Home / Gear Reviews / Backpack Reviews / Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack

manufactured by:
Philip Werner
Version:
2012
Price:
235.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On May 1, 2012
Last modified:August 14, 2016

Summary:

Backpack maker Gossamer Gear has been doing a major revamp of their product line this year, part of a continuing trend of using more durable fabrics in order to attract who are switching to lighterweight packs for the first time.

The 2012 Gossamer Gorilla Backpack
The 2012 Gossamer Gorilla Backpack

Backpack maker Gossamer Gear has been doing a major revamp of their product line this year, part of a continuing trend of using more durable fabrics in order to attract who are switching to lighterweight packs for the first time.

What follows is a review of the Gossamer Gear Gorilla which I’ve been using very extensively for the past few weeks on hikes in Massachusetts, Texas, and New Hampshire. It’s a superlative pack, far better than the 2010 model, which was pretty excellent to begin with and has been my go to pack for over a year.

Up Front Disclosure

Before I dive into the details of the new Gorilla, I want to be completely upfront about my relationship with Gossamer Gear. I am a former Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador and tested a lot of confidential gear prototypes for the company including many that died on the vine and never saw the light of day. The 2012 Gorilla incorporates some of the design suggestions that myself and other GG Trail Ambassadors have made which is one of the main reasons I tested (not just review) gear for the company. That said, I wasn’t privy to all of the changes made to the Gorilla and some of the new features threw me for a loop.

(Update: I resigned as a Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador on Dec 1, 2014 to spend more time hiking and writing. However, that hasn’t changed my assessment of this backpack in any way.)

If you have read my previous backpack reviews, you know that I don’t pull my punches when it comes to pack critiques and I’ve tried to maintain my objectivity here as well. You be the judge. Here is what I think of the 2012 Gorilla Backpack.

Outfitted for Early Spring Peakbagging
Outfitted for Early Spring Peakbagging in the White Mountains

New External Fabric

Late last year, Gossamer Gear started producing backpacks using a new fabric, 140 denier Dyneema, which is far more durable and abrasion resistant than the ripstop nylon or silnylon they’d made their packs with previously. It’s also lighter than the 210 Dyneema used by other ultralight pack manufacturers providing the perfect balance of weight, durability, and cost.

Moving the Gorilla to Dyneema is significant for me because I scrape up my pack something fierce scrambling over the Mountains of New England from Vermont and north through Maine. Having a tougher fabric means I’ll be able to use the same pack for longer and not hole it as frequently, something I did a few times a year when Gossamer Gear packs were made out of ripstop.

In addition to the pack body, Gossamer Gear has also replaced the side mesh pockets on the older Gorilla with Dyneema and bottom drain holes. Again a nice durability improvement, although the mesh, which is still used on the large front pocket, is plenty tough and hard to hole in my experience. Both of these pockets are large enough to hold water bottles and extra gear. It’s also easy to reach back and pull the bottle from a pocket while walking, and to put it back securely without breaking stride.

The 2010 Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack in the 100 Mile Wilderness
Previous generation 2010 Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack in the 100 Mile Wilderness

New Features

If switching to more durable fabrics wasn’t enough, Gossamer Gear made many functional improvements to the new Gorilla including:

  • A wider hip belt, with sewn-on, high capacity hip belt pockets
  • Revamped lumbar support system on the hip belt providing better load transfer
  • Pre-curved shoulder straps with sewn in foam
  • Non-slip fabric on the inside of the shoulder pads and hip belt
  • Locking sternum strap system and shoulder strap attachments
  • Extra beefy lash points
  • Improved aluminum stay holder inside the pack
  • Eliminated “head banging” by pre-curving the top of the stay
  • The Over the Top pocket and vertical compression system
  • Magnetic extension collar closure system

You’re probably thinking, “surely there’s a difference in the weight.” Nope,  my 2012 Gorilla weighs 1 ounces less than the older model, even with the new hip belt pockets and pack lid. I’ll go over the weight breakdown at the end of this post. But let’s look at the new features, first.

Hip Belt and Pockets

High Capacity Hip Belt Pockets
High Capacity Hip Belt Pockets

Most of the hip belt pockets you find on backpacks these days are a joke. They’re either made out of mesh or too small to hold much more than a power bar. Size matters.

I’ve been adding 3rd party to my Gossamer Gear hip belts for years so I can get at the things I need during the day and night without having to dig through my pack. These were a pain to attach to the old style Gossamer Gear style hip belt with it’s funky optional foam inserts. but the new Gorilla comes with its own Dyneema pockets, permanently sewn onto the hip belt . I like.

