If you like traveling and hiking all the time, you know the importance of a good backpack.
Even so, packing too heavy is often a problem for many hikers and mountaineers. Knowing what to pack and getting only the essentials is the key. With that said, you should consider of getting one of the models below because they are among the best ultralight backpacks on the market today.
These ultralight backpacks offer you a mix of the best features any backpack can have. Choose your favorite carefully because you won’t need to buy another backpack for years to come.
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7 Top Rated Ultra Lightweight Backpack Reviews
Gonex Ultralight Handy Travel Backpack – Perfect Travel Ultralight Pack
Weight: 0.4 lb.
OVERALL RATING: 9.8/10
Gonex has made another backpack, and this one is out of this world. The pack is made from the top-quality wear and tear nylon material that is highly resistant to water, and it has durable abrasion resistant SBS zippers made from metal. It’s reinforced in several places with double or triple stitches and has a total of at least 25 places where the backpack can withstand even the strongest pressure when it comes to tears.
The Gonex bag was made with traveling in mind as it features all the nifty small thing that every travel dreams of. The backpack is easy to transport as it can fold up and fit nicely into your largest traveling bag. The pack also does not take a lot of space once packed as its unfolded size is only 44 x 30 x15 cm, and the product also features a small packed size as it can fold even further into 16 x 16 cm. Being one of Gonex prize backpacks, it has several color schemes that are made for every color bag enthusiast in mind. They feature over eight different colors that range from light blue to purple and neon green. The bag has several little pockets integrated within itself and one big zipper on its top. Once you take a look at the bag from the front, you will see a small pocket that has a zipper which can fit all your items that you need to be at hands reach for instant access.
On both, its sides the backpack has two netted pockets that can fit your water bottles or items that you need to grab on the go, like knives or candy bars. For every travel enthusiast, this bag makes for a perfect traveling companion. If you are going for a nice long bicycle drive or mountain climbing, or even rowing this bag will house all your items safely and will even provide a certain comfort as you know that the things that you placed inside will remain safe and free from any weather conditions.
There is also a feature for students as once the big zipper is opened there are two compartments inside the bag that hold up to 25 liters of capacity and one of them has an area for a laptop, with a maximum screen size of 15 inches. If you are in the market for a good backpack that you won’t have to replace anytime soon, then the Gonex Ultra-light Handy Travel Backpack is the best choice for you.
Want to learn more? Check out our full review here.
- Affordable price tag
- Can fit into most bags
- Easy to tear with sharp objects
- Needs more zipper compartments
- Does not have reinforced botom
HIKPRO Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack – Great Value for Money
Weight: 0.4 lb.
OVERALL RATING: 9.3/10
The Hikpro Ultralight Packable Travel Backpack is one of those backpacks that once you buy it you will never again go back to regular backpacks. For example, this pack is made from ultralight Nylon materials that are water resistant and highly resistant to wear and tear. It is perfect for outdoor activities whether it be driving your bike to work, or climbing the mountain in your state. The backpack is also double stitched and in some locations even triple stitched making it one of the most durable backpacks on the market. For its small size, it fits quite a lot of stuff in its zipped compartments as it has a 25 Liter max capacity.
The front of the backpacks has a small zipper that can fit your everyday items that you need on the go, such as a pen, knife, gel, keys, toothbrush, deodorant and other items. Once you move to the middle, you will notice that there are two zippers made from the strongest steel and highly resistant to wear and tear. If you want to carry your laptop with you on your travels you can, as the inside of the big zipped area has a laptop compartment that can fit any laptop up to 15-inch screen size.
The more you use this bag, the more you will realize how good it is made for almost any activity you can think of. On both of its sides, there are net-pockets that are designed to hold your necessary items like water and wallet, and you can even fit your mp3 player there as it is protected from any hits. The bag fits perfectly in your suitcase for any longer travels that can later be opened up and taken out for any hiking trips or other necessary activities where you might need something to hold your things in one place. During extensive testing of this packing bag the highly water-resistant material even holds up during rowing trips as the nylon material, and the heavy double stitches on certain parts make it impregnable for water.
