Gear Review: Gossamer Gear Kumo 36

Most ultralight backpacks are very minimal: main compartment, 3 external pockets, maybe a hip belt.  The Gossamer Gear Kumo 36, on the other hand, packs in many features of a traditional pack, while still keeping total pack weight under 2 pounds.  From a removable back pad that doubles as a sit pad, to a top zippered pocket, to ice axe loops and D-rings for external tie-ons, to stretchy shoulder strap pockets, to a removable and adjustable hip belt, this pack is damn near luxurious. Piñata took one along for our trek along the Continental Divide Trail.  Here’s how it performed for the hike.



Weight: 21 oz.

Capacity: 36L total, 28L main compartment capacity

Max Recommended Load: 25 lbs.

Materials: 70D & 100D Robic Nylon, 70D & 210 D Robic Extreema(HDPE)

MSRP: $165


Piñata’s Kumo next to my more minimal homemade pack.





Piñata found the Kumo to be perhaps the most comfortable pack he’s ever carried.  Need I say more? He loves it.  Plus, he can access his water bottles and even the rear pocket with the pack still on.  


So comfy you don’t even need to take it off for a break.


Removable Hip Belt

In a frameless pack, a hip belt doesn’t offer much benefit in terms of load transfer.  Still, they do provide some stability and also offer a couple extra pockets. This pack offers the best of both worlds with a hip belt that is removable, so you can use it or not depending on the terrain and your preferences.  Also, with a couple attachment points, you can raise or lower the hip belt to fit your torso.


Shoulder Strap Pockets

Piñata especially loved the roomy and stretchy pockets on the shoulder straps.  They can accommodate a phone with ease, and a canister of bear spray fits perfectly inside as well.  They would also work well for some extra snacks or other small personal items. 


Rain jacket fits comfortably in the main outside pocket, and ice axe is attached using the included loop.




Side-Pockets Too Narrow

The biggest issue Piñata had with the pack is that the two side pockets are simply too narrow.  The pockets struggle to accommodate 2 Smart Water bottles, and after a few weeks the pockets started to pull away from the seams and some of the stitching started to unravel.  After a month on trail, the pockets were in pretty bad shape, so we sent the pack back to GG in exchange for a replacement. Piñata made sure to only put one water bottle in each side pocket for the rest of the trail, which certainly helped, but over time there was still unraveling at the seams.  We’ve heard the same issue from other hikers, so hopefully Gossamer Gear will address this in future builds.


Sternum Strap Too Short

Piñata didn’t use the sternum strap very often, but that’s because it was simply too short to wear comfortably.  Hopefully they adjust this, but with an ultralight load, the sternum strap isn’t really necessary, so it wasn’t a huge deal.  


Stitching Needs More Reinforcements

Aside from the issues with the side pockets, the stitching on the shoulder strap pockets also came unraveled on both packs.  We repaired the issues with needle and thread as needed along the trail.  


Preparing to re-sew an unraveling seam.


This is a really comfortable pack and offers a lot more features than most UL packs on the market.  Gossamer Gear offers perhaps some of the best designs in ultralight packs out there. Their prices are competitive.  It’s Piñata’s favorite pack and he raves about it.



However, there are some issues that can’t be totally ignored. Mainly, they could be sewn better.  Thru-hiking packs, even ultralight ones, benefit from double and triple stitching along seams that receive a lot of stress, and this pack could definitely use such reinforcements.  Secondly, their warranty is less generous than many other UL companies, and we have had a negative experience with their customer service in the past.  This time around though, they did replace the pack when we had a problem with it, which was great.  


In the end, would Piñata take this pack on another long trail?  Absolutely. But it would be with the knowledge that we’re probably going to have to perform some field repairs. And to be honest, I’d probably just get out my sewing machine and reinforce all the major seams before heading out.  


Piñata performing some pack repairs in Montana.