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Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa
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Todd Lougee
Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa on 07/24/2012 12:49:46 MDT Print View

I am looking for some advice on what light weight ( around 2 pounds ) backpack to buy for 2 to 5 day hikes in the White Mountains. I ordered a Gorilla but found the main pocket to be much too small to fit my tent ( a TT Stratospire 2 ), Sleeping Bag, NeoAir Xlite, clothing and food. I am considering the GG Crown VC 60 and the new Mariposa. I am really impressed with the suspension on the Gorilla which seems much more sturdy than the Crown and I also really like the materials they use on the Gorilla. The Crown seems to have nice padding on the shoulder harness and hip belt and I love the big main pocket which is my main concern on the Mariposa which lists the main pocket as 2860 ci with the extension collar. I have also looked at the Starlite from Six Moons Designs but it requires a sleeping pad for support and I have read it does not carry as well as some of these other packs. I have also considered the Jam 70 from GoLite which are cheap but out of stock.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa on 07/24/2012 13:46:51 MDT Print View

When I use my Gorilla, I stand the tent vertically in the side pocket.

Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Re: Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa on 07/24/2012 13:56:58 MDT Print View

The 2012 Mariposa is a really nice pack. Well made, great materials, better-than-most price. It is volumeous and rides well. Less then two pounds easily. Don't think twice about it...get a Mariposa. If you hate it, return it within 30-days, but I think you'll keep it.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa on 07/24/2012 14:12:39 MDT Print View

I'm surprised you can't fit that gear into a Gorilla. I have one, and it works for all but winter trips, even if I take a TT Scarp 2. That's for 3 days though. Are you using a synthetic bag?

Todd Lougee
Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa on 07/24/2012 15:18:47 MDT Print View

Thanks for everyone's input! As to fitting everything into the Gorilla I prefer to have my tent, sleeping bag, clothes, and sleeping pad in the main compartment which is a tight fit in the Gorilla. My summer bag is a down bag from, EMS but I also want to be able to fit a 20 degree bag in there for spring and fall trips. I don't expect to be able to fit enough gear in there for winter trips, but maybe I can in the Mariposa. I am generally carrying the majority of the gear for family trips and also need some excess capacity when other people need me to take some weight out of their packs. With the Gorilla I had very little room left over after putting my tent, sleeping bag, and pad.

Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - MLife

Locale: New Zealand
Consider the HMG Porter on 07/24/2012 15:44:03 MDT Print View

It appears to offer what you are looking for.

Mike H
Just picked up a Mariposa myself on 07/24/2012 18:17:15 MDT Print View

I'm debating a similar pack setup. Currently I have a Granite Gear Blaze AC 60, which is a more robust version of the Crown AC 60. I tried to switch to the the Crown, but found my torso fit somewhere in-between regular and long.

To give you an idea of my needs, I've steadily moved my 3 season base weight down to about 14 lbs excluding pack, which consists of a tarptent SS2, down quilt, Caldera 2qt system, GG pad and neoair short etc. On a 4 day trip, I find that my packed weight can start as high as 30+ lbs when fully loading up on water (4L). I usually take most of the group gear to make sure my girlfriend has a great time on the trail!

I have found the Granite Gear suspension system to be incredibly comfortable and rigid, and the load lifters offer a great way to move weight between the shoulders and hips. Unfortunately, the Blaze weighs around 50 Oz with hip belt pockets, so I've been actively seeking a lighter pack that fits and distributes weight well, while maintaining the capability of packing > 50 L.

I just received a Mariposa yesterday, which I have so far found to be much less rigid. In particular, it seems the hip belt system becomes inadequate after the pack becomes sufficiently loaded. The stays distribute the downward force to the fabric at the bottom of the pack, rather than to the belt like the GraniteGear system. The belt is only connected to the pack via a single hefty Velcro attachment, which seems to allow the belt to "curl" and not uniformly receive the weight. The overall sensation is the bag sagging more, and thus putting more of the weight on your shoulders. It does not seem to move with you, which I think is important when climbing fairly technical terrain like you see in the whites. The load lifters are quite curious, since the attachment point to the pack is some fabric on the hood rather than the rigid frame. I can see how the load lifters might do "something" to pull the pack closer, but nothing like they would if connected to the frame.

I do think the Mariposa is very comfortable with less weight, arguably more comfortable than the Granite Gear given the bent stays and soft backpad. With all this said, you might already have a good idea of the suspension since it looks very similar to the Gorilla.

I've decided to order the ULA Ohm 2.0, which looks to have a somewhat smaller capacity, but a better suspension for a similar weight (29 oz). I am a little concerned about the change in suspension between the Ohm and Ohm 2.0 (the stays no longer connect directly to the hip belt), but it seems like ULA is very well known for their pack comfort and weight bearing capability.

If you are interested in a pack around the weight of the Crown AC, you might want to check out the ULA Circuit, which at the listed weight (39 oz), might be the perfect load hauler you are looking for. I personally want something more around 30 oz, and have also considered the HMG Porter, however, the cost is greater (300 instead of 200) and I am really starting to waste a lot of money with all the back/forth shipping :)

Hope that helps!


Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Mariposa all the way on 07/24/2012 22:38:04 MDT Print View

I just got a Mariposa. It has about 25 very comfortable miles on it. The suspension is phenomenal and it's hard to believe GG got so many bells and whistles (literally) into a pack that weighs under. 27 oz. love the sit lite pad/frame. Use it all the time, sit pad for breaks, under legs at night, kneel pad for dressing in tent, getting items inside my temt from outisde. Kind of wish I got a Gorilla, but this carries well. I I don't need the extra room, I just stuff my Skyscape inside instead of in the side pocket, and put the bag in a little more loosely. I prefer it to my buddy's VC 60 I briefly tried on. That pack was nowhere near as comfortable as my old vapor trail.

