Gear Review: Gossamer Gear Mariposa Lightweight Backpack

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 was updated in 2024. Click here to read our review of the new Mariposa.

Gossamer Gear, founded in 1998, is a company that creates lightweight and versatile equipment with a goal of improving the backpacking experience. As friends of Appalachian Trials, they were kind enough to help me out in my search to find the latest and greatest in lightweight packs by letting me test out the Mariposa.

Click here to see my review of the Type 2 Utility Pack from Gossamer Gear.

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa


Cutting pack weight has become quite the hobby of mine. After the dust settled from my thru-hike, I began a search for a new lightweight do-everything pack. 

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa was one of the first packs suggested to me by none other than the infamous Zach Davis himself. With lightweight construction and easy customization, the Mariposa sounded like the right pack for me.

gossamer gear mariposa

Yes, dog, please shake lake water all over my pack


Let’s get the important stuff out of the way. All of the weight specs listed below are for a size medium pack with medium hipbelt. Click here to see the specs for all sizes. 

  • Pack Body (without hipbelt)= 17.5 oz
  • Removable hipbelt = 6.2 oz.
  • Aluminum curved stay = 3.5 oz. each
  • Sitlight Pad  = 1.7 oz  
  • 1 meter of static cord and 2 cordlocks .2 oz  

Total Weight for size Medium = 29.1 oz.

That is a total weight of less than 2 pounds with the option to remove features until it is only 1 pound 1.5 ounces!

Here is a closer look at the removable items:


The removable hipbelt is held in place by heavy duty velcro. With the exception of size x-small, the hipbelt system includes 2 (huge) built-in pockets. These pockets could fit even the largest of smartphones and any other small accessories that you would want quick access to (think, full-size Snickers bar).

The hipbelt is ordered separately, meaning that you can customize the sizing of the pack and belt individually.

gossamer gear mariposa

Look, a pocket!

Removable Internal Stay

The Mariposa includes an updated removable internal stay system. The removable stay provides shape to the pack and is essential for backpacking with weight over 20 pounds as it helps distribute the load.

One of the huge benefits of a removable stay is that when removed, the pack seems much smaller. This is great for ultralight backpacking or travel and is one of the things that makes this pack so versatile.

SitLight™ pad

The sit pad doubles as cushion against your back. If you choose to keep the stay in place, this will seriously increase your comfort. It’s easy to put in place and remove, even when the pack is full.

gossamer gear mariposa



Time to find out how much food you can carry. These specs are still for size medium.

  • Height 23 inches (32 inches to the top of the extension collar)
  • Width 11 inches
  • Depth 7.5 inches
  • Main pack body to extension collar seam – 36L
  • 35 lb maximum carry capacity

Total Capacity (including pockets) = 60L

gossamer gear mariposa

Check out those sweet gear loops and trekking pole attachments

Extension collar

The closure for the Mariposa foregoes the traditional pull-tight closure for an OTT™ (Over-the-Top) closure system. This roll-top style lid allows you to customize the capacity of the pack from 36-60 liters. The downside that I found to this was that rolling too far can interfere with the top zippered pocket.

Weight limit

The Mariposa has a weight limit of 35 pounds with a recommended carry of 30 pounds. Weight limits are typical for lightweight and ultralight packs. Following weight limit guidelines will help improve the lifetime of your pack, and probably your joints as well.


While the term lightweight can sometimes mean thin and flimsy, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa defies these terms. With thick and durable main pack construction, I have no reservations about hauling this pack along with me on my most rugged adventures. 


The thick and durable material of the main pack body is custom 100 and 200 denier Robic nylon. Other materials used include:

  • 70 denier double-rip ripstop nylon
  • Darlington Mesh
  • Supreme Air Mesh
  • Foam
gossamer gear mariposa

There’s that big stretch outer mesh pocket


Sometimes lightweight means an oversized stuff sack with shoulder straps glued on. Not the case here. The Mariposa includes 7 easily accessible outer pockets for an incredible opportunity to keep your gear more organized than ever.

  • 2 hipbelt pockets (not included in x-small)
  • Huge and super stretchy rear mesh pocket
  • 2 right-side, stacked, and easily accessible stretchy water bottle pockets
  • Left side elongated stretchy pocket (perfect size for tent poles)
  • Large zippered top pocket

Larger pockets also include a small drainage point.

gossamer gear mariposa

I can actually reach my water bottle while wearing the pack

Additional Features

There’s more? Yes!


Both harness and hipbelt include custom air mesh fabric. The ergonomic shoulder straps include multiple attachment points, and the adjustable (and removeable) sternum strap has an integrated whistle. As a female, I found that the sternum strap did not go quite as high as I would have liked.

Hydration compatible

There is a hydration sleeve in the main compartment and drinking tube attachments on both shoulder straps.

On the outside

In addition to all of the awesome pockets, there is:

  • Trekking pole hardware 
  • Center lashing loop/ice axe holder
  • Tons of additional lash points and d-rings
gossamer gear mariposa

We fit a Hennessy Hammock in the outer pocket


There are two things that really make the Mariposa shine:

The ability to completely customize the size and weight

Fully loaded, the pack will get you and all of your stuff from peak to valley in comfort. Remove the hipbelt and internal stay, roll down the lid, and your pack is carry-on size.


The amount of features loaded into such a lightweight pack

I am incredibly impressed with the features-to-weight ratio of the pack as well as the durability.

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa is a versatile and fully-featured pack that is an excellent choice for short and long distance hikes, and any other adventures you can think of.

Shop the Gossamer Gear Mariposa

Have you used the Gossamer Gear Mariposa? Let us know what you thought!

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