After three years of using Gossamer Gear’s Kumo, I decided to try their even lighter pack, the Murmur. All of GG’s packs have been redesigned this year for comfort, style, and functionality, so I was curious about making the switch. The current Murmur is a little smaller than the previous version, and a bit lighter than the Kumo. I’ve used it on several day hikes and overnights this season already, and I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen.
The previous version of the Murmur was essentially identical to the Kumo, but with lighter materials. The new Murmur is a completely different design, starting with a lighter material. The main pack body is made of Cordura Nylon, which is much lighter than the previous Dyneema material, and translucent enough to see almost all of what you’re packing. The material feels very fragile, but I’ve gotten it caught on lots of poking tree limbs already and can’t find any signs of tearing, so it’s clearly stronger than it looks. It is also water resistant, although I haven’t tested that in any more than a light rain.
Features that are new in the Murmur (or similar to older versions) include a roll-top closure system, shoulder straps that have no padding, trekking pole carrying loops, and a removable hip belt with very nice integrated pockets. The hip belt, though well designed, is something I removed right away, since I never use hip belts on ultralight packs. The clips to attach the belt took some futzing to undo, so this is probably something you wouldn’t want to detach and reattach frequently, but on the plus side they leave almost nothing on the pack when detached, so the weight savings is almost 100%. The trekking pole carry loops are very useful, and there’s not much more to say about those.
The unpadded shoulder straps are unusual compared to GG’s other new packs, which have very plush padding. Since the Kumo is the first pack I’ve owned where I completely did away with hip belts, I was a little worried that the lack of padding in the new Murmur would be uncomfortable. While they are somewhat less comfortable than the padded straps when carrying a full pack, the point of the Murmur is to be the pack for experienced ultralight hikers. I’ve carried the Kumo with about 27 pounds of load before without too much discomfort. I probably wouldn’t try the Murmur with much more than 20, which is plenty for a four-day summer backpacking trip. The up-side to the unpadded straps is also that they are fully mesh, which allows the shoulders to breathe more. I’ve had much less shoulder sweat with the Murmur than with my Kumo.
A few changes in the design to the Murmur will take some getting used to for me– they’re not necessarily bad, but worth noting. First, the side pockets don’t billow as much as other GG packs, and they seem to have Smart Water bottles in mind. I use wider water bottles, and have to squeeze a little harder to get them into the pockets. Similarly, the stretch mesh for the large rear pocket is less stretchy than the previous version, so I can’t cram as much stuff into it unless the main pack compartment is less full.
The roll-top closure for the pack is nice, but so far I haven’t been able to fill the pack to the point where it’s full enough to warrant extending the roll-top’s side compression straps at all. This shouldn’t be an issue most of the time, but considering the load I had in the pack for a four-day backpacking trip still barely filled the main pack body while pushing the limits of the 20-pound load limit, I wonder what I would have to pack in order to really fill out the main compartment. Maybe lots of puffy insulation.
All in all, it’s a very nice pack with a stylish remodeling that doesn’t add significant weight. I’ll probably continue using it for at least three more years.
You can purchase the pack at Gossamer Gear’s website, using this link:
Pack without sit-pad, hip belt, or sternum strap: 8.0 oz
Sit-pad frame: 1.4 oz
Hip Belt: 2.5 oz
Sternum Strap: 0.4 oz
Total: 12.3 oz
Disclosure: Gossamer Gear provided me with a pack through their Trail Ambassadors program at my request.