Choosing our Backpack for a Hike

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Gossamer Gear | Sep 10, 2015


Deciding on the best Gossamer Gear lightweight backpack for your time in the backcountry can be a daunting task. When purchasing a new backpack, think about the types of trips you will be taking. Whether it's high mileage backpacking trips, weekend warrior style outings, or a pack for day hiking trips, you will need a lightweight backpack that can hold your gear and has the features you need. Choose between packs like the high volume Mariposa, the fan favorite Gorilla, or the ultralighter's dream: the Murmur by learning the elements of each pack and key features that set them apart. After taking a look at the different backpack features and styles you will know which pack is right for you.

Just beginning? Learn how to start lightweight backpacking!

mariposa lightweight backpack

Mariposa 60 Liter Lightweight Pack

The Mariposa 60 Lightweight Backpack is the perfect option for anyone transitioning to lightweight backpacking. It has a capacity of 60 liters and can swallow all the gear you need including a bear canister. This pack has 7 built in pockets and a storage solution for everything with an external tent sleeve, large mesh pocket for wet clothing, and trekking pole hardware. The Mariposa is made of tough custom Robic fabric for those who are tough on their gear. This large volume pack is also an option for winter hikers and backpackers who have more gear to carry for those sub zero nights. The Mariposa does best with weights under 30 pounds, but can handle up to 35 pounds just fine. The Mariposa also comes in kids backpack sizing.

  • A size medium weighs 32.7 with a hipbelt, metal stay (internal frame), and SitLight pad
  • Unisex (men and women) backpack with curved straps and padding at hips and shoulders
  • Center hydration port and internal sleeve for a water bladder
  • Three sizes: Small, Medium, Large, which accommodates torso lengths of 11.5” to 23.5”.

I was a little nervous about ditching my bigger (heavier) name-brand pack for this one. I took the Mariposa out on a few overnighters to get a feel for it and experiment with loading-it all worked well! It held everything I needed and organization was easy. Then I took it out for three weeks on the John Muir Trail… WOW! The heaviest the pack ever was, with seven days of food and one liter of water, was 30 pounds. Even at this weight the suspension system kept me comfortable on the rocks and over passes. And it only got better as the pack got lighter. I passed many PCTers with Mariposa packs (of all generations) and they all had great things to say about it too. It's a little dirtier now but it held up great.




Gorilla 40 Liter Ultralight Pack

The Gorilla 40 Ultralight Backpack has many of the same great features as the Mariposa, but has some very significant differences. The Gorilla Ultralight Backpack is a versatile mid-size pack ideal for 2-7 day adventures for someonearry. A size medium has a total of 38.57 liters and the webbing straps can be used to compress your pack when you're not carrying a full load. It can hold a total of 30 lbs.

  • A size medium weighs 33.6 oz with a hipbelt, metal stay (internal frame), and SitLight pad
  • Unisex (Men and Women) pack with curved straps and padding at hips and shoulders
  • Center hydration port and internal sleeve for a hydration bladder
  • 2 sizes: Medium, and Large fit torso sizes ranging from 15.5” to 23.5”.

I love this pack. It is light, comfortable, holds everything I need it to and compresses down when I'm headed into town. I've loaded it with climbing gear for an overnight mountaineering trip as well as a 4 day trek on the PCT. I've also used it as a day pack when I needed bulkier layers. The accessible hipbelt and side pockets make my "snackpacking" strategy possible (I eat while walking). The removable frame is also nice for when I am carrying varying loads. The most versatile pack I own.



Kumo 36 Liter Superlight Backpack

The Kumo 36 Superlight Pack is the perfect pack for day hikes and weekend adventures. It is very durable as it is made of custom Robic fabric and can carry up to 25 pounds. The rear mesh pocket is slanted to provide access without taking the pack off. It has two side water bottle pockets and side webbing for a variety of storage. You can choose to add a hipbelt with zippered integrated pockets. It has a removable hipbelt for those who rather hike without one. The Kumo is a frameless pack, but still comes with a Sitpad to give it structure. The design allows for ideal weight transfer from shoulders to hips for an easy carry. It has a capacity of 36 liters.

  • A size medium weighs 21.65 oz with standard hipbelt (sans hipbelt pockets)
  • Unisex pack with curved straps and padding at hips and shoulders
  • Dual hydration ports and internal tabs for a hydration bladder
  • Two sizes: Medium and Large which accommodates torso lengths of 16”-24”.

Just took this pack on a 3 day trip through the Smokies on the AT, this is an awesome pack! The pack is the perfect size, I had enough room for my gear and food for 3 days, and had much more room to spare! The shoulder straps are very comfortable, as is the hipbelt with pockets. The sit light pad also came in handy on many occasions. I found the pack perfectly comfortable with this pad as the frame. I would recommend this pack to anyone, It is very comfortable, reasonably sized, light weight, and has excellent functionality.


gossamer gear murmur

Murmur 36 Liter Hyperlight Backpack

The Murmur Hyperlight Pack was designed by founder and "guru of lightness" Glen Van Peski for those carrying a base weight of 5 pounds or less. The Murmur weighs 12.3 ounces with the included hipbelt and SitLight Pad. It weighs a mere 8.35 ounces once you remove the SitLight Pad and hipbelt.

The Murmur does not lack prominent Gossamer Gear features including side water bottle pockets, a large mesh pocket for wet clothing, and trekking pole holders. The main compartment can close two ways: roll top for a more streamlined shape or you can clip the buckle together in a 'dry bag' style to use the extension collar.

This pack is intended for true ultralight backpackers who carry a 5 pound base weight or less. For hardcore ULs, this pack may be suitable for multi-night hikes. To keep this pack as light as possible, 20 Denier Cordura nylon is used for the main body and 100 denier Robic nylon for the bottom and select areas for some added durability. This pack should be used only on developed trails to avoid ripping the fabric on brushy trail.

  • A size medium weighs 12.3 oz with the hipbelt and SitLight Pad
  • Frameless design
  • Dual hydration ports and internal sleeve for a hydration bladder
  • Unisex (Men and Women) pack with curved straps and padding at hips and shoulders
  • One size: fits torso lengths of 16"-24"
gossamer gear murmur

I have some frameless ultralight backpacks that are made of Cuben fiber, but despite being technically strong, they

eel very vulnerable. The Murmur is super light, but doesn't feel at all flimsy. It looks good and seems to be inc"redibly tough. My dog took a liking to it at one point and even her big clumsy paws and claws didn't damage it.


Now that you know which backpack is right for you, make sure to get the right fit. Take less. Do more.

Post by Editor to showcase the differences in our products and pack features