Best Ultralight Backpacking Packs for Thru-Hiking

20 Best Ultralight Backpacking Packs for Thru-Hiking

Whether you’re planning a grand hiking adventure or are hiking for the first time, having a backpack is one of the most crucial items you can have. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the best ultralight backpacking packs for thru-hiking to make your hiking journey the best it can be. There are various ultralight backpacking packs available on the market to choose from.

Most of the best ultralight backpacking packs for thru-hiking are created to carry at most 20 pounds. The most important feature of your backpack is that it fits your body flawlessly and is modified suitably.

Top 20 Best Ultralight Backpacking Packs for Thru-Hiking

Preview
Best for 35+ Pounds
Osprey Atmos Ag 65 Backpack, Abyss Grey, Small
Best Budget
Gregory Mountain Products Men's Optic 48 Ultralight Backpack
Osprey Archeon 45 Men's Backpacking Backpack
Osprey Stratos 36 Men's Hiking Backpack, Black, Small/Medium
Gregory Baltoro 65L Pack - Men's
Title
Osprey Atmos Ag 65 Backpack, Abyss Grey, Small
Gregory Mountain Products Men's Optic 48 Ultralight Backpack
Osprey Archeon 45 Men's Backpacking Backpack
Osprey Stratos 36 Men's Hiking Backpack, Black, Small/Medium
Gregory Baltoro 65L Pack - Men's
Rating
4.9/5
4.8/5
4.8/5
4.8/5
4.8/5
Weight
4.56 lbs
2.47 lbs
4.9 lbs
3.17 lbs
5.5 lbs
Capacity/Volume
65L
48L
45L
36L
65L
Load Range
30-50 lbs
-
20-35 lbs
-
-
Frame Type
-
Aluminum Internal Frame
-
-
-
Fabric
-
-
-
-
Polyester and Nylon lining
Adjustable Harness/Straps
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Rain Cover
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Reservoir sleeve
Yes
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
Price
$201.95
$189.95
Price not available
$136.58
Price not available
Prime Status
-
-
-
-
Best for 35+ Pounds
Preview
Osprey Atmos Ag 65 Backpack, Abyss Grey, Small
Title
Osprey Atmos Ag 65 Backpack, Abyss Grey, Small
Rating
4.9/5
Weight
4.56 lbs
Capacity/Volume
65L
Load Range
30-50 lbs
Frame Type
-
Fabric
-
Adjustable Harness/Straps
Yes
Rain Cover
-
Reservoir sleeve
Yes
Price
$201.95
Prime Status
-
Button
Best Budget
Preview
Gregory Mountain Products Men's Optic 48 Ultralight Backpack
Title
Gregory Mountain Products Men's Optic 48 Ultralight Backpack
Rating
4.8/5
Weight
2.47 lbs
Capacity/Volume
48L
Load Range
-
Frame Type
Aluminum Internal Frame
Fabric
-
Adjustable Harness/Straps
Yes
Rain Cover
Yes
Reservoir sleeve
-
Price
$189.95
Prime Status
-
Button
Preview
Osprey Archeon 45 Men's Backpacking Backpack
Title
Osprey Archeon 45 Men's Backpacking Backpack
Rating
4.8/5
Weight
4.9 lbs
Capacity/Volume
45L
Load Range
20-35 lbs
Frame Type
-
Fabric
-
Adjustable Harness/Straps
Yes
Rain Cover
Yes
Reservoir sleeve
Yes
Price
Price not available
Prime Status
-
Button
Preview
Osprey Stratos 36 Men's Hiking Backpack, Black, Small/Medium
Title
Osprey Stratos 36 Men's Hiking Backpack, Black, Small/Medium
Rating
4.8/5
Weight
3.17 lbs
Capacity/Volume
36L
Load Range
-
Frame Type
-
Fabric
-
Adjustable Harness/Straps
Yes
Rain Cover
Yes
Reservoir sleeve
Yes
Price
$136.58
Prime Status
Button
Preview
Gregory Baltoro 65L Pack - Men's
Title
Gregory Baltoro 65L Pack - Men's
Rating
4.8/5
Weight
5.5 lbs
Capacity/Volume
65L
Load Range
-
Frame Type
-
Fabric
Polyester and Nylon lining
Adjustable Harness/Straps
Yes
Rain Cover
Yes
Reservoir sleeve
Yes
Price
Price not available
Prime Status
-
Button

