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Gossamer Gear Miniposa Backpack REVIEW
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Gossamer Gear Miniposa Backpack REVIEW on 11/27/2007 23:25:47 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Gossamer Gear Miniposa Backpack REVIEW

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Gossamer Gear Miniposa Backpack REVIEW on 11/28/2007 02:52:35 MST Print View

A month ago I ordered both the Miniposa and the Mariposa Plus. I found that the carbon fibre stays made for an uncomfortable fit, so I cut some 4th inch strips of bamboo and inserted them instead into the stay sleeves. A huge improvement and only a fraction heavier. They are strong and tough, but carry the weight. Best of all they bend with my back and their flat form makes them much more comfortable against my back when I am not using a pad in the pad sleeves. If I sand down the edges they are smooth and don't cut at the sleeve material. And they're very cheap. Give it a try and see what you think!

Edited by butuki on 11/28/2007 02:53:20 MST.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Bamboo Stays - Clever!! on 11/28/2007 06:31:13 MST Print View

Hey Miguel,
I knew our resourceful readers would come through with some good suggestions for bendable stays, but bamboo was outside of my mindset. What a clever idea! Bamboo is strong and light, and inexpensive; it may be the perfect stay material. One possible problem though is that the bend may "set" if the bamboo gets wet. Gossamer Gear has experimented with curved round stays, and there was a problem with them wanting to turn in the stay sleeves, so a headrail was required to hold them in the right position. Thanks for your ideas. Best, Will.

Paul Salmon
(PaulSalmon) - F
Miniposa carbon stays. on 11/28/2007 07:05:26 MST Print View

I have been using the Miniposa with the carbon stays, or rather arrow shafts, as GVP tells us in the DVD, and found the pack to ride high on the shoulders, but also sit perfectly on the hips. Very comfortable for heavier loads, but today I just did a 10 mile hike, without the poles, and was very happy, and my shoulders feel fine. So, all in all, it seems that with the Miniposa, we have a choice.
Great pack.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Gossamer Gear Miniposa Backpack REVIEW on 11/28/2007 07:15:51 MST Print View

How long are the stays? One can order two 24" backpack stays from for between $10-$15. They are made of aluminum and have a slight curve met for the human back. The starlight pack is what the stays are aimed at and the stays are not required to be bought with the purchase, one can purchase the pack without the stays and then later purchase the stays. I have ordered the stays for a friend's vapor trail pack too.

Paul Salmon
(PaulSalmon) - F
Miniposa carbon stays. on 11/28/2007 08:08:05 MST Print View

The stays are 55cm in length.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Re: Gossamer Gear Miniposa Backpack REVIEW on 11/28/2007 13:58:12 MST Print View

So we are getting clever about the stay problem that Will Rietveld has mentioned several times in his reviews of these stellar packs. I guess the question is will the six moon bendable stays fit the Miniposa (or the Mariposa, for that matter) and will they shift or tend to turn if inserted. Seems a simple fix that one wonders why GG hasn't done this before now or offered the two choices to buyers. One for the true ultralight geek and the other for the not so geeked out ultralighter. Any thoughts, Will?

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Great pack on 11/28/2007 14:13:32 MST Print View

Along with Grant Sible I was a tester for the prototypes of this pack... The prototypes did not have the stays nor stay pockets... My recommendations were that packs designed for loads at or below 20 pounds, with occasional food surges to say 25 pounds, really do not need internal frames... But it is nice that GG include them, thus giving customers their choice.

Personally I substituted the GG pads for similiar pads cut from the 1/8 GG thin and light pads... works great and cut the pad weight by just over 50 %.

The pad access pockets are handy for another reason.... My long handles Ti Spoon goes in one, down to the bottom, out of the way and a clean area... The other side gets two ti stakes in a small plastic risk of peg dammage to gear in the pack... Plus as noted above,it still gives the customer the option to use or loose the original foam.

I've used this pack on several trips with loads up to 20-21 pounds...A great performer... really nice to keep the weight of the carry close to the body.


Jeff Sharp
(tsjeffery) - F

Locale: Blue Ridge
Clarifications on 11/28/2007 14:53:23 MST Print View

I am still surprised by the number of "personal opinions" that show up in BPL reviews. While comments like this are great for the BPL forums, do they really belong in a supposedly objective review of the functionality of a product? At the risk of sounding like I'm comparing BPL with Consumer Reports (which I'm not), would Consumer Reports have the excellent reputation they have by stating what is liked and disliked about a product in a review of the facts of a product? I guess the answer would still be an "opinion". ;-)

Case in point, the velcro closures on the shoulder straps and hip belt in now way affect the function of the shoulder straps, hip belt or pack. They are, as Will points out, annoyances to him. But how does that serve a reader of a review? If you don't like using clothing or other articles in the shoulder strap and hip belt, then simply place the foam in them and you never have to open the velcro closures if you don't wish to. The closures are not outdated, as they provide flexibility to the user by allowing the practice of "multi-use gear", which is a tenet of Ultralight Backpacking. Just because one person uses the foam exclusively in the pockets doesn't mean it's a wise decision for us to sew the foam in permanently. There are still others who like the flexibility of opening the pockets. We've had people tell us they use the shoulder strap and hip belt openings to store things such as their driver's license, car key or cash in the belt and straps (such as Jack's post above). Again, multi-use gear. Our new Hip Belt Pockets were engineered to utilize the velcro closure in order to keep them from sliding around on the hip belt as you take the pack on and off, and it works quite well I might add. This allows the pockets to be very functional on our packs, while still allowing the flexibility to remove them and use them on other packs or even inside your pack as a storage compartment (Will, you now have the internal map pocket you so desperately desire. Just attach one of the hip belt pockets to the inside of the pack. How? By using a DIY method, which is another tenet of Ultralight Backpacking).

