Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60
The Mariposa is well-designed and well-crafted. It strikes a good balance between weight, structure, convenience, and load-carrying ability. With the long collar, it can be compact enough for small loads or flexible enough to carry the occasional large load.
- Comfortable with light loads
- Has plenty of room
- Lots of pockets
- Can be warm against the back
- Heavy loads will make it uncomfortable
For a lightweight pack, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 feels beefy. The shoulder straps and hip belts are thick and sturdy. You can feel the slim metal frame that provides support when you grasp the top of the pack. A foam pad provides additional structure and support to the back and doubles as a removable sit pad. With the built-in hip belt pockets, bladder pocket and relatively large capacity of 60 liters, it’s easy to think the weight must be adding up. But it holds the line at just two pounds for the medium size.
I’m in search of the elusive perfect pack, which may or may not exist. Last year I tried a 1.5-pound Cuben fiber pack that was initially comfortable, but on a 15-day hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, became increasingly torturous. I was happy to have the opportunity to try the Mariposa, a long-time favorite among the ultralight crowd.
The first thing I noticed when I tried the loaded pack was that it felt rock solid on my back and hips, a feeling that never dissipated over my 10-mile spring backpacking trip to Pt. Reyes National Seashore. I thought the shoulder straps might be a bit wide, but the ergonomic curve felt right and I didn’t notice any rubbing or chafing. So far, so good.
The pack has what I consider to be an ideal number of pockets, including:
- Lid pocket for my permit, map, sunglasses, sunscreen, and keys
- Two hip belt pockets that were roomy enough for my phone (my phone is 3" x 5.75"), lip balm, and snacks
- A side pocket that was positioned so I could retrieve my water bottle easily
- An upper side pocket held my pack cover and toilet kit
- The other side pocket is about three quarters of the length of the pack which was long enough to hold my JetBoil and extra fuel (or my tent or pad).
- The large mesh pocket on the front (love this!) held my flipflops, lunch, and rain jacket. It could hold a lot more.
- Inside, the bladder pocket is sewn in and generously sized with three loops above it.
The interior of the pack is spacious. One feature I had to get used to is the long collar. The interior holds 36 liters up to a seam in the collar at the top of the pack. The collar extends a full foot beyond this seam. When you hold the top of the collar it feels like you’re looking into a long tunnel.
The Garcia bear canister fits vertically, but it’s helpful to slip it into the tunnel first, then pack other items around it and in the pockets. I don’t generally need that extra foot so the top just folds over to clip in two places. I was perplexed by two very small clips on the interior edge of the top, but finally realized that they clip to each other to gather up some of the extra material when the full capacity is not required.
Inside, the metal frame is visible, secured by a Velcro fastener so it can be removed (the frame weighs three ounces). Outside the tent on the back are two mesh pockets that hold the Sitlite foam pad. The pad is 10.75 inches by 20 inches and weighs 2.1 ounces. It can be removed to use as a sit pad during breaks and as an extension to a three-quarter length sleeping pad in the tent.
On the outside, there are several loops on the shoulder straps to affix things. On the front, there are six tiny loops along the sides. On the bottom are two trekking pole D-rings and one large ice axe loop. Trekking poles can be slipped between the lid and pack with the tips inserted in the D-rings. The blade of the ice axe can slide through the large loop at the bottom with the handle secured with the clip on top. There are no straps with which to secure a pad at the bottom, but something could be retrofitted using the existing loops and some cord.
On the inaugural trip, I hiked 5.5 miles along the California coast at Pt. Reyes National Seashore on a beautiful clear day with temperatures in the 60s and a steady offshore breeze. The pack probably weighed around 20 pounds for the overnight trip. I placed my sleeping bag in first, then the rolled up inflatable pad. My tent, which has short poles, went in horizontally on top of that. A stuff sack with clothing went in next. On the top was my food bag. I packed a large fuel canister in the long side pocket with the JetBoil stove on top with a small fuel canister. I was guiding a group and had offered to boil water so I brought extra fuel.
I kept switching items in and out of the large side pocket because several items, including the tent, pad, and stove seemed like a perfect fit. Ultimately, I tried it as described above. My one-liter water bottle went in the lower side pocket with my pack cover and toilet kit in the upper pocket. My jacket and camp shoes went in the large mesh pocket.
The pack was so comfortable right off the bat that I made hardly any adjustments, save cinching up the hip belt and chest strap. I was able to retrieve the water bottle independently. Getting it back in required just the right angle to catch the edge of the pocket before pushing down but I eventually mastered it. The large, long zipper on the lid pocket made it very easy to rummage around for small items. The zippers on the hip belt pockets opened and closed smoothly as I removed my phone multiple times to take photos.
