Gossamer Gear Mariposa
Design: Top loading ultralight backpack
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 38 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5'9"
Price Paid: $100
I bought a Mariposa in 2006 to use for my backpacking trip across the Grand Canyon. Since then, I have used it many times, including trips on the Appalachian Trail and my week-long backpack in Rocky Mountain National Park, which included an attempted summit of Long's Peak (weather turned me back).
I have learned by experience how to load the Mariposa, and when it's loaded properly, it's unbeatable as an ultralight backpack in terms of its combination of lightness and comfort. I have regularly exceeded the 30 lb. load limit with no problems at all.
For a 7 day trip, I usually carry my REI 10 degree synthetic sleeping bag, foam sleeping pad, my Six Moon Design ultralight solo backpacking tent, food, 2 liters of water, rain gear, down sweater and synthetic long johns, stove, fuel and cooking utensils and camera. With those items, I usually weigh in at around 28 lbs.
The Mariposa has never ripped or come apart. I have dropped it fully loaded, and it never burst. I used to wish it had load levelers until I learned how to load it. Now I see it doesn't need any. I now plan to upgrade to the Mariposa Plus or Gorilla.
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I had to add on my own straps to load it properly - not a big deal. It's a great pack!
Design: Top loader
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 25
Height of Owner: 5' 10"
Price Paid: $50
Incredibly light, but well built. You don't gain much weight by going with the heavier fabric on the Mariposa Plus.
Update: February 24, 2009
Reviewed previously. I sent it back for the curved aluminum stay retrofit. It was cheap, and took less than a week door to door. Amazing.
Where to Buy
The Gossamer Gear Mariposa is not available from the stores we monitor.
You may be able to find it new or used at one of these sites:
Or you may want to check for a dealer list or direct sales on the Gossamer Gear website.
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The Mariposa builds on the popular features of the stalwart G4, effectively incorporating the "dual use" technique of ultralight backpacking. Your sleeping pad (NightLight, Z-Lite/Z-Rest, Thermarest 3/4 length, or other 20"-wide pad) becomes part of the pack frame by inserting into the back of the pack.
The Mariposa features a trim silhouette, including hollow, aluminum-tipped, carbon fiber pack stays for real load transfer (removable for lighter loads), unique asymmetric side pocket design (right hand pocket is accessible while wearing the pack), dual function removable adjustable sternum strap/emergency whistle, and hydration bladder pocket with ports on each side. Cushy wicking fabric on the shoulder straps and hip belt prevent slipping, and the 3-dimensional weave aids in quicker drying. Multiple pockets help you organize your load. Tons of strategically placed lashing loops enable you to easily adapt the pockets to carry longer items by lashing them to the sides. Use for general lightweight backpacking with total loads of 25 lbs (11 kg) or less.