I've asked Santa Claus to search for the best backpack for my 4-year trip to Africa. Naturally, I told Santa to start the search by looking at the latest offerings of Gossamer Gear, which sponsored my last two thru-hikes, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.
For my thru-hikes, I favored a minimalist backpack. When I backpack in the wilderness, I prefer a pack that weighs less than 226 grams (half a pound). Such ultralight backpacks have small capacity and are uncomfortable when you carry more than 10 kg (22 pounds). That forces you not to take junk. For example, my CDT packweight was less than 3 kg (under 6 pounds).
However, in Africa, I won't be hiking nonstop. Instead, I'll mostly rely on vehicles to get around. Furthermore, I'll be able to buy food nearly everyday. Translation: Low daily mileage + Frequent access to food = I can load up on luxury items :)
My ideal backpack for Africa
The requirements for my backpack are:
Watch this video to see how the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack does:
Mariposa Backpack Highlights
For capacity, it carries nearly 70 liters or 4,244 c.i. Let's break that down:
Let's break down the 765 grams (27 oz.) backpack:
With just two months to start my Africa trip, this looks like the backpack that I need. Of course, thru-hikers and backpackers will also appreciate this backpack, especially for winter trips or trips where you have to carry more than a week of food. Its durability gives me the confidence that it will last three years. Yes, it will be mangled, but it's tough.
The only downside is that there are two closure clips to lock it down. I miss the old Mariposa backpack, which just had one closure. Still, given the other improvements, it seems we've got ourselves a winner! I'd give it 4 out 5 stars.
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Mariposa Backpack photos
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack
The Mariposa harness has a cool integrated whistle
Use the small black plastic thingy in the center to hook it all together
Rear of Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack
When fully loaded, you can use the compression straps to put even more crap on top (like drying clothes), but you
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