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Packing is a necessary evil: it’s essential for any trip, but it can be challenging. If you’re ready to travel lighter and easier, keep reading to discover the best ultralight backpacks and add one to your shopping list!
Best Ultralight Backpacks
Written By: Haddie Vawter
Whether you’re a hiker, backpacker, or just a traveler, you’ve probably tried to find ways to be more efficient with your packing. If you’re tired of carrying around rolling luggage and want a better way to pack, you’re in the right place.
Stop packing harder, and start packing smarter!
Ultralight backpacks are the best use of space and are so much easier to carry than luggage or a regular backpack. Here are some factors to take into consideration before purchasing.
Though we all want our belongings to be light as we’re rushing through the airport, we often don’t think about how much the bag itself weighs! Did you know that most regular packs weigh up to five pounds? That’s five pounds–empty! However, ultralight backpacks can weigh just over one pound. The difference between a few pounds can be astonishing when you start walking for miles. Trust me; you’ll notice the difference.
Find out the most important features to consider when choosing a travel backpack!
You should never sacrifice quality for price, but how much is too much? That’s a difficult question to answer, and it’s different for everyone. Take into consideration all the factors that are vital to you, then make an informed decision before spending more money than you’re comfortable with.
Safety is, of course, important. The world is a lovely place, but there are people who take advantage of travelers. Well-built zippers, fully-closed pockets, and secret compartments are just a few of the safety and security features to look for in a bag.
Read my full strategy on how I prevent my most valuable possessions from theft!
As logical and as practical as an ultralight backpack might be, it still needs to fit your individual style. There’s no use in spending money on a high-quality item that you’ll never use, right? The style of your bag gives it a personal touch. And if you love the way your bag looks, you’ll enjoy using it more!
Check out our backpacking tips for female travelers!
The Best Ultralight Packs
Now that we’ve broken down a few key factors for consideration, let’s dig into the list of the ten best ultralight packs! These are in no particular order, but they do range in price, weight, security, and style.
|BRAND / MODEL||WEIGHT||FEATURES||RATING||PRICE|
|Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack||3.9 pounds||Mesh backpanel, lockable sliders, dual compression straps, padded handles||Check Price|
|Osprey Ozone Wheeled Luggage||4.37 pounds||Ultra-light, easy-to-clean fabric, lockable function, dual internal compression straps||Check Price|
|REI Co-op Flash 60||3 pounds, 10 ounces||Breathable mesh, adjustable straps, layered compartments||Check Price|
|HMG 2400 Windrider 40||1 pound, 12 ounces||Ultra lightweight, waterproof fabric, external mesh pockets||Check Price|
|Osprey Packs Talon 22||1 pound, 10 ounces||22 liters of space, plenty of pockets, durable zipper security||Check Price|
|Osprey Exos 48||2 pounds, 8 ounces||48 liters of storage space, durable zipper technology, waterproof design||Check Price|
|Patagonia Ascensionist 45||2 pounds, 3 ounces||Simple design and style, fully adjustable straps||Check Price|
|Marmot Kompressor||11 ounces||Air-mesh shoulder straps, detachable waist belt, removable foam back sheet||Check Price|
|Mariposa 60||2 pounds||External pockets, adjustable straps, smooth and breathable mesh||Check Price|
|Oakley Mechanism||2 pounds, 8 ounces||Laptop internal sleeve, buckle Drawstring closure, padded shoulder straps||Check Price|
|Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20||1 pound||Seamless back panel, large compartment,||Check Price|
Now let’s jump into the reviews!
Osprey Farpoint 55 Backpack
The Farpoint 55 offers a unique, two-in-one style. The main compartment is a 40L backpack and it attaches to a 15L detachable day pack for a total space of 55L. When using the two items separately, the two pieces work perfectly for carryon air travel, and make for lighter weight travel.
Osprey packs are built to last which is exactly what you need when you depend on a travel bag to act as a home for your all your belongings on a long backpacking trip. Farpoint Osprey packs only weighs 2 lb. which makes them very lightweight bags despite its quality materials.
Osprey Ozone Pack
The Osprey Ozone 22-Inch/46L volume and its 4lbs 4oz/1.92 kg weight make the ideal combination when you’re trying to pack light and travel carry-on only. The Ozone has a long list of features. Not only is it ultra-light, it’s also durable with an easy-to-clean rip stop fabric, a laptop space in the back, and a lockable function.
This bag has a contemporary look that’s not too sporty yet it’s durable enough to handle the tough wear and tear of traveling for long periods of time.
REI Flash 60 Pack
REI is a name we all know very well and this bag is a great start to this list. When it comes to ultralight, this bag is heavy at about 3 pounds, 10 ounces. The style is sleek and practical and it comes in a few neat colors like Laguna Blue or Forest Green.