I just don't see why it would annoy someone to insert the foam into the pocket and then forget about it, if you don't wish to use clothing. In my opinion (this is a forum, not a review), a person reading this review who is new to ultralight backpacking (and not as saavy as most folks here) and trying to make a decision on a pack, might believe that you MUST use clothing in the hip belt and shoulder straps, which according to the review is outdated and annoying. But that's simply not the case. Nowhere in the review does it state that if you don't wish to do this, then just insert the foam and you never have to worry with it again if you don't want to.

Furthermore, the weight savings of eliminating the velcro closures is approximately one ounce. Hardly a weight penalty for the flexibility they provide. There are no manufacturing costs for this feature. Removing them wouldn't affect the manufacturing cost at all.

As an aside, foam does compress and flatten out over time. Again, we provide flexibility by allowing the foam to be replaced when it does wear out, rather than the pack becoming using useless or uncomfortable to wear.

Regarding the “Small map/permit/sundries pocket (right side)”, does a reader of the review really need to know how one person interprets that feature? Nowhere on our website does it state that this pocket is internal. However, in the Specifications grid in the review, this pocket is listed as "map pocket inside", as one of the Features. Wishful thinking, I presume.

The shoulder strap pocket in development that is mentioned in the review is just that; a shoulder strap pocket. It won't be a sternum strap pocket, nor do I foresee us making one in the near future.

As a clarification to your forum post, Will, we have not tested with curved round stays nor have we found that a headrail was needed. They are still in development. There seems to be some misunderstanding on this point, which was clarified in the companion forum to the recent Mariposa Plus review.

The mesh we use on our pad holder on the back panel is colorfast. The manufacturer has stood by their claims of it being colorfast and by their wash tests showing no excess dye running off of the mesh. We are at a loss to explain why this seems to happen to less than 1% of our packs. I have personally worn at least 8 to 10 different Gossamer Gear packs and have never experienced this issue. We are looking at other fabrics and other pad pocket designs.

The mesh pocket stitching issue has been resolved and is no longer a problem.

This is from our website: "Gossamer Gear exists to make the lightest backpacking equipment solutions on the planet available to like-minded hikers." "Our goal is to be "lightest in class" in the equipment we carry, and to preserve the "ultra" in "ultralight"."

The "true ultralight geek" is our core customer. We are, however, starting to meet the needs of the "transitional" hiker by adding options and/or producing gear that is a little heavier. It's been stated on BPL forums before that we have been testing with various removable stay options that are curved and bendable but we haven't found the correct solution yet. When that happens, they will be available to geeks and transitionals alike. In the future, if you have a question regarding our motives, decisions and/or future direction, please email us directly and we'll gladly respond. That is much better than speculating and generating assumptions, IMHO. ;-)

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Clarifications on 11/28/2007 17:44:25 MST Print View

Wow! did someone have too much coffee today!
Jeff, my comment about the stays was and is nothing more than an observation about the stays you do use and the creative ingenuity which most of us bring to owning and using lightweight and ultra-lightweight gear. Most of us have adapted and modified at least one piece of gear we currently own to meet a perceived need or vision. We also do a lot of speculating both good and bad about gear. Read any review on this site and the forum posts are uniformly of this type. We tell others of our use of the reviewed item, and we tell others of the changes we anticipate making or have made to the gear on review.

Most of Will's subjective comments are clearly and obviously subjective. He does not hide what he likes and dislikes not does he waffle about design improvements he would like to see. That is by its very nature a subjective issue. A review is a personal reaction to something framed by experience and knowledge and presented as such. You may not agree that some of the features of your pack are "old school" but someone else and maybe more than just a few may feel otherwise. If you disagree with that point then a forum post stating you don't think it is "out moded" would have been appropriate. But asking Will or any of us to not make that kind of comment is out of bounds.

Back to the stays issue. It has been observed that more than a few see the carbon rods as a problem. Glad to see that you are looking at options that may include a flexible stay. Some of us are clearly not going to wait for your solution and will create their own adaptations, including bamboo. Someone is going to find a way to address this issue successfully and that person will share it with the rest of us and many will then adopt that solution. And you may learn a thing or two in the process from these adaptations. Would you want to stop that evolutionary process?

You make great products. They can be improved and sometimes that comes from outside your company.

Ron D
(dillonr) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Re: Clarifications on 11/28/2007 19:26:34 MST Print View

Jeff - Speaking as a happy Mariposa owner and long term Gossamer Gear customer, you need to lighten up. The review wasn't out of bounds and as a paid subscriber to BPL I look for subjective assessments from experienced reviewers as well as purely factual data.