1. Mountainsmith Scream 50L WSD Backpack

The Mountainsmith Scream 50L WSD (women’s specific design) Backpack provides the same tough and lightweight combination as the Scream 55L but was created and tested for a classic fit.

This backpack was constructed from high-quality Robic fabric with Ultra Tear-Strength PU coating with Aramid yarn woven throughout the backpack, stopping tears and abrasion. It weighs 2 pounds and 13 ounces and includes additional features such as two front pockets for organization, larger side mesh pockets, and a simple pull forward waist belt. 

Pros
  • Spacious
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Good weight distribution
Cons
  • Back pockets too tight
  • No top lid

Sample Customer Review…This pack is insane! I was stopped at TSA in every country for aluminum back frames in my old pack. I got this and it has a single removable aluminum spine!! SO easy to take out! It also has padded/pocketed waist straps. I swear, it is the only pack over 35L to have padded straps and the only pack with a removable aluminum spine. In addition, it has an expandable top and straps for when you need a taller pack that folds over. It also opens like a duffle bag so you can pack it like a suitcase. It has two front pockets that you can stuff so many things into that are departmentalized from the main pack. I can’t handle how stoked I am. Use it as a carry-on all the time! Holds 50L and is not a bulky bag at all… It also has a ton of little spots to clip things to it on the exterior.

Review from Mountainsmith.com.

2. Osprey Atmos AG 65

The Osprey Atmos AG 65 has an adjustable harness and an adaptable hip belt for the best fit. It has a removable floating top lid with two zippered pockets and web attachment sections. There is a separate compartment for a sleeping bag. The anti-gravity suspension offers a feeling of carrying less weight than what is inside of the backpack.

This pack weighs 4 pounds and 6 ounces. It can carry heavier loads with ease and offers so much organization. It has two ice tool loops that have bungee tie-offs. This pack includes a sternum strap with an attached safety whistle. The zippered hip belt pockets are extremely helpful for keeping smaller items and snacks close by. 

Pros
  • Sleep bag pocket feature
  • Durable
  • Comfortable with lots of padding
  • Adjustable torso
  • Roomy
Cons
  • Heavier when compared to market
  • Cluttered straps
  • Expensive

Sample Customer Review…As a first-time backpacker, I was worried a bit about managing to fit all my gear and consequently if I could handle the weight. After a five-mile hike (mostly uphill) and one night stay, I can tell you that this bag gave me confidence that I would be OK out in the White Mountain Wilderness of NM. I had all the essential gear (tent, sleeping bag, food, cooking system, water) plus my cold and rain gear and I had some room to spare. I never felt that it was too heavy because of its anti-gravity system that distributes the weight. I love this pack. Can’t wait to go on a multiple-day hike!

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

3. Gregory Optic 48

The Gregory Optic 48 is affordable, has great back ventilation, and distributes weight equally. The aerospace suspension has EVAP to keep moisture away with a ventilated back panel. There are double-density FocusForm shoulder harnesses that have additional hip belts that have targeted comfort areas.

The lightweight 7001 aluminum perimeter frame has anti barreling built-in. The customized rain covers included in the top pocket are helpful for easy access in inclement weather. This product is available in two colors: Beacon Blue and Lava Gray. 

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Comfortable
  • Good ventilation
  • Ergonomic zipper movement
  • Sturdy frame
Cons
  • Water bottles are tough to access
  • Exterior mesh prone to tears

Sample Customer Review…Great backpack! Bought this for light overnight and the quality is amazing! Support is really good (weight well transferred), the material seems to notch, clever design. I think that Gregory has produced a big rival to usual ultralight players. Highly recommended!

