’ll in all probability find yourself swapping out the Mariposa’s sit pad for the one from my G4-20 once I take it into the backcountry.

Water Resistant, Not Waterproof

Whereas the nylon might repel mild rain or mist, I’d not say the pack comes near being waterproof.

That is my first (and, spoiler alert, solely) actual grievance in regards to the Mariposa. I want this pack had been waterproof. Sure, you’ll be able to purchase a pack cowl or use a trash compactor bag as a liner. Nevertheless, I’ve just lately been utilizing a water-resistant pack that negates the necessity for any form of liner or cowl. Having to return to these strategies with the Mariposa is a troublesome tablet to swallow.

Swapping Hipbelt = Inconvenient

The Mariposa comes commonplace with a medium hipbelt. If you would like one thing totally different, you’ll have so as to add your most well-liked belt to your order, swap the hipbelts at dwelling, and return the unique for a $25 refund. It is a fairly giant trouble. Contemplating the quantity of effort that goes into backpacking, complaining about having to take care of the Postal Service is a bit absurd, however I’m lazy by nature and can completely complain about this.

I’d like to see Gossamer Gear permit you to select the hipbelt dimension whereas trying out, and care for any swapping that should occur on the again finish. However, they’re a small firm and I perceive that is me asking them to juggle much more for every bag.

Summing It Up

Virtually each a part of the pack will be adjusted, permitting me to change it for my proportions in addition to change how the pack carries underneath totally different hundreds.

The Pack’s Biggest Hits:

In my private order of most to least impactful, I discover the pack’s strongest options to be:

  1. Considerate pocket design resulting in an important mix of group and space for storing
  2. Skill to comfortably carry my full backpacking load with meals and water
  3. Ultralight options and skills at a fraction of the typically-seen value

The Pack’s Largest Misses

Actually, there’s just one: I need this pack to be waterproof so badly. If Gossamer Gear ever releases a water-resistant model, I would be the first buyer in line. Till that day, I can’t say that is the excellent pack, regardless of it coming fairly shut.

Scoring the Mariposa

hiker wears fully loaded gossamer gear mariposa on snowy trail

You should use that higher facet pocket for all kinds of issues (poop equipment, pot & range, chilly soaking container). I select to make use of it for probably the most important merchandise of all (my stuffed animal).

So, what constitutes “The Excellent Pack?” I’ve put collectively a listing of 5 qualities I search for in a backpack and have given the Mariposa a rating from 1 to 10 for every.

Quantity Effectivity and Packability: 9

How nicely is the house within the backpack is utilized? The most environment friendly pack may have one giant central chamber and nothing else, permitting you to position all of your gear in a single spot with none wasted house. Nevertheless, many individuals choose a center floor between quantity effectivity and the flexibility to arrange their gear.

I gravitate in the direction of packs with fewer pockets however discovered the Mariposa’s inventive pocket placement and supplies a really welcome shock. It could make solely a nominal distinction to the general effectivity, however I’d not thoughts seeing the higher map pocket’s quantity absorbed into the quantity of the pack’s principal compartment.

Total, when trying on the effectivity of this pack in comparison with the organizational talents provided by the pockets, the Mariposa will get a 9 on this class.

Match and Consolation: 9

A correctly becoming backpack ought to conform to all backpacker’s physique form and dimension, with the pack evenly distributing the load of your gear throughout your shoulders, hips, and again. A snug pack ought to do that whereas permitting you to maneuver freely, keep good posture, and hike in numerous situations and terrain.

Outdoors my one nitpicky grievance in regards to the again panel, the Mariposa delivers strongly in each match and luxury. So long as the full weight of your packed gear falls beneath 35lbs, I’ll give it a 9 for this class.

Sturdiness, Building, and Climate Safety: 6

On hikes of all lengths, you’ll be able to anticipate to finally encounter less-than-ideal climate and path situations. It’s necessary to belief your pack to maintain your gear dry, particularly once you’re having to arrange for the evening on the path. We have to contemplate the tear-resistance of the pack, together with the development supplies when anticipating how the pack will carry out in adversarial circumstances.

Earlier than I attempted a water-resistant bag, I wouldn’t have rated this so low. Nevertheless, when you go waterproof, it’s exhausting to return. Regardless of the fantastic sturdiness and building of the pack, I’ve to offer the Mariposa a 6 on this class, totally as a result of me wanting a water-resistant model.

Adjustability and Customization: 8

Everybody has a special physique and totally different wants and desires from a backpack. Packs want to have the ability to modify to work for many individuals, as a substitute of rigidly sticking to 1 match. Whereas the Mariposa isn’t a extremely customizable pack within the sense that the development and setup of the pack is mounted, I wished to see how versatile the match could possibly be.

I’ve no complaints relating to the Mariposa’s adjustability within the area, however I want there have been extra customization choices when ordering, particularly surrounding the hipbelt sizing. Nevertheless, total, I give the bag an 8 for its adjustability and customizability.

Worth and Worth: 10

Straightforward 10. I’m so certain of this, I don’t even really feel the necessity to justify it too strongly. Like most of Gossamer Gear’s merchandise, the Mariposa is a incredible price range choice with out sacrificing any of the options and skills you’ll discover in different packs.

Last Rating: Would I Suggest This Pack?

gossamer gear mariposa loaded with umbrella, water bottles, and ice axe in external pockets

I believe the Gossamer Gear Mariposa is an ideal choice for anybody with a decently mild setup nonetheless on the lookout for the consolation and help supplied by a body.

Last Rating: 8.4 / 10

So, would I like to recommend it? Robust sure, with some disclaimers.

In case your gear routinely exceeds 35-40 lbs, the Mariposa probably isn’t the pack for you. That weight could also be a bit a lot for the interior body to deal with, and the sturdiness of the pack would endure.

Moreover, when you do most of your backpacking in an extremely wet setting, that lack of waterproofing might lead you to look elsewhere.

Outdoors of these two circumstances, I’ve no concern with giving this pack a powerful endorsement. It can turn out to be a staple in my gear rotation and has modified my previously-held opinions on framed packs.

Yow will discover the Mariposa on the hyperlink beneath. And, if in case you have extra questions in regards to the pack, please attain out. I (clearly) love speaking about gear.

Store the Mariposa

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Disclosure: The Gossamer Gear Mariposa was donated for the aim of overview.



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