The only place where this bag is weak to water is at the zipper area if you place the bag in water for a couple of seconds or up to a minute. Outside of that, when it comes to your perfect traveling bag that can fulfill all your exploring needs the Hikpro Ultra-light Packable Travel Backpack is your best friend.
- Has enough space for daily needs
- Resistant to water
- A bit pricey compared to the rest
- Easy to tear with a sharp object
- Needs more padding on the outside
TETON Sports Hiker 3700 Ultralight – Best for Hiking Adventure
Weight: 4 lb.
Fabric: Canvas (600D)
OVERALL RATING: 9.0/10
When it comes to your ultimate backpack for hiking adventure the Teton sports Hiker 3700 is at the top of the charts. The Teton Sports hiker bag is made from ultra-light 600D Oxford canvas and 420D 2MM thick double line ripstop, which makes it highly resistant to wear and tear even by military grade standards. The dimensions of this huge bag are 12.2 x 15.35 x 32.68 inches which make it perfect for extended hiking adventure trips. Even for hiking professionals who require that their transportation bag can house food and other necessary items for at least two-three days can safely lean on this backpack as it will provide them with that necessity and even more.
The bag itself has several compartments that can be filled all the way up to 60 liters of capacity. That is more than you can store in several bags of standard size. There is a small down side to a pack of this size as it weighs almost 4 pounds (2 kilos) and can be a bit hard to pack inside a bigger traveling bag. When it comes to design this little item does not disappoint, in fact, it has an innovative design that not most backpacks can take and adopt.
The front of the bag has over a dozen additional zippers that have compartments that can hold your most necessary items that need to be at your hands reach. For other great item placement, the straps that go around your waist have two additional zipper compartments that can hold anything from candy bars and knives to your mobile phone, considering you want to bring one with yourself in the first place. For hikers and adventures of the outdoors this backpack has it all.
Once you go on your first adventure using the Teton Sports Hiker 3700, you will never again buy yourself a pack that is not as comfortable as this one. Believe us when we say that many backpacks of this size don’t invest a lot into comfort but solely place more value on the materials that are used to make these bags. However, this is not the case with the Teton backpack. The comfort level is huge here, and it extends from the strap-on’s all the way from the top of the back area to the bottom where your butt starts and as such it has gained the five stars in comfort it deserves. That is a backpack that once you buy, you won’t have to replace for a couple of decades.
- Has tons of room
- Quality material build
- Enough straps for additional safety
- Can’t fit into other bags for easy transportation
- Could use more padding on the outside
- More expansive then its competition
Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Daypack – Most Comfortable Light Daypack
Weight: 0.7 lb.
OVERALL RATING: 8.9/10
If you are in the market for a new backpack that can be of use to you in several situations that can both include your typical day to day routine or your adventurous life that extends to the mountains climbs and hiking trips, the Venture Pal Lightweight day pack is the bag for you. With its durable nylon material that is reinforced in several places, this bag has all its stress points covered for maximum durability. When it comes to smart innovation, the Venture is at the top of its game.
The bottom part is double reinforced so the bag can hold even the heaviest of loads, the sides of the strap-ons are double reinforced to be extremely durable to wear and tear. So, if you are preparing yourself for a trip that might stress test the bag in certain weather conditions and even heavy load conditions, the Venture Pal lightweight day pack will pass with flying colors.
Speaking of colors, there is more than one color scheme that can be chosen for this day pack if you are not a particular fan of the standard black edition. There are nine color schemes ranging from light orange, blue and even purple so for every bright color enthusiast, there is a different color to fit their needs. When it comes to comfort, this bag takes the cake. It’s padded on the inside, so your back does not take the full pressure from the items that are placed inside.
Even the strap-ons have soft pads that are placed from the top all the way to the front, so your shoulders don’t have to feel sore after holding the bag for several hours. The bag is designed so well that it has several unique compartments that can fit most of the items you might need even if you are going for a traveling day or even two.
The front of the bag has a zipper that opens up into several small compartments that can fit your most needed items like a knife, keys, toothbrush and paste and even has a small additional zipper inside that can hold your wallet or money and will be separated from the rest. On its sides, there are netted pockets that can hold your water bottles, and in the big zipped area, you can even place your laptop as it has additional space for any 15-inch laptop. The backpack is truly one of the best light weight day packs money can buy.