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

4. Osprey Archeon 45

The Osprey Archeon 45 Backpack has a complete dual zip front panel opening with dual sliders that offer quick access. It was created from long-lasting GRS-certified recycled materials. It has a zippered mesh pocket inside the front panel and under the lid pocket for arranging small items.

The lower zip area has a removable rain cover. It has huge zippered pockets and two stretch-woven water bottle pockets. There is an adjustable shoulder harness for boosted fit with a fully supported hip belt for comfort and security. This backpack is available in three colors: Haybale Green, Stargazer Blue, and Stonewash Black. 

Pros
  • Eco friendly
  • Durable
  • Rain cover
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Hefty feeling

Sample Customer Review…Plenty of storage, still incredibly lightweight and well-constructed, and design. It has been put to lots and lots of good use during this pandemic when taking to the trails is a pleasure and a sense of normalcy. It is sizeable enough for camping out overnight or having a long day in the great outdoors and has plenty of pockets and zippers so all of your belongings are secure. It is on the pricier side for backpacks but the quality is everything when it comes to comfort and safety.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

5. Osprey Stratos 36

The Osprey Stratos 36 Backpack includes a ventilated back panel with adaptable shoulder harnesses to create a perfect fit. It has flexible mesh pockets on each side of the backpack to offer storage for water bottles and other smaller miscellaneous items. This product includes two zippered hip belt pockets and a built-in and detachable rain cover.

There is a Stow-On-The-Go Trekking Pole attachment that was created to easily attach and carry trekking poles while wearing this pack or making a fast move through rough terrain. The Stratos 36 includes a separate zippered sleeping bag compartment that provides an extremely organized pack for overnight expeditions.

The bungee tie-off assists in your ax ice being secure. This product is available in five colors: Beet Red, Black, Eclipse Blue, Gators Green, and Sungrazer Orange. 

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Not a lot of space

Sample Customer Review…This is my new favorite pack! I really enjoy using all the features this pack offers. Super comfortable carry, thanks to the Osprey AG (anti-gravity) suspension and vented panels. I’ve used this pack on several overnight and weekend hikes into the back-country and it has been a great performer. I normally pack my tent, sleeping bag and pad, cook system, rain jacket, food for 3 days, a few extra clothing items, some electronics, first aid items, toiletries, water purification items, and 3 liters of water. The total weight is 26-28lbs and this pack carries the load with ease, and very comfortably, for long distances. I’ve carried lighter loads with other packs not nearly as comfortable. This pack is a premium product. As with any pack, you must choose the right size for your torso length, and adjust the pack to properly fit you once loaded. Other than that, this pack makes me look forward to my next adventure! I know that pack will handle the weight, and take the abuse I generally dish out. Get one!

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

6. Gregory Baltoro 65L

The Gregory Baltoro 65L has a front U-zip that offers access to the main body contents. It has dual-side-mounted zippered gear pockets. The WeatherShield hip belt which is TPU-coated and sealed assists in protecting your valuables. It also sports a highly weather-resistant YKK AquaGuard zipper closure for extra protection.

The SideKick is both a day pack and hydration sleeve. There is an available LumbarTune to accommodate for lower back support. The shoulder harnesses are pre-curved, functionally designed straps are available in various sizes. They sport LifeSpan foam and a brand new design that permits perfect tuning within each harness size. 

