No items found.

I’ve Hiked Thousands of Miles with Dozens of Packs, and This Is My Go-To for Most Trips

I started backpacking in 2011 and have since hiked thousands of miles wearing backpacks in every category, from substantial, ultrapadded ones to superlight styles with no structure or support. As someone who splits her time between mellow canyon hikes in Death Valley National Park and 2,000-mile thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail, I wound up gravitating toward packs that fall somewhere between heavy-duty and minimalist. But most of the dozens I tried eventually revealed some sort of compromise. Some, while very light, ended up sacrificing support, like internal framing or a hipbelt, making them uncomfortable on longer journeys and severely limiting how much I could pack. Others that offered more features wound up weighing five pounds empty, with flapping webbing and chunky buckles adding to their bulk.

My interest in backpacking and researching backpacks isn’t just personal: Like other lucky people, I was able to turn a hobby into a career in the outdoor industry, and I’ve worked as an editor and writer for media companies covering the space. This time on the clock — coupled with my time on the trails — familiarized me with smaller brands like Gossamer Gear, the maker of the Mariposa pack I saw on lots of folks when I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2015. Popular among seasoned hikers and backpackers, Gossamer Gear manages to remain off the radars of more-commercial outdoor retailers: You won’t find its packs, tents, or hiking poles at REI. About a year and a half ago, it released the G4-20 — a reboot of its original G4 pack, which is beloved by an older generation of backpackers — so I requested a sample for one of the gear reviewers I worked with to test. A closer look revealed it fit the specs I was personally looking for in a backpack (smaller capacity, padded back, spacious hip-belt pockets, lightweight), and when my reviewer came back with glowing praise after giving it a whirl, I decided to request another sample to try for myself. Hundreds of miles later, my G4-20 pack barely shows any signs of wear and has proven so functional and comfortable that few, if any, treks have me strapping on something else.

Find the complete article written by Maggie Slepian here.

LAST UPDATED

December 3, 2023

Written by
Photo thumbnail Blog Author

The Strategist

Media Mentions from The Strategist

We are Vox Media, the leading modern media company. We guide our audience from discovery to obsession. We inspire essential conversations about what’s now, what’s next, and what’s possible.

Our editorial networks ignite conversations and influence culture through journalism, storytelling and commentary on current events, lifestyle, entertainment, sports, dining, technology, and shopping. Across digital, podcasts, TV, streaming, live events, and print, we tell stories that affect our audience's daily lives and entertain as much as they inform.

Explore More Content

Media Mentions

Sawyer Products SP657 Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent for Clothing, Gear & Tents comes in a convenient 24-ounce trigger spray bottle that allows for easy application to your outdoor gear.

Jessica Schoeman

Media Mentions

“Her goal is to break the female world record for the most consecutive ultra-marathons in a row by completing 11 daily 31-mile runs,” officials said in a press release.

WKYC
Media Mentions from WKYC

Media Mentions

Hours later, I was hiking up the river, well hydrated with a smile on my face because I wasn't killing my back with all that water I used to carry. It worked!

NWO Outdoors
Media Mentions from NWO Outdoors