Ultralight backpacking is about getting by with less. This can make the actual experience of hiking much more enjoyable since you carry less weight on your back every day. The trade-off is that you have fewer comforts for camping and there is less room for error when it comes to staying warm and dry. An experienced ultralight hiker brings fewer items to begin with, chooses the weight of items carefully, and packs with discipline and strict organization. Ultralight backpacks generally have fewer comfort features, less support and suspension, and fewer pockets than regular backpacks of the same size. This requires more thoughtful packing and organization, but rewards the hiker with less weight to carry.
Why An Ultralight Backpack?
A backpack is one of the largest items in a backpacking gear list, so lightening the weight of your actual pack goes a long way toward reducing pack weight. However, backpack choice should be one of the final additions to an ultralight hiking kit. You can only comfortably carry a minimal and lightweight backpack if you also have small and lightweight gear to go inside it, so don’t choose an ultralight pack as your only ultralight item.
The 50-69 liter size is the most versatile volume of backpacking pack, and the most common size for ultralight packs. This is the ideal size for two- to four-night trips, and is also the typical capacity chosen by hikers on long thru-hikes, who tend to favor ultralight setups. If you are interested in this size range of 50-69 liters and want to compare standard designs to ultralight models, reference our weekend backpack review.