Gossamer Gear Mariposa and bear canister

Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Gear Forums Gear (General) Gossamer Gear Mariposa and bear canister

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #3775739
    AK Granola
    BPL Member


    I’ve skimmed a few of the threads about the Mariposa. Would anyone who has actually used the Mariposa with a bear canister please comment on how well this worked? What type of canister you have, and I’d welcome positive or negative. I’m considering lightening my pack by a pound, but concerned about the heft of a canister in a pack that doesn’t have side compression. Thanks!

    David Hartley
    BPL Member


    Locale: Western NY

    So I don’t meet your criteria for commenting – but I am close, so I will comment.

    I have a custom Bearikade (it’s 9 inches tall – slightly taller than the scout at 8 inches, but shorter than their 10.5 inch tall weekender), and my big pack for the last 5 years? is a Mariposa that is basically the same as the current model, and if I took a trip where I used the bearikade I would use the Mariposa (my other pack is a Gorilla which I prefer over the Mariposa if I can get away with it). However, I haven’t actually taken a trip with this combination yet (it’s been a while since I used the bearikade). But I have packed up my gear and done fit tests/carry tests with it just to make sure it would work. The following are a few of my thoughts on this:

    1) It will not fit horizontal – only vertical. When I originally purchased the bearikade I was using a Six Moon Designs Starlite, which is huge, and the bearkade fit horizontally with a little room to spare.

    2) It fits OK vertically with room around it to stuff a fleece – but does spoil the profile of the pack. Gossamer Gear packs have a wide/shallow profile. This is one of the things I like about them – the weight is carried close to the body. I think the Mariposa is a 7 ” deep and 11″ wide rectangle. The Gorilla (the older 40 liter version) is 5.5″ deep and 10.5″ wide (Gossamer Gear adds the pockets to the volume). You didn’t ask – but the Gorilla is a different matter – it fits vertically, but just barely and badly deforms the pack.

    3) I don’t think it will fit in the top closure reliably – on top of the pack but under the straps and top part of the pack opening. I have seen pictures of this approach and tried to duplicate but I felt like it would fall out.

    4) I can feel it through the foam back “sit pad” of the Mariposa, but its not too bad (with the Gorilla you really feel it and it spoils the overall feel of the pack).

    4) Finally weight – I find the Mariposa works best for me at 28 lbs and less. Similar for the Gorilla. I absolutely love the close to the body fit of the Gossamer gear packs, and I find the frame in the Gorilla perfect for me. My Gorilla is slightly older than my Mariposa – it has their older style hip belt that attached with velcro but did not tie in with the hip belt. My Mariposa has the newer style hip belt where the frame goes into pockets in the hip belt. That being said – I think their bent aluminum frame works better in my Gorilla than my Mariposa. The Gorilla just seems to have a stiffer back panel – either they changed the frame size/material, or the version of the back pad I have in the Mariposa is floppier, but either way my Mariposa is not as supportive as my Gorilla is – even with the improved hip belt. Another issue with both the Gorilla and the Mariposa is that the hip belts tend to sag a bit at >25 lbs. Although my Mariposa has their improved hip belt – I have had the Mariposa up over 30 lbs a few times at the start of a trip and that felt like right at the limit of what the pack could comfortably carry for me.

    As I said – I do like the Gossamer Gear packs – and I would use the Mariposa to carry my Bearikade if needed, but if I was doing this a lot I might look into a pack with more “structure”.

    Robert H
    BPL Member


    AK G – best wishes Lightning your pack. A whole pound is a big savings.
    I carried the Bearikade Expedition (bombproof plus as light per volume as I could get) for my JMT thru-hike and loved the way this worked with the Mariposa.

    As David noted, it only fits vertically in the main compartment. I packed with my sleeping bag at the bottom, the bearikade in the middle and then clothing, pad, cook gear, etc . on either side, with a little padding between my back and the canister. I found this very comfortable up to about 30 pounds. Easy to work system. Also found that the Expedition makes a dandy stool and work surface.

    One resupply (at Muir Ranch, last leg, SOBO) had me at 38 pounds which was tiring for my shoulders until I ate a couple of days’ food.

    I have also used the Bear Vault 500 but did not like it nearly as well. Slightly less volume, which was a big factor for me. I also like the ease of opening the Expedition. Always reliable. When the bear vault threads get gritty, or when it is very cold, I found it difficult to open.

    I now have the expedition strap system (got it for a kayak trip – Expedition also worked great! for this), and I am eager to see how it might work strapped to the top of the Mariposa. If anyone has experience with that, it would be great to hear.

    Mina Loomis
    BPL Member


    Locale: Central Texas

    We have Mariposa packs, and Bearikade Weekenders for when we need hard sided containers.  The Weekenders fit vertically, which is fine.  Vertical placement makes it easier to open the can and fish around in it as needed during breaks, without having to pull it out of the pack.  My husband has the large size Mariposa, and we find we need to take care to pack his gear so that the can rides just high enough to sit behind the crossbar of the pack frame, so the upper rim doesn’t tip forward and dig into his back.  We’ve had no other problems with comfort or fit.  We’ve used this configuration on the Colorado Trail, Ozark Highlands Trail, Big Bend, Guadalupe Mts., Weminuche, among other places.  Not for short weekend trips–no bears within weekend reach of central Texas.

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Get the Newsletter

Get our free Handbook and Receive our weekly newsletter to see what's new at Backpacking Light!

Gear Research & Discovery Tools