Best Lightweight Backpacks

Lightweight Backpacks - Reviews & Guides For 2020

Our Top Lightweight Backpacks

Need Help Choosing Lightweight Backpacks?

Lightweight Backpacks buying guide

Love to spend time going out in the wild but are frustrated with heavy bags? Don't worry. Lightweight backpacks are here to the rescue.

These packs are comfortable and quite portable. They are light in weight, but there is no compromise in the safety of your supplies.

While picking a model, you have to look into all the characteristics of the bag. You have to make a balance between features and weight. For this, you need to study every element in detail.

A comprehensive buying guide gives access to all the details in a jiggy. You can quickly skim through the information and funnel down the best backpack.

So, without wasting any more time, let us dive deep into this buying guide.

What are lightweight backpacks and their benefits?

As the name suggests, a lightweight backpack is specifically designed for light hiking and backpacking trips. These backpacks have a design keeping the weight in mind, so they develop fewer features than other packs.

Usually, regular backpacks are appropriate for the objects having more weight to provide better comfort and more durability to the users. But a lightweight bag will not carry the weight as much as the regular backpacks do.

If you want to carry some lightweight products, you will not need a big, heavy backpack. With an ultralight backpack, you can easily carry a lighter object effectively. This is how you can have a comfortable, lightweight, backpacking experience easily.

Due to the lighter weight, you can carry the bag on your shoulder for an extended period, but it will not cause back pain or injuries. It reduces the weight from your back as much as possible, but you will not need to compromise with the durability and comfort.

Types of Lightweight Backpacks

Weekend

Weekend backpacks are ideal for 1-3 nights backpacking trips. They usually have a volume of 30 to 50 liters. Efficient packers mostly prefer these backpacks.

If you are using less heavy gear, you can easily choose a weekend backpack to keep things lighter. You need to plan your packing in a careful and disciplined way.

You can also pull it off, and it will not create any sore or pain on your shoulders and back.

Multi Day

As you can see from the name, multi-day backpacks are used for 3 to 5 nights backpacking trips. They have a moderate volume of 50 to 80 liters, which is very appropriate for multi-day backpacking.

If you are planning for backpacking in warmer weather, you should look for these packs.

Also, you can choose these bags for backcountry skiing, day trips, 2-night trips, etc. You will be able to carry some small and less bulky gear and enjoy your journey comfortably.

Extended Trip

When you plan for an extended trip for more than five days, you will need a backpack of 70 liters or more than that.

Moreover, you can choose these back for an extended winter trek. Having a larger backpack means you will be able to carry some extra clothes, a bigger sleeping bag, and a 4-season tent without any hassles.

These backpacks can be an excellent option for adults who want to take their kids for backpacking. You can easily carry some of the kid's gear to ensure that the youngest member enjoys the trip trouble-free.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Lightweight Backpacks

Size

When you are about to buy a lightweight backpack, you must consider its overall size in the first place. You should check appropriately whether the backpack's size is appropriate for your circumstances or not and make your purchase accordingly.

Some lightweight backpacks come in a larger size. But if you are not comfortable carrying a larger bag, you should look for a smaller size.

You can also find some packs that can be folded into a compact size so that you can even carry them by holding them with your hands. Thus they become incredibly portable, and you can take them anywhere you want to.

Especially if you have to travel by air, this folding size will come in handy for you. When you stay in a camp or hotel and want to go out, you can use this lightweight backpack to carry all the essential belongings with you.

If you are looking for variety in designs, you may get a little disappointed because all the bags look almost the same from the outside. It is actually about your personal choice, and you can select the right size and color of the backpacks according to your personality and style.

However, it is essential to choose a size that you will be able to carry effortlessly, and you should not have a higher expectation from these ultralight backpacks.

Weight

The best about the lightweight backpacks is that they do not add extra weight to your shoulder. You need to think about the weight of the gear you will carry with you for backpacking.

It is needless to mention that if you carry too much weight for an extended period, you may end up with back pain and injuries, which will ruin your backpacking experience.

With a view to that, many manufacturers have designed these ultralight backpacks so that the weight of the pack does not become too heavy for you.

Besides the weight of your backpack, you will have to carry a tent, a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, etc. Keeping down the weight of the pack can significantly reduce the overall weight.

You will need to go for some additional features like a thicker bottom layer, softer paddings, etc. to enhance the backpack's comfort and durability that may increase the weight.

Therefore, it entirely depends on you how much weight you want to sacrifice. If your main priority is to have a comfortable and durable backpack, it will be better to look for a regular pack instead of the lightweight one.

Moreover, you should consider your hiking distance before choosing the weight of your backpack. If you need to cover a shorter distance, the weight will not be a big issue.

You should always remember that larger packs come with more weight for longer distances, so choose accordingly.

Material

  1. Cotton Canvas

Canvas is roughly weaved cotton material, which comes a little heavier than other materials. Both synthetic and natural materials are used in designing Modern Canvas to reduce strength.

