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GossamerGear Mariposa

in Backpacks - Internal Frame

Average Rating
4.20 / 5 (5 reviews)

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Matthew Robinson
( mcjhrobinson )

Waaay West
GossamerGear Mariposa on 03/13/2008 18:38:46 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The GG Mariposa is one sweet pack. It's super light, has a frame (I got a bad back), and has room for the kitchen sink. I'm currently using it on my car-trip from San Jose to the Keys and back, and then Alaska. I've used it on a 3 day backcountry trip of the Grand Canyon. I honestly can't say a bad thing about it, the weight is awesome the pockets are great. However (there's always a however), there are a few things I would change:

-the bladder needs a hook to actually attach the bladder, it sometimes sags.

-the piece of fabric holding the lower part of the Y clip has too much stress if the pull is too close to it. which causes it to tear from the bag! (i solved this by just cutting it off)

-the hip pockets are nice but the zippers are hard to open/close with gloves on.

Other than that I love it. As with all silnylon products you can just throw them around as they don't have the durability of Dyneema, but for the price, fit and size it's a great deal! I will be updating the review as time goes on. Also here's a link from the manufacturer: Mariposa

Edited by mcjhrobinson on 03/26/2008 19:22:27 MDT.

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Keith Selbo
( herman666 - M )

Northern Virginia
Lightest full sized pack I could find on 04/20/2009 20:00:21 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have to qualify this review by saying I've only owned one other pack, a 65 liter Marmot internal frame pack, so I don't have a lot of experience. The Marmot was heavy and by my third day on the trail with it, it was hurting my sacrum so badly I had to interpose my trash bag between the pack and me just to be able to carry it.

I haven't experienced any of the problems that the first reviewer spoke of. The only problem I found was the two carbon rods that act as stays poked through their retaining strips on a 50 mile hike.

It turned out that I was wearing the pack too loosely and it was bouncing. I repaired the retaining strips and tightened the straps and haven't had a recurrence.

I did not purchase the strap pockets. I prefer a waist pack that I can keep on when I doff the pack. Aside from the lightness, I would say the best feature of this pack is the huge outside pockets. I keep everything I'll need during the day in them for ready access. It seemed I was always rummaging around the Marmot's many opaque cavities to find one thing or the other. The see through mesh on the Mariposa makes things super easy to find.

Another stroke of genius is the pad compartment. The pack comes with a foam pad, but it's removeable. I replaced it with my Thermarest 3/4 length prolite 3 folded into thirds. I save on weight and I have a very cushy, adjustable pad between me and the pack. The people at Gossamer gear have been very responsive to my inquiries and suggestions.

update: Gossamer Gear has updated the Mariposa Plus frame, replacing twin carbon fiber rod stays with a single u shaped aluminum rod that is contoured so the pack conforms better to the wearer's back. I installed one and took it on a 2 day hike, starting load 30lb. I felt pretty good with it for the duration of the hike.

update: After 3 years I downrated this pack to a 4. It's still my pack of choice for over nighters, but like other internal frame packs with removable belts, the link between belt and frame is not stiff enough keep the load off the shoulders. I think it reduces the comfortable load by five pounds. Personally I think GG should offer a non-removable belt option that solves this problem. As it is, I had to add an extra pound of weight in the form of an Osprey Exos to be able to carry the heavier loads that a week on the trail in winter requires. If the frame was more tightly coupled to the belt, I think the Mariposa could do the job without the extra pound. I'll review the Exos when I have more experience with it. I will say I liked the stow and go pole holster and the bed roll loops on the Exos so much I copied them on my Mariposa.

Edited by herman666 on 01/30/2011 19:02:49 MST.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Therm-a-Rest ProLite - Women's priced at: $57.34 - $119.95
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Brian Gunney
( gunney )

Northern California
Very comfortable and functional on 11/22/2009 12:20:29 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have the Mariposa Plus with curved stays.

Far more comfortable than packs four times its weight. I was hesitant to try a pack without load lifter straps, since I used them often to find a comfortable setting. I didn't have to be concerned. I found the waist belt and shoulder straps to be perfectly comfortable with socks stuffed into the shoulder straps. Inserting and removing socks is a bit tedious because the socks snag on the closure hooks. The closure also pins the optional shoulder pockets in position, so the pockets can slip out when manipulating the socks--a minor annoyance.

The pack very comfortable to have on and carry for long days. The design is highly functional, with many pockets accessible with pack on. I'd prefer the left side to have an accessible pocket rather than a long deep pocket, but that's personal preference.

I had allowed the bag to fall over with a bear can inside. There's some holes in the material where the hard cannister banged into rock, but the damage is minor at worst and perhaps only cosmetic. I learned my lesson. The bag does have to be babied, but I'm not talking about a drastic change in behavior. Just minor habit adjustments.

I surprised myself by pulling the sit-light pad out often. Very convenient and innovative feature.

I don't like carrying a 3-liter Camelbak reservoir in the internal sleve. It presses against my back to much. But that reservoir was too heavy anyway and I've done away with it.

