I have gone through backpacks in the recent couple of years. Not from wearing them out, but due to them just not working out – fit, comfort and usability on my hikes. I sent back an REI “old fashioned” pack two years ago. Last year, I swapped out my Granite Gear Crown 2 for an Osprey Exos 55, and finally a swap to current Gossamer Mariposa 60. After 4 nights out and over 100 miles (heavily loaded) with the Mariposa, a review is due – especially after the recent Rogue River trip.
I hike long days and often multiple days long. In the shoulder seasons where it’s cold, wet and buggy, I carry additional gear so my pack weight ranges from 30-32 pounds (depending on consumables); in summer, I plan to have the weight down to 27-25 pounds, or less. Ditching tent, full jetBoil system and all the ‘extras’ I add for wet, cold and buggy.
Pack design, usability requirements
- Carry a BV450 (Bear Vault 450) – check
- Sized / adjustable torso fit – check
- Sized hip belt with pockets – check
- Usable side pockets – eat / drink will in motion – partial check (only the lower right is reachable for me – 1 of 3 side pockets)
- Space to keep wet stuff out of main compartment – check (back stash pocket is like Marry Poppins’ bag)
- Keeps stuff dry (I added an old pack rain fly) – check
- Makes packing / unpacking easy and fast – check
- Comfort after 12 miles – less so w/>30 pounds (need to add shoulder pads?) – w/ <28 pounds a breeze! — half check
- No sore back at end of day – check (only soreness was top shoulders)
How I chose to pack it.
- Bottom – extra wet clothes not being used – in ‘dry sack’
- Sleep kit – bag, pad, extra clothes – in 6 Moon Design pod and dry sack
- Bear Vault w/ food
- Kitchen kit – JetBoil, cup, spoon, emergency supplies – in 6 Moon Design pod
- Dry / Warm kit – nano puff and gortex rain jacket – in 6 Moon Design pod and dry sack
- ultra dry sack and back up batteries
- Top – Tent
- Big Side Pocket – tarp, tent poles / stakes, emergency water
- Top side pocket – inReach backup battery, emergency gear and first aid
- Lower side pocket – water, bear spray and ‘quick need’ first aid (e.g., alcohol for poison oak)
- Belt pockets – food and snacks to get to next ‘stop’ (either lunch or dinner)
- Shoulder strap pockets (extra from Gossamer) -phone and inReach
The Mariposa is my favorite pack so far in terms of fit, usability and flexibility. Complimentary products like the shoulder strap pockets and bumster (i use this for glasses, money, keys, wallet, and often in Reach) make everything just work. I recommend the Mariposa and unless something changes, see using it through the season and hopefully into the next.