Pros
  • Easy gear access
  • Durable and strong
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Must break in to feel comfortable

Sample Customer Review…I’ve hiked 200+ miles with this pack, including three weeks on the JMT. My loads varied from 30 pounds up to 60 pounds on some flat-land training hikes. The Baltoro always handled the load comfortably. Very happy with the design, packing, and access to stowed gear. The water bottle pocket is very well designed for easy access and stowing when hiking. The three pockets on the brain are smart. Zippers, straps, and material all held up great.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

7. Osprey Aether AG 70 Backpack

The Osprey Aether AG 70 Backpack has a detachable top lid that can be converted into a Daylid backpack. The front flexible mesh pocket and zippered hip belt pockets for simple storage. The hip belt pockets are roomy and spacious. There is a big front J-zip offer to the main section of the backpack. The frame shifts weight well, and it is easy to reach water bottles in the side pockets. 

This backpack provides ice ax holders, internal compression straps, a sleeping bag compartment, and an anti-gravity suspension. The Osprey Aether AG 70 Backpack is available in three colors: Adirondack Green, Neptune Blue, and Outback Orange. The recommended maximum weight this bag can carry is 60 pounds.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Ergonomic water bottle placement
  • Good weight transfer from frame
  • Spacious
  • Daypack feature
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Heavy feeling
  • Too many straps

Sample Customer Review…I’ve used this backpack on three separate multiple-day trips in the Ventana Wilderness/Los Padres National Forest and in Kings Canyon National park. Osprey has really thought of everything. I really appreciate the clips for my keyring, the detachable summit pack, and the overall comfort of this bag. I also like the seamless shoulder straps that make the backpack ultra comfy on those long, difficult, 10+ mile days on the trail. The amount of places that you can adjust is also a novel attribute of this backpack. I only thing I’d say is that if you’re planning to do more than 4 days on the trail, you’ll want to get a pack with a higher volume. Mine is stuffed to the brim when I go for a trip of this length, and I have either the 60 or 65L version, can’t remember the top of my head. I’m having a difficult time thinking of anything else that I disliked about it, in fact, this backpack was the catalyst for me to purchase another Osprey pack for my bike commute, which is equally wonderful. As I use the pack more I may update this review.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

8. Osprey Farpoint

The Osprey Farpoint is a bag meant to carry just the necessities having a capacity of only 40L. If that sounds like the type of person you are or the type of adventure you plan on having next, then this bag is perfect for you.

There are also lockable compartments on the bag in case you want to use it for traveling purposes. To boot, there are two mesh pockets to fit even more stuff, not to mention a scratch-free pocket for your devices or glasses! Even if the volume is not that large, this bag is still able to carry what you need.

If your shoulders are tired there are two other ways this bag can be carried: by hand with the side strap, or just on one shoulder like a messenger bag. In cases where this bag must be put away, the hip belt and harness can be tucked into the back section. In the case of any Osprey bag damage, replacement or repair is possible. If you are in need of a quality bag for your next adventure, or just to carry your stuff, this is a bag to consider.

Pros
  • Multiple Handling Methods
  • Lockable Compartments
  • Can be Used as a Carry On
  • Good Quality
  • Durable
  • Osprey Insurance
Cons
  • Limited Volume
  • Not the Best Choice for Hiking but is Able to

Sample Customer Review…I see why people swear by Osprey. I bought this when I ambitiously thought I’d try to one bag travel for a week-long trip to LA, which I just came back from, and this bag came through for me with flying colors. Clothes, toiletries, small laptop, iPad pro, smaller sling bag to take around for the day, as well as a full DSLR and two travel lenses all zipped up nice and secure in this handy bag, and I could’ve skipped past the baggage claim pulling a silly face at everyone if I so chose. Great zippers, solid seams, practical and well laid out compartments, superb straps, and a clever system for hiding them all away when not in use make this an excellent choice for just about any travel scenario I can imagine. It’s big enough to load up, with a little planning and consideration, for multiday vacations, but not big or unwieldy to the point where I wouldn’t consider it for a daily carry. I have no doubts about this bag – even bought a smaller sling bag by Osprey on the strength of the satisfaction I have from my initial round of use from the Farpoint. Kudos to a great company. 5/5, can’t recommend enough.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

9. Osprey Rook 65

The Osprey Rook 65 is a cheap bag but you sacrifice features and comfort for the cheaper price. It is a good deal made by a company known for their backpacks, it has a suspended back panel making it very ventilated. It comes with a removable rain cover, in case of those nights. It comes with a sleeping bag compartment, and two mesh pockets for water bottles or however you see fit.

