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The Gossamer Gear SitLight Sit Pad Review

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack with Removable Sit Light Pad

All of Gossamer Gear’s ultralight backpacks include a SitLight Sit Pad that can be used as a seat during rest breaks or in camp. The foam pad slides into two elastic pad sleeves on the pack of the back to provide cushioning and enhance ventilation. It can also be quickly removed and used as a seat or a dry surface, serving multiple purposes, and eliminating the need to carry an extra sit pad with you on the trail.

I use my SitLight Sit Pad frequently throughout the day and when camping for extra “bum” insulation, as a dry spot to sit on, and even as a front porch for my tent. It’s such a useful and multi-purpose ultralight backpacking item that I’m surprised more backpacking manufacturers don’t incorporate it as a backpack feature.

The Gossamer Gear SitLight Sit Pad provides a clean place to sit when cooking dinner.
The Gossamer Gear SitLight Sit Pad provides a clean place to sit when cooking dinner.


The Gossamer Gear SitLight Sit Pad provides a nice cushion whne sitting on river rocks.
The Gossamer Gear SitLight Sit Padprovides a nice cushion when sitting on river rocks.


The Gossamer Gear SitLight Sit Pad makes a great front port for your tent when you want a dry palce to put stuff inside a vestibule or something to kneel on.
The Gossamer Gear SitLight Sit Pad makes a great front port for your tent when you want a dry surface inside a vestibule or something to kneel on.

The great thing about the Gossamer Gear SitLight Sit Pad is that it’s stored on the outside of the pack’s main compartment, so it’s incredibly easy to pull out and use when you need it, without having to open your pack or unpack it (like packs that have an internal bivy pad stored inside the pack behind the hydration sleeve).

The SitLight Sit Pad is made out of closed cell foam so it won’t absorb any sweat or water if it rains. The side facing the back of the pack is smooth, while the side touching your back has an egg-shell pattern which helps promote ventilation to keep your shirt dry: not that you sweat much anyway when carrying an ultralight load.

When Gossamer Gear ships an overnight backpack to customers, it arrives un-assembled, so you have to slip the SitLight Sit Pad into the backpacks stretch pockets yourself. Whatever you do, don’t throw the foam pad away because it looks like a piece of packaging: it’s actually an integral part of your backpack!

Slide the Sit Light Pad into the top pad sleeve
Slide the Sit Light Pad into the top pad sleeve

Inserting the pad into the stretch pad sleeves is easy. Just slip one end into the top stretch sleeve and the other end into the bottom one, like so. Make sure the bottom half of the pad lies on top of the hip belt inside the sleeve. This helps creates a thin  lumbar shelf  which provides better load transfer to the hips without being to pronounced.

And the bottom half into the bottom pad sleeve
And the bottom half into the bottom pad sleeve

To remove, just pull it out. The pad isn’t delicate and can take quite a lot of abuse. If you somehow you destroy a SitLight Sit Pad and need to reorder one, be aware that they are cut to different lengths depending on the size of the Gossamer Gear backpack you use.

And that is the Gossamer Gear SitLight Sit Pad, which remains a signature feature of Gossamer Gear’s overnight ultralight backpacks and is still one of the cleverest multi-use items in the ultralight backpacking world.

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Disclaimer: Philip Werner has been using Gossamer Gear packs since 2008. While he has received free products from Gossamer Gear, he was under no obligation to write this article and the views it contains are entirely his own. 


  1. What is the cone shaped piece of gear in the 2nd picture?

  2. The SitLight pad also makes a great sleep pad for my dog.

  3. How would this compare to a cut to fit section of blue foam?

    • It’s harder, denser, and won’t absorb water. The latter depend on the kind of blue foam you get, but I believe the kind that REI and Walmart sell soaks water up like a sponge.

      • My G-4 DIY pack integrates the back/sit pad and I do use the blue Walmart foam pad. WM sells a closed cell and an egg crate style. The egg crate style soaks water and the other does not.

  4. I bought several SitLight pads and used them long before I got a Gossamer Gear pack. They keep my knobby knees off the hard ground. I always have one in my pack.

  5. I use the pad as extra cushion when I sleep. As a side-sleeper, it helps on the hips when I use a foam pad. Other times I’ll throw it under my head when I sleep.

  6. I use a slightly trimmed gardener’s knee pad (Home Depot, $5) in my el-cheapo REI 18 L day pack water bladder slot. Water is in bottles instead. Pack isn’t heavily packed anyway. Sticking foam framesheet into a frameless pack that is full just doesn’t work.

  7. I use the pad in the foot box end of my sleeping bag in my hammock so i can use a torso length underquilt, even in winter. works like a charm.

  8. In a hammock it can also add a lot of comfort and warmth by placing it under your feet. I sometimes put it under my butt and back for extra warmth as well. You can get a good 5 to 10 degrees of extra comfort range out of your hammock by doing that.

  9. I agree with everything you said about the SitLights usefulness and versatility. I have found, however, that it compresses pretty quickly and does not provide enough padding for me. I have since cut up a ridgerest pad and substituted it. My two cent’s worth…

  10. One trick I have for my sit light pad is that I always place it bumpy side up so that when it gets dirt or sap on it, that goes next to my pack instead of getting on my shirt.

  11. Until I bought my Mariposa, I totally disregarded the usefulness of a sit pad. I love that it is incorporated into my favorite pack and it is so darn useful when I’m not using the pack. I’m sold on the sit pad idea and using in combo with the pack is a double win.

    • Me too. I once laughed at Sara Kirkconnell for carrying an inflateable Therm-a-rest sit pad (which I feel very badly about to this day). I use the SitLight Pas all the time, even when I’m not using a Gossamer Gear pack!

  12. Bought 2 of these for my 2012 section hike. One to be used with my Z-Pack Exos. Exos has been upgraded to a Blast but we still carry the pads in the large mesh front pocket. Sit pad. extra insulation (on top of the Neo’s). Can put both together if one of our Neo’s gets a leak so we have something in an emergency. Also useful as a sit pad for those hard wooden benches when I go to a dinner talk at Pinkham!

  13. Hey! You’ve basically sold me on the Gossamer system with your detailed reviews. Tangential question–what tent is featured in this review (pic 4)? Thanks!

  14. Has anyone had the pad pockets on the back panel of their GG pack become stretched out over time?

  15. Stumbled onto this post while nosing around the Interwebs for sit-pad options. Came across a YouTube video from a chap in the U.K. who is using a piece of neoprene. Haven’t seen this come up much, so i thought i’d mention it.

    Folded up, it takes less space than similar-sized foam (at least for the ?-inch thick stuff). Not as cushy as foam, but if one is looking just to put a barrier between mud, water, or cold ground, it’s another option. The stuff is sold on the fleabay as toolbox liner, often in rolls. You end up buying more than what you need, but it’s not too expensive, and you can give some away to your hiker friends.

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