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Field Report: Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack/Rosaleen

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  • rosaleen43@aol.com
    Hi, Gang! Below please find my Field Report for the Mariposa Pack. It is also posted to the test folder at
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 1, 2005
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      Hi, Gang!

      Below please find my Field Report for the Mariposa Pack. It is also posted
      to the test folder at <
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/FR-Mariposa%20Pack-rhs/ >.

      I noticed that at least on other Mariposa tester was squeezed a bit for
      testing time and opportunities because of the timing. (Mine arrived a week later
      than the others because of a shipping error.) Maybe we should plan to make the
      Field Test period 3 months instead of two when the test overlaps the "Winter
      Holidays." (Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc., for those of us who eschew
      political correctness.) With all the craziness here, from holiday traveling to
      extreme weather and family illnesses, I was still fiddling with different pack
      options up to two days ago. (And, yes, I plan more.)



      Field Report: Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack
      Tester: Rosaleen Sullivan
      Age: 54 years
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5’ 9’’ / 1.75 m
      Weight: 180 lb / 82 kg
      E-mail: rosaleen43 (at) aol (dot) com
      Home: Eastern Massachusetts, USA
      Date: February 1, 2005
      Manufacturer: Gossamer Gear
      URL: http://gossamergear.com/
      Size: Medium
      Color: Royal blue and black
      Year of Manufacture: 2004
      MSRP: $129.95 US
      Product Specifications are listed in my Initial Report.
      General Description
      The Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack is a very light backpack that employs carbon
      fiber arrow shafts as internal support stays, and the user’s own sleeping pad
      for back padding. If all the removable options are in place, the pack weighs
      17.08 oz / 484 g. Appropriately shaped pieces of closed cell foam are
      supplied and can be inserted into hook and loop fastened pockets within the shoulder
      straps and hip belt. Alternatively, the user may stuff spare clothing, such
      as socks, into these silnylon-lined pockets as padding, avoiding the slight
      extra weight of the foam. Four mesh outer pockets allow quick access to the user’
      s water bottle and other small items, or a place for wet or smelly gear to
      have some exposure to air. The mostly silnylon pack has a more wear resistant
      fabric on the bottom, a feature I have already come to appreciate, a piece of
      shock cording and several strategically placed loops for some compression, as
      desired, and an interior pocket for a water bladder. There is no “lid top
      pocket,” but the drawstring top can be folded down, and then secured with a “Y”
      shaped strap. The juncture of the “Y” has a slide adjustment and is intended
      to provide secure lashing for items such as bulky sleeping pads, bear
      canisters, etc. The shoulder straps do have a connecting sternum strap, which
      features a whistle integrated into the connecting buckle.
      Results of Field Testing
      Production delays pushed the start of this test into the “winter holiday
      season,” flu season, and a time of abnormally severe weather for much of New
      England. All of this, in turn, cut into my available testing time. Since
      mid-November, I have been limited to one weekend along the Appalachian Trail in
      Massachusetts and some short local hikes for testing the Mariposa.
      For the first weekend, I used the supplied optional foam pads inside the
      shoulder strap and hip belt pockets. The shoulder straps seemed a bit wide for
      me, and I am accustomed to shoulder straps with tapering curves, so they felt “
      foreign” but were not a problem in use. I think that using the sternum strap
      helped increase my comfort level in this instance. For the back pad, I used 6
      sections of Z-rest, per one of Gossamer Gear’s recommendations. The folded
      sections helped to keep the back side fairly stiff and prevented my feeling the
      carbon fiber rods that are part of the pack’s frame.
      My hiking partner and I were able to set up our cars close to the trail for
      easy resupply, so my pack weight was not over 15 lb (~ 7 kg) at any time that
      weekend. We did traverse some challenging rocky scrambles, some of which I
      managed by scooting down crab-style. I felt and heard the Mariposa dragging a
      few times on some of the rocks. As much as I tried to baby this pack, I was
      afraid I’d find some holes in its bottom by the end of the hike. I lucked out
      and found no damage! I attribute this escape to the heavier fabric used on the
      pack bottom. I find the slight weight penalty of this versus keeping to
      silnylon very worthwhile.
      For my short local hikes, I’ve tried using some of the other options for
      padding the Mariposa. Using a deflated ¾ length Therm-a-Rest Prolite 4, I also
      had good comfort results. Finally, I tried using a Gossamer Gear Thinlite Pad
      for a back pad, and removed the closed cell foam pads, replacing the 2 shoulder
      pads and 2 hip belt pads with wool socks. The Mariposa instructions warn
      that repeated insertions and removal of the pads could result in damage to them.
      Well, I managed to tear one in half the first time I took all of the pads
      out, so the warning was appropriate. I had to work a bit to get the socks
      inserted and was skeptical, then happily surprised, that the lumpy looking “padding”
      was effective. I was quite comfortable with the pack loaded to about 20
      pounds (~ 9 kg), including 5 days of food and 3 qt (~ 3 L) of water. The
      Thinlite pad and the Prolite 4 are thin and flexible enough that the pack took on the
      look of a large cylinder when these were in place. My concerns that this
      would be uncomfortable have not been met, so far.
      Long Term Test Plan
      I will continue to experiment to find the best configurations for me as I use
      this pack. I am curious how the pack will feel as I carry it in warmer
      weather and I wear fewer clothes that otherwise might have been helping to pad
      pressure points. I am also accustomed to a pack designed to allow some of the
      ventilation that this design appears to sacrifice. It also has no “load lifter”
      straps, so I’m wondering if my chronic neck spasms are being set off by the
      way the pack hangs on me rather than being coincidental occurrences. I need
      more time with my heavier loads to know if this is really a trend or fluke.
      Then, I want to add, but not permanently attach, some water bottle loops or some
      form of pockets to the front or the shoulder straps in hopes of
      counterbalancing the load to see if that helps.
      Test locations
      Our weather, snow depth, and possible flooded trails will help determine
      where I will be hiking in the next few months. At this point, I am leaning
      towards staying to local trails in Eastern Massachusetts. In mid April I have a
      section hike planned along the Appalachian Trail from Hot Springs, North
      Carolina, to a few miles south of Erwin, Tennessee, USA. I will need to carry food
      and supplies for six days, so I anticipate the pack and I will have quite a
      workout then.
      Likes, So Far
      Light enough to pick up and hold with one finger when empty
      Elegant simplicity
      Multiple options for comfort/cutting weight
      Comfortable with loads tested, to now
      So far, easy removal and replacement of back padding
      No sign of wear at this point