This pack can be improved, but it's closer to a 5 rating than a 4.

Edited by gunney on 11/22/2009 12:21:47 MST.

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Jeremy Platt
( jeremy089786 )

Nice pack, but not so practical in Aus on 08/17/2010 05:30:01 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have had this pack for a couple of months now and I do really like it but I find for me it has just too many little problems to justify giving it a 5. I will start with some good points - it is super light, the pockets make organisation alot easier, the back padding is very comfortable and the ability to add your mat in is handy and it is relatively comfortable.

the bad - The first time I used this bag a tough shrub busted a hole in the side netting. Also without a bear canister (drop bears aren't as aggresive as grizzlies) I don't find the compression adequate unless you really fill the pack to full volume and am not sold on the central attachment of the compression strap as it interferes with access to the middle pocket. Also, when the pack is not full heavy loads rub against the bottom of the back.

In summary then it seems like this is a really nice pack however really just is not practical if you are looking to battle through scrub and don't use a bear canister.

Edited by jeremy089786 on 09/02/2010 03:54:08 MDT.

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Stamati Anagnostou
( yeoldehipster )

New England
Good on the whole, but some details are off. on 11/23/2011 12:24:37 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

My Mariposa Plus has been on 24 miles of the Florida Trail, through numerous hikes in the Coast Range of Alaska, on some fishing trips and day hikes around Juneau, through 35 miles of the Wonderland Trail, to Redwood NP, to the Rattlesnake Wilderness with the Montana Conservation Corps for four days of trail work, and it has carried all of my gear for traveling between those places. I've strapped firewood to the top of it and carried 40lbs in it throughout downtown Seattle (my camera gear and clothing and so forth, no firewood :D). I have practically lived out of this thing for the last 5 months and I have actually lived out of it for the last 1.5 months. It has been my travel pack and my hiking pack. So, I've got a few things to say.

First of all, I am VERY surprised by how durable this thing is. I've managed to put a hole or two in it, I think from campfire and/or abrasion, and I left some chocolate in one of the mesh pockets and mice chewed through it. Other than that and some dirt scuffs, it is in good condition. Secondly, this pack can hold a lot- far more than I need for even a 3 or 4 day trip in cold and rainy conditions. And as we all know, the Mari Plus is quite light. All my friends are amazed. On a weekend 30 mile ridgeline traverse in Juneau, my two buds were afflicted with sore knees, whereas I, the weakest one, had no problems at all due largely I imagine to the very small weight I had on my back. This pattern popped up all summer on our hikes. I don't imagine I could have done 35 miles of the Wonderland in 2.5 days in my condition with any load heavier than what I had (which was about 22lbs according to the Ranger Station scale. That's a 6lb base,12lb food(intended for the whole 93mi.), and 4lb water). I really like the bladder pocket and use it a lot in conjunction with my Platy bladder. The side pockets are accessible with the pack on (yes, even the tall one if what you need is on top and you're flexible/lazy) and the top compression strap does a decent enough job of holding a bear canister, drybag, camera bag, or probably whatever container you feel like sticking up there. Every pack should have the V-shaped compression strap of the Mari Plus. I use the top and bottom loops to haul the thing around, and I keep a bracelet I bought while on acid on the bottom one, for good luck I guess. The pack fabric is decently water-resistant. Also, the curved stay does a fantastic job of keeping the pack very steady and close to the back, when it is positioned properly (see below).

The curved stay is intended to be removable, and so they slide in to channels and are held at the top by velcro. Having seen a video of this it seemed fine. But when I received my pack I noticed the velcro straps were much smaller on my pack than on the one in the video-and I mean TINY. I felt that they wouldn't be strong enough. My suspicions were validated when I noticed that the straps consistently came undone when I put any weight at all in the pack. This caused the stay to slide upwards effectively negating its positive effect on weight distribution and stabilization. This was very annoying. I hadn't fixed this problem by the time I did my Wonderland hike and the pack struggled HARD to carry my 22lbs comfortably, which it didn't do at all actually. I was really disheartened by that. It's my own fault it took me so long to fix it, which I did simply by sewing the straps together. The stay no longer moves, but now I can't remove it without cutting the retainers off. I think this is a CRUCIAL detail as the curved stay is rather the selling point of this pack, in my opinion. I'm very surprised Gossamer Gear let a product out the door with a problem like this. Keith also points out the linkage between the belt and frame and I second his opinion there.

I'm giving this pack a 3/5, it's lowest rating yet largely due to the humongous oversight regarding the stay. But, even with that I thought about giving it a 4 until I thought, "Gee, even with all the fun I've had with this thing, I wouldn't hesitate to chuck it right out and buy a pack that carried weight a little better." That's saying something from a guy who gets pretty connected to his gear. The Mari Plus has been a workhorse for me, but somehow I just haven't felt a good connection with it. I think that the Mari Plus gets the job done, but doesn't shine in any particular way. That being said, if those subjective things don't really matter to you, go ahead and up it to a solid 4/5.

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