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.
Gossamer Gear Murmur Review
Cons: Designed for a specific use, lacks versatility, lacks durability
Manufacturer: Gossamer Gear
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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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