The long collar didn’t bother me since I didn’t need to get into the pack until I was ready to set up camp. I always keep lunch and snacks easily available, separate from my main food bag or can. The mesh pocket was great because my jacket was on and off several times. On the return trip there was no breeze and I noticed that the foam pad made my back feel a little warm. One thing I really like about the pack is that it doesn't come up too high behind my head. In fact, on this trip, the pack didn't rise above my shoulders.
The Mariposa carried my light load beautifully and I had no complaints at the end of the trip. The true test will come in a couple of months when I take a full bear can to Yosemite for five days. I will update this review after that trip.
UPDATE 1, 6/2019: It's now a year later and the Mariposa continues to perform very well. I've been on several trips where I had to carry a bear can and both my 650 L Garcia Backpacker's Cache and Bearikade Scout fit easily in the pack. For the Garcia, I place it vertically to one side and arrange my hydration bladder or water bottles on the other side to balance out the weight. The Scout is so small that it can fit vertically or horizontally. I can fit my tent, stove, sleeping bag, pad, and clothing in the pack with no problems and still don't use the extra space in the collar. Sometimes I put the tent in the long side sleeve while other times I put my stove and fuel there. This is now my go-to pack and I prefer it to my Z-Packs Arc Zip as it carries loads better for me with equivalent amount of gear.
UPDATE 2, 8/2019: I was leading a group trip where a woman wasn't feeling well as we ascended a steep ridge. I had her open her pack and I grabbed everything I could, including her JetBoil stove and bag of clothing, to put in my pack. I filled up the whole collar that I don't normally use and barely felt the extra weight. This made a huge difference for her and she was able to complete the hike. This was a good test for the Mariposa to be able to carry much more than I normally would, in addition to my Bearikade Scout food canister. This is also one of the reasons I chose the Mariposa over the Gorilla. The Gorilla would probably be fine for me but it's these times when I'm guiding when I need to be able to carry some extra first aid supplies and take on some gear for another person that I chose the larger pack. I was quite pleased with the performance of the pack in these circumstances.
The Mariposa is well-designed and well-crafted. It has been around for many years and has been updated over time. It strikes a good balance between weight, structure, convenience, and load-carrying ability. With the long collar, it can be compact enough for small loads or flexible enough to carry the occasional large load. With a light load, it’s very comfortable. I’m looking forward to further testing.
- Gossamer Gear 60 Mariposa Pack
- Capacity: 60 liters (36 L in main body)
- Weight with pack, belt, frame, lid and pad: 30.7, 32.7, 34.8 ounces for small, medium, large
- Materials: mainly 100 denier Robic High Tensil strength nylon
Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (I kept the product after testing.)
This is a great lightweight pack for loads up to 30 pounds.
- Long, "quiver" pocket
- Thick shoulder straps
- Many lash points for shock cords
- Removable back pad doubles for sit pad
- Open pockets can collect debris
- Not made in US
First of all, this is my favorite backpack. I bought this pack because it weighs in at about 2 pounds and carries loads up to 30 pounds comfortably.
One of the best features is the long "quiver" pocket on the side. It is a great way to carry longer items like a rolled up tarp, 2-liter water bag, camp saws, or survival knife. The stretchable mesh front pocket just continues to swallow gear. To keep weight down, the side and front pockets are not zippered. They have elastic tops. Personally, I am not bothered by this, but the pockets can collect trail debris.
This is a lightweight pack, meaning there is no fancy suspension. This pack will barrel when packed full. The foam back pad is removable and can be used as a sit pad or extra insulation under your back when sleeping. The foam can be very warm in the summer. I also purchased the slightly heavier, but cooler mesh back pad from Gossamer Gear for summer hikes.
Gossamer Gear did put some thought into the thick shoulder pads. As stated earlier, it is comfortable with loads up to 30 pounds. It will carry more, but you will start to feel it over the miles. At 60 liters, you may not be able to stuff it with gear to surpass 30 pounds.
The pack is also covered with small loops where you can add shock cord to your choosing. So many lashing options!
As far as durability goes, I have bushwhacked with the Mariposa 60. It has fared well. However, the mesh front pocket is susceptible to snagging. I have had this pack for two years and probably have logged 15 trips. There is no sign of seams stitching or seams coming loose.
If I were shopping for a new pack, I would buy the Mariposa 60 again.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200 (on sale)
Overall this is a really enjoyable ultralight backpack. It's light and one of the most roomy backpacks on the market. I can easily squeeze more gear than I can carry into the main compartment.
