I prefer to use a hammock, so often I have no sleeping pad, although I sometimes carry a 2-section Z-Rest (20"x10") as a sit-pad or I might carry a GG ThinLight pad as hammock insulation. I wondered how well a Gossamer Gear pack would work with no pad, or a minimal pad, in the back pad-holder. I'm pasting below my e-mail to Gossamer Gear and the response, in hopes that this information is be useful to others who also don't carry a sleeping pad, or whose sleeping pad won't fit in a GG pack's pad-holder.
From: Douglas Frick
Subject: Mariposa Plus: a few questions
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 4:01 PM
I'm considering purchasing a medium/large Mariposa Plus backpack. I often use a hammock, so I don't carry a sleeping pad. I notice that you recommend a Z-Lite pad cut down to six sections. Assuming that I'm also using the stays, what is the minimum number of sections that will give effective bag and back-mesh support: would two sections of Z-Lite be sufficient? If not, then would four?
[One section of Z-Rest measures 20"x5"; thus, it takes two sections to span the pad-holder area.]
Instead of inserting a sleeping pad in the back of the pack, would a Wide (or Wide/Long) 1/8" ThinLight insulation pad unrolled in the packbag give it sufficient shape? Is the packbag at least 30" tall without involving the expansion collar?
[The Wide ThinLight is 29" wide; the Wide/Long ThinLight is 30" wide.]
Thanks in advance. I'll post your response on BackPackingLight.com, since there are probably others who would be interested.
From: Grant Sible
To: Douglas Frick
Subject: RE: Mariposa Plus: a few questions
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2006 12:14:22 -0500
1. You've got many options with the Mariposa line, or with the G4 or G5 as well. In the outside pad holder you can use a cut down Z-lite, 2 sections is enough for me but 4 works and so does six. If you put too many in it holds the pack too far off of your back IMHO. You can also use our torso pad or a single section of one (my preference). You can also use a therma-rest minimally inflated and folded. Some people don't put anything in there at all and just pack carefully. Again, I personally prefer a single section nightlight torso pad or a cut down Z-Lite because it keeps the pack close to my body, gives some shape/cushion, and the convoluted shape of these pads helps with sweat evaporation. Plus this pad can be used to sit on in camp or on breaks and makes the base of my pillow or extends whatever pad I'm sleeping on.
2. the pack body without the extension collar is about 25 1/2". So, while rolling up a pad and putting it inside the pack in a tube works and many customers do it the wide/long would be a bit long for that unless you used the extension collar maxed out. This is more commonly done with our 3/8 thinlight, 3/4 nightlight, or any other longer and bulkier pad.
Thanks, and thanks for the heads up on posting this, greatly appreciated.
I hope others who are considering a GG pack find this useful. (I ordered the Mariposa Plus.)