Sunday 17 May 2009

A Little Bit Lighter Maybe?

With my first week long trip coming up I’ve started thinking about making some further weight savings to my kit. The additional clothing and food I’ll be carrying over the 5-6 days will naturally result in heavier loads so it is out of necessity rather than preference that I’m doing this…honest!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been looking at the areas where I can make the most difference, with a close eye on the cost of course! There are always areas where most of us could replace bits of gear with something a bit lighter but I’m only really interested if the item is an improvement in functionality, fit or comfort - as well as the weight. So, having spent a bit of time considering the gear the first area is my pack.

I have been very impressed by my current pack, the Golite LiteSpeed, its very comfortable with heavy loads and is fairly versatile and forgiving with how you pack it. However, my pack in size medium weighs 1150g so there is definitely room improvement here me thinks! I’ve looked at a number of really light contenders with around the same volume (49L for the Litespeed) such as the ULA conduit, the Golite Jam 2 (frameless) and Mountain Laurel Designs but it was the Mariposa Plus from Gossamer Gear that has really caught my eye.

It’s a framed pack and the 2009 version is made from tougher rip stop nylon and seems to solve the previous comfort issues with the a new curved stay system. There’s no Cuban Fibre here and yet in medium it weighs in at 632g, and with the foam sit-pad and shoulder pad inserts it seems to make a comfortable pack. The combined volume is larger than the LiteSpeed at 59l which gives me a bit more flexibility when packing for multiday trips. It still has the all important hip-belt pockets and there is scope for a bit of customisation too. I’m not entirely sold on it yet as I need to do a bit of hands-on investigation. Luckily Winwood Outdoors in Keswick stock these packs and apparently the 2009 update will be in the store over the next few weeks - so this could be the solution to a lighter pack.


Martin Rye said...

Have Winwood a new store? I found the shop closed in Keswick a few weeks back!!

stourvalewalker said...

I don't think that they have a new store yet, but if you phone them you can arrange a time to call into their warehouse in Keswick and see/try out their kit.

Marcus said...

Hi Martin,

They mentioned this in the email but I'm not sure if they are moving or if its a refurb. Either way I'll be chasing them on the GG Mariposa Plus as soon as they arrive!

GeoffC said...

I looked at a Gossamer Gear pack when I was last in Winwoods a while ago, it felt like a packet of crisps with straps on.
I take it they rely on tricks like using a sleeping mat to make a halfway comfortable back?.

Marcus said...

Hi Geoff,

I've not had chance to see the pack up close and personal yet so I can only hope it isn't as you suggest!

I think the 2009 version made of slightly tougher stuff - so to speak.

I'll do an update on my findings once I've got hands-on!