The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Gossamer Gear Murmur Review

Designed for the lightest travelers on the trail, with minimal features and lightweight materials.
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Price:  $160 List
Pros:  Very lightweight, relatively inexpensive, thoughtful design
Cons:  Designed for a specific use, lacks versatility, lacks durability
Manufacturer:   Gossamer Gear
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 3, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

At only 12.5 ounces, the Gossamer Gear Murmur is half the weight of the previous lightest pack we reviewed; it weighs almost nothing! It feels like a miniature version of some of the other Gossamer Gear packs we have used in the past, with similar pocket configuration and foam back panels. It carries surprisingly well, though our testing indicated it is not suited for loads over 20 pounds. It's designed for a specific use, so we recommend knowing what you're getting into before purchasing this piece of gear. Those who have whittled down their base weight with miles of trail experience may be keen to give this ultralight pack a try.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $160 List$270 List$260 List$145 List$139.95 at Backcountry
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Star Rating
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Pros Very lightweight, relatively inexpensive, thoughtful designDurable, comfortable, well-designed pockets, carries light and heavy loads wellLightweight, carries light and medium loads well, adaptable, perfect feature set, more durable than mostSimple design, inexpensive, durableVery light, large volume, versatile compression system
Cons Designed for a specific use, lacks versatility, lacks durabilityLarge capacity makes it less versatileA little small for a bear canisterFoam pad falls out easily, shoulder straps lack supportNo frame, poor comfort for medium loads
Bottom Line Designed for the lightest travelers on the trail, with minimal features and lightweight materials.The Mariposa wowed us with its perfect set of features, comfortable design, and carrying capacity.The Gorilla delivers a perfect set of features, plenty of pockets, comfortable straps, and carries well.The CDT is a lightweight, simplified version of our favorite pack from this same company, making a durable, well-designed option.For the ultimate lightweight pack, the Virga 2 steals the show with its entirely frameless design and streamlined set of features.
Rating Categories Gossamer Gear Murmur Gossamer Gear Mariposa Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Adventure Equipme... Granite Gear Virga 2
Weight To Volume Ratio (35%)
10
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10
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
Comfort To Carry (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
5
Features (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
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7
Adaptability (10%)
10
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5
10
0
8
10
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8
10
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8
10
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6
Durability (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
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9
10
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9
10
0
8
Specs Gossamer Gear Murmur Gossamer Gear... Gossamer Gear... Ultralight... Granite Gear Virga 2
Total Weight (ounces) 12.5 oz 30.5 oz 31.5 oz 24 oz 18.5 oz
Stripped Weight (ounces) 9 oz 30.5 oz 27.5 oz 23 oz 18.5 oz
Claimed Volume (liters) 36 L 60 L 40 L 54 L 50-58 L
Measured Main Pack Volume (liters) 29L 48 L 38 L 45 L 41 L
Measured Volume Total (minus hip belt and shoulder strap pockets)(liters) 40L 64 L 53 L 53 L 49 L
Measured Volume Stripped (minus hip belt, shoulder pockets, and removable lids)(ounces) 40L 59 L 48 L 53 L 49 L
Average Weight-to-Volume Ratio (grams/Liter) 7.6 g/L 14 g/L 13.5 g/L 12.8 g/L 10 g/L
Carrying Comfort 15 pounds Great Great Great Great Good
Carrying Comfort 30 pounds Poor Great Great Poor Poor
Frame Type Removable foam pad Foam pad/ removable stay Foam pad/removable stay Removable foam pad None (foam pad)
Fabric 30 & 70D rombic nylon 70 & 100 denier Robic nylon 70 & 100 denier robic nylon 210 Robic nylon, 400d Robic Bottom Panel Cordura
Main Pack Pockets 3 4 3 3 3
Hip Belt Pockets 2 2 2 Two none
Single Hip Belt Pocket Capacity 2 cliff bars 4 4 cliff bars 2 cliff bars N/a
Shoulder Strap Pockets No no No No None
Whistle on Sternum Strap No Yes No None
Internal Hydration Sleeve No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bag Sizes/Torso Lengths Available One Size S,m,l S,m,l S,M,L,XL Long, short, regular
Mix and Match Hip Belt Sizes No S, m, l S, m, l S, M, L, XL No
Can Easily Strip Off Frame and Hip Belt Yes Good Good No No
BearVault BV500 Compatibility No Good Ok Ok Ok
Lid (aka Brain) No No Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Gossamer Gear Murmur is the lightest pack in this review. It is also one of the smallest we've reviewed.

Performance Comparison



Weight-to-Volume Ratio


It is in this category that the Murmur shines. The pack is by far the lightest we have reviewed, weighing in at 12.5 ounces or a mere 9 ounces stripped. This is striking, considering the next-lightest pack is the Granite Gear Virga 2, which weighs in at 18.5 ounces. That said, the Virga has a much larger capacity, so it makes sense that it weighs more than the fairly small Murmur.

