Gossamer Gear backpacks didn't start off with snazzy names. They started off with the founder, Glen Van Peski, fiddling around with some homegrown models, searching for the perfect balance of light and functional.
"I would hike along with my buddy, Read Miller, talking about packs and how to make them lighter and more functional," Glen explains. "I named the first one I made the 'G1.' It was kind of a joke. We had no idea anything would come of my homemade contraptions. The 'G' was just the initial of my first name."
As Glen continued his attempts, the names followed–G2, G3, and so on.
"Finally by the fourth version, word was getting out on the early internet," Glen continues. The G4 was the model that launched the company he called "GVP Gear" at the time. "As my personal pack weight continued to decrease, I created the G5. And, when Ryan Jordan of Backpacking Light thought that was too heavy, I created the G6."
The G6 was so light that Glen said it "seemed like a mere whisper of a pack." Thus, the G6 was quickly renamed the Whisper. But, how did we get to the names of today's fleet of packs? And, what happened to the Whisper? Read on for all of this goodness–and more!
Murmur 36 Hyperlight Backpack
The Murmur backpack is 8.2 ounces of barely-there badassness. But, why is it called the Murmur? Well, the Murmur was Glen's Whisper model, but with side pockets added. The side pockets made the Whisper just a little "louder," so, reasonably, the Whisper became the Murmur.
Mariposa 60 Backpack
When Glen undertook a re-design of the venerable G4, the working model name was NextGen, as it was supposed to be the next generation of pack. As Glen began looking for a production name, he turned to good ole Google to search for light-related names. "Mariposa" popped up in his searches, Spanish for "butterfly." With the Mariposa backpack feeling light enough to take flight while you're on the trail, the name fit.
Photo credit: @cody.mathison
Gorilla 40 Ultralight Backpack
Grant Sible joined Gossamer Gear as its President in 2005 when Glen decided to bring in an equity partner so he could move out of having such an active role in the company. In 2002, Grant had thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail with a 40-liter backpack. Grant's trail name? You guessed it–Gorilla! Lightweight, but surprisingly durable, the Gorilla backpack is suitable for shorter trips, or hikers who know how to crush it in the minimalism department.
Silverback 50 Backpack
When rough terrain calls, the Silverback backpack answers. Crafted from resilient Extreema fabric and free of exposed mesh, the burly Silverback lets you slip through dense brush snag-free. It's essentially a beefier, load-hauling version of the Gorilla, a more mature, distinguished member of its tribe.
*Teaser! The Silverback is moving even further up in its ranks with a radical set of updates coming to you in mid-November. Keep your eyes out for this wild one.
Kumo 36 Superlight Backpack
Gossamer Gear is honored to have positive business partnerships in Asia and a strong fan base for our gear in Japan. "Kumo" is Japanese for "cloud" and also shares a kanji with "spider." The word "gossamer" is often used to refer to spider-web-like materials, those that are both light and strong. The name "Kumo" captures the essence of the Kumo backpack, while giving a nod to our great friendships across the Pacific Ocean.
Brand Ambassador, Ryan Sylva, has a knack for wandering his own paths. One of these paths connected the Arizona Trail, Hayduke Trail, Grand Enchantment Trail, and Moab-ABQ connection. He called this the Vagabond Loop, and to him, hiking this loop was about more than getting additional trails under his belt–it was about a way of life. The Vagabond daypack can hack it on the trail, but the secure zippered top closure, inner stash pockets, and tote handles make it urban/office ready, too. It can travel with you anywhere your soul decides to move you. It's an everyday bag with a nod to the dirtbag lifestyle.
More to come!
Read this far and are still wondering what ever happened to the Whisper? Well, we'll let you in on a little secret–it's coming back later this year! We're also getting excited about our upcoming Texas collection, a nod to our Austin home that will launch with the Lonestar and the Ranger. Oh, and there might be a camo Kumo and maybe even a "murse" (what?) coming down the line, so make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to be in the know as all of this goodness becomes available!
We all love seeing other people's gear laid out all organized for the pre-packing social media post–Gossamer Gear even immortalized that scene for a "take less, do more" hat. Yet, I've always been left with a nagging question: "Where is all that stuff going?" Or, more specifically, "How are they packing it?"
One of the biggest advantages that the award-winning Mariposa pack holds is the layout of pockets. With a 36L main compartment, Gossamer Gear includes the capacity of all the external pockets to add up to the advertised 60L capacity. As I packed mine for the first time, I was struck with how useful this pocket layout was–the things I needed were easily accessible. With the use of a spreadsheet that I happily pour over in my downtime, I've honed my packing over the last year, and with this information, I'm going to answer that question of how . Using the Mariposa can improve your days on the trail with an easy way to actually pack that Instagram-worthy gear layout.
I start packing the main compartment of the Mariposa by loading my hydration bladder in place, filled with whatever I need to make it to the first water source–bonus: my filter can fill directly into the bladder without removing it. I specifically use the Platypus BigZip because they've shaped the bladder using an internal rib, keeping the profile more flat and wide.
Next, in a holdover from days past, I use a trash compactor bag to help keep my sleeping gear dry. Sleeping clothes are stuffed down to the bottom, and I push my loose sleeping bag or quilt down on top of that. Keeping all this loose helps avoid the need for compression cords or straps.
I compress the bag down with my BearVault 500, which doubles as a camp stool. This also makes internal organization easy, as pretty much everything smelly or food-related goes inside there, including cooking gear. I fill the spaces around the BV500 with my rolled sleeping pad, puffy jacket, and fleece midlayer–easily repacked if I need to pull the can out to eat lunch.
Top Lid & Mesh Back Pocket
I keep only my car keys and wallet in the top lid of the Mariposa, a personal towel and SUL summit pack in the mesh back pocket, and secure the main compartment. Barring any major weather change or emergency, I likely won't touch any of this again until setting up camp.
The long, right-side pocket of the Mariposa is PERFECTLY sized to hold most UL shelters. I've carried a Tarptent Rainbow and a Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo in this pocket, with the latter fitting almost entirely inside.
Left-Side Top & Bottom Pockets
I am a huge fan of the Aloksak waterproof bags, as opposed to the more disposable Ziploc bags. I keep several of the 4"x7" bags on hand, and use them to pack my first aid kit, spare parts and emergency kit, and a notepad/small book and pen. Recently, I've put the first aid and emergency supplies inside a dry sack, which further protects them and makes moving it all from pack to pack a breeze. This also fits perfectly into the left top pocket of the Mariposa. I'll also keep my sun/eyeglasses there, along with my headlamp.
My water filter kit, spare water bottle, rain shell, trowel, and toilet paper all fit neatly rolled up next to each other in the Mariposa's left bottom pocket.
Last, but not least, the hip pockets. I keep my map, compass, and phone in one side. Snacks and a baggy with bug spray/lip balm/sunscreen go in the other side for quick access on the move. I have also added a simple Zpacks drawstring shoulder strap pocket to carry my binoculars.
Packing It All Together
As the old nautical saying goes, "A place for everything and everything in its place." When I'm all done, I usually end up with a pack weight in the mid-20 pounds range, depending mostly on my food/water situation. The profile is kept low (below my shoulders), which I prefer so I can keep space for a wide-brimmed sun hat. Most importantly, though, finding what I need in the Mariposa throughout the day, and repacking everything to hit the trail the next morning, is easy, leaving more time to enjoy the trail and camp.