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Gossamer Gear Kumo 36 Review

This small capacity, lightweight pack is great for mega lightweight overnight excursions
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gossamer gear kumo 36 ultralight backpack review
Credit: Gossamer Gear
Price:  $180 List
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Manufacturer:   Gossamer Gear
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 1, 2020
67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weight-to-Volume Ratio - 35% 8.0
  • Comfort to Carry - 25% 6.0
  • Features - 20% 7.0
  • Adaptability - 10% 5.0
  • Durability - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

A pack so light and small that it passes more for a daypack than a multi-day backpacking pack, the Gossamer Gear Kumo 36 is a slimmed-down version of a classic ultralight pack. It has shoulder strap pockets, side pockets, and a large external mesh pocket in the back. All these external carry options pair nicely with the roll-top closure system, as they allow for quick access without messing with the roll-top. The Kumo is useful on long day hikes as opposed to overnight outings; however, with a super-paired-down kit, the Kumo would work for weekend trips into the backcountry.
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Useful pockets
Comfortable for medium-sized loads
REASONS TO AVOID
Lacks durability of other models
Lacks versatility because of small capacity

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Kumo is a small-capacity, lightweight version of some of our favorite packs from Gossamer Gear. This model has a slimmed-down feature set and carries comfortably with a light load.

Performance Comparison


gossamer gear kumo 36 ultralight backpack review - the kumo loaded up with a lightweight overnight kit.
The Kumo loaded up with a lightweight overnight kit.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Weight-to-Volume Ratio


The Kumo is undeniably one of the lightest packs in this review. With the foam pad and minimalist waistbelt removed, the Kumo weighs under a pound! With these features in place, it still barely reaches a pound and a half total. While this is impressive, the Kumo's weight-to-volume ratio isn't overwhelmingly light for the measured volume it has. To us, this reaffirms that the Kumo is undeniably an excellent pack for day hikes or shorter trips, or for those that are experts in ultralight travel.

gossamer gear kumo 36 ultralight backpack review - the minimalist waistbelt is easy to remove with these clips.
The minimalist waistbelt is easy to remove with these clips.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Load Carrying Comfort


For light loads under 20 pounds, the Kumo is a super comfortable pack. With a foam back panel and ventilated well-padded shoulder straps, the pack can handle light loads with ease. The waist belt is minimal and light, but wide, so it spreads the weight out a bit and doesn't cut into hips when cinched down. All that said, if the pack is loaded up with any more weight — above 20 pounds — its lack of support starts to make itself known.

gossamer gear kumo 36 ultralight backpack review - around 15 pounds is ideal for this lightweight, small-capacity pack.
Around 15 pounds is ideal for this lightweight, small-capacity pack.
Credit: Alexa Flower

The waist belt is so minimal that our shoulders ended up taking the brunt of the load. This is fine for day trips and light loads but doesn't work well for if you're carrying a lot of weight.

Features


The Kumo is sort of a miniature version of a traditional thru-hiking pack. It has all the same features that our award winners and longstanding favorites do, but almost half the carrying capacity. It has two pockets on the shoulder straps and two side pockets, along with two tiny pockets on the waist belt.

gossamer gear kumo 36 ultralight backpack review - this tiny pocket wasn't all that useful for us - we don't need quick...
This tiny pocket wasn't all that useful for us - we don't need quick access to a credit card in the backcountry!
Credit: Alexa Flower

The shoulder strap pockets are useful for sunglasses or a phone, while the side pockets are a bit tight to easily fit a water bottle. The waist belt pockets were too small to fit much beyond a credit card or keys. We loved the roomy, stretchy mesh pocket on the back for extra layers or snacks, as it's nice to not have to open the roll-top every time you need to take off a layer.

Adaptability


The Kumo lacks in this metric due to its small size and singular-use design. We found this pack to be most useful as a daypack — an excellent option for long, fast day missions in the mountains. An experienced ultralight traveler will be able to squeeze in a few nights of gear, but its overall carrying capacity maxes out at 38 liters when full to the brim.

gossamer gear kumo 36 ultralight backpack review - the removable foam pad shown here doubles as a seat, or even a tiny...
The removable foam pad shown here doubles as a seat, or even a tiny sleeping pad, depending on your suffering tolerance.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Durability


Though we didn't encounter any issues in terms of durability during our testing period, a bit on reading online revealed a theme of durability issues. The seams are not re-enforced, which resulted in some seams tearing over time with use. We didn't experience this personally, but this could be a concern with consistent use of the Kumo.

gossamer gear kumo 36 ultralight backpack review - this seams when the pack is fully loaded.
This seams when the pack is fully loaded.
Credit: Alexa Flower

We did like how the mesh pocket was reinforced with 100D robic ripstop on the bottom. These mesh pockets are often the weakest link in terms of the overall durability of an ultralight pack, but this feature remedies this a bit.

Value


This pack is a bit expensive for its singular use. There are many daypacks out there that are not marketed as "ultralight" models, but function in a very similar way. However, if you're looking for a pack to take on lightweight weekend fastpacks, and have the equipment required to travel light, the Kumo could be a good addition to your kit.

gossamer gear kumo 36 ultralight backpack review - lightweight and simple in design, the kumo is great for specific uses.
Lightweight and simple in design, the Kumo is great for specific uses.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Conclusion


A model designed to carry a small amount of gear and medium-sized loads, the Gossamer Gear Kumo is a great day hiking pack. While we like the overall design, this is a niche pack that requires extensive experience (or the intent to learn) to make the most of it.

Jane Jackson
 

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