It also has more strengths and better waterproofing capacity. Canvas made backpacks are inexpensive, so they are preferred by the student and beginner hikers.

  1. Pack-Cloth Nylon

Most of the lightweight backpacks are designed with Nylon material because it is durable but very inexpensive. It is shiny and feels smooth to touch.

People are likely to choose this nylon because it is extremely resistant to puncture and abrasion, and it has a good waterproofing coating as well.

  1. CORDURA®

This is also a kind of Nylon fabric that is developed by DuPont. This air-treated fabric is lightweight and resistant to abrasion.

So, it can be an ideal choice for the ultralight backpacks, and thus it becomes popular among the backpackers for remarkable performance.

  1. Ripstop Nylon

Ripstop is a type of fiber added to the nylon to make it more durable and resistant to water. Also, it will provide better protection to prevent quick damages during your hiking.

This ripstop material is renowned for its excellent abrasion resistance and tear-resistance capacity, so you can easily use them in rugged terrain. Also, it is very lightweight to carry.

  1. Cuben Fiber

You can look for Cuben fiber in the place of nylon because it works almost in the same way. This is a Dyneema composite fabric that is very lightweight as well as water-resistant.

The major downside of this material is that it is more expensive than nylon and other materials, so people tend to avoid this fabric for their backpacks.

  1. Polyester

Polyester has better UV resistance capacities than nylon, but it is not suitable for the harsh and challenging environment.

Nevertheless, you can choose this material for your children because of their strength and toughness. It comes with vibrant colors, and it is cheaper as well.

  1. Leather

Undoubtedly, leather backpacks are expensive, but if you are more likely to have a stylish bag, you can go for leather. Usually, packs are designed with full-grain leather, which is suitable for the workplace or regular use.

Comfort

Comfort is one of the most crucial things that you should consider while buying your lightweight backpack. Carrying an uncomfortable bag on your shoulder will lead to a miserable situation after a certain point.

Generally, lightweight backpacks are designed for carrying lighter gears, so they do not have the highest quality padding.

But it is crucial to have paddings on the shoulder to increase your comfort. You can also opt for a breathable mesh padding to avoid sweating and overheating in warmer conditions.

Moreover, it will be better to look for adjustable shoulder straps with proper padding, especially if you have a larger backpack. It will help the pack sit comfortably on your shoulder, and thus you can reduce back pain and sore.

Some backpackers like to have contoured back. It can take the shape of the lower back quickly to maximize your comfort while carrying the pack. Because of this shape, you can have a natural arc that will protect you from back pain.

You can choose hip belts with good padding that will help you reduce weight from your shoulders and back and transfer it to the hip area to carry a little more weight for a long time.

Volume

Not all the lightweight backpacks have the same volume, mainly depending on their sizes and dimensions. So, the volume is measured in liters to get the right idea of their capacity.

You can compare the backpack volume you are going to buy to your existing backpack to have a proper idea of the space you need for your gears.

Several factors, like the weight of the packed items and the hiking area's weather conditions, will determine the volume of your backpack. For a lightweight experience, a large volume is not always necessary.

In case you are traveling in a colder area, you will carry thicker items. So, it will be better to go with a larger volume of the bags.

Generally, 35 liters backpacks can be ideal for any trip. However, you can go higher according to your needs and strength.

Durability

Ultralight backpacks come with better durability in terms of their weight capacity. Typically, high-quality materials are used in designing packs to make them durable and long-lasting.

Most ultralight packs are made with Ripstop nylon because it is incredibly durable and incredibly resistant to abrasions and tears. Also, polyester and nylon are used for their strength and durability.

You will also see some backpacks designed with Canvas cotton, which is considered as a durable fabric.

Also, you should look for some additional features to increase the durability of the backpacks. It is essential to look for sturdy shoulder straps and double-layered floors to make your pack last longer.

Frame

Usually, lightweight backpacks are built to carry lighter items, so the frames used in these backpacks are not extraordinary.

Heavier bags are designed with strong and sturdy frames because they have to put up with more weight. Without having a strong internal structure, it will be challenging to carry heavier items.

However, ultralight backpacks are designed in a way that you can fold them easily according to your convenience. These backpacks can be folded up in a smaller size, and you can carry them where you want hassle-free.

Therefore, it is essential to figure out how much weight you need to carry for your backpacking trip and choose a sturdier frame accordingly.

When it comes to checking the backpacks' frame, you should also look for reinforcement designs, especially in the weak areas, which are more prone to tear.

Besides, your bag should have extra padding on the bottom to have better support to deal with the extreme abuses.

Opening

Most of the traditional backpacks are available with a top lid, and you can also find it in bigger ultralight backpacks. Smaller bags come without the lid to reduce extra weight.

Generally, lightweight backpacks have an opening on the top that is equipped with a dual zip. It helps you access your pack with ease, but you should not expect the same water protection level as a heavier backpack.

But you should ensure that the zips are secure enough to prevent water from getting inside the bag. Also, you can check the other compartments to make sure you can store your belongings securely.

