All of our ultralight backpacks hit that sweet spot where capacity, durability, and lightweight come together. They’re designed with custom-made fabrics that are whisper-thin but hardwearing. Each starts with a commitment to a comfortable carry. 

So, then, how in the world do you choose which one to get—especially if you’re torn between two of our most popular packs: the Gorilla and the Mariposa?

Below, we compare these two fan favorites so you can decide which specs and features best fit your needs. We also share some thoughts on the best use scenarios for each to see how those fit your backpacking style. Our hope is that this Gorilla vs. Mariposa backpack review will lead to happy trails ahead for you very soon!

Photo credit: @becauseicecreamhasnobones

Gorilla vs. Mariposa: By the Specs

The specs we share in this section are based on the medium-sized 2022 model of each pack. You can always check the Gorilla and Mariposa product pages for the latest and greatest, including the specs for different sizes.


As you’ll see below, the dimensions of the Gorilla and Mariposa are fairly similar, but the Mariposa has a slightly greater depth.

Gorilla 50:

  • Height: 22 in / 55.9 cm to extension collar seam
  • Width: 11 in / 27.9 cm
  • Depth: 6.5 in / 16.5 cm
  • Extension collar adds another 11.5 in / 29.2 cm of height

Mariposa 60:

  • Height: 22 in / 55.9 cm to the extension collar only
  • Width: 11 in / 27.9 cm
  • Depth: 7 in / 18 cm
  • Extension collar adds another 11.5 in / 29.2 cm of height

Average Weight

As it’s a slightly larger pack, the Mariposa weighs about 1.1 ounces more than the Gorilla when all components, including the belt and sitlight pad, are considered.

Gorilla 50:

  • Pack body: 16.9 oz / 480 g
  • Pack frame: 3.0 oz / 86 g
  • Sitlight pad: 3.0 oz / 84 g
  • Medium belt: 7.5 oz / 213 g
  • Total: 30.4 oz / 863 g

Mariposa 60:

  • Pack body: 18.0 oz / 509 g
  • Pack frame: 3.0 oz / 86 g
  • Sitlight pad: 2.9 oz / 84 g
  • Total with no belt: 20.9 oz / 593 g
  • Total with medium belt: 31.5 oz / 892 g


When it comes to capacity, the Mariposa is slightly larger than the Gorilla by 10 liters. It can also carry about five pounds more than the Gorilla.

Gorilla 50:

  • Total: 50 L
  • Main pack body to extension collar seam: 32 L
  • Max carry capacity: 30 lbs
  • For comfort: 25 lbs

Mariposa 60:

  • Total: 60 L
  • Main pack body to extension collar seam: 36 L
  • Spread across 7 exterior pockets: 24 L
  • Max carry capacity: 35 lbs
  • For comfort: 30 lbs

Photo credit: @thathikergirl

Gorilla vs. Mariposa: By the Features

The Gorilla and Mariposa boast many of the same features, including:

  • Belt with added stiffener and stay integration for superior load transfer and comfort
  • Unisex ergonomic belt shape and harness
  • Larger more functional integrated hipbelt pockets
  • Lashing loop that doubles as ice axe holder
  • SitLight pad and a removable stay
  • Rear mesh pocket great for drying gear and other gear storage
  • Custom air mesh fabric on shoulder straps and hipbelt for less friction and more comfort
  • Trekking pole hardware for storing them outside the pack
  • Drinking tube keeper loops on both shoulder straps
  • Over-the-Top (OTT) closure system that provides an easy secure closure

The key differences come down to exterior pockets and compression straps

The Mariposa has one pack-length exterior pocket on the left side of the pack and two water bottle sized pockets on the right side of the pack (one at the bottom and one at the top). The Gorilla, on the other hand, just has one water bottle sized pocket on each side. The Mariposa also has a slightly larger exterior mesh pocket on the back of the pack, though this feature performs roughly the same on each pack.

Additionally, the Gorilla has full side and top compression, with buckles on the side compression. The Mariposa does not have side compression straps.

Therefore, the Mariposa is great for if you want the ability to store plenty of gear outside the main compartment of your pack. The Gorilla is great if you prefer a more condensed, compressed pack.

Finally, both packs are offered in the famous Gossamer Gear gray. The Mariposa is also offered in a lovely green and the Gorilla is offered in a vivacious yellow.

So, Gorilla or Mariposa—Which Is Right for You?

The differences between the Gorilla and Mariposa backpacks are subtle. It’s no wonder they’re both fan favorites and also hard to choose between. Here are some tips for choosing which is right for you.

The Mariposa is particularly good for:

  • Winter or shoulder season backpacking where you might need to carry more or bulkier gear
  • Travel in wilderness areas that require use of a bear canister
  • If you want a pack that provides a little more flexibility in terms of load to cover a range of different trip types and lengths
  • If you’re newer to lightweight backpacking and looking for an easier transition from your previous heavier, larger pack
  • If you absolutely love external pockets and want to be able to store all of the things within easy arm’s reach

The Gorilla is especially good for:

  • Flexing your lightweight cred
  • Reducing exterior storage and keeping a compact load
  • More frequent, shorter trips that are the bread and butter of weekend warriors
  • Warmer weather hiking where you won’t need to carry as much gear or as many extra layers
  • Looking super fly with the yellow option because it does look pretty great if we do say so ourselves

But, at the end of the day, to quote Reddit user Adventure_Trevor from a thread on this exact topic, “I doubt you'll regret either option.”

We know the choice is hard, but we have total faith that you’ll find the best one for you! And, as always, if you have additional questions, please reach out to our team at and we’ll be happy to help you meet your new favorite pack.

Hungry for more backpacking gear and planning knowledge? Check out some of our other articles on the Light Feet blog:

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September 07, 2022 — Korrin Bishop