User Review: Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus
Design: top loading
Size: 70L max
Number of Pockets: three outside mesh pockets
Max. Load Carried: 25 pounds
Height of Owner: 5' 8"
Price Paid: about $150
Hard to believe nobody has reviewed this pack yet! After searching extensively on-line for lighter packs I chose the Mariposa Plus as my loads will be under 30 pounds these days. Previous packs used over last 20 years: Dana Design Terraplane and Osprey Aether 60.
After purchase I hiked most of the JMT (leaving via the High Sierra Trail rather than over Whitney) and some shorter trails in the USA (totaling about 450KMs) before returning to New Zealand where I walked another 160KMs with it since. In short, I highly recommend this pack for folks seeking a comfortable pack for loads under 30 pounds, exactly as the manufacturer recommends. My loads are 25 pounds or less (we weighed my loaded pack in Yosemite Valley prior to departure for the JMT, so I am sure about this).
I take good care of the pack and it still looks new, although I did make the smallest tear in the netting on one side (probably snagged it on a bush). Yes, a bear canister fits inside (I used the standard Garcia). The mesh panels on the side are pretty handy for snacks and rain coat. Oh yes, I can reach the water bottle while walking, and I read that they have improved on this feature since I purchased mine. I don't like water bladders (sat on the bite valve too many times and got a wet tent) and being able to reach the water bottle while walking is really a bonus for me. I installed the optional foam inserts in the hip and shoulder belts and am happy with them - yes you can save a very tiny amount of weight by using clothing instead, but I am fairly lazy in the morning and didn't want to bother with that.
Absolutely no problems of note and am happy with the fit - this is the only Gossamer Gear pack that would fit me mid-2007, based on the company's on-line measurement information. Perfect size for me and fits all my gear, although I have purchased smaller/lighter gear in the last few years (Gigapower canister stove w/solo cookset, Feathered Friends sleeping bag, Rainbow Tarp Tent). I don't tend to use my sleeping pad (Prolight 4 3/4) as the pad for my back (the pack can be configured this way) - I purchased the optional foam for that purpose from Gossamer Gear and like it. the foam did get dirty after 400KMs of walking, so I bought another one before returning to NZ (being able to remove it while stopped and using it as a sit pad is nice, but does get it dirty and sometimes full of small sticks).
Overall, I am exceptionally happy with the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus. I would not recommend exceeding 30 pounds though!