Beginners Guide to Choosing Ultralight Backpacking Gear


When you are backpacking, the last thing you would want or need is a bag packed full of stuff that makes it impossible to carry for long distances. You must have a light backpack to ensure that you can successfully complete your trip without injury and that you can enjoy it to the maximum level too. Packing lightly is a skill, and it takes time to practice and develop it. By packing light more and more, you will begin to realize what things are considered necessary, and what equipment is unnecessary.

Ultralight backpacking is a specific way of backpacking that prioritizes minimizing any excess weight that you will need to carry. It means that you will only take the essential things, ensuring that these necessary items are as light as physically possible. When packing your backpack for ultralight backpacking, you should aim to have a bag that weighs around 10lbs when your fixed gear is included. Your extra food and water will then be added on top of this weight.

There are many benefits to packing ultralight. Not only will you enjoy your hike a lot more because you won’t be struggling to carry an extremely heavy load, but it will also reduce the chance of injuring yourself.

If this is the first trip you’re taking where you’re trying to pack light, you may be slightly confused as to which equipment you should bring and which you should leave at home. Ensuring that you have sufficient time to plan for your trip will be vital for taking an ultralight backpack. Here we have compiled the top products that we consider vital, but that also will not weigh down your backpack too much. Following this, we have compiled a brief list of top tips for ultralight packing.

No more hiking up a mountainside with a heavy backpack weighing you down and distracting you from the fantastic scenery in front of you!


Hiking tent

The top ultralight tent that we believe is the best on the market right now is the Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1.
This tent has been made with ultralight backpackers in mind. It’s made with a steep wall architecture design and a vertical door included to maximize floor space without involving more weight. With the Agness Fly Creek HV UL1, you have a lot more space inside the tent so you can comfortably relax in the evenings after your long hike.

All the materials that this tent is made with are ultralight, making sure to keep the overall weight down. It’s also extremely easy to take down and set up, so it’s the perfect tent for someone who will be setting up camp in a new place every night! It’s not the cheapest tent you can find on the market, but we believe paying the extra money is totally worth it.


Hiking backpack gloves and binacoular

Next up on our list of vital, but ultralight, equipment is the backpack. Obviously, you will not be able to go backpacking without your backpack!

The one we have chosen out of many on the market is the Osprey Volt 60. Osprey is a very famous brand among backpacks, so you know you’re investing in a reliable make that will last you a long time. The Osprey Volt 60 is big enough for the average hiking expedition, with plenty of room for all your gear and valuables. With a top-loading design and an extra compartment for your sleeping bag, this backpack is very easy to use. It has been reviewed to have excellent and comfortable shoulder straps, so you don’t have to worry about injuring your back while out hiking.

This bag is the perfect choice for someone who wants to pack light for a camping or hiking trip. The Osprey Volt 60 will not weigh you down but is big and strong enough to ensure that you can pack all your essential items.

Sleeping Bag

Blue sleeping bag

Another vital item that you simply can’t leave behind is the sleeping bag. You will need your sleeping bag to be light enough so as not to weigh down your backpack too much, but also heavy enough to keep you warm during the cold nights of camping. We have chosen the Feathered Friends Flicker UL Quilt sleeping bag as the top choice for ultralight backpacking. It’s one of the more expensive sleeping bags on the market right now, but we believe it’s completely worth the extra cash.

The Feathered Friends Flicker sleeping bag was designed to provide maximum warmth and comfort, without compromising on weight. It includes a foot box compartment that you can close around your feet tighter. No more cold toes on winter nights! It’s made from 950+ fill power down and Pertex Endurance fabric to ensure that you are kept extremely warm, while also being incredibly lightweight. It also can be unzipped entirely to be used as a regular duvet.
It’s perfect for when you and your friends are around the campfire and need to share a blanket!

Sleeping Pad or Mattress

Hiking backpack with sleeping pad under the tree

A sleeping pad or mattress is another vital item that you will need to take with you on a camping trip. The mattress will make your sleep a lot more comfortable, but will also ensure that you are not lying on a cold ground all night long. We have chosen the Therma-Rest NeoAir Uberlite Mattress as the best choice for an ultralight backpacking trip. The Therm-a-rest mattress is one of the lightest mattresses on the market.

In fact, you can pack three of the Therm-a-rest NeoAir Uberlite mattresses for the same weight as an average sleeping pad or mattress! It’s inflatable, which means it can be compressed down and neatly squeezed into a corner at the bottom of your backpack. It’s made from super lightweight 15-denier nylon.
This makes it very lightweight but also incredibly durable, so you don’t have to worry about getting a hole in this mattress while you are sleeping at night!

Camping Kitchen

Hiking Camping Food OutdoorsConcept

A vital part of camping is having a stove that you will be able to cook all your meals with. There is no way you can leave this item at home! Unfortunately, camping kitchen sets can be the heaviest thing in your backpack. You must find a great stove that will suit your camping needs, that’s also as physically light as possible. We have chosen the SnowPeak GigaPower stove as the best ultralight stove you can get right now. At a budget price, it’s also an excellent choice for those people who do not want to spend too much money!

