Wow- the Appalachians reach 7648 km in height? And I though Everest
at almost 10 km was steep...
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Rosaleen Sullivan"
> Hi, Gang and Alex (Monitor),
> Here is my LTR for the Mariposa pack. I have a couple of pictures
that will not show here, but can be viewed in the test folder at
20mariposa%20pack-rhs/>. From my end, the links all seem to work.
> Alex, thanks, in advance for your efforts.
> Long Term Report: Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack
> Tester: Rosaleen Sullivan
> Age: 55 years
> Gender: Female
> Height: 5' 9'' / 1.75 m
> Weight: 180 lb / 82 kg
> E-mail: rosaleen43 (at) msn (dot) com
> Home: Eastern Massachusetts, USA
> Date: May 31, 2005
> Manufacturer: Gossamer Gear
> URL: http://gossamergear.com/<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
> Interim information is in my Field
> General Description (from previous reports)
> 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 (supplied)
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 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 Long Term Testing
> For this test period, I carried the Mariposa on one 7 mile (< 11
km) "shakedown" hike in preparation for an extended hike, a 56.7 mile
(91 km) section hike of the North Carolina/Tennessee Appalachian
Trail, and as carry on luggage for one flight. Temperatures for the
trips ranged between mid 30's F and low 80's F (>2 C to >28 C). The
terrain ranged from the rolling hills of New England's coastal plains
to mountains following Appalachian ridges to a height of about 4750
ft (7648 km).
> Near the end of the Field Test period, I replaced the closed cell
foam in the shoulder and hip belts with socks, hats, or gloves, and
the Z-Rest section in the back pad pockets with a Therm-a-Rest
Prolite 4 short. I was very pleased with the comfort level with the
alternate fill and have not gone back to the closed cell padding.
Wooly items did need some plastic bag protection to prevent the hook
and loop closures from abrading them as I stuffed and removed each.
We had a nasty cold snap on the east coast of the USA before my long
hike in April. Night time temperatures were at or near freezing both
here in Massachusetts, as well as in the southern Appalachians. In
my anxiety over the cold and knowledge of snow conditions in the
Tennessee mountains, I added clothing and food to my pack beyond what
I'd so carefully planned. I think the pack I carried for most of the
long section hike reached close to 30 lb (~14 kg) with
the "extras." (Yes, I was sorry, especially during some ascents.)
The Mariposa carried comfortably even at my estimated 30 lb (~14 kg),
although I did find that I had to occasionally readjust straps that
would loosen as my steps shook my gear. This was, of course, more
pronounced when I slung my pack loose to allow for some air
circulation to my back.
> Some small experiments I tried included hanging a fanny pack from
the front in hopes of counterbalancing some weight. I couldn't tell
if the fanny pack slung from the haul loop across a shoulder to the
front of a shoulder strap, or just slung between shoulder straps in
the front was of any help. It did put some small items in reach
during the day, so, in that regard it was helpful. I was very glad
for the long pocket on the pack's left side when my hydration bladed
decided to leak. I first noticed it as I picked up my well-stuffed
pack from a dining room chair, on my way to loading my truck for "The
Big Hike." As one might imagine, I was NOT pleased to find the chair
seat wet. I couldn't determine the source of the leak and moved the
refilled bladder to the outside pocket for the duration of the hike.
(The hole grew large enough to find it near the end of the trip.) I
was able to load my hammock on the inside opposite of the water
bladder and place a filled quart sized bottle in the outer right
pocket, so the pack felt reasonably well balanced as I hiked. I
never needed to lash anything to the outside of the pack, but the "Y"
strap did help restrain bulky semi-hard items at the top inside of
> For my section hike, I used a Hennessy hammock. My hats and gloves
and spare socks took turns "riding" in the pad pockets and doing dual
duty. (Just before the hike, I made some micro fleece and a water
repellant fabric hats and mittens to layer, as needed.) At night,
once my food and other "smellables" were hung, I found the option of
removing the pack's stays and padding to be a boon. Instead of
worrying about where to stash my pack, I removed the stays and tucked
them into the gathered Snakeskins on the hammock's hanging ropes, and
popped my Therm-a-Rest into the hammock. Once I was inside, holding
the pack on my lap as I laid back, it was very easy to deploy my
sleeping bag as a blanket right out of the pack. Then, I'd take out
my inflatable pillow and anything else I might need for the night,
and slip the pack under my legs. It became part of my insulation and
sleep comfort system. With the stays removed, the now soft bag
couldn't poke any holes through the hammock bottom, or have any hard
spots pressing into my legs. I think I've found a very workable
solution for what I should do with my pack at night, and how to
insulate my legs below my short air mattress. I just love multiple
uses of anything I have to lug around all day!
