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Gossamer Gear Murmur Review

Designed for the lightest travelers on the trail, with minimal features and lightweight materials
Gossamer Gear Murmur
Photo: Gossamer Gear
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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 30, 2020
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 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

 
Gossamer Gear Murmur
Awards  Editors' Choice Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $160 List$270 List$260 List$225 List$145 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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87
84
77
76
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 mostCarries both light and heavier loads in comfort, large side pockets, very durable constructionSimple design, inexpensive, durable
Cons Designed for a specific use, lacks versatility, lacks durabilityLarge capacity makes it less versatileA little small for a bear canisterRelatively heavy, delicate carbon frame rodsFoam pad falls out easily, shoulder straps lack support
Bottom Line This minimalist pack is lightweight and simple - designed for those who have slimmed down their kit to the bear minimumAs an all around great pack, it can carry large and light loads with ease, has plenty of external storage options, and is super comfortableOne of our top picks and scored highly in all metrics, it's comfortable, versatile, and has just enough featuresThis pack is a popular ultralight pack for good reason; it has plenty of outside storage, is made of durable fabrics, and carries both 15 and 30 pound loads with easeCombines simplicity, a reasonable price tag, and a good feature set
Rating Categories Gossamer Gear Murmur Gossamer Gear Mariposa Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Adventure Equipme... Ultralight Adventure Equipme...
Weight To Volume Ratio (35%)
10
7
8
7
8
Comfort To Carry (25%)
5
10
10
9
6
Features (20%)
6
10
7
8
8
Adaptability (10%)
5
8
8
7
8
Durability (10%)
5
9
9
7
9
Specs Gossamer Gear Murmur Gossamer Gear... Gossamer Gear... Ultralight... Ultralight...
Measured Weight 12.5 oz 30.5 oz 31.5 oz 31.4 oz 24 oz
Stripped Weight 9 oz 30.5 oz 27.5 oz 20.4 oz 23 oz
Claimed Volume 36 L 60 L 40 L 63 L 54 L
Measured Main Pack Volume 29L 48 L 38 L 41 L 45 L
Measured Volume Total (minus hip belt and shoulder strap pockets) 40L 64 L 53 L 48 L 53 L
Measured Volume Stripped (minus hip belt, shoulder pockets, and removable lids) 40L 59 L 48 L 48 L 53 L
Average Weight-to-Volume Ratio (grams/Liter) 7.6 g/L 14 g/L 13.5 g/L 14.5 g/L 12.8 g/L
Carrying Comfort 15 pounds Great Great Great Great Great
Carrying Comfort 30 pounds Poor Great Great Great Poor
Frame Type Removable foam pad Foam pad/ removable stay Foam pad/removable stay Simple Frame - 1.2 oz carbon fiber / Delrin active suspension hoop Removable foam pad
Fabric 30 & 70D rombic nylon 70 & 100 denier Robic nylon 70 & 100 denier robic nylon ULA 210 Robic nylon 210 Robic nylon, 400d Robic Bottom Panel
Main Pack Pockets 3 4 3 3 3
Hip Belt Pockets 2 2 2 Two 2
Single Hip Belt Pocket Capacity 2 cliff bars 4 4 cliff bars 8 Clif Bars 2 cliff bars
Shoulder Strap Pockets No No No No No
Whistle on Sternum Strap Yes No Yes No No
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 S, M, L, XL
Mix and Match Hip Belt Sizes No S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L, XL S, M, L, XL
Can Easily Strip Off Frame and Hip Belt Yes Good Good Yes No
BearVault BV500 Compatibility No Good Ok Just 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


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 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.

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.

The Murmur is comfortable for small loads on the lighter end of the...
The Murmur is comfortable for small loads on the lighter end of the spectrum.
Photo: Eric Bissell

The main body of the Murmur has about a 30-liter capacity. This makes it a small pack overall, and only useful 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.

The large external pockets are key in providing ample storage for...
The large external pockets are key in providing ample storage for this small pack.
Photo: Eric Bissell

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.

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

Features


When it comes to 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 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...
We liked the easy to use waist clasps that keep the waist belt in place on the Murmur.
Photo: Eric Bissell

The water bottle holders on the sides are tall and narrow, a shape we preferred since it easily held our bottles in place. This pack lacks a lid and instead has a roll-top closure 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 a drawstring closure that some of the packs we've reviewed tote.

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.

The Murmur's back panel works well as a seating pad when stopping on...
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.
Photo: Eric Bissell

Durability


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. The Murmur should be treated lightly since it is designed with weight efficiency, as opposed to durability in mind.

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

Value


The Murmur is relatively inexpensive at first glance. Compared to larger-capacity options from other ultralight-specific brands, the Murmur comes at a fair price. 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