Best Ultralight Backpacking Accessories

Best Ultralight Backpacking Accessories

These days it can be understood why it’s so tough to find trustworthy outdoor gear advice. This very reason is why brands like CleverHiker were built. Striving for outside adventure and trips with loved ones is why we take our ultralight backpacking accessories very seriously. We treat our recommendations as if they were being considered for family and friends. Hopefully, you find this best ultralight backpacking accessories list helpful and informative. Below are the top 10 products in the industry today.

Top 10 Best Ultralight Backpacking Accessories

1. Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow

It may seem obvious, but inflatable pillows can go a long way in terms of head support when trying to gain precious hours of sleep in the outdoors. The importance of bringing inflatable pillows into your pack on all camping trips cannot be overstated enough. One of the best parts is that these lightweight and compact models can help you sleep better at a very small cost in terms of weight and bulk. The quality of each individual pillow is what makes it one of the best ultralight backpacking accessories you can have.

The best pillow that was tested has been the Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow, mostly because of its size of the cushion and soft fabric, and it can be contracted down small enough to be compared to the size of a fist. Another viable option would be the much larger Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Deluxe Pillow, coming close to imitating a typical pillow at home vehicle still being able to pack down to slightly larger than a smartphone.

Sample Customer Review…Unbelievably small, light, and comfortable. Smaller than a coke can when packed and light as a feather. Not cheap, but if you want light, strong, comfortable, and small, and you will use it a few times, this is the one you need.

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2. Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Stuff Sack Bag

Stuff sacks are primarily used to protect clothing and gear from any kind of water that penetrates a backpack. It also can be used to make organizing and loading a pack easier and more time-efficient by separating clothing and smaller gear items, which gives you fewer things to move in and out of a pack. Stuff sacks also provide a more effective way of keeping items dry inside your pack than a rain cover would since it doesn’t fully cover a pack, it can blow away and will wet itself in a downpour.

As of right now, the best inflatable pillow you can find is the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks. These sacks are surprisingly light, waterproof, and tough enough to withstand just about any kind of abuse you’ll encounter on a trip. They are not intended to be used as dry bags because they’re not submersible, however, they have the ability to keep clothing and gear dry through wet conditions.

Sample Customer Review…Fantastic strong and durable little back that holds and compresses my Patagonia down jacket, and allows me to store it in my small backpack to carry on the plane in cooler conditions or a drastic change in temperatures (leaving or arriving in a totally different environment). This stuff sack not only useful to stuff things but also keeps things dry (in case it rained and got packed wet) or if you had some stuff spill or wet (shower or swim)…It’s a bit pricey but worth it and so glad it comes in different colors and sizes so my boyfriend doesn’t use/confuse mine!

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3. Black Diamond Spot 325 Headlamp

It’s always a good idea to keep a well-lit headlamp around as a backpacking accessory because you never know when you’ll be in a tough situation that requires a light brighter than a flashlight to carry around. Another advantage a headlamp has over a flashlight is that it constantly rests on your head and frees up both of your arms to be used during an activity or game.

This specific headlamp model is called the Black Diamond Spot 325. It has the three modes that every advanced camping headlamp should have: whitebeam, white peripheral, and a bright red light that has a max brightness of up to 325 lumens.

This high number of lumens means that it will project a beam at least 200 feet, while still having dimming options in all modes. One more benefit to the Spot 325 is its new PowerTap technology that allows the user to tap the right side of the headlamp to cycle between brightness levels you’ve already previously set, along with a lockout mode to stop the user from accidentally turning on a pack.

Finally, it’s also waterproof up to 3 feet underwater for about 30 minutes. Although the unit is not rechargeable, the value of the Spot 325 may be today’s best when comparing it to other backpacking headlamps today. 

Sample Customer Review…Super bright and easily dimmable. The top button dims and brightens as you hold it down so that you can select the brightness you want. The side of the lamp has a touch screen style part that lets you tap it and it will go fully bright in case you need it really fast. It also has a red light so you will not lose your night vision.

I’ve been using many brands for 20 years now for ecological fieldwork and ‘normal’ household use. This has to be one of the best I’ve used – certainly one of the most comfortable and ‘easy to use – and a great price. Would be interesting to know from others about the longevity of these for scientific fieldwork. Highly recommend!

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4. Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight .5 Medical First Aid Kit 

A first-aid kit can appear to some people like something that just takes up space and adds extra weight to a pack because you think it may not be used. However, when you really do need one by your side, you never want to be in a situation without it. This compact and sleek designed Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight .9 Medical Kit helps solve the old divide between utility versus weight.

The product comes covered in two layers of waterproof packaging. Inside the kit itself there are various wraps and bandages, a trauma pad and wide elastic wraps, blister treatment, an irrigation syringe, and wound closure strips, medications for diarrhea, stomach issues, pain, and inflammation, and last but not least a small roll of duct tape.

