Rating: 5 / 5
What do you get when you cross an UL pack with a feature-rich, Thru-Hike capable internal frame pack? Why,...the GossamerGear Mariposa, of course!
Feature rich (external pad pocket, 4 ext. mesh pockets, thin "padding" pockets in the shoulder straps and hip belts, bladder pocket and twin hydration ports, top compression/bear canister-retaining strap, bungee compression, plus a sternum strap with integrated whistle). What?...only 16oz? yes,...and still "fat free"! you gotta' be kiddin'!! what will Glen think of next?!!
Robust enough for a Thru-Hike (no bushwacking please). Sized just right for an extended outing.
i can't say enough good things about this pack. once you get the suspension set properly (this consists of selecting the proper padding for the shoulder straps and hip belts - or you could just use the included, removable foam inserts), and packing/loading it just right (important since the two CF internal stays can't be bent to conform to your back like Al bars can), this pack will easily carry 25lb IME (in my experience), with 30lb being "doable" the first day out until some food is consumed. given my current UL "kit" this fully loaded pack wt would only come about due to a lengthy out requiring more food, or in a very arid environment requiring that a lot of water is carried. at this point, i haven't had the opportunity to truly appreciate this aspect of the pack. i've just loaded it up with extra water bottles to "test" it at 25+lb for day hikes/weekend excursions.
since the CF stays are unbendable, this pack, if not packed properly, can develop a very small amount of backwards lean to it. this could result in the wearer over-tightening the shoulder straps in order to compensate. myself and two others have found, via experimentation, that if the weight is packed a bit lower, keeping the heaviest items below the shoulder blades, while still trying to keep the heaviest items as close to the small of the back as possible, that the backward lean is minimized, resulting in the shoulder straps not requiring as much tighting/cinching-down. YMMV depending upon the terrain you're hiking (climbing vs. trekking over uneven terrain, for instance), the make-up of your gear kit, and the fully loaded base pack wt. [Note: this ReaderReview is the wrong place to go into detail on this subject.]
the backpacking gang where i work, don't (sic) think much of UL - pity them!! now, their ideas may change thanks to this pack. my boss's first, and only piece (to date) of UL gear is the Mariposa pack. he liked mine (a gift from a good friend and a kind and generous man, thanks again GR) so much, he got one himself. he can't believe anything so light can be so strong and so well made and still have all of its features. he's in his early 60's and is a burly, robust individual (just under 6ft), built like a "bear", and has no trouble hauling 30lb around in it. this pack can take it. he uses the included removable foam pads in the shoulder straps and hip-belt pocket.
no durability issues have surfaced yet for anyone with whom i am acquainted who uses this pack.
my actual rating for the Mariposa would be more like 4.85 or 4.9 due to the unbendable CF stays which while light and strong enough, seem to make a little more forethought required when loading this pack.