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Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Review – The Little BIG Pack! | Average Hiker

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Feature
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Gossamer Gear Mariposa – Review

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa is a 60-liter backpack made for those who like to stay organized. This comfortable backpack carries like a larger pack, equipped with an ergonomic harness that has been progressively designed, with seven exterior pockets, and a well-padded hip belt and shoulder straps.

Even with all its pockets, the Mariposa only weighs 30.5 ounces. The lightweight aluminum frame provides good structure, and like all good ultralight equipment, it has a Sitlight Pad that serves dual roles as a back cushion or sit pad on breaks.

Gossamer Gear Review – Quick Specifications

  • Size: Medium Pack & Hipbelt
  • Total Weight: 30.5 ounces
  • Volume: 60L
  • Pack Body: 18.4 ounces
  • Pack Frame: 3 ounces
  • Max Carry Capacity: 35 Pounds
  • Sitlight Pad: 2.1 ounces
  • Add-Ons: Roll-top Closure, Shoulder Pouch
  • Material: 100/200 Denier Robic, 70 Denier Ripstop, Darlington & Supreme Air Mesh
  • Additional Specifications: Gossamer Site

Backpack Requirements

Below are my requirements when purchasing a backpack.

  • Light Weight – To combat fatigue and injury on long hikes, I keep my backpack’s weight around 2 pounds or less.
  • Durability – A tough pack is critical. My pack has been run over, fallen down mountains, stepped on by horses, and is often used as a seat.
  • Size – The backpacks I use are 55L-65L. I sleep cold, so I carry a warmer sleeping bag or quilt. I also cook, so I carry fuel and a stove.
  • Water Resistant – I use a compactor bag and not a pack cover. I like water-resistant fabrics and taped seams in my backpacks.
  • Mesh Pouch – A large mesh pocket on the rear of my backpack is a “must-have.” I use it for my tarp/tent and put wet items in it to dry.
  • Frame – I don’t need a frame pack in the summer, but use one for three Season hiking where my pack weight is 20-25 pounds.
  • Water Bottle Pockets – I need water bottle pockets since I don’t use hydration sleeves.

Gossamer Gear Competitors

BrandWtSz$FabricFrameLoadClosure
ULA Ohm 2.036 oz63L225400 Robic NylonCarb30 lbs.Cinch
Gossamer Gear Mariposa31 oz60L270200 Robic NylonAlum.35 lbsOver Top
Hyperlite Junction 340032 oz55L345Dyneema (DCF)None40 lbsRoll Top
Zpack Arc Haul23 oz62L2994.85 GridstopCarb40 lbsRoll Top
Osprey Lumina 6031 oz60L27030 Cordura NylonAlum25 lbsFix Top
Granite Gear Crown2 6034 oz60 L200210 NylonPoly35 lbsRoll Top
Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus18 oz58L235DX 210 RipstopNo25 lbsRoll Top

Mariposa – First Glance

I’ll be honest; I never considered a Mariposa when purchasing a backpack. The backpack material never looked tough enough for long-distances and off-trail conditions, and I was not impressed with all of the pockets.

On my last trip, the Mariposa changed my mind.

Out of the box, the Mariposa did have an impressive number of pockets, and the material looked lightweight compared to packs like the ULA Ohm, but over the next few days, I found out that the lightweight backpack was more rugged than I expected.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa – Fit

Frame

Over the 3 days that I wore the Mariposa, I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort of the backpack. The frame is comprised of a rigid aluminum stay that is slightly curved and can be slid out of its nylon sheaths if you prefer to carry a frameless pack.

The backpack uses a unique external Sitlight pad, which provides plenty of cushion and can easily be removed from its two elastic pockets. Versatility is one of the things I appreciate about the backpack, and I was easily able to remove and use my Sitlight Pad on breaks or in camp as a comfortable seat.

Throughout the backpacking trip, I carried 23-25 lbs in the Mariposa. The weight was not noticeable, and the Mariposa carried it effortlessly. In order to test the backpack, I loaded it up to 30 pounds with additional water. Over a day, I carried the extra weight with no discomfort.

