Probably the best money I ever spent on gear was when I shelled out £40 for a GoLite Jam backpack (some background here). I bought it in the winter of 2009, in preparation for my Pennine Way the following spring. The backpack was and indeed still is, absolutely fantastic. I have used it on every single walk since I bought it. Every day walk, every weekend overnighter, every backpack, every long distance path. The pack really is that flexible and durable; thousands of hours on my back and nothing has broken, ripped, dropped off or frayed!

It was a bit of a disappointment then, when I started winter backpacking this year, to find that it wouldn’t quite take all the gear I needed to fit in it. So I began the search for a replacement, or at least a backpacking replacement – I still think it will be my standard pack for day walks.

All my research pointed me towards the Gossamer Gear Mariposa, with it’s cavernous capacity, it’s feather-light weight and it’s incredible flexibility and versatility. A couple of years ago I would have had to order it directly from the States, shouldering the additional burden of import duties and shipping, but now BackpackingLight are stocking them, so I bought one from Bob and Rose and it arrived 36 hours later! It cost quite a lot, £205 once you include the optional hip belt, but if it lasts as long as the Jam I will be more than happy.

mariposa back
Back view of the Mariposa with the foam back insert

 

Front view of my Mariposa, with the optional hip belt attached
Front view of my Mariposa, with the optional hip belt attached

 

An unexpected bonus was finding this Robic version has a pouch for a hydration bladder, which the previous version did not. There is also a new ‘Ultralight’ version on their website now, which looks identical to this one, but I guess weighs a little less. The one I have weighs 894g – that’s the ‘XL’ back length, with the ‘L’ size hip belt and the foam pad! Only 15g heavier than the Jam.

I should manage to give it a  test this weekend, as Chris Pilgrim and I are heading to the Dales for our belated February Microadventure. I’ll probably try and post a report with initial thoughts once we get back.

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5 thoughts on “Gossamer Gear Mariposa (Robic)”

    1. No, unfortunately, not waterproof – in fact there are very few truly waterproof rucksacks out there – I tend to use individual dry bags inside the pack to protect the contents, I can’t be doing with the faff involved in a pack cover 🙂

    2. Regarding waterproof, I can say that they are not. Water resistant to a point.
      I cannot realistically think of any modern rucksack that is waterproof.
      Some last longer than others before they wet out.
      The question on a rain cover is really down to a bit of extra prevention.
      I don’t use a rain cover at all. BUT, I do *always* put my stuff in a dry bag inside.
      Not sure rain covers really stay that dry anyway, because normally the rain runs underneath them or gets lashed by wind underneath as they tend to flap about.
      IMO if you don’t use a dry bag inside a rucksack, you are just asking for grief.

  1. Well, I have one and a Gorilla, and they are the best 2 packs I have owned.
    So much so, that I sold all the others and these are my only 2 packs.

    1. Well that’s a helluva recommendation Andrew!
      I think it will be hard to beat the longevity of the Jam, but I’m hoping for the best – not seen any bad reports on them.

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