I don’t have capacity measurements on the size of the new hip belt pockets, but they’re a good size. For example, one is large enough to carry a Black Diamond headlamp, a SPOT Messenger, a Brunton mirrored sighting compass, a 2 oz bottle of DEET and a tin of Dermatone, as shown above. I use the other one to carry my largish Lumix Camera with a filter extender.

I wish the pocket zippers were waterproof, but they’re not. I also wish the pockets were seam-sealed or taped for better water resistance and strength, but that’s a mod I can make to themselves myself. Still, they are awesome pockets and I’m very happy to have them included on the pack, especially because it saves me about $30 to buy a new set.

The new Gorilla also has a new hip belt that comes fully sealed with interior foam from the factory. The hip belt is tapered but about 1/2 inch wider than the old Gorilla at its widest point, where it emerges from the back of the pack. Not only is it more comfortable, but it stays in place without sliding down, much better than previously because there is more of it. This is a big deal for us older guys with a little more jelly around the hips and less pronounced hip bones. The fabric on the inside of the hip belt and shoulder straps has also been changed and has ridges woven into that prevent further slippage.

Non Slip Lining
Non Slip Lining

The new hip belt also has sewn-in padding located  over the lumbar shelf of your hips, just below the small of your back. This is a change from the previous model where there was no padding, just fabric and a velrco attachment. The extra padding  significantly improves load to hip weight transfer, particularly with heavier loads above 20 pounds. Another like.

As with most Gossamer Gear packs, the Gorilla hip belt is replaceable independent of the torso size, so you can order a medium torso length and a large sized hip belt. No extra charge.

Pre-curved shoulder straps

Curved and Tapered Shoulder Straps
Curved and Tapered Shoulder Straps

The Gorilla’s shoulder pads have been improved and come with pre-curved padding to fit people with narrower shoulders and/or breasts. The previous model’s scratchy seams for foam inserts (or socks) have been eliminated, and like the hip belt, the foam is sewn into the shoulder pads at the factory.

Of all the changes to the Gorilla, I was probably the most concerned that the new shoulder harness would ruin the feel of the Gorilla and Mariposa Plus. In fact, I’ve always considered the wide, 3 inch shoulder straps on Gossamer Gear packs to be one of their signature features, and a key reason that you can hike all day without any shoulder pain. Thankfully, Gossamer Gear retained the width of the shoulder pads when they revamped the harness system, and it is still as comfortable as ever. Phew! I was on the verge of stockpiling the older model packs so I’d have them for years to come.

Bomber 1680 Ballistic Cordura for Durability
Bomber 1680 Ballistic Cordura for Durability

Gossamer Gear also strengthened the connection between the shoulder straps and the back of the pack, using 1680 denies Ballistic Cordura fabric. Bomber. You need to be a Samsonsite Gorilla to rip these shoulder straps off!

Sternum Strap and Gear Attachment Loops
Sternum Strap and Gear Attachment Loops

The pack also comes with a new sternum strap using a three tiered strap system with locking clips that snap into place. The jury is still out on this, but it works fine so far and hasn’t given me any problems.

The clips are sewn all the way through the shoulder straps, underneath webbing daisy chains. The previous Gorilla did not have daisy chains here so this is a net improvement in my opinion, particularly the inclusion of O-rings at the top of the daisy chains which can be used to attach 1/2 liter drinking bottles to the shoulder straps. I plan to experiment more with these in the coming months.

Extra Beefy Lashpoints
Extra Beefy Lashpoints

Extra Beefy Lashpoints

I have torn lash points out of Gossamer Gear packs. It’s really annoying because they are such an integral part of the latent carrying capacity on the Gorilla and the larger Mariposa Plus. I use them all the time to lash snowshoes, fishing rods, crampons, trekking poles, extra water reservoirs, tents, etc. to the side of my pack or when I need carry extra gear or supplies.

The lash out points have been substantially reinforced on the Gorilla with fabric triangles (above) that anchor them to the seams of the pack. Apparently, other people liked to rip them out too! Plus 1.

All Gossamer Gear packs come with a length of elastic lash cord so you can rig up all kinds of different systems as needed. I should probably write a post about the common patterns used to lash gear to the outside of a Gossamer Gear pack sometime.