Edited by dillonr on 11/28/2007 19:27:34 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Clarifications on 11/28/2007 19:30:18 MST Print View

It's always a bad idea for the manufacturer to come on a board and get defensive about their gear.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: Clarifications on 11/28/2007 21:09:15 MST Print View


doesnt look good like that.

Jeff, I would see the comments as positives rather than negatives. Everyone on BPL knows and respects the GG gear for what its worth. But nothing is perfect. I've yet to see a gear review yet that doesn't point out something that the reviewer would like to see ommitted/changed/reviewed/altered/added in some way. And while alot of these things are personal preferences...the reviewers on BPL are trying to make a subjective interpretation that they feel will be useful to the BPL community.

Probably would have been better if you acknowledged the problems and mentioned; like you did with the stays, that you are working on them. Everyone respects that.

Shahrin Bin Shariff
(zzmelayu) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Table Mountain
Re: Clarifications on 11/28/2007 22:53:30 MST Print View

If you don't like using clothing or other articles in the shoulder strap and hip belt, then simply place the foam in them and you never have to open the velcro closures if you don't wish to. The closures are not outdated, as they provide flexibility to the user by allowing the practice of "multi-use gear", which is a tenet of Ultralight Backpacking.

I agree. I bought 2 packs and love the option. My wife prefers the GG foam. I prefer to insert my heavy-duty Smartwool (skiing) sleep socks. I wrap the socks in light-duty garbage bags to keep them dry and to avoid being annoyed by the velcro.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Clarifications on 11/29/2007 06:34:46 MST Print View

While I'm not trying to stir the pot here, I think Jeff's comments are a welcome addition to the thread for someone (like me) who has never used this pack. Perhaps, to some, the comments could have been worded differently. I think the post shows that he takes pride in his work - I'm assuming he owns/works GG?
Pushing the padding pocket issue aside (minor issue IMO), a concern I have would be the pack staining my clothes. Given the nature of how most of us treat our gear (like newborns), and the price of some of it, this would be unacceptable to "me".

Edited by Steve_Evans on 11/29/2007 06:35:30 MST.

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
stains on 11/29/2007 07:18:32 MST Print View

I love my Miniposa; it was a great pack for a hot, hot week in Hells Canyon, Oregon when I carried 25 pounds (much of it water). The pack did stain my brand new $65 Railriders shirt badly in only a couple of hours; I was not too happy about that. I am wearing the shirt in my avatar picture, and the back of the white shirt is really bad. Other than the staining, the pack is fantastic.

Edited by gungadin on 11/29/2007 07:20:36 MST.

Dave Heiss

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Fabric staining on 11/29/2007 16:25:27 MST Print View

I don't think the Mariposa line is the only pack out there that's responsible for staining a hiker's shirt or pants. I for one have a Granite Gear pack with the Vapor suspension and the shoulder straps have really stained my nylon shirt and pants. Perhaps I'm one of the lucky few with odd body chemistry (hmmm, I feel normal), but trust me - it's not just Gossamer Gear's problem.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Fabric staining on 11/29/2007 17:45:23 MST Print View

I have a red Patagonia Friction belt that stained my pants in the back. The fact that I sweat a lot probably didn't help at all. Fortunately I always wear the belt when I wear the pants so its not noticeable until I pull the belt out to wash them. But yea, its definitely not just a GG problem.


Greg Vaillancourt
(GSV45) - F

Locale: Utah
Don't change your style Will on 11/29/2007 19:43:54 MST Print View

Will is the best reviewer on this site. His articles were a major reason I renewed my subscription.

Jeff Sharp
(tsjeffery) - F

Locale: Blue Ridge
clarifying the clarifications on 11/30/2007 11:36:44 MST Print View

I was attempting to bring to light an issue that has been discussed on these forums before. The pad pocket issue itself was not the point of the post. Thanx to those who got that. I, for one, pay a membership fee to read unbiased, factually accurate reviews and articles, filled with lots of technical data, about ultralight gear. Or so I thought. I was voicing my frustration and wondered if others shared in that. The only reason I chose this particular review/forum to do that, which may look suspect to some, was because I am intimately familiar with this product since I helped produce and test it and I could see both sides of the coin. I would expect to see certain types of comments in this review in the other sections of this site, such as the Gear Forums (i.e. Ron Bell's wish-list post a few weeks ago) or Reader Reviews section or maybe on retailer websites that allows customers to post reviews about products they've purchased, but not here. I guess I hold the BPL review staff to a higher standard and maybe that's wrong.

The other point to my post was to correct some inaccuracies and provide further information so that people reading this would be better informed. That's the reason this site exists, right? I don't need to defend this or any other piece of gear that we or anyone else makes. Gear speaks for itself and says different things to different people. To some it says, "I'm your new best friend" and to others it says, "We're not a good match. You should look elsewhere". But that ultimately comes from the gear itself and not from anyone's comments.

(Disclaimer: I don't drink coffee nor do I condone its excessive use while sitting behind a keyboard or while operating heavy machinery.)