The SnowPeak GigaPower stove is made from stainless steel and aluminum, making it very high quality and durable. You don’t need to worry about the SnowPeak stove breaking or becoming damaged on your long camping trip. It’s designed to be extremely lightweight and is perfect for carrying around in your backpack on a long hike. It includes four separate and foldable arms so that it can be collapsed and stored neatly into your backpack. It’s one of the most compact camping stoves on the market right now!

Water Filter

Hiking Water Filter

Having a reliable water filter system with you while hiking or camping is vital. To ensure you do not become too dehydrated while out on your trek, you will need a constant supply of water. Unfortunately, while out in the wilderness, there is not always a safe water supply. Bottles that include a water filtration system can weigh down your backpack, so it’s essential to find one that is as light as possible. We have chosen the Katadyn Befree Water Filtration bottle.

This is one of the lightest and most compact water filtration systems for backpacking. You will not have to worry about where your next supply of fresh water will come from, and it won’t be too heavy to carry around, either.

The Katadyn Befree Water filtration system weighs as little as 2 ounces!

Rain Jacket

Alone tourist in yellow jacket

A rain jacket is a vital item for hiking and camping, especially if you know you’re going to be out in wet weather conditions. However, when it’s not raining, a heavy rain jacket in your backpack can weigh you down. We have chosen one of the lightest, yet effective, rain jackets you can buy for your ultralight backpacking trip. The Helly Hansen Odin Minimalist 2.0 rain jacket is the best choice if you’re looking for an extremely light jacket. This jacket weighs only 6 ounces, but you can be assured that it’s still as water-resistant as any other rain jacket out there.

The outer layer of fabric is 15-denier nylon, making it very lightweight but also extremely water-resistant and durable. You don’t need to worry that this jacket won’t last you for a long time! The jacket includes an adjustable hood, and sleeves that can cover your entire hand. The Helly Hansen Odin Minimalist 2.0 jacket is perfect for wearing in freezing temperatures. It can also be packed down to a tiny size so you can squeeze it into your backpack without any trouble.

Top Tips for packing light

Light backpacking gear

Backpack Liner

Most backpacks on the market these days will include a backpack liner to keep your bag secure from dirt and rain. This liner is a vital part of ensuring that your valuables will not get damaged when hiking in wet weather. However, usually, backpack liners are bulky and quite heavy. Swap your backpack liner with a large trash bag, instead. It takes up very little room, is extremely light, and does the same job! They are also a very affordable alternative.

Weigh your backpack

Before you head off on your excursion, it’s worth using a digital scale to weigh your backpack. You may be surprised at how much it weighs! This is an excellent trick for ensuring that you don’t overpack or have a hefty backpack to take with you. You could also weigh each item in your backpack. This will tell you the heaviest items, and then you’ll be able to reconsider if they are vital items or not.

Plan your water breaks

One of the heaviest, yet most important, things in your backpack will be your water supply. A handy trick is when you arrive at a water source, drink as much water as you can there. This means that you can minimize the water supply you will need to take along the hike with you, thus resulting in a lighter backpack.

Ensure your gear is dry each morning

When camping and hiking in the wilderness, it’s inevitable that some of your gear will get wet at some points. If you have experienced wet weather, make sure that all your gear is as dry as possible the next day before you start hiking again. Wet clothes and fabrics will weigh down your backpack so much more, and it’s something that can be avoided with a little bit of patience. You can always make sure they are hanging in the sun while you eat breakfast!

Go Electronics Free

When packing, many people will think they need to bring their speakers, iPad, and computer. Although these items may seem necessary to combat boredom during the evening, these kinds of electronics will weigh down your backpack a lot. Leave the electronics at home and enjoy the peacefulness of the wilderness for a few days.

No Cotton materials

Cotton is one of the heaviest materials that you could bring. Ditch the cotton for a lighter material like synthetics. Synthetics weigh a lot less than cotton, and they also are more water-resistant, thus taking less time to dry.

Really Analyze Your Gear

Before you finalize your packing list, re-analyze your gear over and over again. You need to think about if you truly need something, and how often you will use it. If you will not be using the item every day while hiking, then it’s probably not as important as you think. Every time you re-analyze your list, you’re going to find at least one thing that you should leave at home.

Share Equipment

If you’re going on a trip with other friends or family members, then you can work together to share all equipment. You don’t all need to bring a stove or entire tent each. Together you should all work out who will bring what of the vital gear needed. This means that you can have less weight in your backpack to carry around.

Eat the Heaviest Food First

Obviously, you will need to pack food to ensure that you keep your energy up after all that hiking. However, certain foods can be extremely heavy to carry around—for instance, food in cans. Work out what food items are the heaviest in your backpack and eat them first. This means that on the fourth day of hiking when you’re at your peak of tiredness, your bag will be a lot lighter as you will have eaten all the heaviest foods first!

And there you have our top tips and items needed for a successful ultralight backpacking trip. We do not doubt that now you won’t be so confused as to pack as light as possible for your upcoming trip.

Ensure that you follow our top tips to make your experience as enjoyable as possible, without the risk of injury!

Our top items are what we believe are the best on the market right now, so stock up on these ultralight necessities before you take your big trip. Paying the extra money for some of the more expensive items will be worth it, and your back will thank you after hiking up that extremely high mountain.

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