New Aluminum Stay Holder

New Aluminum Stay Holder
New Aluminum Stay Holder

Gossamer Gear rates the max load of the Gorilla at 30-35 pounds, which I think is accurate. Up to 20 pounds, you can easily get by with using a sitlight pad or foam pad of your choosing as the framesheet, and slips into the back pad pocket on all Gossamer Gear packs including the Gorilla. If you’ve never seen anything like this, it’s one of the signatures of a Gossamer Gear pack and reflects the ultralight backpacking, multi-use mantra (sit pad as a back frame) of the company’s origins.

For heavier loads, I use the optional aluminum stay which comes with the pack. This is a U-shaped piece of aluminum tubing which slides down two reinforced channels on the back of the pack, behind the interior hydration pocket, and helps prevent the frame from collapsing and subtly shortening with heavier loads. It also helps to transfer more of the pack weight off of your shoulders and onto the hip belt.

On the previous version of the Gorilla, the stay was held in place by two small velcro tabs which prevented it from sliding up out of the channel – that was the theory anyway. They didn’t really work well as noted in Martin Rye’s review of the previous model of the Gorilla last year and have been replaced with an elastic flap which keeps the stay correctly positioned and locked in place.

For those of you that need to carry bear canisters, a Garcia Backpacker’s Cache will fit into the Gorilla positioned vertically, but not horizontally. I can’t say regarding other bear canister models. I always use the stay when carrying my canister.

Pre-Curved Stay

Pre-curved Aluminum Stay
Pre-curved Aluminum Stay

I run into an amazing number of people on the trail who wear Gossamer Gear packs and if there’s one universal I’ve observed is that they don’t like to bend the aluminum stay, even if it’s uncomfortable, out of fear of ruining the pack.

One common complaint, and that I myself experienced with the older Gorilla, was that my head would bump against the top of the stay. I fixed this fixed by putting the stay over my leg and bending the top slightly backward out of the way, but a better fix is to pre-curve the top of the stay away from the back of people’s heads, out-of the-box, as shown above. This change is now provided in the new Gorilla.

Top Pocket and Lid
Top Pocket and Lid

Over the Top Pocket System and Lid

At last we come to the Over The Top lid which includes a sewn in pocket and provides much needed vertical compression for the Gorilla that was lacking in the earlier version of the pack, and all Gossamer Gear packs, for that matter. In the past, Gossamer Gear packs closed with a drawstring closure which left an opening at the top of the pack that was vulnerable to rain. Vertical compression was provided by a Y strap that ran up the middle of the packs’ front and looped over the top.  It provided a marginally usable top attachment point and some vertical compression, but was often awkward to use and blocked access to the front mesh pocket.

The new Over the Top lid folds over the opening at the top of the pack and has a zippered pocket, which is large enough to store a fair number of odds and ends including your wallet, keys, map, glasses. It’s really quite convenient. It’s loosely patterned after a floating lid including an extension collar, and can be used to sandwich gear between the top of the pack and the lid, provided that longer (orange) strings are used to anchor it to the front of the pack. Even if it’s not used in that fashion, it still provides much needed vertical compression to the contents of the pack and eliminates the vulnerability to rain that was present in the old design.

Magnets on the other walls of the Gorilla
Magnets on the other walls of the Gorilla

In addition to the outer pocket, the opening at the top of the pack closes using magnets positioned on either side of the opening. They are, thankfully, not strong enough to wipe your electronics. They snap together and hold the fabric together, enabling it to be folded over without exposing the contents to precipitation.

Although I was somewhat taken aback my the new lid/pocket when I first saw it, it has grown on me with use as I’ve experimented using it with different loads: there’s no denying the utility of the vertical compression and waterproofing it provides. It does have some minor limitations in that the pocket becomes more difficult to use when the pack becomes increasingly stuffed, but on the whole I think it’s a net improvement over the original drawstring system, and certainly the roll top closures used by most other ultralight backpack manufacturers.

Weight Comparison

As I mentioned earlier, my new 2012 Gorilla weighs 1 ounce less than my 2010 Gorilla in a size medium with a large sided hip belt. That’s including the new wider hip belt, hip belt pockets, top lid/pocket, and Dyneema construction.

The minimal weight, including a 2.0 ounce sitlight pad is 21.1 ounces or 1 pound 5.1 ounces. The stay adds  3.4 ounces, bringing the total to 24.5 ounces (1 pound 8.5 ounces. )The weight of my old Gorilla with a sitlight is 22.1 ounces or an ounce heavier than the new Gorilla, and 25.5 ounces with the aluminum stay (1 pound 9.5 ounces.)

That seals the deal for me. You get a lot more features and a much better backpack with the new Gorilla.