The Murmur is comfortable for small loads on the lighter end of the spectrum.
The Murmur is comfortable for small loads on the lighter end of the spectrum.

The main body of the Murmur has about a 30-liter capacity. This makes it a small pack overall, and only applicable for expert backpackers when used as a multi-day backpacking pack. There are three external storage pockets on the outside made of stretchy mesh material, which are great for layers and snacks that you may want access to throughout the day. Other packs have this design while providing more storage and support, like the ULA CDT, for example.

The large external pockets are key in providing ample storage for this small pack.
The large external pockets are key in providing ample storage for this small pack.

Load Carrying Comfort


The Murmur is designed in a similar style to the Mariposa. Both Gossamer Gear packs have a foam back pad that is removable as well as very lightly padded shoulder straps. The Murmur also has a removable, lightly padded waist belt that provides a bit of extra support. The removable foam pad is the best part of this suspension system; we found it easy to take off as a seat to avoid sitting on the pack itself. It's not comfortable when carrying loads over 20 pounds, which is fairly obvious when looking at the minimalist suspension system and lightweight materials used in its construction. A similar, but more burly pack option is the CDT, whose minimalist design mirrors that of the Murmur while providing more support and storage space.

Here  the foam back panel sits in its mesh pockets  providing support for the rest of the pack.
Here, the foam back panel sits in its mesh pockets, providing support for the rest of the pack.

Features


Regarding features, the Murmur is a very simple pack. It has a waist belt, with pockets, a sternum strap, and as we mentioned above, a foam back pad to provide some structure. As far as storage goes, the Murmur follows the same template as many packs in this review, such as the Mariposa or the CDT with its three external storage pockets. Unlike the majority of packs we have reviewed, the Murmur does not come with side compression straps, though these can be added later.

We liked the easy to use waist clasps that keep the waist belt in place on the Murmur.
We liked the easy to use waist clasps that keep the waist belt in place on the Murmur.

The water bottle holders on the sides are tall and narrow, a shape we preferred since it easily held our bottles in place. Unlike the Mariposa, the Murmur does not have a lid and instead closes with a roll-top style system. The top is reinforced with plastic to make it stiffer and thus easier to roll, which is a nice feature. Though opening and closing a roll-top pack can be a pain, we preferred this seal to the drawstring closure on the ULA CDT.

Adaptability


Some features that can be removed to reduce the weight of this pack even more (the foam back panel and the waist belt). This makes the pack extremely light and reduces the minimal support even more. That said, this makes the Murmur a great daypack for short hikes from a base camp. The Murmur scored low in this metric because its use is so specific; it's not designed for base weights over 10 pounds, which requires specific, compressible ultralight gear. For a more versatile pack, check out the CDT, which has a larger capacity and will perform well in a larger range of situations.

The Murmur's back panel works well as a seating pad when stopping on the trail for a break. it is by far the easiest foam panel to remove and replace.
The Murmur's back panel works well as a seating pad when stopping on the trail for a break. it is by far the easiest foam panel to remove and replace.

Durability


Again, the Murmur falls short in this metric, as the material is very lightweight and easily damaged by wear and tear on the trail. The pack is made up of a combination of 30, and 70 denier Robic nylon and the pockets are made of an ultralight micro-mesh material. In contrast, the Mariposa is made of 70 and 100 denier nylon. All of the ULA packs are made of 210 denier material, making them substantially more durable overall than the Murmur. The Murmur should be treated lightly since it is designed with weight efficiency as opposed to durability in mind.

Best Application


This highly specific, technical pack is designed for the experienced ultralight backpacker. The quote that we come across time and time again among ultralight companies is this, "If you are unsure if this pack is for you, then it probably isn't." This applies to the Murmur as well, as the pack requires a meager base weight, which typically can only be achieved after plenty of experience and trail time to refine one's kit.

The Murmur is designed for those who take ultralight backpacking seriously and whose base weight is down to 10 pounds or so.
The Murmur is designed for those who take ultralight backpacking seriously and whose base weight is down to 10 pounds or so.

Value


With a price tag of $160, the Murmur is relatively inexpensive at first glance. Compared to packs like the Hyperlite models, which cost up to $365, the Murmur is a good deal. That said, the pack is so specific and small (and not particularly designed with longevity in mind), that it ends up being a fairly expensive product. If you are certain that this pack is for you, the price is manageable, but otherwise, could seem like a lot of money for a specific piece of gear.

Conclusion


The Gossamer Gear Murmur is a niche pack designed for expert ultralighters willing to cut down their base weight to the bare minimum. The pack is made of very light nylon and mesh and has a fairly simple design. The main body has a capacity of only 30 liters, making it one of the smallest packs we have tested in this review. If you are looking for a very lightweight, small capacity pack, then this is a good option. But, if you are not sure, there are many other options out there that are more versatile and designed with a wider range of uses in mind.


Jane Jackson