Field Report: Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack/Rosaleen
- Hi, Gang!
Below please find my Field Report for the Mariposa Pack. It is also posted
to the test folder at <
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
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
Color: Royal blue and black
Year of Manufacture: 2004
MSRP: $129.95 US
Product Specifications are listed in my Initial Report.
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.
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
Likes, So Far
Light enough to pick up and hold with one finger when empty
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
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
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- 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 Packcomment: to me, "fluke" means something associated with good luck, so I
>Tester: Rosaleen Sullivan
> I need
>more time with my heavier loads to know if this is really a trend or fluke.
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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