> Under good and bad news, I encountered one problem in this time.
Somehow I must have inadvertently allowed the pack to rub against an
object, scraping a hole in the upper left side. I was horrified to
find it after the day long shake down hike.
> Not wanting to have a too obvious scar, I contacted Glen Van Peski
at Gossamer Gear and procured a matching piece of silnylon to sew
over the hole. I think the repair looks like a small pocket, as long
as one doesn't inspect it too closely.
> I have been very happy with the customer service that Glen
provides. He was prompt with sending out the silnylon for the repair
patch, and very patient with questions about accessory gear that I
bought or considered buying. Imagine how glad I was that I had
bought the clear plastic (perfect fit) pack liner that saved my gear
from getting soaked when my water bladder leaked! He also has sent
me a sample of the mesh used for the back pad pockets. My long
sleeved Supplex shirt that I wear for sun protection has some large
black stains on the back. I think the color in the pad sleeves
transferred to my shirt back while I was sweating profusely. Wicking
polyester knit shirts with a slick finish did not have the same
problem as the less smooth Supplex nylon. I've been told that nylon
picks up color very easily. If the black stain on the nylon and not
polyester is an indication, that's a valid premise. It is too bad
that nylon doesn't give up color as easily.
> One other point that I find useful about backpacks is whether or
not they fit in an overhead bin for air travel. I carried my
Mariposa, minus any fuel, knives, or hiking poles, on board a flight
from Washington, DC, to Boston, MA, with no problems. The less than
filled to capacity pack, pockets empty, easily fit into the bin over
my seat. I felt that I could have filled it more, should I have
wished to do so. Since I like being able to fly with key trekking
gear in hand, I was pleased to know that I can carry my pack, some
food and clothing, sleeping gear, etc., and have it fit overhead.
Food, fuel, some sort of a staff, and even a razor knife can be
purchased after landing, as needed. I would find it a major
inconvenience to arrive at a destination and discover that my pack,
shelter, and sleeping gear were among the airline's missing bags.
> Likes (Nearly unchanged from the test start!)
> a.. Light enough to pick up and hold with one finger when empty
> b.. Elegant simplicity
> c.. Multiple options for comfort/cutting weight (Allows for
multiple uses of clothing/gear.)
> d.. Comfortable with loads tested, to about 30 lb (~14 kg)
> e.. Easy removal and replacement of back padding (Yields a handy
option for using pad during rest breaks.)
> f.. No sign of wear at the end of 6 months, except for one repair
> g.. Options for carrying water bladder inside or outside of the
> h.. Great customer service!
> Dislikes, So Far
> a.. Cumbersome stuffing of clothing into pad pockets (Smaller or
less fuzzy items and plastic bags help. Larger openings might be
> b.. Back mesh for pad pocket seems to bleed onto nylon clothing
under pressure and sweaty conditions.
> c.. Lack of ventilation between the user's back and the pack can
make it extra hot to carry.
> d.. Water bottle side pocket worked well for me to get the bottle
out, but not in, as the pack was worn. (Possibly a function of my
own stiffness or the size of my wrapped water bottle.)
> I found the Mariposa to be a nice, simple, light pack to use. As
with any top loader, I had to be mindful of how I packed items to be
able to access them when needed. It shrugged off light showers, but
is not completely waterproof. (Otherwise, the leaking water bladder
wouldn't have soaked my chair.) I think I would have liked load
lifters, but I was able to keep the pack in a comfortable position
without them. The concept of multiple uses for gear carried and the
elimination of unneeded pack parts is carried to a high degree with
> 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]