- Water resistant material
- Multi compartments
- A bit small
- Thin fabric
- Not good for holding valuable stuff in it
TETON Sports Explorer 4000 – Multiday Backpack
Weight: 4.5 lb.
Fabric: Nylon (600D)
OVERALL RATING: 8.7/10
When it comes to backpacks that are well worth the money invested in them, the TETON sports Explorer 4000 is the best bag money can buy. As people say money well invested, when they buy something, most of the people that have bought this bag understand the concept of buying something once that will last you for quite some time than buying several cheaper things every couple of years. The TETON Sports Explorer 4000 is your ultimate lightweight Multiday backpack that can be used for several different lifestyle adventures.
For instance, if hiking is your dose of adventure the bag will be more than you thought a bag could be. On the other hand, if you are using it as a traveling companion it will offer you with space for at least three to four days’ worth of food and other clothing items that you might need for such a camping trip. The bag has a 65-liter capacity that can fit just about anything your camping needs might be. When it comes to design the TETON, the bag has everything in order.
The top of the bag has a unique strap area where you can place your tent and additional zipper areas on the front that can hold your most necessary items that need to be easily accessible. There are several pockets integrated into the straps that both circle your waist and on the shoulder area. They are designed to hold the most needed items that need to be in hands reach.
When it comes to comfort quality this bag ranks as one of the best in the traveling backpack market today. The pads that are placed on the back of the bag go from the neck area and follow all the way down to the but zone where they end, making this bag take care of your back for longer travels.
The shoulder straps are also double reinforced, so they are highly resistant to heavy loads and wear and tear, with additional pads that help take the strain of the burden for your shoulders. The bottom of the bag has an extra area for your sleeping bag and if you thought that the bag does not have a hydration area where you can place the bladder pack which will hold your liquid than you are dead wrong. There is a hydration bladder area on the back part, however, the bladder is not included and must be ordered separately or custom made.
- Has tons of space
- Good for long periods of camping
- Quality material
- A bit heavy
- Can’t fit into other bags for transportation
- Could use more padding on the outside
New Outlander Packable Backpack – Perfect for Day-to-Day Use
Weight: 0.5 lb.
OVERALL RATING: 8.7/10
Companies that make backpacks have become increasingly involved with their buyers and how the bags can be upgraded to fit in with the people who are using them for day-to-day use. From such extensive collaboration, the Outlander brand has made a new ultralight backpack that is perfect for several uses in both normal daily routines and extreme sports that include hiking, rafting, and even mountain climbing. The new Outlander packable backpack is made from a highly resistant nylon material that is both water resistant and wear and tear resistant.
The zippers are made from abrasion resistant SBS Metal and have been reworked so that they don’t get stuck in the fabric during fast unzipping scenarios. Additional benefits include the light weight and compact design that lets the backpack be packed into any larger bag for transportation without taking lots of space. When it comes to design, the Outlander brand has made this bag specific and more user-friendly. First of all, they offer 16 different colors, which is one of the highest diversity of colors that can be found in the backpack market. Next its multi compartments in both front, back and on the sides with a 35-liter max capacity, which makes the bag a medium sized capacity item holder.
Its front has a small sized pocket with a zipper that can hold most of the items that need to be accessed in a hurry if the situation so demands. The big zipper on top opens the main compartment that also has a laptop area that can hold any laptop with a screen size of 15 inches.
On both of the sides of the bag, there is two netted pocket that can hold items that need to be at hands reach, such as a water bottle, umbrella, knives keys and even a mobile phone. Furthermore, the bag has some new features that add to its quality of life improvements and durability. Namely, the back of the bag has a reflector that will signal incoming traffic that you are walking or riding a bike, so you will never be invisible during the night.
There is an additional strap lock on both its sides that can help with holding items that need to hang outside of the bag or that need to be strapped on the bag tight and close. When it comes to a backpack that is light weight and high quality for day-to-day use the Outlander backpack has it all.