This pack is around $200. It’s an investment, for sure, but has the makings to completely replace your other luggage or backpacks. Breathable mesh, adjustable straps, and layered compartments make this bag a viable option.
Here’s a girl’s practical guide on what to take on a camping trip!
HMG 2400 Windrider 40 Pack
Another pricey option, the sleek and durable Windrider nudges the wallet around $290. It’s not a budget buy, but it’s a force to be reckoned with. They don’t call it the Windrider for nothing!
Ultra lightweight and one of the most durable bags out there, this 1-pound, 12-ounce bag is completely waterproof, too. It’s made for those traveling to a variety of climates: hot, cold, wet, and dry, and it will keep your contents together through it all.
Though it has a lot of strengths, it lacks in security with the mesh around the outside. Easy access for you means easy access for others.
Osprey Talon 22 Pack
Osprey is known for the excellent quality of its outdoor gear. Smaller than the other bags we’ve seen so far, it might be best for a light packer or a shorter trip. The fantastic color options are eye-catching.
The Talon bag retails between $70 and $100, which is more manageable for those who travel on a budget.
This backpack is a solid investment because it has 22 liters of space and plenty of pockets with tons of durable zipper security. As if you needed more convincing, it’s just 1 pound and 10 ounces.
No matter where you’re going, we have a 10-step packing list to help you get started!
Osprey Exos 48 Pack
An older sibling, if you will, of the Osprey Talon, the Exos 48 is on the higher end of the budget. A sleek, waterproof design with the choice of blue and white or green and black are just some of the reasons this is a great choice. It weighs in at just 2 pounds, 8 ounces.
The price tag is higher at around $190 to $200, but this is a great bag. With 48 liters of storage space and the same durable zipper technology as other Osprey products, this pack is big and bad!
Patagonia Ascensionist 45 Pack
Coming in at only 2 pounds, 3 ounces, this Patagonia pack could not stay off this list! It holds 45 liters of gear and clothes and is bound tightly by smooth and durable straps to keep everything together.
This pack has a simple design and style. A simple gray with blue accent or white with orange accents makes it easy to love.
Fully adjustable straps help this bag become part of you for a week or just a few days. It ranges from $125 to $180.
It won’t matter if you have straps if your bag is too heavy. Read this guide to learn how to pack light on each and every trip!
Marmot Kompressor Backpack
Another tried and trusted brand is Marmot. Ranging in price from $35 to $50, this Kompressor pack is one to consider if you’re a budget traveler.
It also ranks high for style. Ranging in colors from smooth grays and blacks to bright blues and yellows, there’s a style for all adventure-seekers.
This pack claims to be only 11 ounces! However, it’s quite small–holding just 18 liters.
Going on a Gap Year? These are the essentials you should pack!
Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Pack
The Mariposa pack is one of the very best. It’s highly durable for travelers who put their gear to the test, but is light enough to be envied by all. With tons of external pockets, it gives you plenty of options to store essential items without losing out on space.
Adjustable straps and smooth, breathable mesh on the back will make this backpack very comfortable to wear for days on end. At only a little over 2 pounds, it’s light–but heavy on the wallet at around $250.
There is even one specific suitcase and backpack organizer that allows you to unpack in seconds. Learn more here
Oakley Mechanism Backpack
Oakley isn’t always a name you see when talking about hiking gear, but they do have a great ultralight backpack. At 2 and a half pounds, the Mechanism backpack is on the heavy side, but it does have some great benefits.
It holds up to 30 liters without looking like a backpacking bag. One of the coolest features is the laptop sleeve on the inside, which is perfect for a digital nomad. This bag comes in around $160.
Need the best hiking gear list for female trekkers? Here it is!
Ultimate Direction Fastpack Hiking Pack
Coming in near the middle, budget-wise, at around $112, the Ultimate Direction Fastpack is a compact and straightforward option. Sleek in style and logical in size, it’s smaller but still highly useful.
It only holds 20 liters, but this little bag has more space than you might think. It boasts a new, seamless back panel that will eliminate rubbing during long walks. In addition to these great features, it’s only a little over 1 pound!
Whether you’re a hardcore hiker or just a traveler looking for something better, an ultralight backpack is a great solution.
Remember: pack smarter (and lighter), not harder!
Ultralight backpacks are waiting for your next adventure!
What’s your favorite ultralight backpack for travel? Share in the comments!
For more tips on choosing a backpack or wheeled luggage, please read:
- How to Choose a Suitcase
- How to Choose the Best Travel Backpack
- Backpack or Rolling Bag, which one should I choose?
- Cabin Max Malmo: Lightweight Convertible Rolling Backpack
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Author Bio: Haddie’s a risk taker. She’s living a frugal life, planning to retire early, and plans to be lost in a national park someday for good. She has traveled to 6 countries and has been lost in each of them. Read more about her at her blog: To Dare Greatly.