The comfort of the Mariposa was a stand out in this review. This included the overall fit, and ability to carry heavy loads. The combination of the aluminum stay and Sitlight pad make this one of the most comfortable lightweight backpacks I have worn.

Although comfortable, the foam pad was warm. There was some serious roller coastering on the hike, and as I built up heat climbing, the pad absorbed it, making it one of the warmer packs I have worn. This is not a big deal for me, but if you are used to the mesh on Zpacks or Osprey backpacks, you may find the Mariposa a little uncomfortable in warmer climates.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 is a comfortable pack on hiker
Sitlight Pad and Sternum Strap
Aluminum Stay Frame on Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Pack

Shoulder Straps & Hipbelt

The Mariposa boasts a unisex, ergonomic harness. I prefer S-shaped shoulder straps, so I was a little ambivalent. When I initially put on the backpack, the straps seemed too wide, but once I added weight, adjusted the straps, and began hiking, the pack fit me well.

The shoulder straps are very well padded and covered in an “Airmesh” material. The padded shoulder straps are definitely an advantage when carrying heavy loads.

Like other lightweight backpack hip belts, the Mariposa hip belt attaches with Velcro. The belt slides in under the Sitlight pad and can easily be removed. There are two large pockets on the well-padded hip belt and the inside of the belt is covered with the same “Airmesh” material as the shoulder straps.

The belt clasp is a single wide buckle that I prefer, and there is a small elastic sliding loop on each side of the belt to secure the ends of the extra strap. The hanging belt straps always bother me as I lose weight and cinch in the belt, so I appreciate this small extra touch.

Additional Pack Straps

The sternum strap on the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 is long and has elastic on one side. The strap slides up and down the shoulder straps, so there is plenty of flexibility with this strap.

The load lifters are sturdy on this lightweight pack and allow you to adjust the backpack’s fit. The shoulder straps also contain plastic attachment loops in two different locations, which support the pack’s overall versatility if you need to attach additional gear.

The Mariposa does not have side compression straps due to the pocket locations, but it has an abundance of attachment loops that allow you to create your attachment or compression system with lines and locs or small bungee cords.

There are an ice ax loop and two clips at the bottom of the pack, but you will need to add your straps or cord to use these. There are also two side clips for the OTT (Over-The-Top) closure system. The lack of straps or cord does not allow you to compress the Mariposa unless you rig your system using the loops provided.

Ice Ax loops and bottom straps on Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 backpack.
Mariposa Load Lifter Straps

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Review – Storage

There is a lot of room in the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 backpack, and I initially thought all of the pockets would not be used, but the old saying that if there is space, it will get used held true.

  • Main Pack Body: 36L
  • 7 Exterior Pockets: 24L

How I Packed My Mariposa

  • Main Compartment (Lined with Compactor Bag): Dry Sleep Clothes, Sleeping Bag, Down Jacket, Food Bag, Stove/Fuel, Hyperlite Stuff Sack/Pillow with toiletries, Neoair X-Lite Pad
  • Long Side Pocket: Smart Water Bottle, Umbrella, Hiking Poles
  • Bottom Side Pocket: Smart Water Bottle
  • Top Side Pocket: Rain Jacket, Pants, Sawyer Filter
  • Zipper Pocket on OTT: Car Keys and Maps
  • Back Mesh Pocket: Altaplex Tarp-tent
  • Hipbelt Pockets: Snacks, InReach Mini, Chapstick

The main storage compartment is large and has a fixed hydration sleeve that I wish I could remove. There is more than enough room, and because I ended up keeping some gear in the external pockets, I ended up having more room than I needed. I consolidated as much as possible with the OTT system and side straps but prefer a roll-top to cinch tight.

The large exterior mesh pocket on the Mariposa was the perfect size for my Altaplex shelter, and I was also able to keep a small tripod in the pocket next to the shelter. The reason I say it was a perfect size was that the pocket was tight enough not to snag on anything while also easily holding my shelter without me having to fight to stuff in the Dyneema Fabri shelter.

