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

Locale: South Texas
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus Backpack REVIEW on 09/11/2007 20:32:12 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus Backpack REVIEW

Ed Jones
(cowboy) - F
Mariposa Pack Review on 09/11/2007 23:48:43 MDT Print View

I have found that by removing the 2 stays, the pack fits my back more comfortably and I have no loss of weight distribution, even at 25# load range--The Bear Vault will fit vertically inside the pack as well, but it is tight. By storing gloves or socks in the shoulder straps, they are less likely to cut into my neck, and are more round in shape. Emergency items (credit card, DL) fit nicely in the small end of the strap pouch, but the velcro will snag the sock or glove. Overall--very high rating

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Can carry bear can outside but ... on 09/12/2007 00:17:27 MDT Print View

I've carried both the traditional Garcia bear can and a Bear Vault (BV200) on my Mariposa Plus, not just by putting them under the "Y" strap --- I wouldn't feel secure with that. One can purchase a cover for the Garcia, and using that, it can be sufficiently secured. I used an old Army sleeping bag cover for the Bear Vault, but anything that secures tightly to the can and then can be in turn really secured to the pack would work. In both cases I put the covered-can under the "Y" strap, but connected the "Y" strap to the cover.

My wife and I both use a pretty cheap after-market pouch we bought via Campmor on the waist belt --- we transitioned from ULA packs and agree that a waist pouch (or two) is/are nice.

The one minor issue I have is that I would like the chest strap to tighten more than it can; a little stitchery will likely fix that, I just haven't gotten around to it.

I definitely agree that this is a great pack.

Gerry Brucia
(taedawood) - MLife

Locale: Louisiana, USA
Mariposa Plus Comments on 09/12/2007 06:12:03 MDT Print View

I too had problems with the mesh pocket seams tearing. But other than that, I loved the pack during a two week trip earlier this summer. I found that my Thermarest Prolite 3 worked fine as long as it was completely deflated.

Grant at Gossamer Gear has indicated to me that they plan on offering accessory waistbelt pockets sometime this fall that can be attached to the existing waistbelts. That will help tremendously. During my hike, I swapped my ULA P2 waistbelt for the Plus waistbelt so I could have pockets.

Gregory Doggett
(Gregory) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Mariposa is plenty big for a bear canister on 09/12/2007 07:53:09 MDT Print View

When evaluating several packs for a JMT thru-hike I found I could load a BearVault vertically in my standard '06 Mariposa and still get a medium size Nano fabric stuff sack with clothing in it down one side of the pack and stuff my Patagonia Micropuff down the other side and around the front of the pack effectively padding the bear canister and protecting the silnylon pack fabric. This was while using a BMW Torsolite in the outside pad sleeves.
The '06 Mariposa is quite large enough for a bear canister.
I didn't get to do the JMT but my hiking buddy left Muir Trail Ranch with his bear canister and 9 days of food in his '06 Mariposa Plus.
So unless GG has significantly reduced the volume of the '07 Mariposa's, the will handle a bear canister just fine.

Frank Perkins

Locale: North East
Re: Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus Backpack REVIEW on 09/12/2007 08:16:32 MDT Print View

Is the belt pocket included as show in this pic in the upper right:

I didn't see any reference of the belt pocket on the GG website.

Edited by fperkins on 09/12/2007 08:17:09 MDT.

Gregory Doggett
(Gregory) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
P.S. on 09/12/2007 08:54:48 MDT Print View

