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Gossamer Gear Murmur Backpack

Updated Dyneema Murmur
Updated Dyneema Murmur

The big news this week is Gossamer Gear’s redesigned ultralight backpack, The Murmur, which has a completely new shoulder harness system, a new top closure system, and incorporates Dyneema fabric in high wear areas for improved durability.

The Murmur’s Essence

Despite these seemingly huge changes, I don’t feel like that essence of The Murmur has really changed all the much. It still has the same overall shape and dimensions of the old Murmur and carries a 15 pound load just like it. The capacity has stayed the same at 22oo cubic inches (total) / 1700 cubic inches (internal), and the pack weight has only increased by 0.4 ounces, up to 8.4 ounces on my scale.

Additionally, The Murmur still has the signature Gossamer Gear sit-pad holder on the back, an un-padded waist strap, four side tie-outs for securing external attachments, and it requires careful packing using a rolled up foam sleeping pad to give the main compartment a little more structure.

There are a few other littler changes, all for the better in my opinion. The older easily torn mesh on the back pocket has been replaced with the finer and much more durable mesh used on Gossamer Gear’s Gorilla Backpack, and the side bottle pockets now have drain holes in the bottoms.

Gossamer Gear Dyneema Murmur
Gossamer Gear Dyneema Murmur

New Shoulder Harness

I never particularly cared for the shoulder harness on the old Murmur. The padding wasn’t sewn in and it would slip down inside the shoulder strap unless you blocked its migration south with a safety pin. In addition, the tops of the straps would get twisted around (because the padding had slipped) and it always a pain in the ass to unravel them when you put the pack back on.

The new straps eliminate all of those annoying problems because the padding is sewn in.  On top of that, the new shoulder harness has an adjustable sternum strap, and short daisy chains sewn on the straps with D rings, which will make attaching water bottles or outer pockets easier. I like at least one external shoulder pocket for carrying my camera although I could also see attaching a small water bottle using this system.

Customized Shock Cord Compression
Customized Shock Cord Compression

One thing Gossamer Gear did preserve with the shoulder straps is their width (2 and 7/8 inches.) I’ve always really liked how their straps distribute load across my shoulders and collarbone because they are so wide. It’s less important with the Murmur since you wouldn’t want to carry more than a 15 pound load with it, but I’m glad that they’ve remained wide because in all probability, Gossamer Gear will use the new harness on future upgrades on their other packs.

One thing I should note with the Murmur, is that you can really only use a thin sit pad in the back pad pocket: one panel of a 3 panel nightlite torso pad works best. Any thicker than that, and the shoulder straps will be too short.

Dyneema Construction

Gossamer Gear is using a 140D Dyneema on the new Murmur, that was specially manufactured for them. In addition, a higher quality, more waterproof 30D silnylon is used to keep the weight of the pack down. This is the first use of the 140 D Dyneema by a cottage manufacturer, as far as I know, and strikes a good balance between durability and light weight, especially since this is an ultralight pack.

I am really pumped that Gossamer Gear has chosen to make their packs more durable because I feel it will significantly expand their customer base. Many backpackers have shied away from ultralight packs because of durability concerns, so it’s good to see Gossamer gear addressing the challenge head on.

Dyneema Base and Outer Pockets
Dyneema Base and Outer Pockets

New Over the Top Lid System

The new lid system on the Murmur is really a radical design departure for Gossamer Gear and it caught me off guard when I saw it. It’s grown on me though, because it provides top-down compression that the old Murmur never had, as well as making the main compartment more waterproof.

The top lid is basically a flap of fabric which secures to two line lock connectors, anchored on the back part of the bottle pockets. The cord is easily replaceable if you need to make it a bit longer, and it’s a simple but robust system.

New Lid Cover
New Lid Cover

To close the pocket, you cinch the top of the main compartment as shown here. It’s a little unintuitive because the compression line runs inside the top of the back half of the pocket, not all the way around, and you can still see down into the pack even when it’s cinched tight.

Top Lid Closed
Top Lid Closed

To close, you simply flip the flap over the hole, connect it to the back line locs and the pack is closed against the rain. I don’t think I could have come up with an idea like this, but it works, and I suspect it was designed like this to save weight. It’s a clever system actually, and I can see how you could even add a pocket to the lid if you wanted to provide some additional external storage on the pack to carry keys or a map.


I’m really impressed with the new upgrades to the Gossamer Gear Murmur Backpack and suspect that we will see many similar durability and design upgrades to the venerable Gossamer Gear product line over the coming year. I like the new Murmur a lot better than the old model and look forward to becoming more acquainted with it on longer walks when the weather warms up next spring.

Manufacturer Specifications


  • 8.4 oz


  • 2,200 ci/ 36L total
  • 1,700 ci/ 28L main pack body
  • 500 ci in main pocket
  • 15 lb comfort capacity
  • 20 lb maximum carry capacity


  • 16”-­24”/41–61 cm torso
  • up to 42”/ 107 cm waist
  • 22” H x 11” W x 4.5” D


  • 30 d 1.3 oz. per sq yd silicone coated ripstop nylon
  • UL 140d Dyneema ripstop

Disclaimer: Section Hiker (Philip Werner) received a complementary 2012 Murmur Ultralight Backpack for testing and review.

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  1. Phil,

    I ordered one when I got the word that they had released the new UL version. Mainly to replace the old G5 that died after several years of faithfull and hard used(read LOTS of patches and repairs) service.

