Gossamer Gear Mariposa Review

gossamer gear mariposa mountain female

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 is designed for ultralight backpacking and long backcountry trips. Being lightweight doesn’t mean that the Mariposa lacks in functionality, durability, and comfort. These features make the Gear Mariposa one of the most popular backpack choices in the ultralight backpacking scene.

The backpack provides outdoor enthusiasts the option to keep their load light, without leaving behind the essentials like food and clothing. Aside from having a large main compartment, it features several pockets for more storage options. These add more room for gears like a water bottle, map, and other gadgets.

The ultralight backpacking pack is not only designed for functionality but comfort as well. Bearing the weight of a fully-packed backpack on a long hike will soon make you feel tired and uncomfortable. Fortunately, Mariposa’s load-lifters and hip strap ease up the tension hanging off your back and shoulders.

Durability is another crucial feature of Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60. Made of high-quality nylon fabric materials, this pack can carry a bulky full load limit of 35 lbs without tearing or ripping. In fact, it can take more than 35 lbs without a problem.

In this review, we’ll examine the features of the Mariposa pack. First, we’ll show you the detailed specs followed by each feature, such as weight, carrying comfort, pockets, durability, customizable fit, and many more. Read on, and see how this ultralight backpack exceeds your expectations.

Specifications

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Features

Pack FeatureSpecificationsNotes
FrameHas aluminum stay and a SitLight padStay is removable and bendable. The SitLight pad is removable
Hip Belt Removable/interchangeableThis is ordered separately. Please check the size option.
Load-liftersAdjustableHelps ease tension off your shoulders
Exterior pocketsIt has seven (7) pocketsAll are very functional
MaterialsThe main material is 100 D Robic High Tensil Strength Nylon

(Select) 200 D Robic High Tensil Strength Nylon

(Select) Double-Rip Ripstop Nylon
Robic nylon is a smooth, light, and durable material.




Nylon fabric resistant to tearing and ripping
Carrying CapacityMaximum of 35 lbs (15.8 kg)
Can be filled up to its limit weight, but better at 30 lbs (13.6 kg) for comfort
Volume Capacity36 L

24 L

60 L
Main pack body

Spread across 7 external pockets

TOTAL VOLUME
Price of Backpack$225.00~Available in 3 sizes.
Hip belt not included.
Hip belt$45.00~Available in 3 sizes

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Dimension and Weight

Pack Weight RangesSmall MediumLarge
Pack Body17.2 oz / 487 g18.4 oz / 521 g19.5 oz / 552 g
Pack Frame2.7 oz / 76 g3.0 oz / 85 g3.5 oz / 99 g
SitLight Pad1.8 oz / 51 g2.1 oz / 60 g2.6 oz / 75 g
Total
Backpack w/o Belt
19 oz / 538 g20.5 oz / 581 g22.1 oz / 626 g
Total with Small Belt28.0 oz / 795 g29.8 oz / 844 g31.9 oz / 904 g
Total with Medium Belt28.7 oz / 814 g30.5 oz / 865 g32.6 oz / 924 g
Total with Large Belt29.4 oz / 833 g31.2 oz / 884 g33.3 oz / 944 g
Backpack Size17.25” (11.5" - 15.5" torso)
(29 - 40 cm)
commonly fits people 5' 6" and under
20.25” (15.5" - 19.5" torso)
(40 - 50 cm)
commonly fits people 5'5" to 5'11"
23.25” (19.5" - 23.5" torso)
(50 - 60+ cm)
commonly fits people 5'11" and up
Hip Belt Size(24" - 34" waist)
(61 - 86 cm)
(30" - 40" waist)
(76 - 101 cm)
(38" - 50" waist)
(97 - 127 cm)
Hip Belt Weight6.3 oz (181 g)7 oz (199 g)7.7 oz (218 g)

Too Long, Didn’t Read – Our Verdict

In a hurry? Here’s a summary of what we’ve found out.

The usual trade-offs of most ultralight backpacks are comfort and durability, but not with the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60. Many ultralight backpacking enthusiasts would admit that a pack this lightweight, comfortable, durable, and spacious would be challenging to compete with. And we agree! We like Mariposa for its versatility, functionality, and value.

The bendable aluminum stay, load lifters, and the SitLight pad are some of the significant features that maintain comfort and protect your back by distributing the load evenly to your shoulders and back. The removable and interchangeable hip belt attached to the aluminum stay also helps in distributing weight to the hips easing the tension on your upper body.

Hoisting a bag too small or too large for your frame will result in discomfort, especially when carrying a full pack. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa pack and the interchangeable waist strap are sold in three sizes so you can pick the perfect pack and belt that best suits your frame.

A pack with a 60L capacity and could carry heavier loads will need more than just a durable fabric material. The backpack is made mostly of Robic nylon, which is soft, smooth, and light but sturdy and puncture-resistant. The Rip-Stop nylon, another durable fabric material, is used on select parts of the pack.

