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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
Table Of Contents
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.
Ultralight backpacks are the best use of space and are so much easier to carry than luggage or a regular backpack.
Top Picks for the Best Ultralight Backpack
Without further ado, let’s dig into the list of the 11 best ultralight packs! These are in no particular order, but they do range in price, weight, security, and style.
Osprey Farpoint Is One of the Top Ultralight Backpacks
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 carry-on air travel and make for lighter weight travel.
Osprey is built to last which is exactly what you need when you depend on a travel bag to act as a home for all your belongings on a long backpacking trip. Farpoint Osprey packs only weigh 2 pounds which makes them very lightweight bags and speaks to their quality materials.
Read our review on Osprey Farpoint 55 for more details!
An Ultra Light Backpack Like Osprey Ozone Is Perfect for Carry-On
The Osprey Ozone backpack has 42L of volume and is 4.53 pounds in weight, making it one of the top ultralight backpacks. The handy wheels and size make it ideal when you’re trying to pack light and travel carry-on only.
The benefits of this bag are endless! It’s durable with an easy-to-clean rip-stop fabric, a laptop space in the back, and a lockable function. It 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.
We’ve compiled a list of the best osprey backpacks so you can pick your favorite one!
Best Lightweight Backpack for Adventure Travel Is Osprey Talon
Osprey ultralight backpacks are known for the excellent quality of its outdoor gear. And the Talon bag is one of the most popular choices for those who travel on a budget yet want reliable durability.
It retails between $70 and $100, which is manageable for cost-conscious travelers and comes in a few cute colors to choose from.
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. However, because of the smaller size than the other bags we’ve seen so far, it might be best for a light packer or a shorter trip.
Read this ultralight backpacking gear guide for your next adventure!
High Sierra Loop Is a Solid Pick for Travel
High Sierra isn’t always a name you see when talking about hiking gear, but they do have a great ultralight backpack. At a little over 2 pounds it’s a bit on the heavy side, but the Loop is definitely the best High Sierra backpack for travel.
It holds up to 33 liters without looking like a backpacking bag. What makes it a great choice is the tablet sleeve on the inside, perfect for a trip that’s not very tech heavy, but heavy on enjoyment. Price comes in around $35.
Here’s the best hiking gear list for female trekkers
Marmot Kompressor Is the Best Light Backpack for Budget Seekers
Another tried and trusted brand is Marmot. Going for about $65, this Kompressor ultra light backpack is one to consider if you’re a budget traveler.
A super easy bag to carry, it’s easy to access, fits snugly, and has an organizational pocket for your on-hand essentials. This pack is 9 ounces, which makes it a good option for light packers or shorter trips.
Take one of the best packing organizers to help you pack lighter!
Fastpack Ultra Light Backpacks Are Some of the Most Compact
Coming in near the middle, budget-wise, starting at around $95, 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 has a spacious roll-top compartment that holds between 15 to 23 liters, but for an ultra lightweight backpack, it has more space than you might think. It boasts a seamless back panel and shoulder strap system that will eliminate rubbing during long walks. Weighing at 2 pounds, this bag won’t slow you down and feel comfortable as you explore!
The Osprey Eja 38 Pack Is Absolute Comfort
An older sibling, if you will, of the Osprey Talon, the Eja 38 is on the higher end of the budget. With 38 liters of storage space and the same durable zipper technology as other Osprey products, this pack is big and bad!
Comfortable to carry, this bag has a hipbelt, layered mesh, and built-in suspension. It’s great for carting around an airport or for a long hiking trek. Plus, when it comes to hiking, this bag has an internal sleeve that can accommodate up to 3 liters of water—keep that hydration up!
Find out our favorite cute backpacks for travel!
This REI Pack Hits the Right Travel Notes
REI is a well-known name and this is model is one of their top lightweight backpacks. When it comes to ultralight, this bag is a tad bit heavy at just under 3 pounds. But, the style is sleek and practical and it comes in a few neat colors like Castle Rock and Olive Oil.
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 worthy option.
Check out our tutorial on how to clean a travel backpack!
Go Hardcore With the 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!
Completely waterproof and one of the most durable bags out there, this 1-pound, 12-ounce bag is one of the best backpacks under 2 pounds. 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, so take precautions.
We round up the best backpacks for business travel!
Reach New Heights With the Patagonia Ascensionist 40
Coming in at only 2 pounds, 5 ounces, this Patagonia ultralight travel backpack could not stay off this list! It holds 40 liters of gear and clothes and is bound tightly by smooth and durable straps to keep everything together.