Recommendation

I never expected the new Gorilla Backpack to be such a vast improvement over its predecessor.  I think it got that way in part due to the ingenuity of the Glen van Peski and Grant Sible, but also because this pack incorporated so much feedback from the Gossamer Gear Ambassadors who fed their own experience back to the company and tested early versions of it. The new Gorilla goes way beyond being an evolution the old design and for all practical purposes has changed so much that it’s essentially a new backpack. A rather excellent one too.

My old Gorilla is now officially for sale!

Likes:

  • Dyneema fabric for better durability
  • Hip belt pockets
  • Wider hip belt
  • Narrow backpack, provides excellent control
  • Over the top lid, pocket, and vertical compression system
  • External last points
  • Too numerous to list

Dislikes:

  • Be nice if the hip belt and top lid pockets had waterproof zippers.
  • That’s about it.

Disclosure: Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) is a former Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador and received a complimentary Gorilla backpack. 

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39 comments

  1. Great review.
    Thanks, Philip!

  2. I’ve been testing out the new Kumo from GG as well (basically a smaller version of the Gorilla, without the beefy hip belt and stay). Pretty great new packs, I say. My reaction to the lid system was about the same as yours– I haven’t used lids on packs in years, so I thought it would be hard to get used to. I thought the magnets were pretty neat, although it sounds like maybe that wasn’t the reaction from a lot of other users. I’m most curious to see where GG goes from here. I wonder if they’ll revamp their shelter line up after doing the packs…

    • I saw your spotlight on the Kumo. It’s really nice too, basically an all Dyneema Murmur with a much better hip belt. I plan to use one as a day pack this year – I’ve also been testing it out and preparing a review.

      The magnets don’t bother me at all. Some kind of fastener is needed to make the system work and I’d rather have them than a velcro strip.

      I use a winter pack with a floating lid about 5 months of the year, so the Over The Top lid didn’t take me any time to get used to. It’s a rather ingenious adaption of a floating pocket, just ultralight style, and gets us past roll top closures which is a “tired” design pattern in my opinion. The extra pocket is sweet too.

      What I want is a higher volume, all Dyneema winter backpack suitable for mountaineering from Gossamer Gear. Lobbying…

  3. Very nice review! I also have the older Gorilla and find the roll top closure a bit tiring. I really would like to try the new 2012 model!

    Another thing.. I´d like to see more of humbleness amongst the manufacturers! When they make an improvement, the idea of this doesn´t always come first from themselves. In this case we have seen the Over the Top lid closure before! The “inspiration” must come from the new German manufacturer Laufbursche, as far as I can see. I might be wrong but anyway, It´s always nice to give rightful credits to the inventor whomever this is.

    OK, I understand that all small cottage manufacturers get ideas from all over and more easily than the Outdoor Industry Giants can make good changes and improvements. In the end this will only benefit us backpackers, wich is really the best part. I´m from Sweden and English is not my first language but I hope You get my point.. This issue is not very important, but I find it inspiring to hear and see this open way of working and also will give the trust a little boost. And trust is what Gossamer Gear and the other small cottage manufacturer, probably want most of all!
    All the best!
    /Stefan

  4. Wow- from what I can tell these are all outstanding changes.

    Very nice review!

  5. Thanks for the very comprehensive review. Would you say this pack is good for both men and women? Or should women stick to packs which are exclusively marketed to them?
    I’m a regular day hiker looking to get into some peak bagging and backpacking over the next year.
    Love your blog.

    • Yes, this is definitely a pack for men and women: the shoulder harness as well as the hip belt were redesigned to be more accessible to people with a greater range of body shapes and sizes, while increasing out of the box comfort.

      That said, I will defer to my female readers about what you should buy. What matters most is fit and comfort: every pack is different in how they’ll fit you regardless of whether it’s women-specific or not. Try on as many as you can before you need to make a final decision. Gossamer Gear (they’ll kill me for telling you this) has a 30-day return policy on new packs, so you can try before you commit to a final purchase.
      http://gossamergear.com/wp/support/policies

      I’m glad you like my site..do you mind if I ask you why? Whatever it is I’m doing that’s useful, I want to do more of it. Seriously. Thanks!

