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Gossamer Gear Kumo 36 Review

This small capacity, lightweight pack is great for mega lightweight overnight excursions
Gossamer Gear Kumo 36
Photo: Gossamer Gear
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Price:  $165 List
Pros:  Lightweight, useful pockets, comfortable for medium-sized loads
Cons:  Lacks durability of other models, lacks versatility because of small capacity
Manufacturer:   Gossamer Gear
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 1, 2020
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 15
  • Weight-to-Volume Ratio - 35% 8
  • Comfort to Carry - 25% 6
  • Features - 20% 7
  • Adaptability - 10% 5
  • Durability - 10% 5

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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Gossamer Gear Kumo 36
Awards  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $165 List$145 List$139.95 at Backcountry
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$160 ListCheck Price at REI
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Pros Lightweight, useful pockets, comfortable for medium-sized loadsSimple design, inexpensive, durableVery light, large volume, versatile compression systemVery lightweight, relatively inexpensive, thoughtful designGreat for medium loads, inexpensive, thoughtful set of features, external storage and lashing options
Cons Lacks durability of other models, lacks versatility because of small capacityFoam pad falls out easily, shoulder straps lack supportNo frame, poor comfort for medium loadsDesigned for a specific use, lacks versatility, lacks durabilityHeavy, less durable than others
Bottom Line This small capacity, lightweight pack is great for mega lightweight overnight excursionsA lightweight, simplified version of our favorite pack from this same company, making a durable, well-designed optionFor the ultimate lightweight pack, this pack steals the show with its entirely frameless design and streamlined set of featuresDesigned for the lightest travelers on the trail, with minimal features and lightweight materialsThis incredible pack has tons of features, carries medium-sized loads well, and is comfortable to boot
Rating Categories Gossamer Gear Kumo 36 Ultralight Adventur... Granite Gear Virga 2 Gossamer Gear Murmur Osprey Exos 48
Weight To Volume Ratio (35%)
8.0
8.0
10.0
10.0
4.0
Comfort To Carry (25%)
6.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
9.0
Features (20%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
Adaptability (10%)
5.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
Specs Gossamer Gear Kumo 36 Ultralight Adventur... Granite Gear Virga 2 Gossamer Gear Murmur Osprey Exos 48
Measured Weight 21 oz 24 oz 18.5 oz 12.5 oz 37.6 oz
Stripped Weight 15.2 oz 23 oz 18.5 oz 9 oz 33.9 oz
Claimed Volume 36 L 54 L 50-58 L 36 L 48 L
Measured Main Pack Volume 28 L 45 L 41 L 29L 40 L
Measured Volume Total (minus hip belt and shoulder strap pockets) 38 L 53 L 49 L 40L 59 L
Measured Volume Stripped (minus hip belt, shoulder pockets, and removable lids) 38 L 53 L 49 L 40L 53 L
Average Weight-to-Volume Ratio (grams/Liter) 13.5 g/L 12.8 g/L 10 g/L 7.6 g/L 18.9 g/L
Carrying Comfort 15 pounds Great Great Good Great Good
Carrying Comfort 30 pounds Poor Poor Poor Poor Great
Frame Type Foam pad Removable foam pad None (foam pad) Removable foam pad Tensioned Frame - AirSpeed SL Suspension
Fabric 100D Robic double diamond rip stop 210 Robic nylon, 400d Robic Bottom Panel Cordura 30 & 70D rombic nylon 100D high tenacity nylon, 100D high tenacity ripstop nylon
Main Pack Pockets 3 3 3 3 3
Hip Belt Pockets 2 2 None 2 None
Single Hip Belt Pocket Capacity 1 clif bar 2 cliff bars N/a 2 cliff bars N/a
Shoulder Strap Pockets 2 No No No No
Whistle on Sternum Strap Yes No None Yes Yes
Internal Hydration Sleeve Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Bag Sizes/Torso Lengths Available One size S, M, L, XL Long, short, regular One Size S, M, L
Mix and Match Hip Belt Sizes No S, M, L, XL No No No
Can Easily Strip Off Frame and Hip Belt Yes No No Yes No
BearVault BV500 Compatibility No Ok Ok No Just OK
Lid (aka Brain) No No No No Yes, Removable

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


The Kumo loaded up with a lightweight overnight kit.
The Kumo loaded up with a lightweight overnight kit.
Photo: 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.

The minimalist waistbelt is easy to remove with these clips.
The minimalist waistbelt is easy to remove with these clips.
Photo: 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.

Around 15 pounds is ideal for this lightweight, small-capacity pack.
Around 15 pounds is ideal for this lightweight, small-capacity pack.
Photo: 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.

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!
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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.

This seams when the pack is fully loaded.
This seams when the pack is fully loaded.
Photo: 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.

Lightweight and simple in design, the Kumo is great for specific uses.
Lightweight and simple in design, the Kumo is great for specific uses.
Photo: 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