The pack I ended up choosing for the JMT hike was an '07 SMD Comet.
I could pack it the same way I did the Mariposa with a Gossamer Gear Nightlight pad cut to 36" and unrolled INSIDE the pack. The edges of the pad just barely touching each other. The Comet has a good bit more girth to it than the Mariposa.
The other factors that made me choose the Comet were the bendable aluminum stays because of their customizable fit, the "load lifter" straps because they pulled the top of the pack closer to my back and the way the hipbelt wrapped around my pelvis. Although these features added weight to the pack they made the percieved weight of the pack less, due to the improved fit.
Like Will I would say replacing the straight carbon fiber stays with curved ones, whatever the material, would be a big leap forward in the Mariposa's design.
Ditto on the velcroed shoulder and hip belt.
I used spare clothing as shoulder/hipbelt padding in my earliest GVP Gear packs but, after the novelty wore off, went back to using foam padding. Except with a thinner 1/4" thickness in the shoulder straps. All that daily ripping open, stuffing and unstuffing and restuffing became a real pain in the butt.
I like the Mariposa best as a frameless ultralite pack for 2 or 3 day winter camping where my gear is bulkier but the weight doesn't exceed 15 or so pounds.
The Mariposa is my wife's favorite pack, with a Prolite 4 short unrolled in the interior, the stays installed and a Nightlight sit pad in the exterior pad sleeve.
She really likes the extra volume so she can load her sleeping bag and any other high loft garmets unstuffed.
She doesn't notice the pack riding too far from her back due to the straight stays and when I pointed this out to her replied "NO! You are not buying me another pack!"
Sometimes stuff only bothers people after they learn that its supposed to.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Mariposa on 09/12/2007 09:03:09 MDT Print View

Had two different versions of this pack over the years. Think that this might be something that I might re-invest in. Great review too. The only complaint that I have with the pack is the shoulder straps. Otherwise the load carrying and comfort (sans straps) is quite nice. The size of the pack is perfect. Extra pockets make this a strong candidate for my next pack in the next few weeks

Daniel Richardson
(drichardson23) - F

Locale: Wasatch
edited on 09/12/2007 10:01:25 MDT Print View

This post has been corrected and removed.

Edited by drichardson23 on 09/12/2007 15:42:47 MDT.

Jeff Sharp
(tsjeffery) - F

Locale: Blue Ridge
Updates/Corrections from Gossamer Gear on 09/12/2007 11:41:20 MDT Print View

Thanx for the great review Will. I just wanted to clarify and correct a few things I noticed in the review, as well as give an update on upcoming developments on things that Will pointed out were lacking in the current design/model.

It was stated in the review that the current Mariposa Plus has an internal map pocket. This is incorrect. We have been discussing putting something like a map pocket on the inside of the pack but we have not instituted that feature yet and don't have plans to in the near future.

In the caption under the picture of the G4, Mariposa Plus and Six Moon Designs Comet, it states that the specified volume of the G4 and the Plus are the same at 4200ci. This is also incorrect. If you check our website you will see that the volume of the G4 is specified as 4600ci (3100ci in the main pack body, 600ci in the extension collar and 900ci in the outside pockets).

We have been evaluating other stay options for the past year and are close to developing a new system. This won't be available until next Spring at the earliest.

We will be coming out with removable waist belt pockets and shoulder strap pockets in early to mid winter. The pockets won't be specific to Gossamer Gear packs and can be used on any backpack. The waist belt pockets will be offered in three sizes and the shoulder strap pockets in one size. The shoulder strap pockets will fit onto the shoulder strap with two velcro attachments, rather than attaching to the sternum strap. This will allow you to carry slightly more weight (more weight! horrors!) in them without compromising the function of the sternum strap.

We have chosen to stay with the removable waist belt and shoulder strap padding for the simple reason that the foam padding compresses over time and loses it's cushion. The velcro openings allows backpackers to replace the padding when this inevitably occurs.

Finally, as Will pointed out, the stitching issues around the top of the mesh pockets have been resolved. If anyone has a problem with the stitching coming loose, please send it back to us and we'll repair it at no charge.

Jessen Jacobsen
(SmokiesHanger) - F

Locale: Boulder
belt pockets on 09/12/2007 12:45:19 MDT Print View

So from my understanding, I could buy the Miniposa now and get the belt pockets later?

matthew murphy
(bern0416) - F

Locale: Texas
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus on 09/12/2007 12:47:40 MDT Print View

Great review. I love this pack as well. I have the 2006 version. I find it very versatile in regards to load weight carried and size of load carried.
I have have used with upwards of 30 pounds
in it and been comfortable.
I have used it with small light loads and was able to
cinch the pack tightly for a comfortable fit.

My brother used it to hike in to the Wetterhorn Peak basin
and then used it as his summit pack.
The materials held up very well, even during the descent
when the pack was scraping heavily along the two class 3 pitches.No tears in the ripstop.