      • Thanks so much for your response. I will definitely take your advice to try before I buy.
        Your blog is my go-to blog for hiking/backpacking for a few reasons:

        1. You update it very regularly.
        2. You review gear. I know that you and other readers have mixed feelings on that front, but since I am just learning about backpacking in particular, I find the reviews and reader comments invaluable. If I suspected you were simply advertising products, I’d be gone in a heartbeat, but I never get that sense here.
        3. Your trip reports and photos are not only useful in helping me learn and plan, but they are also helpful in that they convey your enthusiasm and love for nature and hiking/backpacking. It’s contagious. So, I come here to be motivated!
        Thank you for all of that!

      • Well! I’ll keep doing what I’m doing then. :-)

        I do review a lot of gear because I view them as a vehicle for teaching that’s more effective than plain old teaching (what’s that say about our materialist culture.) Writing them also gives me an excuse to hike even more, which you know I really enjoy. Thanks so much for the feedback.

      • I’m a woman trying to get started in the backpacking world. This IS the go-to site to learn. Keep it up. I never feel like you’re trying to sell me on anything but getting out in comfort and safety. I don’t write often but I’m here a lot.

      • Thanks for de-lurking. :-)
        Glad you’re a regular. Tell me what you want to know more about – I really am happy to help – gives me great satisfaction knowing that I’m doing something useful.

  6. Those look like very wide shoulder straps. Do you know what the width is for the widest padded portion?

    • 3 inches – same as the old Gorilla and the Mariposa Plus.

      • Ok, that’s odd. The shoulder straps on my original Gorilla were almost 4 inches wide and definitely much more than 3 inches (here’s an old photo with ruler shown to illustrate). When I had my original Gorilla modified by GG to have the new ‘prototype’ harness attached it came back with 3-inch straps.

        I don’t have a Maiposa to compare, but I’m pretty sure that the same older harness that the original Gorilla had was on the Mariposa. Philip, if you have time and ruler handy can you measure them to check? ^BG

  7. How’s the pack sticking to your back? Hiking in colder climates, I understand this is no problem .. but how did it feel like down south in Texas you mention? Did you get all sweaty and had your shirt cling to both your back and the pack? The back panel fabric looks plenty warm, and like it could be a pain in the beep when hiking in Florida.

    • The Texas hill country (Austin) was very pleasant. I sweated of course, but it was fairly low humidity. I’m not bothered by sweating though. You’re going to stink 5 minutes after you get out of your car anyway. If you want to sweat less, carry less weight.

      • Grin .. that wasn’t the point. There’s no issue with sweating itself. There IS an issue (for me) with a pack sticking to my back like slices of industrial bacon stick to each other. One of the reasons why I still carry my venerable old REI Venturi 40 on overnighters – I like that mesh back panel.

  8. Wow, really sounds like you like this one! I like the products from these smaller companies, they really listen to feedback from their end users. It’s great to see they are improving their products, and not ruining core features like other brands in the name of being mainstream.

    Great review by the way. Very extensively tested!

  9. For three weeks now I have been hiking about 30 miles a week with the 2012 Gorilla training for a Philmont trek this summer. The pack is awesome andi now believe I will take it on the trek with me. With our resupply occurring every three days at most I believe the pack has plenty of volume for the food. The side pockets I love and it has transformed my hydration system. Comfy all around.

  10. This is my big day for comments, I guess. I’m choosing between the Mariposa+ and Gorilla (since both are being/have been revamped and the Mariposa is almost ready for shipping), and I’m hoping you can offer some guidance. I have yet to graduate to a tarptent and am eyeing a Black diamond FirstLight, but I could certainly be convinced to switch to, say, the Squall tarptent you reviewed. Also, I’m aiming to get a Montbell sleeping bag that is 2 lbs or less. On that note, should I go with a down or synthetic bag? I’m concerned that down will get wet and be rendered heavy and useless. I still use an MSR pocket rocket with the fuel canisters they provide. All that to ask – am I ready for an UL pack?

    • Before you buy a pack, figure out the volume of your gear (use a cardboard box to do this). The Gorilla is about 1000 cubic inches smaller than the Mariposa and you’ll need the space if you get a synthetic sleeping bag. I do a lot of backpacking and feel you really have to be grossly negligent or amazingly unlucky to wet out a down sleeping bag. Just pack it in a waterproof stuff sack and you’ll be safe – the advantage is that it is way smaller in volume (more compressible) and you can use a smaller/lighter backpack. This is the same reason some of use prefer tarps – they just take up less storage space.

  11. Thanks for the advice. Last two things (at least for today) – would having a down sleeping bag necessitate the use of a bivy sack? Same question for if I were to get a tarptent? And do you have a list or some other type of article, or could point me to a resource, that lays all this stuff out for a newbie to UL or lightweight backpacking? Thanks again. This is really helpful stuff as I wade through all the information and gear out there.