      Dislikes, So Far
      Possible re-aggravation of my chronic neck spasms from weight effects
      Cumbersome stuffing of clothing into pad pockets (This may get easier with
      experience or other socks.)

      List of Questions for Which I Will Continue to Seek Answers
      Any signs of wear
      Sweat build up or collected heat problems under back pad
      “Water bottle pocket” easy to access
      Water bottle/bladder to pocket compatibility
      “Y” strap effectiveness for holding large objects
      Ease to load/unload/ use pack

      Tester Background
      I’m an aspiring Ultralighter. I do most of my backpacking over weekends in
      New England. Additionally, I have been lucky enough to experience hiking to
      the bottom of the Grand Canyon and a 110 mile (177 km) stretch of the
      Appalachian Trail from Pennsylvania to northern Virginia. My preferred gear at this
      time includes a hammock, alcohol or tablet stove, mini or no-cook home-dehydrated
      foods, and the least clothing and gear that I can feel comfortable carrying
      for that trip.
      Respectfully submitted with appreciation for the opportunity to test the
      Mariposa Pack,
      Rosaleen Sullivan

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Alex Tweedly
      Rosaleen - here s your official edit for the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack. This kind of like an ultralight edit - almost nothing to mention - and that s a
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 2, 2005
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        Rosaleen - here's your official edit for the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack.
        This kind of like an ultralight edit - almost nothing to mention - and
        that's a "shades of meaning" question, rather than an edit.

        >Field Report: Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack
        >Tester: Rosaleen Sullivan
        > I need
        >more time with my heavier loads to know if this is really a trend or fluke.
        comment: to me, "fluke" means something associated with good luck, so I
        re-read this a few times trying to see a meaning that made the "trend"
        alternative be the "unlucky" version. A bit picky, so ignore if you like
        - but I think it would read more naturally if you reworded it.

        Alex Tweedly http://www.tweedly.net

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