The side pockets allowed me to store my rain gear and filter outside the backpack, making them easier to retrieve, but I would rather have had two smaller pockets with cinch cords for my water bottles rather than the long pocket. This makes it easier for me to balance my load by drinking from two bottles. I could not retrieve a water bottle from the long pocket.

The long pocket held my umbrella and hiking poles, but side straps would have secured them better (these can be added). The elastic on the small pockets was not tight enough to hold my Smart Water Bottles when leaning over or doing any rough scrambling. If I bent over to pick up anything, whatever was in the shorter pockets fell out, especially the water bottle.

The Hip-belt pockets on the Mariposa are nice and roomy, and I was able to keep all of my snacks and small miscellaneous items in these pockets. I kept my car keys and maps in the zippered pocket on the top of the pack, but if using the maps a lot I would have moved them to the hip belt.

OTT System Top Lid
Two Small Exterior Pockets
One Large Exterior Pocket on Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60

Mariposa Review – Materials

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 is made with 100 & 200 Denier, Robic fabric, nylon fabric. The material held up well on my last trip, and that was after bushwhacking through some dense, thorny undergrowth with no ill effects. I was impressed with the abrasion resistance of the Mariposa fabric.

Seams are not sealed or taped on the Mariposa, but the backpack material is adequately water-resistant. I was only been caught in one rainstorm, and very little moisture seeped through the fabric. The pack is water-resistant and not water-proof, and was fine with a compactor bag

Gossamer Gear Mariposa – Add-Ons

I purchased a large Shoulder Strap Pocket with my Mariposa Backpack. I use these to hold my phone and InReach Mini. The Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket has a main compartment and a net pocket on the front, my favorite configuration on these types of shoulder strap pockets.

The material used for the pouch is DWR treated nylon, but I would suggest putting any electronics in a plastic baggie if you expect rain. Although DWR treated materials are highly water-resistant, the seams on the pouch are not sealed or taped.

The pouch uses velcro straps and is easy to attach to any backpack’s shoulder straps. There is also padding on the inside of the pocket, protecting a phone or sunglasses.

Mariposa Front Shoulder Strap Pocket
Back Velcro Shoulder Strap Pocket

Gossamer Gear Mariposa – Final Thoughts

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 is a lightweight backpack at a reasonable price point. The pack is quite comfortable and will carry heavy loads more comfortably than many of its competitors. The backpack has versatile storage compartments and will allow you to stay organized and easily access your gear. If you are looking to downsize, the Mariposa is an excellent choice.

I do wish there were more methods for compressing loads, such as cords or straps, but these can be easily added to the lash loops provided. Cinch cords would make the pockets more functional for me, allowing me to secure items in these pockets since no compression straps or webbing are supplied on the backpack’s sides. The Over-The-Top (OTT) lid is convenient, but I prefer roll-top packs for compressing loads.

Pros:

  • Comfort: Very comfortable with an adjustable aluminum frame and Sitlight Pad.
  • Storage: There is more than enough storage in the large main compartment and the seven external pockets.
  • Padding: Related to comfort, the shoulder straps, and hip belt are very well padded. This pack can carry 30-35 pounds easily.
  • Durability – The Robic Nylon used on the Mariposa is resistant to abrasion and normal wear and tear, making it a good backpack for multi-day or longer hikes.
  • Weight – A very lightweight backpack considering the volume and comfort level for heavyweight carries.

Cons:

  • Top Strap: I prefer a roll-top pack to the OTT system.
  • Pockets: Cinch strings on the pockets instead of elastic. No long pocket but two shorter pockets.
  • Compression lines/straps: One or two of these on the side of the pack would allow you to attach your ax and hiking poles.
  • Shoulder Strap Pocket: Taped seams for more water resistance.
  • Hydration Sleeve – Removable sleeve.
  • Seam Taping – The Robic material is water-resistant, but it would be nice to have the backpack’s interior seams taped.

Average Hiker Store

This backpack can be found NEW or USED in the Average Hiker Store. The used backpack has been used on one trip and is like new.

Average Hiker purchased this backpack and does not write sponsored posts or receive compensation for reviews. When you purchase through links on this website, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. If you have found this review helpful, please consider purchasing through the link above. Thank you

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