Gossamer Gear Fast Kumo Review

Gossamer Gear is an innovative outdoor gear company that has been providing lightweight, durable, and functional equipment to hikers and backpackers since 1997 with the motto “take less, do more.”

The company has a reputation for designing and manufacturing some of the best ultralight gear in the industry, including the ever-popular Gorilla and Kumo packs, the former of which has been used by our own Zach Davis for thousands of miles.

The Gossamer Gear Kumo has continually been one of the most popular backpacks among hikers and thru-hikers alike. Known for its feather-light weight, impressive carrying capacity, and comfort, it’s an ideal choice for long-distance treks and multi-day trips. I myself have a Kumo that I love and have passed it on to my wife, who now carries it for all her overnight adventures.

This year saw the release of the all-new Gosssamer Gear Fast Kumo—a fastpacking version of the original. The Fast Kumo has been re-engineered for a running fit by adding vest-style straps with additional sternum straps and storage, as well as stretch side pockets to reduce bounce. As a big fan of the original Kumo and a fastpacker myself, it was only natural that I give this pack a shot.

Gossamer Gear Fast Kumo At-a-Glance

gossamer gear fast kumo

MSRP: $190
Weight: 21.5 oz for M/L
Material: 70D/100D Robic Nylon
Capacity: 36L (not including vest pockets)
Max Carry Capacity: 25 lbs

Circumstances of Use

I took the Fast Kumo on a series of day hikes and trail runs near the Maine coast this spring. Though a bit early to do overnights here just yet, I was able to load it up with various backpacking items like hydration bladders, water bottles, snacks, a quilt, and extra layers, to evaluate the pack’s carrying capacity and comfort during extended periods of wear and while moving. This allowed for a representative evaluation of its performance and functionality in a range of conditions.

Gossamer Gear Fast Kumo Features

mesh zipper compartment on back of gossamer gear fast kumo partway open showing orange foam sit pad being pulled out

  • Removable Sitlight Pad. A foam pad adds structure and comfort to a frameless pack but usually requires sizing and acquisition of a separate item. Gossamer Gear includes a perfectly-sized pad and a dedicated external pocket (against your back) to store it. This is an awesome feature that no other pack includes (that I know of).
  • Detachable Fast Belt with stretch mesh zippered pockets. Use it when your load is heavy or detach for lightest possible baseweight. Beefy 1.5” webbing with pockets helps carry heavier loads more comfortably.
  • Layered shoulder strap pockets for easy access to bottles and nutrition. This is the key feature of this style of pack: it creates balanced carry with quick access to nutrition and hydration to minimize unnecessary stops.
  • Trash stash pocket. All packs should have this. It’s extremely useful to have a larger, quick-access pocket for trash or nutrition.

Gossamer Gear Fast Kumo Pros

hiker wears gossamer gear fast kumo in maine woods

Cost: It isn’t often that the price of a high-quality backpack is less than $200. Gossamer Gear managed to keep costs low and make this pack attainable for nearly every budget. This is done, usually, at the expense of higher-weight and less-durable materials or by cutting corners elsewhere in manufacturing.

But the similarly affordable original Kumo has proved it can hold its own against the best packs on the market. I expect the “Fast” version will do the same.

Hipbelt: Many frameless packs offer a one-inch removable hipbelt, which is handy for managing heavy loads but can be removed to save weight. For fastpacking, a hipbelt is necessary to keep the pack from jostling while running. Beyond simple discomfort, jostling can also cause uneven load distribution and chaffing.

The Fast Kumo includes a hipbelt just like its competitors, but it’s less minimalist than most fastbacking hipbelts. The width is bumped up to 1.5 inches, and it has pockets—very rare in this class of backpack, yet quite handy. There is a slight weight penalty for this, but it carries a heavier load much better and is removable in case you don’t need it.

Storage: This pack is designed to carry gear, food, and water efficiently. By having large pockets on the straps, you can carry water bottles up front instead of in side pockets, which helps balance the load from front to back. There are also several other pockets on the straps, hipbelt, and within reach on the pack body itself. As a result, all necessary items can be quickly and easily accessed without having to take the pack off.

This is one of the keystone features of fastpacks, and the Fast Kumo pulls it off seamlessly.

Gossamer Gear Fast Kumo Cons

Weight & Capacity: The 21.5-ounce Fast Kumo is on the higher end of the weight spectrum for frameless ultralight fastpacks. Most of the best fastpacks, including my all-time favorite Nashville Cutaway, fall into the 13- to 18-ounce range (though in fairness, they often cost more than Gossamer Gear is charging for this one).

Also, its capacity is limited to 36 liters with a maximum carry load of 25 pounds, which is several liters and about five pounds short of some competitors.

Waterproofing: The Fast Kumo, like the original, is made of a robic nylon material that is known to be less waterproof than other materials on the market. Because of this, you’ll need a pack liner or cover to protect your gear in a downpour. Though many fastpackers would add this anyway for extra protection, it is enon-negotiable for the Fast Kumo and will add additional weight to the setup.


The Fast Kumo is a well-executed spin on the already-excellent Kumo, which has long been a fan favorite among backpackers. By dialing in the fit and adding additional storage to the straps, it has transformed into a piece of gear that is comfortable to run or jog in for the duration of a fastpacking trip. Gossamer Gear has made this pack affordable for most budgets.

The Fast Kumo has a couple of drawbacks, like weight and waterproofness. It would be a different story if Gossamer Gear offered the pack in different materials, such as Ultra 200. However, that would drive up the production cost and perhaps make it no longer affordable for some.

Overall, the Gossamer Gear Fast Kumo is a relatively lightweight and versatile option for fastpackers who prioritize weight savings and organization and don’t wish to pay $300+ for a hyper-premium pack.

Shop the Gossamer Gear Fast Kumo

Shop the Original Gossamer Gear Kumo

Comparable Fastpacks

Nashville Pack & Equipment Co. “The Cutaway”

  • MSRP: $355
  • Weight: 13.9oz
  • Capacity/max carry load: 41L/30lb

Mountainsmith Zerk 40

  • MSRP: $219.95
  • Weight: 29oz
  • Capacity/max carry load: 40L/30lb

Pa’lante Packs Joey

  • MSRP: $240
  • Weight: 14.8oz
  • Capacity/max carry load: 24L (internal)/Unlisted

Gossamer Gear donated the Fast Kumo for purpose of review.

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Comments 2

  • Rolf Asphaug : May 1st

    Wonder if there’s a practical purpose for the angled back pocket, or is it just for esthetics?

    Another fast pack seriously worth considering – made of waterproof Ultra – is the Fastpack 35 liter by Volpi Outdoor Products and sold through Garage Grown Gear. It has the wide shoulder straps with integrated stretch pockets favored by fastpackers (but no belt so you’ll need to use your own Fanny pack if you want waist storage.) I saw a prototype of this in action, tested by company founder Matteo Volpi on a fast thru-hike of the Colorado Trail. Volpi is the only Mexican-owned and -manufactured backpack company and frankly deserves more love and attention in the UL hiking community. I’ve used their larger UL40 pack and it’s solid and well made, yet weighs only 17 ounces.

    • Tyler M : Jun 14th

      If it’s anything like the original Kumo, it’s designed to be able to reach back and access while wearing.

      It’s an awkward reach and I usually put things I need to access further up front, but on occasion I’ll have a beanie or something in that pocket and I’ve been able to grab it.


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