- Has additional safety features
- Water resistant
- Has lots of space
- Could use more padding
- Price is above average
- Can easily be torn by sharp objects
Osprey Packs Women’s Backpack – Great for Cycling Adventure
Weight: 1.4 lb.
OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10
When it comes to women’s backpacks, there is no better brand than Osprey. Osprey has spent a lot of time innovating new designs and upgrading their backpacks to be more multifunctional. So far, they have made several different models of their backpacks, and all of them are perfect for multiple functions outdoors that include Cycling, mountain hiking and even traveling. However, when you are in the market for the best Osprey backpack then look no further than the Tempest edition.
There are three different colors in which this bag gets shipped, which is green, pinkish purple and gray. They all have the same features which complement the adventurous spirit with its compartmentalization and functionality. Materials that are used in the making of this awesome backpack are highly strain resistant which will guarantee long life and wear and tear resistance even in the most strenuous scenarios. When it comes to its unique design, the Osprey has outdone itself with the new model.
On the top, you will find space for a hydration bag that can hold your most needed water supply. The front of the backpack has several pockets and unique features that can hold your helmet and other items on the outside of the bag. Additionally, on the sides, there are two net pockets that can hold both your bottles, and your umbrella, and any other items that need to be at your hands reach.
Once you open the bag, you will also find lots of nifty new compartments that will hold your items safe and sound from all the weather elements on the outside. Furthermore, if you need to carry your laptop, there is an additional area that can hold laptops up to 15 inches. The strap-ons are highly efficient and will latch on your body from all sides, as you have not just the two on your shoulders and one over your chest, but one additional on your waist that even has two pockets that can hold your most needed items.
One more thing needs to be pointed out on this bag that the Osprey brand has invested heavily and that is the comfort level of this bag. The back part of the backpack is padded with extra soft materials that take the strain off your back. Additionally, the shoulder straps are also padded which helps distribute the weight of the load and take of the potential soreness if the backpack is going to be used for several hours. This is the best lightweight pack on the market hands down.
- Helmet attachment
- External hydration compartment
- Lots of compartments
- Easy to adjust straps
- The main compartment’s bottom layer is thin
- Not waterproof
- Not breathable enough
How To Choose an Ultra Lightweight Backpack
If you are into making plans to travel for a longer period, you will not want your backpack to become a dead weight that will slow you down. Lightweight packs are much better for longer distances. It is not only about how much you can carry, but it is also how comfortable you feel with it on your back and the ability to move with it.
It is always best to do a bit of research and get some additional information that will help you to make your choice about the right ultra lightweight backpack. People are choosing lightweight bags because of their advanced features. If you have to be out there in the wild for days, you will need food and all other necessary supplies.
You will not want a heavy backpack, adding an extra weight to your load. Light packs are the best solution for such occasions. Ultra lightweight packs can take up to 37 liters in their main compartments.
When choosing a backpack, you need to take all the equipment and supplies into your consideration. Before you go for your adventure, take a test and see how your backpack shows when loaded with heavy gear. Always be prepared.
Types of Ultralight Packs
Before you make up your mind which type of an ultralight backpack is the right one for you, it is important to understand the features that differ them. There are three types of ultra lightweight packs, and all of them have different features for different uses, depending on what you plan to do. The types are:
- Tensioned Air Frame and
- Simple Frame.
Frameless was intended for carrying small, light loads. It is usually a smaller pack with the capacity of 15 pounds. It is called frameless only because you do not need a frame for carrying such a light weight. If you just want to take a hike, the frameless pack would be just perfect and the most comfortable.
Tensioned Air Frame
Tensioned Air Frame is originally intended for carrying heavy loads but, its purpose is to create air flow space while you carry it. Since hiking and climbing needs a lot of effort, people are sweating, and this backpack almost provides them with the natural ventilation. These are especially good for long hikes. If you are hiking during a warm or a hot season, these backpacks can be extremely helpful as you will need far fewer clothes due to the air flow that prevents you from sweating.