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
Vapor Trail on 07/25/2012 01:13:58 MDT Print View

Speaking of the Vapor Trail, you should consider it too. Better suspension and cushier than the Crown VC. It can be trimmed pretty close to 2lbs, my long comes in at 2,4 and I left the hydration sleeve and ice axe loops intact. Can be had super cheap too .

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
fit on 07/25/2012 09:13:02 MDT Print View

which one fits u best .... decide on that ...

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: fit on 07/25/2012 09:45:37 MDT Print View


When it comes to packs, fit and carry trumps just about everything--both very basic but very personal. I have wasted far too much time and money on packs that didn't fit well because I bought into features (gimmicks, most of them) that seemed cool. I also didn't understand much of what makes packs work well then, so the only differences I could see were those silly features.

Todd Lougee
Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa on 07/25/2012 10:06:33 MDT Print View

Thanks Andrew for the tip on the Vapor Trail. I just picked up a short one for my younger son for $99 with free shipping. I am surprised to hear that it has a better and cushier suspension than the Crown VC 60. In this video the presenter makes the opposite statement but I will be able to compare them myself soon.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa on 07/25/2012 11:02:05 MDT Print View

My take after spending some time with the Crown.

-suspension is not as good as the vapor trail. Less padded length on the shoulder straps of the Crown and a less robust belt. The framesheet is no stiffer in the Crown.

-Durability. The side and front pockets snag on everything. Including velcro and small branches. Sadly, the fabric is really thin and it tears easily. One hole in front pocket, one in right side, and left side completely torn and unusable. This is on a groomed trail with hanging branches.

Understand that the Crown weighs 2 oz less than the VT but has more perceived features. You can't do that without cutting in places.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa on 07/25/2012 12:33:39 MDT Print View

I should probably chime in since I have the Crown and a 2012 Gorilla on hand (smaller, but similar to the Mariposa). For a lot of reasons, which I will get around to posting on here sooner or later (too many open trails right now!), the Crown is going back to REI after about 100-150 miles of use. I feel reasonably confident in my evaluation so far. Here's what I have found--

(1) I don't much care for the Vapor Current backpanel. It adds unnecessary weight as I don't perceive any less sweat or cooling effects. Even trampoline systems only claim to limit that by about 25% or less. Whatever benefit the Crown gets from the air channels isn't really justified by the weight. The foam is grippy, which is nice, but that's the only benefit I can see.

Also, if you try to pack it frameless, the channels actually make the torso collapse much faster as the cutouts create weak spots in the backpanel. My experience is that it will collapse regardless of weight (even when only carrying in the 12-13 pound range) at or around the 10 mile mark of the first day. Earlier for successive days in a trip as the foam seems more susceptible after an initial collapse. (I have tried a couple of foam pads in different configurations, the experience has been exactly the same with all of them.)

(2) As far as the suspension with the framesheet in, I think it is very good. I have never tried the Vapor Trail, so I can't compare. Keep that in mind. I have experienced none of the collapse mentioned above with the framesheet in. That said, because I have not carried more than 18 pounds starting out a trip, I have yet to backpack with the framesheet in, focusing mostly on figuring out how to resolve the frameless issues. It might have issues later, but the framesheet keeps enough tension on the backpanel to make me believe that it will be relatively good at least to 30 pounds if not to the full 35 spec'ed out.

I find the hipbelt to be excellent--not too much padding, not too little. That is what I will likely miss the most when I return the pack. It has molded very nicely to my body and supports all the loads I have tried in it very well.

I do agree with David, the shoulder straps are too short on the padding. They're just barely long enough. (Keep in mind that I have a 46 inch chest and like to lift and squat regularly, giving a lot of shape and mass to my back, shoulders, trapezius, and chest.)

(3) Durability has been good so far. The mesh has held up well to Glacier's brushy trails, and I took it on a good bushwack where it got one hole in the side pocket that was totally preventable. I felt it snag, was tired and frustrated, and just kept going. It sewed up very nicely and is hardly noticeable. The 100D main body shows little signs of wear, and the 210D material has no problems either.

As far as comparing it to the Gossamer Gear--I find the build quality to be much better with Granite Gear. I'm not a fan of the boxy shape of the Gorilla, as it affects how much I can fit into the pack and doesn't carry as well.. It's not a bad pack, and the aluminum stay is very nice, but it won't carry as well as the Crown unless it has a much more robust hipbelt. It's a good hipbelt for UL loads, but not much more. I also am not very impressed with the 140D Dyneema ripstop. It certainly isn't a bad fabric, but it is clearly less burly than the 210 Dyneema X. It's probably more than fine, but it's not the game-changer that so many are calling it. It's more of an issue of the hype not matching the reality rather than the fabric being poor.

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
Re: Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa on 07/26/2012 03:14:32 MDT Print View

Yeah, the statement in the video is way off IMO. Whether it's a difference in the actual framesheet or just a matter of the thicker padding, the Vapor Trail is substantially stiffer than the Crown. The padding on the VT is way thicker and cushier including on the straps/belt, and the straps and belt are physically wider/longer. The Crown has more durable fabric and more features, but that didn't sell me on the pack. I bought a Crown first and didn't like it, then bought a Vapor Trail later and absolutely love it.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Advice on Backpack: Crown VC 60 vs 2012 Mariposa on 07/26/2012 08:22:37 MDT Print View

By putting everything you have inside the pack, you're kind of circumventing the manner in which ultralight packs are made to be used. Sounds to me like more people are actually looking for a somewhat lighter, traditional pack.IF you're carrying 30-35 pounds in a Mariposa, you're definitely using the wrong tool for the job, not to mention the concept of UL.