Gossamer Gear’s Mariposa Backpack When You Need Lightweight & Durability

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Gossamer Gear Mariposa BackpackHeading to Africa in two months, I’m investigating backpacks. My ideal requirements for a pack for the upcoming African journey is:

  • Less than 1 kg (2.2 pounds) when empty
  • High storage capacity (I won’t use the capacity most of the time, but I want the option to carry extra stuff)
  • It should hold comfortably carry 15kg (33 pounds).
  • Several pouches/compartments to help organize stuff
  • Few zippers (they often break over time)
Below are details on the Mariposa backpack from Gossamer Gear.
  • The Medium sized version weighs 765 grams (27 oz.)
  • The backpack is made out of custom 140 denier Dyneema GGridstop™ fabric.
  • 7 exterior pockets
  • The OTT (over-the-top) closure system for a simple, solid, secure closure that also includes a zippered top pocket.
  • The “Shock Top™ shock cord top-of-the-pack lashing system for attaching your foam pad or other gear to the top of the pack
  • The Mariposa is best with loads under 30lbs but will handle up to 35 just fine

For capacity, it carries nearly 70 liters or 4,244 c.i. Let’s break that down:

  • 2860 c.i. (47 l.) in main pack body/extension collar
  • 1384 c.i. (22 l.) in all 7 pockets combined

Let’s break down the 765 grams (27 oz.) backpack:

  • Pack Body = 15.85 oz (409 g) (Average for medium size)
  • Removable hip belt = 5.15 oz. (146 g.) (Average for medium size)
  • Aluminum curved stay = 3.5 oz. each (96 g.) (Average for medium size)
  • Sitlight Pad = 2.0 oz ( 51 g. ) (Average)
  • xtra shock cord and cordlocks .55 oz (16 g.)

With just two months to start my Africa trip, this looks like the backpack that I need. Of course, thru-hikers and backpackers will also appreciate this backpack, especially for winter trips or trips where you have to carry more than a week of food. Its durability gives me the confidence that it will last three years. Yes, it will be mangled, but it’s tough.

The only downside is that there are two closure clips to lock it down. I miss the old Mariposa backpack, which just had one closure. Still, given the other improvements, it seems we’ve got ourselves a winner! I’d give it 4 out 5 stars. 

Use the small black plastic thingy in the center to hook it all together

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Francis Tapon
Francis Tapon is half Chilean and half French and he was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He's been to over 80 countries, but he keeps coming back to this magical city because he loves earthquakes.

He spoke Spanish at home, French at school, and English everywhere else. He can get by in Portuguese and Italian, barely survive in Russian and Slovenian, and speak a few other languages.

Francis has an MBA from Harvard Business School and co-founded a successful Silicon Valley company that did robotic vision. He left his technology life to walk across America four times. He has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, and in 2007, became the first to do a round-trip on the Continental Divide Trail. In 2009, he was one of the finalists for the California Outdoors Hall of Fame, which "features nominees who are world-renowned for their skills and who have helped inspire thousands of others to take part in the great outdoors."

Francis has written a couple of travel books including The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us and Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America. He also produced a 77-minute video about his CDT Yo-Yo.
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