(Review Ad) Mariposa Pack

Hiker review of the latest model of the Mariposa 60 Lightweight Backpack. Field tested in the Olympic Mountains, where I carried above manufacture suggested loads on my back. In this review I look at Robic fabric, overall weight, pockets and durability of this minimalist piece of outdoor gear.

Editor's Note and Disclaimer: Article has been updated in summer 2016. See bottom of page! I was provided the backpack in exchange for this review. Post contains affiliate links to finance this site.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa
Mariposa Backpack - Bailey Range, Olympic Mountains

Gossamer Gear Mariposa
Loaded with a 5 day supply & full camera equipment

Overnight Backpacking in Wilderness

On my latest Olympic Peninsula adventure to the Northern Bailey Range I brought along with me the new version of the Mariposa backpack.  I was looking for a lightweight pack that had an even balance between capacity and comfort.  I used it for long days on rough terrain fighting my way through thick brush and scrambling off-trail on steep country.  The fabric held it's own and the new strap system was a much needed improvement.

lightweight backpack review
Scrambling a heavy load on the Bailey Range, Olympic Mountains

Strong Fabric Upgrade!

One of the biggest changes with the Mariposa pack is the transition from Dyneema to Robic fabric.  Robic is very tough and durable and does not stretch or change shape even with extended use. The rigidity of the fabric makes your backpack feel very secure and solid against your frame.  While testing the pack I hiked through a considerable downpour and I did get some moisture in the pack. Whether this came in through the hydration port, the seams or elsewhere I don't know but as with all backpacks i recommend using a liner {affiliate link} or a pack cover if rain is possible. It is anything but water resistant!

Robic fabric
Close up of Robic fabric

Padded Shoulder Straps

Traditional ultralight packs have a huge amount of volume but don't have a shoulder strapping system to match.  Therefore the straps don't sit on quite the right spot and this becomes pretty uncomfortable over extended periods of time.  In response Gossamer Gear innovated a new Mariposa pack with an improved shoulder strap design.  The new shoulder straps are noticeably thicker and more padded but still lightweight.  They also have a new curvy, ergonomic S shape that distributes the weight properly onto your shoulder and chest.

shoulder padding
New shoulder strap system (not current)

The new load lifters have proper range of motion on the adjustment-- BIG improvement over the older Mariposa!

Mariposa Backpack Specs

- Weight (size large): 29.6 ounces (not current)

- Suggest Max Weight: 35 lbs

- Capacity: 60 liters

- Frame: Removable stay for heavy loads stability

- Number of Pockets: 7

- Hydration: Sleeve and 2 hose ports

- Side Compression Straps: Cord optional

- Tool Attachments: Ice axe loop and trekking pole holders

Top 3 Pack Competitors

{Affiliate links}

- Osprey Backpacks

- Granite Gear Crown VC

- Gregory Mountain Packs

Thoughts for the Pack User

-   The GG Thinlight insulation pad would not fit this pack with the same number of folds as my previous pack. It may be because this is a sample pack but the pad holder pocket seems tighter on this pack. I suggest using the GG Sitlight Pad it comes with and stowing the Thinlight rolled up under the top flap if you need to carry one. Using the Nightlight will give the pack extra rigidity.

- Use a pack liner or cover in heavy rain {affiliate link}. Design and fabric choice will let water inside the main compartment.

- Adjust sternum strap so that the backpack straps fit flush against your chest.

- The new Mariposa will not compress vertically with less than a 50% load due to the placement of the termination point of the webbing on the pack seam (Update: This has been addressed in 2016 model)

- The new mesh on the big rear pocket is more durable but slightly less stretchy than the old power-mesh. Because of this the pocket may hold a bit less than on previous models.

- Fits bear canister with minimal loads.

pack lid
New closure limits compression on smaller pack loads (not current)

bear can pack
Bear Valt Canister BV450 {affiliate link} fits horizontal with space on three sides - removable aluminum stay

size comparison
Size Comparison: Mariposa - - Ultralight Gorilla - - Superlight Kumo

Final Conclusion and Updates

The Mariposa Backpack performed well on my latest 5 day off-trail adventure in the Olympic Mountains.  It held a large food supply and camera equipment across very rugged terrain.  I purposefully bushwhacked through dense vegetation and by the end of my trip the robic fabric did not have a single scratch or tear.  I found the new shoulder system to be drastically improved and more comfortable than the generation before.  I formally predict this will be an all time top-seller pack for Gossamer Gear.  

I was disappointed that the pack did not perform to my standards in rain. My hopes is that it would be made from a more water resistant fabric. Make sure to waterproof everything inside your pack before hitting the trailhead.

Updated in March 2016: Gossamer Gear has since incorporated a new hipbelt and frame system. The weight, webbing and power mesh have also been changed. Not shown in this group of photos. I have not tested it, but have been told of this upgrade. Their aluminum stay (frame) now comes through the pack and terminates into the hipbelt. This should make load transfers more comfortable. Learn how to upgrade your old pack in this article!

Updated in August 2016 by Barefoot Jake