I remember buying my first backpacking backpack. I walked into an outdoor store and chatted with a salesman about options. When I asked about lightweight packs, he dismissed them, telling me they would strip away any comfort and weren’t worth it. I left with a backpack that on its own weighed close to five pounds.
The backpack and I went on to forge a beautiful relationship, as adventurers and their adventure gear are wont to do, but it wasn’t until I was introduced to Gossamer Gear that I realized my adventures didn’t have to hurt so much. Their motto: “Take less, do more.” And, as it turns out, that’s a lot more comfortable than a five-pound pack.
Since my first trip using a Gossamer Gear backpack, I’ve become a full-fledged fan of the company and the products they produce. So, if you’re looking to purchase some new gear for the summer backpacking season, I wanted to share five of my favorite Gossamer Gear products. Odds are that if you give them a try, you’ll become a full-fledged fan, too!
I’ve already confessed my obsession with this spoon to the internet once before, so I’ll spare the long love letter this time and simply say—it’s time to ditch the titanium spork. Eating with this spoon is like living life as art. Plus, it cleans well, spares your hand from getting messy on those last reaches into the bottom of your dehydrated food bag, and weighs in at a mere 15 grams.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve really wanted to bring back the fanny pack days of my youth. Gossamer Gear has now made that a reality—and a functional, classy, fun, dare I say…sexy…reality at that! All of this at just 2.1 ounces in weight.
Let’s start with functional. As us female adventurers know, the industry hasn’t quite caught up yet with the fact that women like to have pockets, too. Somewhere in the quest to create skintight, “feminine” adventure clothing, outdoor companies decided that the best they could do was the occasional faux-pocket. But, I don’t always want to have to carry a purse or a backpack just because I need to bring along my keys, wallet, phone, and a snack. Cue the Hipster—the ultimate pocket, proving once and for all that fanny packs, not diamonds, are a girl’s best friend.
The Hipster gives quick, easy access to the little things you need along the trail, on the subway, or at the opera. It also has a long adjustable strap, making it great for adventurers of all sizes (and also for tying your pee rag to!). Additionally, with a new watertight zipper, it’ll keep your possessions nice and dry.But, what about the classy, fun, sexy side of the Hipster? For this, I checked in with D.C. fashionista, Nora Simon. We were out for a night on the town, and I had chosen to pair a black lace dress and freshwater pearls with the fanny pack. Given Nora’s impeccable style, I knew if it passed the test with her, this fanny pack was the real deal. It turned out that Nora was a huge supporter of the fanny pack in general. In fact, for those that don’t see the value in the accessory, Nora says, “They must be Neanderthals because it has been that valuable for that long.”
Terms such as “statement fanny” were thrown around that evening, “And we’re not even embarrassed to be seen with her!” exclaimed Nora.
Also, thanks to the Hipster’s adjustable strap, Nora and I found that the Hipster is great for BFFing, as well—fits two!
The Vagabond is a new edition to Gossamer Gear’s product line. Taking the typical daypack to a stylish level and adding dual tote handles for additional carry options, this is the perfect plane to trail pack. Its deep interior pocket doubles as a laptop sleeve and hydration pack, while its large exterior mesh pocket securely holds all of your quick access items. With additional pockets on either side of the pack, you can also carry both your reusable water bottle and to-go coffee mug.
The pack is made from tough and durable custom 210 denier Robic/Extreema Grid fabric and with a 23 L capacity in the main compartment, it holds a surprising amount. It has become my go-to carry-on for flights, as well as for quick day trips up the trail or into town. It weighs in at 18.2 ounces.
In addition to the aforementioned spoon, the Mariposa 60 is what made me a loyal Gossamer Gear customer. This backpack is a dream come true. It’s lightweight, can hold all you need and then some, and doesn’t sacrifice comfort.
The first time I took the Mariposa 60 out backpacking, I ended up on an unexpected 12-hour bushwhacking adventure, following a trail we would later learn hadn’t been maintained for the last decade. The fully configured small sized pack that I use weighs a mere 30.7 ounces. That’s a far cry from the five-pounder I used to lug around, and as I found myself maneuvering through thick vegetation for several hours, I was incredibly grateful to not be lugging around that extra weight.
The Mariposa 60 has 7 built-in pockets, a removable internal frame, a removable back pad that can double as a camp seat or pillow, and is made of durable fabric. Last year, I recommended the pack to a friend of mine who was brand new to backpacking. I’ll admit that I was a little nervous she wouldn’t like it as her first pack, as it didn’t have all of the bells and whistles other packs do. However, after 4 days in the backcountry of Glacier National Park, I was thrilled to learn that she loved her Mariposa as much as I did mine. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned hiker, this pack is what you’ve been looking for.
Again, my first tent for solo adventures clocked in at about 5 pounds. So, when I met “The One,” it truly felt like I was taking a load off. The One weighs just 19.65 ounces, packs down to about the size of my head, and is insanely roomy for a one-person shelter. In fact, it’s roomy enough that I’m pretty sure I could comfortably fit one of my gal pals in it with me. At the end of a long hike, it’s nice to be able to really stretch out in a bug-proof, waterproof oasis.
The One uses six stakes and two poles for set-up, and those two poles can be swapped for your hiking poles to avoid carrying extra weight. It does take a bit of ground space to set-up and properly stakeout, but once up, it’s the perfect lightweight sanctuary away from the elements. The interior also includes a clothesline for hanging your stinky socks, and a large mesh pocket for stashing gear.