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 is an ultralight backpack that has ample space for bulky backpacking items. It has an exceptional storage system that you can find a spot for every gear, including a loop for trekking poles and an ice ax. You can even find a space for a bear canister.

If the 36L capacity of the main pack is not enough for your gear, the 24L capacity of the extra pockets can store more. The mesh pocket can hold larger gears that need quick access. The waist strap pockets are also roomy, and there’s also a spot for the extra water bottle.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The following sections will reveal more of Gossamer Gear Mariposa’s features and functionalities.

gossamer gear mariposa winter
via @essentialexplorer on Instagram

Detailed Review – Gossamer Gear Mariposa

The Mariposa 60 has a long list of features, and we’re going to discuss each attribute to give you a more precise concept of how functional this pack is. Gossamer Gear carefully designed the Mariposa 60 pack with functionalities that will support the backpacking needs of most outdoor enthusiasts. Lightweight, comfortable, several built-in pockets and durability are just some features that make the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 one of the favorites of ultralight pack fans.

Let’s have a look at all the important specs and features and see if the Mariposa meets your expectations.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa

Weight

A backpacker should not carry a load of more than 20% of his body weight. Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 can take a full pack limit of 35 lbs (15.87 kg), just within the limits of average male weight. Carrying a pack up to 30 lbs (13.60 kg) in this backpack is highly recommended to maintain comfort.

The weight of Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 depends on the backpack size you have, but the average weight of the three sizes (small, medium, and large) available is about 20.5 oz (581.67 g) without the hip belt. Attaching the hip strap (depending on size) will add an average weight of 7 oz (198.44 g) plus the average SitLight pad weight of 2.17 oz (.135 g). With a total average weight of 29.67 oz (841.13 g), this pack is definitely ultralight. At 60L maximum volume capacity, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa is featherlight, unlike other packs with the same capacity that reach up to 4 lbs (1.8 kg).

gossamer gear mariposa mountain
via @jaligoeshiking on Instagram

Carrying Comfort

Although Gossamer Gear suggests a load limit of 30 lbs for comfort, many backpackers claim that Mariposa 60 maintains carrying comfort even above the 35-lbs limit. The bendable aluminum stay connects the lower part of the bag while the hip belt helps distribute the load evenly. Instead of feeling the full tension on your shoulders, the weight is distributed to the back and hips.

The bendable aluminum stay gives form to the pack. It allows you to remain as close to the Gossamer Gear Mariposa for better back support and balance. The wide padded shoulder straps will reduce pressure points on the shoulders. The load lifters on the shoulder straps prevent the pack from pulling backward, which helps you maintain balance.

The SitLight pad that goes into the pad pocket of the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 also provides additional comfort. It serves as a cushion, so you don’t feel the hard aluminum stay pressing on your back. It also has an airflow design that allows air to pass through between the pack and your body, which keeps your back dry from sweat.

gossamer gear mariposa mountain female
via @juliasheehan on Instagram

Pockets

Packed with seven external pockets, this ultralight pack can hold small, medium, and large gear. One side pocket is perfect for a water bottle, while the other one can fit a portable cook set. The additional long side pocket is an ideal compartment for tents and poles, which is easily accessible when you need to set up camp quickly.

The huge stretch mesh pocket will be the ideal spot if you need to pack huge gear like a rain jacket, food, rain cover, or extra layer for warming. You don’t need to open up the whole bag just to get access to these things. It is also good alternative storage for wet items like a water filter and damp clothing.

The hip belt pockets are also great for frequently storing accessed gear like a smartphone or a camera. These are great alternatives since a hip belt often blocks the side pockets of your jacket and trousers. Additionally, you can simply put away the removable hip belt if you want to lighten up your pack.

gossamer gear mariposa pockets
via @casadekava on Instagram

Durability

A few years back, Gossamer Gear used Dyneema fabric, which is also lightweight, waterproof, and durable fiber material. But, it has less resistance to puncture and abrasion. For this reason, the company shifted to a combination of Robic and Rip-Stop Nylon.

Loading up an ultralight backpack with a heavy load is a test of durability. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60’s 100 D Robic High Tensil Strength Nylon proves its sturdiness. Other parts of the pack are built with 200 D Robic High Tensil Strength Nylon and Rip-Stop, a type of nylon fiber resistant to tearing and ripping.

The Mariposa can weather rugged rocky mountain terrains without showing any visible signs of wear and tear. Gossamer Gear is also tried and tested to survive through dense woods and bushes on a forest trek. The pack can withstand the harsh environment even when loaded with heavy gear.

gossamer gear mariposa durability
via @fureworks on Instagram

Customizable Fit

One of the best features of Gossamer Gear Mariposa is the customizable fit you can choose from three different pack sizes based on your body type. A bad fitting backpack can cause more pressure to the neck, shoulders, and back, which may result in injuries, especially when carrying heavier loads. Choosing the right size for your body type will provide a more comfortable backpacking experience.