I personally would recommend adding any kind of small tube of antibiotic ointment. Although if you can’t, this product is an overall complete first-aid kit that doesn’t take up excessive space in any given pack. The health of the entire group is essential, making this one of the more important best ultralight backpacking accessories.

Sample Customer Review…This was highly recommended to me by an avid hiker as the medkit to get for one person. Great assortment of medical supplies in a small package. I always have it backpacking, hiking, or mountain biking along with some Leukotape P Sports Tape added to the bag, which stays on when wet. This kit is perfectly complimented by AMKs SOL Origin Survival Tool Kit which I really like and carry as well.

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5. Gregory Mountain Products 3D Hydro Reservoir 3 Liter

Hydration bladders can have quite different features in terms of capacity and durability across different brands. One common trend is the shared trait of being inconvenient to clean. The Gregory 3D Hydro hydration bladder fixes that problem while continuing to stand out for being designed with ease of use as a priority one.

The hydration bladder is made with flexible and light metallocene PE, with an inside divider that stands up once the unit is empty. This allows the bladder to have the ability to be left uncapped to dry out like a water bottle after use.

A method like this is the best way to prevent the growth of newly formed bacteria that can quickly ruin a bladder. It has a magnetic bite valve that comes with a magnetized mating clip that mounts to the sternum strap of just about any pack. The mount helps hold the hose in place when hiking, even though the magnet doesn’t hold when hiking hard or running at top speeds. The valve also has a sliding lock in place to prevent leakage and dripping. Another advantage is that the lightweight, plastic frame at the top end of the bladder gives support to a handle for easily refilling it.

In the beginning, it can be tricky to top off because it has a rectangular slot big enough to clip a bladder inside a pack’s sleeve very quickly. Finally, the bladder comes with a plastic hangar at the top of the point where the hose attaches near the bottom of the bladder where it rotates outward for hanging in order to dry it. Overall the Gregory 3D Hydro hydration bladder is a very smart reinvention of a standard hiking tool. It can be a great option when considering the best ultralight backpacking accessories.

Sample Customer Review…Have tried at least six water bladders over the past two years. Many of them leak or have problems in one way or another. This one has had no problems. It’s a bit heavier and sturdier made than some lighter backpack bladders, but I’ll carry the extra weight to know that my bag won’t get wet due to leaking.

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6. Cevapro Winter Gloves Touch Screen Gloves Winter Warm Gloves for Hiking, Running

Even during hot summer days in the mountains, when you’re camping you will often need a pair of light gloves to protect yourself against cold temperatures, wind, and rain. One particular pair of gloves that can allow you to do so is the Cevapro winter gloves.

These gloves are proven to be able to withstand cold temperatures on backpacking trips from late climates such as Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness in May to the Wind River Range in September. The ability to withstand temperatures makes them a useful and beneficial backpacking accessory.

The gloves still have the ability to comfort and keep your hands warm on chilly trail runs. The new innovative WindStopper fabric used in the hand section of the glove is waterproof, which most lightweight gloves these days are not. Along with the waterproof feature, the forefinger of the glove has touchscreen sensitivity while the conductive fabric adds durability.

Sample Customer Review…My gloves arrived yesterday! We have had a lot of snow and wind! I tried them on, and they fit nicely, just as described. They are touchscreen gloves and while I was out, that mighty cell phone rang; the gloves did well answering and dialing a phone! Driving with them was easy as they have a nice grip! And last but not least, they stayed dry while scrapping the car. They are comfortable and I love them. This is the first time my hands have stayed warm and dry while doing all the above!

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7. Black Diamond Mont Blanc Gloves

If you know for certain you’re going to be camping or doing outdoor activities at colder temperatures exclusively, another glove option for you would be the Black Diamond Mont Blanc Gloves.

When you’re hiking or running through temperatures from close to freezing up to into the 40s, the Black Diamond Mont Blanc Gloves hits the sweet spot for high breathability with still allowing some weather resistance. The new weather-resistant shell fabric on the back of the hand has technology that sheds light on precipitation and can still block some wind, all while the stretch palm and cuff release perspiration to let the gloves dry quickly and the cuff fits comfortably around the wrist.

Sample Customer Review…I have fairly poor circulation in my hands and still find these gloves to be very serviceable when active. I think this glove really gives a lot of value for the price. They have a good grip due to the textured palm, which is super helpful. Personally, I could do without the touchscreen material to increase fingertip dexterity. But, I realize the masses probably would prefer touchscreen compatibility, so I’m not going to ding them due to that. To me, these are just about a perfect light glove and they hit a good price point–excellent if you can catch them on sale.

Review from Black Diamond Equipment

8. Victorinox Swiss Army Knife

The Victorinox Swiss Army Hiker knife gives a wide range of up to thirteen tools which includes two steel blades, three screwdrivers, bottle and can openers, and tweezers. Then there is harder to find items like a small wood saw. You can buy different variations of the hiking knife depending on how many components you would like to add as additional attachments. Some products on amazon range from about twenty-five to sixty dollars depending on the modifications to the multi-tool knife.