Simple Frame Packs
Simple frame packs are the most common ones. Almost all hikers use this type of packs. They are great if you want to transfer the load from the torso to your hips. These backpacks have various features that were intended to help the one who carries it transfers the weight much easier since it has a hip belt. It is perfect for long hikes where you need to carry a lot of load. The frame is not tensioned or arc-ed which gives the carrier the back airspace, preventing him from the unnecessary sweating.
Even though ultra lightweight backpacks are very adaptable for all kinds of situations, it’s your intention that is the primary factor upon which the purpose of your backpack is determined. Since these packs were originally intended to help you carry some of the load while you are hiking, they can be adapted for other uses as well.
The main compartment will provide you the necessary storage for most of your gear and clothes while you use the additional external space for storing other necessities like food, water or some additional equipment like lamps or tools and ropes.
These packs were intended to carry the load rather than camping equipment even though; they can be easily adapted for all sorts of intentions. Depending on the manner you pack things, you can use all the external storage for a lot of different applications.
Many people do not know how to properly pack their stuff, and even the biggest of packs cannot be put to a good use in these cases. Once you are on the road, it is important that you can move comfortably and have everything that you need for such an occasion. The perfectly adaptable packs are the right choice.
Since your backpack will be the heaviest thing that you will carry while on the road, you will want it to be durable. Weight is the most important factor because if you overload your pack, there are a lot of things that can go wrong and make everything a lot harder than it is supposed to be.
So the best thing to do is find the right pack that is balanced between the durability, comfort, and weight. Frames are crucial for determining the durability of your pack. Of course, the less weight you carry, the less frame you need.
Simple frames are the best as their durability is just perfect for carrying heavier loads. The heavier the load, the sturdier the frame you need. One more important factor that determines the durability of your pack is the volume. This factor puts the limitations on your pack regarding how much equipment you can carry.
If you overload your bag, you are increasing the chances of something going wrong with it. Learn to work with smaller volumes. That enhances the durability of your pack by far. The material is really important for durability. The best material is Cuban fiber.
The design of your backpack is essential because it determines the features it possesses as well as the utilizing preferences. The features are crucial, next to adaptability and durability, for your overall comfort. The main compartment, front pocket, hip belt, shoulder straps and pouch, belt pockets and water holsters, as well as waterproofing, hydration ports, top lid, sternum strap and load lifter straps, are the features that’ll make your adventure a walk in a park or the worst nightmare from hell.
The best packs and the most useful ones usually have just one big main compartment as that is all you need really. The things that you will use the least go in the bottom. A front pocket is the most useful feature next to the main compartment. You can easily stow or get any piece of gear or dry the wet equipment.
Hip belt tells you everything by its name alone. A handy feature, especially for longer hikes. Transfer the weight to your hips and comfortably carry heavier loads. It’s important to have the most comfortable shoulder straps as straps hold almost all the weight. Water holsters are necessary too because hydration is crucial on such endeavors.
Weight to Volume Ratio
In a modern world of today, smaller is better. The same goes for backpacks. Backpackers, campers, and hikers are looking all sorts of ways to pack as much as they can into smaller and smaller bags. The volume of your pack determines how much weight you can carry and never overload it if you want it to last as long as possible.
The modern packs of today are going up to 50 to 65 liters which are great if you have to carry about 50 pounds. The experienced hikers and backpackers usually use the ones with the main compartment volume up to 40 liters, with the additional 10 liters. These packs are the most common for long hikes, and backpackers use these the most.
Depending on what you prefer, lightweight or ultra lightweight, it is always better to have a little extra space, just in case that you need it. Lightweight backpackers usually choose the ones with the additional 10 liters because of the outer pockets that are perfect for storing extra gear that comes in handy later on the road or while hiking. These backpacks are better for heavier loads as well. Pack your things and hit the road.
Types of Backpacking According to Weight
When it comes to lightweight backpacking, there are three weight categories. Backpackers are well aware of these weight classes but, not many of them know what base weight is. It is a real simple thing. Base weight would be the weight of your fully loaded backpack. This implies all the necessary gear without necessary consumables like water or food. With this in mind, the types (categories) of backpacking are lightweight, ultra lightweight and super ultra lightweight.
