I used this pack for 4 months of traveling on New Zealand’s rough around the edges Te Araroa Trail (Tramping Track) over some of the most challenging and rough terrain I have encountered, as well as 1 month on the Benton MacKaye Trail in late autumn conditions. I used it for food carries as long as 9 days. After this period of time I realized this pack really was exactly what I needed and it still has quite a bit of life left in it.
-Hipbelt very sturdy and comfortable. The new hipbelt design is a game changer for lightweight packs. The aluminium hoop stay is inserted directly into two dedicated sleeves in the hipbelt allowing weight transfer directly on to the hips. The hipbelt itself is also reinforced with a thick plastic backing to prevent hip belt sag which I’ve encountered with all my other previous backpacks that I used on previous long trails (SMD Starlight [discontinued], Gregory Z55)
-Wider than average shoulder strap helped me keep comfortable while carrying the more massive loads (9 days of food).
-The large capacity of pockets- The pockets are plentiful which helped me organize stuff I wanted to be easily accessible. The pockets stood the test of time and have cosmetic holes in them after throwing the pack around in NZ’s rocky Southern Alps. This expected wear and tear has not produced a hole large enough for me to worry about losing anything. The mesh on the back pocket is of a fine texture; this design means holes do not become large.
-Shoulder strap pocket!- I really enjoyed using this add-on in particular because I enjoy taking photos. I was able to keep my Canon S110 in the pocket along with my phone which allowed me to get quick shots of fleeting moments: birds, sunsets, and beams of light coming through fern tree groves.
-The Gossamer Gear Clear Waterproof Pack Liners too small for this particular pack. Although this is not a problem with the pack itself, it’s too bad they don’t work well together. I have feeling the specs for this liner were made for another GG pack, possibly the Gorilla. In NZ’s rainy climate I realized I had to pack even my food in a pack liner when I had no option other than to eat many waterlogged peanuts. I ended buying a Pack Liner by the NZ Mountain Safety Council and cutting it to size. These pack liners can be found in many towns in NZ so it made eating peanuts a joy again! 🙂
-I enjoy having the over-the-top closure system which includes a top pocket. However, large stuff sacks can be difficult to load into the pack especially when I put a lot of stuff in the top pocket. I wound up using a pack liner as a funnel to help shake the large food stuff sack into the backpack, which worked as a solution for me. After I learned this trick, I was only bothered by this style of opening when carrying 5 or more days worth of food. It’s possible this problem also could have been remedied by having multiple food bags.
-I love the idea behind the sitlight pad but the current version of the sitlight pad is too warm for me. I prefer the old “egg-crate” design for comfort while walking. Unfortunately, Gossamer Gear doesn’t currently offer that style pad so I changed the pad out for a cheap Walmart pad. The Air Flow SitLight Camp Seat is something I will probably try in the future.
-The shoulder strap load lifters add a lot of support to the pack but had to be reinforced. I have a tendency to break these on all my backpacks. A few stitches using dental floss did the trick. I have a feeling that the problem arises because the load lifter straps are connected to a location above the frame rather than on it.
Over the past five months of hiking, my Mariposa and I have been through a lot. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa is built to last, comfortable, and easy to use while only weighing in around 2 lbs. I would recommend this pack for anyone who has a fairly low base weight but needs to occasionally carry larger than average amounts of food or water. The pack is also great for lightweight hikers who are needing to carry more than usual for cooler seasons, long water carries, or snow gear.
Disclaimer: I was given this pack at no charge.