You can search for the zippers that you can put down to the sides of the bags to protect them from the rain. If you are caught in heavy rain, a rain cover or a poncho can be very useful in preventing water from seeping inside the pack.

Naturally, ultralight backpacks can protect the items you put inside from water in an efficient way. If you are going hiking in rainy conditions, it will be better to examine the opening and internal compartments for better protection.

Organization

You should consider the lightweight backpacks' pockets and compartments to make sure you can keep your essential items inside the bags in an organized way.

There are some backpacks designed with multiple compartments where some others are entirely bare without any pockets.

You should remember that multiple pockets will allow you to access your items easily. On the other hand, you can also go with the minimalist approach for a lightweight backpack.

Though it is up to your personal choice which type of compartments you want for your pack, you can look for any of these styles while choosing your lightweight backpack—

  1. Multiple Compartments

You can organize your items in different smaller sections to get better accessibility.

  1. Elasticized side pockets

Usually, these pockets are flat, but they can stretch when you want to put a water bottle or any other loose objects.

  1. Front pockets

These pockets are found in the backpack's exterior, and they are used to keep smaller and lighter items.

Budget

You are suggested to fix a budget in advance so that you will be able to narrow down your options before making your purchase.

The price of the ultralight backpacks should be worthy of their material quality, craftsmanship, and aesthetics. But, it will be unreasonable to go with a lower quality pack for the price.

Therefore, it is essential to determine the budget to get exactly what you want without spending too much or compromising the quality.

Basic models are available for $30 or less. But a high-end backpack made out of leather can cost up to $1500. However, you can get a mid-range pack between $50 and $100.

The price may vary depending on the size, fabric quality, and brand of the backpacks. You should always choose a model that meets up all your requirements within the budget.

Needs

There are different types of backpacks available in the market, including rucksacks, daypacks, minimalist backpacks, and travel bags. It is nothing unusual to get confused with these options.

But it is highly recommended to select a bag which can serve your purposes in the best possible way. You must consider the activity needs when you are choosing the lightweight backpacks.

You should check whether the pack can hold all the required items or not. You should also determine whether you will be using the backpack for official purposes or you will be taking it for hiking or backpacking.

Furthermore, you should consider the weather in which you will be using the backpack for most of the time. Your lightweight bag should match your activities properly.

You can search for canvas backpacks for college or short hiking trips, but you will need a waterproofing nylon bag for cycling or extended backpacking trips.

It will be wise to pick up a versatile backpack that can effectively serve different purposes.

Features

  1. Ventilation

You will see some lightweight backpacks designed with a mesh panel on the backside that helps prevent sweating. The internal frame of the bags can produce sweat that you can avoid with these mesh panels.

You can also opt for the tension-mesh suspension to have more breathability. Ventilation chimneys also can be a good addition that promotes better airflow to prevent sweaty-back problems.

  1. Pack Access

Most backpacks are built with top-loading openings, where some other models have zippered panels on the front side. You can also find side zippers. All of the help to reach your items deeper inside the backpack easily.

  1. Pockets

Some backpacks have front pockets where you can keep your valuable items. You can also save different important documents like vouchers, booking receipts in the front pockets to access them easily. Side pockets are useful for holding up water bottles.

  1. Removable Daypack

Removable daypacks found in some backpacks are suitable for day trips or summit hikes. Some packs come with a detachable top lid used as a hip belt pack during a day trip.

  1. Sleeping Bag Compartment

You will see this zippered compartment at the bottom of your backpack. You can keep your sleeping bag in it. Otherwise, it will provide enough space to put other gear that you need frequently.

  1. Padding

It will be handy for a lightweight backpack to have a cushier hip belt to get better support on your lower back and hip area, and thus you can avoid back pain and back sore.

  1. Attachment Points

A tool loop will help you to attach your trekking pole or ice ax to the backpack. You can also look for a daisy chain, a reinforced crampon patch, gear loops, etc. for better performance.

  1. Raincover

If you are traveling through a rainy area, you must consider rain cover to keep your pack protected from rain and water.

  1. Hydration Reservoir

Many backpacks are designed with an internal sleeve that helps you to keep a hydration reservoir and 1 or 2 portals to hold the sip tube. You can buy them separately as well.

FAQs

  1. What are the benefits of elastic side pockets?

They don't add up any weight on your shoulders and can accommodate your bottle easily.

  1. How can I select the best size in the product?

Measure your torso length and hip size and match it with the pack to get the best fit. There are three variants, namely extra small, medium, and large.

  1. Can I use any harsh detergent to remove the stains from the pack?

Generally, do not opt for an aggressive cleaner as it can damage the bag. Read the instructions with the product and then use any cleaning agent to remove the stains.

Final Verdict

Lightweight backpacks present a simple yet effective way to carry your supplies without putting pressure on your shoulders and back.

Here in this guide, we have corner-stoned all the critical characteristics to watch out while selecting the best model. Analyze the pointers and make an informed purchase

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