    The Dyneema and Silnylon look good. The silnylon version of the G5 is still going strong. The dyneema cloth will certainly add iles to the old spinnaker versions.

    I am disapointed in the weight increase. But I am sure I can shave (literally, with a razor blade) enough weight to get it down to ~ 7oz.

    The D-rings on the front can go. My shoulders and back will not tolerate the additional weight on them so, I will not use them. Folding extra strap and restiching the sholder harness will reinforce that area, a weakness. I sorta wish that they would simply use a full length strap, reinforced along the back panel, around the shoulder harness and down to the buckle. I have repaired that on all of the GG packs I have, and expect to do so again on the UL-Murmur..

    Removing the ladder lock for the sternum strap and replacing it with 1/2" heavy elastic relieves weight as well as removing the elastic water line keepers. Removing the front line locks and shortening them to wrap arond a small loop of cord will save weight. A simple truckers hitch with 1.5mm line works as easy for compression. The waist belt is ALWAYS used, soo, I can remove everything and simply sew this in.

    I hope I can use my regular pad, a moded fanfold nightlight. It is about twice as thick as a regular sit-pad. There is often enough play in the shoulder harness. This also gives a MUCH stiffer frame, but does push the pack away from your back about an inch more leading to some pivoting moment. 15lb is easy as a base weight, as I usually carry 10 or so (depending on the season. My sleeping bag came with a xxxsmall compression bag. I don't usually use it, but this pack with the reduced volume, will require it (~4×8/4.5×9.)

    Like you, I almost demand good pockets. And independent side compression. This pack has them both! My tarp gets rolled up tight and put with my stove/fuel, acting as a siffener on my right. My fishing rod gets packed on my left acting as a stiffener. Sort'a dual purpose for these items. Pack stiffeners, shelter/fishing gear, combined.

    My jacket will eaily slip next to the bag, leaving room for clothing/food as needed. You did not mention a water pouch shelf. Becayse of the elastic in the shoulder harness, I would assume it has one, though. This is great to keep cone, stakes, spoons, lights, lid, foil, bear line, batteries, etc in. Even if I never carry a water pouch.

    Glen, Grant…Well Done! Though I will miss the sock pouch, I understand why you let it go.

    Thanks for the review, Phil!

  2. Nevermind about the hydration shelf. It doesn't have one.

  3. No hydration shelf, as you've observed too – I never use one anyway. They bulge into my back too much and bottles are easier to get out for refills.

    I'm glad you like the looks of the new pack – I have a thicker upper body than you do, if memory recalls, so your pad should work just fine in the external pad pocket.

  4. Nice pack!. So…How was the fishing?

  5. This looks like a really nice pack, I may have to try one but the last pack I tried from Glen, roughly 2 years ago, did not fit my large chest and shoulders and I had to return it. I'd really like to try this one to see if the newer suspension fits larger boys better but I'd hate to return another pack. Glen is awesome with accepting returns but it's just not a practice I like to do.

    The Cold Cold World Valdez is another pack I'm thinking of trying.

    off-topic, Phil.. on the old site, didn't you used to have authentication for Google/blogger users? If so, will this be returning in the future? Thanks, as always, for a great site and another fine review.

  6. Gossamer Gear does have a 30 day return policy so I wouldn't feel that bad. It's designed so you do try the packs.

    I never had a special login feature for google/blogger users on this blog. Everyone gets the same treatment, even if they trust Google. I met someone who is analyzing your cell phone data for them over the weekend. Be afraid.

  7. Would love to see a Gorilla with these upgrades. Any idea if it’s happening any time soon?

  8. Is it really nearly 3 years since the last comment on this brilliant little pack? I think I have the next iteration of the Murmur, but it’s not the latest which has got horribly ‘light’ in many senses and appears made to carry an even lighter base weight.

    Mine has a male/female clip buckle instead of drawcord in the lid – easier to use/more intuitive? – but the rest looks much the same as your reviewed model.

    I line the pack with a CF roll-top drybag and stuff sleeping bag, down jacket, stove etc and everything I don’t need during the day inside and seal it off. My tent or other shelter I stuff, without stuffsack, straight in the top. Spare midlayer goes in a drybag either in with the tent or in the mesh pocket, waterproofs and day food here too. Using the pack like a big stuffsack and not stuffing everything in individual bags avoids leaving unused air spaces and potentially hard, round shapes sticking in my back (particularly when I use a much lighter sleepmat in summer) .

    I fold completely flat my new Neoair Xtherm X large (yes, the 2ft wide x 6’6″ 570gm super comfy job) and fold it to the right shape for the backpad pockets and make it waterproof inside a CF roll-top that’s just the right size too, lying on it to compress it as flat as possible. Of course, I fit that first. It’s at least an inch and a half thick but that squashes down as you wear and warm it up on your back, the gap at the top strap area reduces likewise. I have carried 20lb outbound, 12lb on the home run after a few nights out – 20lb isn’t the best, but do-able and acceptable for the almost weightless feel when the foods all gone. And that was a full-spec winter trip. I’d expect an easy 5-7lb base weight in summer, a 15lb all-up weight would give food for a week, all very acceptable.

    I used to use the ‘sleepmat rolled and expanded inside the pack’ trick to give shape and frame feel but find the Murmur a tad small for that. I still use this system in my Jam 50, my fave multi day pack for winter trips.



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