Sample Customer Review…I own the Spartan and gave two away as gifts this past Christmas. It’s highly functional and so useful. More bells and whistles than the Victorinox Bantam or Classic but still slim in the pocket and has all the essentials I need. The Spartan and Camper are my faves. I don’t often need a corkscrew as I don’t drink; however, I have found other uses for it, like untying knots and storing the separately purchased eyeglass screwdriver. I prefer having the corkscrew over the Phillips driver on other models (like the Tinker) because I’ve found that the can opener on the Spartan does a decent job on Phillips screws. A separate Phillips driver isn’t needed, in my opinion. You can’t go wrong with the Spartan! For me, I much prefer the Spartan due to its thinness, which makes it easily pocketable. This is a classic Swiss Army knife, and you can’t go wrong in buying it.

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9. Leatherman Wave Plus Multitool

If you’re looking for the most pristine ultimate multi-tool, you should consider the Leatherman Wave. This is also a great alternative to the Victorinox swiss army knife. The hiking knife is at a steeper price starting at $100. Its steep price justifies it being one of the best hiking knives and best ultralight backpacking accessories to add to your list.

The entire multi-tool kit is just four inches long when closed, making this updated version of the traditional tool kit. It has an astonishing set of 18 tools that can interchange with each other and lock quickly into many different positions. Most of the eighteen tools should see a rate in usage because of the frequent use of sharp and precision tools needed for higher-end backpacking and camping activities.

The kit as a whole comes with two knives which can be found serrated and straight, a saw, razor-sharp scissors, can / bottle openers, a standard Phillips screwdriver, pliers, and wire cutters just to name a few. The value for the leatherman Wave, as opposed to the Victorinox, depends on the type of activities you plan on doing along with your total budget. Its versatility alone makes it one of the best ultralight backpacking accessories.

If you need just a simpler, much lighter, and less expensive tool, you should probably go with the Victorinox Swiss Army knife. If you are a more experienced camper with more intensive needs with a bigger budget to spend, then you can’t go wrong with the Leatherman Wave.

Sample Customer Review…I do maintenance and literally would drive back home if I forgot this tool. The Leatherman is the absolute best super tool. I got the Wave Plus and I use it at least twenty times a day. I have the case that you can add the extra bit holder behind the tool. Even if you don’t have a job in the construction world anyone would love this tool. It’s a bit heavy to wear but if you’re wearing jeans and a belt then you will get used to it. If you wear dress-type clothes this would be way too bulky. You can always carry it in your vehicle. I love the fact that you can access the blades without opening the tool and trust me they come razor sharp. The replaceable cutter for wire is a great upgrade and much needed. This tool is not overpriced because you will fall in love with it and use it daily. I’ve told many people that if you want to get someone a present that they will actually use, get them one of these. I’ve had a Leatherman for probably 35 years and they make quality products.

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10. Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System bottle

One of the most prolific water filters in terms of speed, convenience, and packability is definitely the Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System bottle. It is compact and small measuring just 9x3x3 inches and surprisingly light weighing under three ounces in total. It’s built to filter up to two liters per minute just easily while only needing you to squeeze the collapsible BPA-free flask which delivers a strong stream of water.

It even has the ability to pour through the mouthpiece, although it may be more slowly than squeezing, by tilting it upside down, even if the bottle is almost empty. The microfilter built into the filter protects against harmful organisms like bacteria and cysts and guarantees a long projected life of up to 1,000 liters. Replacing the filter is easier than ever since all you have to do is pop it out and a new one pops in.

No backflushing or tools are necessary to complete the process. You’ll need to clean it occasionally by using the EZ-Clean Membrane around in the water. In terms of long-term storage, clean the filter by squeezing a flask of clean water containing four drops of bleach through the filter. Its ease of use makes it one of the best ultralight backpacking accessories.

Sample Customer Review…Been using the Sawyer Mini on my backpacking trips (as surveys show most ultralight backpackers do, seems Sawyer Mini has an edge on our crowd right now) but this was enticing with the higher flow rate. Got it and happily gave my Sawyer mini to my buddy after the first use. Super easy to use, good flow rate, easy to fill from even small streams. Bottle feel and mouth feel both plenty nice, so much that I’m using it as my car bottle going to the trailhead too now. And unlike the Mini, it’d be pretty impossible to forget a piece (or even directions) for this setup. Two thumbs up, now my other camping buddies all want it too.

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Overall these are some of the best ultralight backpacking accessories that can be used to enhance your overall experience and performance with doing various activities in the outdoors. Most of the items shown above vary in terms of necessity depending on your budget as well as your backpacking experience level. While this may be true you can’t go wrong with improving on your existing set of accessories for veterans or starting fresh with some item for new beginners. From the complexity of multi-tools to the simplicity of a simple headlamp, all of these accessories can play a major role in aiding the consumer at any level of backpacking. 

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Written by Michael Stewart

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