  12. Well, I think I would dissagree with Phil about the bivy. I have used tarps for myself for several years. With my brother and other partners for about 15 years. The wife cares not to sleep under them., so it is not the only shelter I use. I never use a bivy despite being out in several severe rain storms. I did use a home made bivy several times over the course of a year and a half. But it really didn’t do any better than a slightly larger tarp. The pad acted as enough of a ground cover to work in all but standing water. Just don’t camp in puddles. A down bag, with a good exterior (epic, or pertex) is not water proof, but stops most water form saturating for several hours. Damp down still works pretty well, about the same as synthetics. Wet down really hurts. I use a dry bag/compression bag. I think it is Event from Sea to Summit. Not water proof but very water resistant. Canoing really demands a lot from dry bags, that one works.

    Usually, I use a Nightlite pad. The old ones were 3/4 length or around 60″ The new ones are about 59″ and quite a bit heavier. Mine was cut and retaped to 50″, fitting into the standard pockets of a G5, Miniposa, and now the Murmur. Anyway, In very bad weather, you can also roll the larger tarp under you and tying the ends up with a stick, up and under the roof. This will give you some protection from rain spray & wind negating the need for a bivy.

    Mostly tarp camping is knowledge. You will pick it up with practice.
    .

  13. I’m a bit skeptical about the magnets..

  14. Great review. This is a little out of left field, but do you have any sense how it would handle jogging? I’m not considering buying it for a real running pack, but I’d like my main pack to be stable enough for a slow run. My current pack bounces around a lot when I jog. Thanks.

    • This isn’t a jogging pack – too big. Honestly Gossamer Gear packs are mainly for walking. Try a Salomon running pack. The only exception to this might be the GG minimalist or the kumo which are more form fitting and have a smaller hip belt than the Gorilla.

  15. Very helpful. I’m new to UL backpacking and was drawn to the pack both by its weight and durability. I guess I’m part of the new targeted demographic. Especially happy to see it holds up in northern new england where I’ll first take it. And I’m glad I looked over Jim and Earlylite’s discussion before posting -answered many of the same questions I had. Thanks guys

  16. Great review. Easy to calculate but nice for us island dwellers who have to fly…large specs add up to 41 total inches…enough to carry aboard if I remember correctly.

  17. The 2012 mariposa is out, have you had a chance to use it yet? Curious to hear your opinion.

    • I saw one over the weekend that a friend had bought and it looked very nice, but I doubt I’ll get my hands on one until this autumn. On the other hand, I have a big trip coming up in a few months….

      • Mine was delivered this morning, a day earlier than expected! It spooked me that you hadn’t posted anything about it, thinking maybe it’s not up to snuff?! It looks and feels bomber and I think I made the right decision, time will tell. I’m new to GG packs and switching from a Kelty Span 60. What a difference. It looked really small coming out of the box but swallowed all of my base gear in the main compartment, leaving plenty of room for other items in the pockets.

        The feel of the pack is amazing (so far around the house). The Kelty always felt bolted on like a component, the Mariposa feels like it molds onto my back and is a part of my body. And, my god, so much lighter!

        Please follow up on your idea to do a post about lashing configurations.

      • Awesome – thanks for that reminder.

  18. Bought this pack based on your review ( and it was on sale last week) I am very impressed, and the weight savings is noticable overmy EMS Summit pack ( same 46l capacity), which is a great pack but weighs70 oz vs 25 oz for this. For $185 I saved nearly 4 lbs. on my base weight.

    • Glad to hear it. 4 pounds is a huge and very noticeable difference on a hike.

      • I mis-stated the weight savings – it is 45 oz – still quite good.

        Still playing with what to carry – cost vs weight – but think my base weight will end up around 12 – 13 lbs. I prefer myJetboil ti to some of the alcohol stoves as it would seem the weight premium is minimal and the speed of boiling actually means you carry less fuel.

        I also carry a Thermarest prolite plus pad in 47″ length. It is too long to fold in half and fit in the back panel. But it does fit if I fold about 6 inches from one end then fold in half. This creates a three layer effect at one end. I put this three layer end in th lower portion of the back panel and it acts as a sort of lumbar bolster, which seems to make the weight transfer to my hips somewhat more effective.

        Not sure if you have any experience with these pads, but my only concern is whether this exposes the Thermarest to potential punctures vs keeping it in my bag. I am a side sleeper, so foam pads do not cut it for me, and I cannot justify the expense of a Neoair.

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