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.
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.