User Review: Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus
Price Paid: $120
The Mariposa Plus is amazingly light for its volume. After hiking with the slightly lighter Mariposa for several seasons, I was concerned about ripping the fabric as I stuffed equipment into the body. So I bought a Plus for the tougher fabric. All my gear and food fits in for week-long trips in the Sierra Nevada and on the PCT.
The pack fits well and I have been happy with it for off-trail hiking too, scrambling over rocks and squeezing through brush. The big mesh pockets are very useful for quick access to snacks, spare clothing, water bottles or for packing wet stuff. The carbon fiber supports seem to be all the minimum necessary to provide structure.
But there was a quality problem with my new Mariposa Plus. The right side of the Mariposa Plus hip belt began ripping out where it attaches to the pack body. The layers of fabric in the belt are sewn into the seam of the packsack. (The hip belt doesn't go all the way around your back.)
Apparently the belt fabric wasn't inserted quite far enough in, and started to fray as soon as I put tension on it while hiking. This part of the weight-saving design doesn't inspire confidence. Now I hesitate to take the Mariposa Plus on a long trip.
Another concern is the lack of load adjusters at the top of the shoulder straps. The straps just attach straight to the top of the pack sack, instead of following the contour of the shoulder. As a result, the shoulder straps cannot carry any of the pack weight.
This isn't a problem if you have the hip belt carrying the entire load. But when I'm hauling extra water or going downhill on the trail, the top of the pack tends to lean back away from my shoulders. Then the hip belt digs in. Tightening the shoulder straps doesn't fix this. Apparently the load adjusters are omitted to make room for the full-size sleeping pad pocket on the back of the pack body.
There are other caveats with such a lightweight pack. I found that I have to pack carefully, with good load distribution and without any sharp edges against the pack fabric. I need to adjust the shoulder straps and the hipbelt just right. The fabric is damaged easily if I lean the pack against rocks or trees. The mesh pockets can snag on bushes. So I had to learn to be careful with it.
Then I take exception to the idea of inserting an entire sleeping pad for a back cushion- that moves the pack weight too far out from my back. I just put in a sit pad instead. And I find that the hydration pocket is not very accessible. This is a very tall top-loader, so I have to unpack halfway just to check the water level or top off the water pouch. Instead I tend to use water bottles in the outside pockets.
The light weight is very appealing. The volume is enough for 30 to 35 pound loads. But the suspension is not adequate for that much weight.