Blown Away by the New Murmur Hyperlight Pack
Over lunch with Glen Van Peski, he noticed my odd iPhone case with a half-inch long screw nut (7g or .25oz) glued onto the back. I explained it was for the Stick Pic camera mount, which he introduced to me on a backpack earlier that year. As he carefully inspected it he said, "That's clever," and then added, "I would have cut it in half." That's Glen. This Murmur Hyperlight pack redesign is Glen's brainchild. So, if you're bringing a full-length toothbrush, a traditional tent, or a zippered sleeping bag, this pack is probably not for you.
So light it could blow away. Pictured: Ambassador Trinity Ludwig atop Arapaho Pass, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, CO. Photo credit: Alison Hyde.
I tested the pack's prototype and then final version on three backpacking trips and several hiking trips this summer. This review focuses on the redesign of the pack, and not on the pack itself – if you would like to read more about some of the classic design traits of a Gossamer pack, check out this post. These are some of the features I want to highlight for the new Murmur redesign:
Weight. 8.5 ounces (241g) for 28 liters (1,700 c.i.) in the main pack body. Gossamer Gear was able to lighten up the Murmur by 1.6 ounces and still add some cool new features.
Roll-top closure. This is the pack's sex-appeal. This closure system was "hit on" by several hikers that stopped me to ask about it. It can either be rolled up and clipped down the sides for a stream-lined pack, or it can be clipped into a 'dry bag' style. The 'dry bag' style makes for an effective haul loop – so Glen could have left the haul loop off and saved a quarter of an ounce (Ha! Gotcha back!).
Pockets.The side pockets are slim. They didn't fit my preferred 365 Everyday Value brand water bottles – so I switched to SmartWater bottles which fit perfectly.
Side view with SmartWater bottle. Ambassador Trinity Ludwig near Caribou Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, CO. Photo credit: Jake Wells.
Waist Belt.The redesigned waist belt now includes integrated pockets which I believe are quite popular, although I don't use them – I prefer the simple webbing belt from the old design. I often hike with my hands in my pockets (I know, I shouldn't) and integrated hip belt pockets get in my way. But I'm sure more, rather than less, hikers are excited about this addition.
Trekking Pole Holders.This is a nifty addition to Gossamer's 2014 redesigned line. Trekking poles no longer need to take up precious space in your side pockets (Yay! Room for more snacks!). Gossamer also included removable Velcro loops.
Fabric.The Cordura Nylon used for the body of the pack is so light, it's basically see-through. And repels water very well – I've been rained on several times with this pack and it did not soak through. The technical terminology for this fabric is "20d Type 6.6 Cordura Nylon, coated both sides, one with silicone, other with PU/silicone blend".
The mesh on the back panel and pockets has been upgraded in durability as compared to Gossamer's prior line. However, the elastic strip on the entry to the back panel and outside large pocket (to allow for insertion of a foam pad or easy access items, respectively) has a shorter limit on its stretch which I have found a bit more challenging to work with since it's less forgiving – especially when inserting my foam pad into the back panel.
Durability.The prior Murmur has been my go-to pack for several hundreds of miles now – I've used it backpacking, skiing, day hiking and even for general travel. It's in great shape and only has some slight fraying where I insert my sleeping pad. But, it's not a super durable pack - to keep it in this condition, I am careful with it. I don't throw it in the back of trucks, I set it down gingerly every time (it's so light, this is not hard), and I don't let others handle my pack (not even my boyfriend). Now, using the redesigned Murmur, I've been even more careful because it doesn't sport the more resilient Dyneema fabric on its closure flap and bottom.
In Yosemite, I was required to carry a bear canister (as you can see from my pack shape). I recommend NOT using this pack if you need to carry a canister. I got pinpoint holes from resting the hard-surfaced canister pack against the abundant rock in Yosemite. Without the canister, I feel comfortable gently resting this pack against a rock without harm. On subsequent trips without a bear canister, I've had no damage. Pictured: Ambassador Trinity Ludwig in Yosemite, CA. Photo credit: Sarah Stratton.
Fit.Hey ladies! This pack's shoulder straps are narrower and more contoured than Gossamer's prior line which sported rather rectangular and wide shoulder straps – they are very comfortable for my narrow shoulders. It is important that you find the right pack that fits your body right.
Price. It's less expensive to go light. The Murmur is $147 as compared to the Mariposa lightweight pack, its $240 heavier counterpart.
Backside view of Murmur with Gossamer's ¼" Thinlight Insulation Pad, folded into thirds. Photo credit: Trinity Ludwig.
If you are a die-hard ounce-counter and treat your gear with care, this pack is one of the lightest (if not the lightest) pack available in the market for this capacity. Thanks Gossamer (and Glen!) for making this specialty pack for those of us who take going light to the extreme end of the spectrum.
This post was contributed by Brand Ambassador Trinity Ludwig.