It has a simple design and style and the fully adjustable straps help this bag become part of you for a week or just a few days. The price is around $179.
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!
One of the Best Ultralight Pack Choices Is the Mariposa
The Mariposa 60 by Gossamer Gear is an award-winning pack that is heavy on the wallet, at around $250. 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.
With its adjustable straps and smooth, breathable mesh on the back, it’s a comfortable choice to wear for days on end. At only a little over 2 pounds, it’s quite light, too. This one is worth the investment for a backpack that can last you multiple times or even several years.
If you want more packing help, here’s even one specific suitcase and backpack organizer that allows you to unpack in seconds!
Best Ultralight Backpacks Comparison Chart
BRAND | MODEL
FEATURES | REVIEWS
RATING | PRICE
Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack
Farpoint Osprey packs only weigh 2 pounds which makes them very lightweight bags and speaks to their quality materials.
Osprey Ozone Wheeled Carry-On 42L/21.5"
The Osprey Ozone backpack has 42L of volume and is 4.53 pounds in weight, making it one of the top ultralight backpacks.
Osprey Packs Talon 22
1 pound and 10 ounces
Talon bag is one of the most popular choices for those who travel on a budget yet want reliable durability.
High Sierra Loop Backpack
This backpack has a capacity of 33L, weighs 2.04 pounds and is also an ultralight laptop backpack.
Marmot Kompressor Plus Backpack
It’s easy to access, fits snugly, and has an organizational pocket for your on-hand essentials.
Ultimate Direction Fastpack 25
Ultimate Direction Fastpack is a compact and straightforward option. Sleek in style and logical in size, it’s smaller but still highly useful.
Osprey Packs Eja 38
2 pounds, 10 ounces
It’s great for carting around an airport or for a long hiking trek.
REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack
Breathable mesh, adjustable straps, and layered compartments make this bag a worthy option.
HMG 2400 Windrider 40 Pack
Completely waterproof and one of the most durable bags out there.
Patagonia Ascensionist 45
2 pounds, 3 ounces
This pack has a simple design and style and the fully adjustable straps help this bag become part of you for a week or just a few days.
Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60
It's highly durable for travelers who put their gear to the test but is light enough to be envied by all.
TFG Editor Loves Osprey Ozone Backpack!
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Watch this video on choosing the best daypack!
Things to Consider When Shopping for Ultralight Packs
Here are some factors to take into consideration before purchasing.
How to Determine the Best Weight?
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 5 pounds? That’s 5 pounds–empty! However, ultralight backpacks can weigh just over 1 pound.
The difference between a few pounds can be astonishing when you start walking for miles. When looking for the best light backpack for travel make sure it’s a comfortable weight—trust me, you’ll notice the difference.
The secret to traveling light is to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!
What Should You Pay for a Lightweight Pack?
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 such as your travel needs and how many uses you want out of the backpack. Then, make an informed decision before spending more money than you’re comfortable with.
What Security Features Should You Look For?
Safety is, of course, important. The world is a lovely place, but some people take advantage of travelers. Given this reality, there are a few safety features to look for in a bag.
The best ultralight backpacks should have well-built zippers, fully-closed pockets, and secret compartments. Take these into consideration in your search for the right backpack for you.
Use these anti-theft travel accessories to protect your belongings!
How to Choose an Overall Style?
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 best light travel backpack is one that you like the look of. If you love the style and design of your bag, you’ll enjoy using it more!
Need some more specifics? Here are the most important features to consider when choosing a travel backpack!
Packing Your Ultralight Backpack
It’s easy to organize—you can slide your packing cubes in vertically to save a ton of space packing. Packing cubes not only organize stuff well, but they’re also easy-to-clean, which is perfect for your backpacking trip.
There are a variety of packing organizers ranging from compression sacks to packing cubes to ziplock bags. Personally, we like using these packing cubes and our readers agree. They’ve helped millions of our readers travel carry-on only!
Watch the packing tutorial on Youtube!
We put together a five-part YouTube series showing you the different methods to use packing cubes. If you use this specific packing strategy, they can help compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carry-on only!
Buy Compass Rose Packing Cubes here!
What do you think are the best ultralight backpacks for travel? Share in the comments!
Read more about travel backpacks:
- How to Choose the Best Travel Backpack
- Best Business Backpack
- Cute Backpacks For Travel
- Best Osprey Backpacks
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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.