The lightweight category goes under 20 pounds; an ultra lightweight goes under 10 and super ultra under 5 lbs. By definition, the lightweight backpacking is the best when the base weight is somewhere between 13-20 pounds tops. These packs usually come with a simple frame although sometimes they can come with the tension air frame as well. Since this is the most common type of a backpack, many newbies choose this type of backpacking for starters.
Ultra lightweight backpacking implies base weight that ranges from 7-11 pounds. Ultra light backpacking means carrying only the provisions and the equipment that you need to reach your destination while staying warm, safe and happy. Experienced hikers and backpackers are more into this type of backpacking because they can cross greater distances when they are equipped in such a manner.
Super Ultra Lightweight
Super ultra lightweight backpacking is all about minimalism, and it is a preferable type of backpacking when it comes to professional backpackers and hikers. It is the state of art how to take as fewer things as possible and still have all that you need to have a comfortable journey. These tiny packs are intended for 5 pounds and less of base weight so; you need to know how to manage your weight and space in order to make the best of it.
Ultralight Backpacking Essentials and Tips
For experienced backpackers, ultra lightweight backpacking is the best solution because it is cheaper and it requires less effort than the usual hiking equipment. There are various useful tips how to decrease the weight of your backpack and pack it more effectively. Going ultralight is not only about reducing your costs for the gear and the equipment, but it is also about knowing how to make the best of what you have. If you reduce weight, you can travel farther and faster and much more comfortable than with a heavy backpack.
Since the needs of ultralight backpackers are always increasing so are the prices for the gear, and it is not always the best solution to just buy the ultralight equipment. This equipment costs a lot more than the usual gear simply because it is wanted. The truth is, you do not need it to travel ultralight. You can learn what to bring with you and how to make the best of it without having to spend your money on expensive gear.
1 to 10 Point Grading System by Weight
How to Make the Best of What You Have
- Preparing food while you are away is a really important thing. Depending on how long you want to stay in the wilderness, you will need to be prepared to cook a meal or two if necessary. Eating warm food means having the right gear for it. If it is summer, you can skip this completely and eat your food cold. If it is winter, then it is a different thing. Bringing a tiny alcohol stove with you can save your time, money and effort while giving you a nice warm meal.
- Of course, to cook your food, you will need a pot. Instead of bringing one with you, you can use something smaller like a metal or titanium mug. A mug takes far less space, and it is easier for cooking and washing. Instead of taking a specialized bottle for water, use the disposable ones. They are lighter, and once you drink the water, you can use them for different purposes.
- When you are out there in the wilderness, clean drinking water can become a problem. It would be good to be prepared for water filtration and to know what your options are. Backpacking gear stores have those water treatment tablets that are perfect for such situations.
- Take only what you need when it comes to clothes. Take one outfit that you need during the day and pack some sleeping clothes. Do not overload yourself with clothes because it will only slow you down. Plan carefully and take all situations into your consideration. Be prepared for rain, cold weather or heat and pack your clothes with these factors in your mind.
- Find a suitable waterproof bag where you can store your things that cannot get wet at any times. A good vacuum plastic bag or a trash bag will do the trick. Trash bags are durable, waterproof and cheap, therefore, the best option. Also, Ziploc bags are a good solution. Find a good material that you can put on the ground when you want to sleep. A simple ground sheet is the best option since it is cheap, lightweight and strong.
- The first aid kit is an essential thing when you are out there, so the basic kit is the best for this occasion. Just take the most necessary things and pack them all in a Ziploc bag. While you travel, pick some shoes that are lighter but waterproof. You will avoid any blisters and feel the terrain much better. They will also make it easier to move.
It is entirely safe to say that if you choose to go ultralight or lightweight with your backpack, you will get a much better experience from your trip simply because you did not have to put that much of an effort to it. You will still have all the provisions and gear that you need. Instead of taking days to reach your destination because the weight is slowing you down, you will reach it faster and much easier.
Lightweight backpacking is not only about going professional, but it is also about educating yourself how to go around with what little you have. You do not need to bring your whole house with you; you can carry only the most necessary and still have a great time while camping or hiking in the beautiful wilderness. It is not that hard to learn all this, and these useful tips will help you.