The removable hip belt is sold separately and comes in three different sizes based on waistline measurement. Proper sizing is important as loosely fastened waist straps will not effectively distribute the pack’s weight. The correct fastening of the hip belt relieves shoulder pressure.

The shoulder straps of Gossamer Gear Mariposa have a unique unisex design that fits both narrow and broad frames. The straps are adequately padded not just for comfort but also to fit your body contours. Combine it with properly fastened sternum strap and load lifters will result in a perfectly distributed load.

gossamer gear mariposa forest
via @hike_california_mt_ranges_ on Instagram

Other Features

Alternative Use of SitLight

There are several interesting attributes that we’re going to review yet, and it seems that Gossamer Gear Mariposa has an unending list of functionalities. The SitLight is primarily used as padding between your back and the pack for comfort, but it is also removable and can be useful with other functions like a seat cushion or a table when you play cards.

If you’re resourceful, the removable pad can be used in many ways. It can be used as additional padding for your camping pillow to increase head elevation. Just be careful not to fold the pad as it may lose its form and may result in bunching.

Built-in Internal Hydration Sleeve

The backpack includes a built-in internal hydration sleeve with a drinking tube. It provides a hands-free way to rehydrate yourself, especially when you’re holding on to something during a hike. This feature is also convenient, especially when you’re holding a trekking pole.

The hydration sleeve also helps balance the load of your pack. The water in the bladder pocket within the large main compartment helps keep the weight closer to your core muscles. Therefore, putting one water bottle in the side pocket and one in the main compartment makes your pack easier to balance.

Pocket Layout

One of the best features of Gossamer Gear Mariposa is the pocket layout. Pockets are strategically positioned to easily reach any gear in one of the side pockets. The zippered stash pocket is also perfect storage for some small gear.

You can fully utilize the use of the large main compartment by maximizing the pocket layout’s functionality. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa has a mesh pocket for large gear that requires easy access. Practicing good skills in organizing stuff is also invaluable to maximize the pack’s functionality.

gossamer gear mariposa hiking
via @kristicalla on Instagram

Removable Lightweight Internal Frame

The aluminum frame gives form to Mariposa, and it can be bent to match the contour of your back. If you want a lighter pack, removing the lightweight internal frame decreases the pack weight by 3.5 oz (99 g). However, removing the aluminum stay is not advisable if you’re going to wear the removable belt.

Many backpackers prefer not to remove the aluminum stay, as it keeps the Mariposa from sagging. It helps maintain the backpack’s upright position and prevent itself from pulling away from your back. The aluminum stay, load lifters, sternum strap, and hip belt, work together to provide a comfortable backpacking experience.

Pros

  • Mariposa is made of durable fabric material that can weather dense woods and rocky mountains without showing evident wear and tear.
  • The pack is available in three different sizes, each designed to fit certain ranges of torso size and height.
  • The Mariposa has an excellent pocket layout to easily access gear.
  • Comfortable to carry even when fully packed.
  • The belt can be removed for a lighter pack.
  • Reasonable price for a solidly valued pack.

Cons

  • SitLight foam is not so effective in providing ventilation along your back and is prone to bunching.
  • The Robic Nylon fabric is not that good at repelling water.

Conclusion

gossamer gear mariposa packing
via @soul_yamano on Instagram

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa pack is one of the best ultralight backpacks in the outdoor realm. It can be used to carry heavy loads despite its light frame. You’ll never have to worry about ripping or tearing as it is made of Robic, which is tough and puncture-resistant. It is tried and tested to last for years braving harsh rocky terrains and dense forest backpacking.

The backpack is a perfect choice for traditional and lightweight backpackers who want to shift to an ultralight load. The organized pocket design of Mariposa will give backpackers a whole new experience in organizing gear. The pack is compact but can carry more than enough with its built-in external pockets.

The main pack can carry 36L of volume space, which is big enough to store your backpacking essentials. Moreover, you get another 24L of volume space from the seven external pockets.

The three-size option helps rookie trekkers to choose the right Mariposa size that perfectly fits their frame. This feature provides load-carrying comfort. Likewise, the unisex design makes the Mariposa an easy choice.

Aside from being a comfortable ultralight pack, it is also highly functional for having a large main compartment, highly accessible extra pockets, and multiple attachment points for other accessories. These combined features make Mariposa a versatile, ultralight backpack for all types of backpackers.

The Mariposa is a great introduction pack if you want to experience the benefits of ultralight backpacking. An ultralight load keeps you comfortable while on a trek resulting in a more enjoyable journey. Carrying a Mariposa increases your mobility so you can navigate rough terrains with ease. Lastly, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 offers a solid value considering its functionality, durability, and versatility.