The only problem I had was a stitching issue with the
hydration sleeve. My son was putting gear in the pack
and the hyadration sleeve tore free from the body and left a 5 inch rip through the ripstop. This was most likely a result of my son not paying attention and forcing something.It was an easy fix and the pack continues to serve me well.

Edited by bern0416 on 09/12/2007 13:05:45 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Mariposa on 09/12/2007 17:16:52 MDT Print View

Just bought one a minute ago. Ummm wife does not know though!! I wanted another pack for multi days with that volume. I use a Granite Gear Vapor Trail but this should get some extended work as well!

robert courson
(bertcourson) - M

Locale: lake michigan
my mariposa plus on 09/12/2007 17:56:06 MDT Print View

I hiked the SNP with the Mariposa + this past June. The low weight of the pack is all you need to know. To prevent "sweaty back I did not put anything in the area where you are supposed to put a pad of some sort. What I did was use some foam squares (really small) at the four points of contact: shoulders and hips. This allowed a breeze on my back some of the time! The hot back has always been a concern as I tend to backpack during the summer months. I am a teacher. I really like this pack and hope to be able to put some stays in it so the pack is closer at my shoulders. I have four packs and like this best, even over the Osprey Atmos, which is impossible for me to figure out how to carry a water bottle. later,

Jeff Sharp
(tsjeffery) - F

Locale: Blue Ridge
Re: belt pockets on 09/13/2007 10:17:14 MDT Print View

That's correct.

Regarding stays that allow you to bend them to fit your back/torso, aluminum bar stock works the best. But it also adds the most weight out of all the materials we've tested. You can find aluminum bar stock at your local Home Depot or Lowe's.

Edited by tsjeffery on 09/13/2007 10:19:34 MDT.

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus Backpack REVIEW on 09/13/2007 13:11:31 MDT Print View

My experiences, including the mesh tearing at the edges of the elastic, totally mirror Will's conclusions in his excellent review. A few other things of note:

- I wrote this post about adding my own custom hipbelts to the Mariposa; in the field it worked great.
- My Mariposa's pad sleeves permanently stained a white (of course, it HAD to be white...grr...) Icebreaker wool top that I wore with it. Grant from Gossamer Gear reports that most of the units they ship have totally colorfast ink, but that a small number of users are reporting non-colorfastness on the pad sleeves. He chalked it up (having to take a guess) to sweat composition and individual biochemistry...unless I have acid for blood I'm not sure that's enough to make textile dyes run. He recommends soaking the pack to leach out the excess dye.

The backwards lean is, indeed, the pack's primary failing. However, it's really not that bad at 20 pounds or less (for me). It's a great pack, and despite its drawbacks (no product is perfect), it's perhaps my favorite backpack.

dave hollin
(backpackbrewer) - F

Locale: Deepest darkest Wales, boyo
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus Backpack REVIEW on 09/14/2007 19:34:25 MDT Print View

agree about the carbon stays. I always remove mine as I find the rigidity with them in too uncomfortable. And in any case by taking them out it encourages you to be ruthless with the packing!

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
GG Mariposa + Carbon Stays on 09/14/2007 21:45:41 MDT Print View

How hard would it be to get a carbon fiber stay made that had some degree or bend built into it?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: GG Mariposa + Carbon Stays on 09/15/2007 00:37:00 MDT Print View


I'm just thinking out loud here...

Even if the carbon fiber stays were bendable, I really doubt they can maintain the shape of the pack's back -- given how thin they are. More likely, the two thin tubes will simply twist sideways... giving essentially zero effect.

A pair of bendable stays would need to be flat -- and also wide and strong enough to force the pack's back to conform to the shape of the stays when everything is cinched tight. I think that will be adding a lot of weight to the pack.

If one wants a real frame to add some form and rigidity to the pack -- but not 100% straight up -- then a partial HDPE framesheet plus peripheral fiberglass hoops used by some pack makers may be a better answer then slipping in two metal stays in the middle. Again, just thinking out loud.

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
Re: Re: GG Mariposa + Carbon Stays on 09/15/2007 04:51:46 MDT Print View

If anyone remembers, theres a post of the condensation tents article, about using the BD light sabre poles as stays for SMD starlite.