- Super light under 2lbs
- Great side compartments
- Slightly uncomfortable internal frame
- Bit weighty on the shoulders
- Not many zipper compartments
I'm about a 150 pound guy and the medium pack fits me quite nicely and comfortable to about 40 lbs. My girlfriend is a petite 105 and the pack is even comfortable to her and manageable with a 25-lb load.
The more weight you load in, the more it tends to tug on your shoulders, but if you pack light you won't really notice it. The hip belts don't absorb much of the weight.
The capacity is fantastic and I would go as far as to say it is better than advertised. The main compartment is huge and the outer mesh pockets are incredibly large. You could get away with only stuffing gear into the outer mesh pockets if you really wanted. I would appreciate a few more zippered compartments for more sensitive gear.
I bought it new and paid about $235 for it. I have had it for about 6 months and taken it out a for a handful of overnighters and everything has held up just fine. Planning to do a larger trip next fall and well definitely rely on it to carry my gear.
Here's a view with a sleeping pad which acts as a nice cushion for your back (this makes the internal frame much more comfortable):
Another showing the back:
In the left side pocket, gotta have some chairs:
In the middle outer, a little Hikpro day pack with some gear and a 1.5L water:
And in the main, a Marmot Limelight 3P tent, Sea to Summit Trek TKI sleeping bag, 1 gallon of water, and of course a big comfy pillow, cause you gotta get a good night's rest!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $235
I would not be shopping at Gossamer. Customer service alone is a deterrent. There are much better companies to deal that are worthy of our support.
- Decent quality
- Thin "new" web belting is uncomfortable and digs into body
- And the pockets of the belt are too small regardless of their "enlarged" upgrade
- Customer service also needs to be improved
The company may have good bags, but unfortunately the service is horrible. They don’t take responsibility for their products. I spent a long time trying to figure out what bag to get, and decided on the Mariposa. Tired it on via a couple of friends and did extensive research. When I received it the web strap on the belt was 1-inch, which is not what I had tried on and not what is on the site (shown in pics and video) They mention upgrades to their belt recently, but nowhere does it say they reduced the width of the strap. The pockets on the belt are also quite small, but on their site they say they upgraded the pockets to a larger compartment...
It truly makes a difference having a 1-inch strap digging into your gut on an overnight bag that is loaded. It's too thin. Yet they told me to buy an older version on Ebay, or find elsewhere??!! Right and spend more money! They allow for return but won’t pay the return shipping charges. (I paid high rates already as I ordered from Canada) They never apologized, or explained why they never mentioned this on their site. Apparently they will come back with the standard 1.5-inch in 2021. If I had known this, I would have delayed my purchase. Their responses was always one sentence with no resolution to this problem. And they continuously ignored my questions.
Truly disappointed in the fact that if they paid for my return shipping for the belt, (they would have lost about 10-20 US dollars) and the results would have been different. Honestly they should have allowed the full return of the pack and paid for my fees, as what I got was not what is listed on their site.
There are much better ultra lightweight companies you can deal with, whose products are just as good. I do not recommend dealing with them.
I have 25 years experience backpacking and am quite familiar with gear.
Source: bought it new
Semi-ultralight pack with lots of pockets.
- Lots of pockets
- Wide shoulder straps
First, I'm not going to give you the specs. If you're interested in the pack you probably know all that. Thus my story.
Long long ago in a far off national park I had my ass leveled backpacking. I had been packing with some guys on our level southern trails and was carrying over 50 lbs for a weekend, not a problem. You ask why the weight? 8 lb packs, 8 lb tents, propane stoves, you get the picture. Then we hit the mountains, what hell it was.
I'm sure some people reading this carry that weight in the mountains all the time, but we did not handle it well. A few people said that was their last trip, but I resolved to find a better way. Thus, I discovered UL backpacking. In my 20 yrs backpacking I have used various packs. All worked well, but I missed the cool way you could organize gear in my first Camp Trails pack.
Then I saw a Marpiosa on eBay and it was love at first sight. I have a long pocket on one side for my tent, two short pockets on the other side for my water bottle, fuel, and stove, a pocket in the top flap for small stuff, a huge back net pocket for rain gear and my ground cloth and 2 hip belt pockets for my camera and snacks. I'm in POCKET HEAVEN. Add extra wide shoulder straps for comfort and a huge pack bag I use to carry my bulky stuff in late fall.
THIS IS ONE COOL PACK. Light with excellent build quality. THANKS
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $125
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The Mariposa 60 replaced the Gossamer Gear Mariposa.
Historic Range: $200.00
Reviewers Paid: $125.00-$235.00
|Weight||30.7 oz / 870 g||32.7 oz / 927 g||34.8 oz / 986 g|
3487 cu in / 60 L (medium)
30 lbs for comfort / 35 lbs maximum