A divider in the main compartment in case you want to keep your dry supplies from being wet. Lastly containing an internal hydration reservoir that can fit up to 3L. In total, this bag weighs around 3.6 pounds and has a volume of 65L. Due to its cheap nature, it can not handle extremely heavy loads without discomfort. If you are looking to save money for a bag that can specifically handle your expected needs, this is a bag to look into.

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Built to Last
  • Durable
  • Still Light
Cons
  • One Size Fits Most but Not All
  • Uncomfortable at Heavy Loads
  • Not Many Features
  • Top Lid Makes Getting Items a Hassle

Sample Customer Review…While this is a heavy pack at 3.3lbs, it is very rugged and made to last. The buckles are made incredibly well and you will never have to worry about them breaking or failing like you will hear about with other packs. The airspeed suspension is great at ensuring your back remains cool and the side pockets are very convenient. while this pack is rated to hold 30-40 lbs, I have loaded it to 55lbs no problem. Not very comfortable with that much weight but doable. I have since then gotten the base weight down to 25lbs and this pack makes that weight feel nonexistent because of how the weight is distributed. I am a beginner at backpacking and this pack is an undeniable value for minimalists. great adjustment system which helps the pack fit most anyone like a glove and a downright gorgeous pack. I would highly recommend this pack to anyone who is simple and keeps it simple (ultra-lite backpackers). I can fit everything I have in this pack incredibly organized and I could not be any happier.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

10. Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10 

The Deuter Aircontact Lite is breathable, sleek and spacious, and lightweight. It was created for anything involving mountaineering tours and trekking. The Aircontact Lite back system decreases perspiration by 15%. The breathable padding is created from open-cell, hollow chamber foam, and a fitting internal X-frame that allows cool air to flow in and hot air to exit.

The Vari Quick adjustable back easily accommodates a custom fit for different torso lengths. The S-shaped shoulder harnesses include plush edges and airy 3D mesh lining. The hip belt is simple to secure and fasten and can be tightened to accommodate carrying heavier loads.

The adjustable straps help to transfer weight easily from the shoulders to the hips. This backpack is available in three colors: Navy/Arctic, Alpine Green Forest, and Black/Graphite.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Daypack feature
  • Padded and comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Adjustable torso
Cons
  • Mesh pockets are not durable
  • Heavy
  • Not easy accessible water bottles
  • Could use more padding elsewhere

Sample Customer Review…All around a perfect long weekend backpack. Everything you need and nothing you don’t. I’ve used the older ACT Zero (which I loved) but this pack is perfect! Improved hip belt and great support. You can carry heavy loads with this pack and it’ll feel better than those packs that can’t carry more than 30lbs. I’ve carried both heavy and lighter loads and this pack was very comfortable.

See more reviews at Amazon.com.

11. Gregory Paragon 58 Backpacking Backpack

The Gregory Paragon 58 Backpack has a hybrid suspension featuring Gregory’s FreeFloat energetic cradle lower back structure and airy 3D foam upper back panel assistance. There is a complete side-length zipper for quick unloading and item organization.

The quick stow sunglasses system is located on the shoulder harness for an easy and scratch-free way to place your sunglasses. This backpack has roomy hip belt pockets, a rain cover, and can accommodate any torso and hip belt, earning it a spot in the list of the best ultralight backpacking packs for thru-hiking.

Pros
  • Rain cover
  • Adjustable belt and torso
  • Accessible zipper
  • Good weight transfer
Cons
  • Many straps and pockets
  • Heavy

Sample Customer Review…My initial impressions were that I loved the color (olive green) and that it was super light compared to any other Gregory I had used (3lbs 9oz.). The bag was well thought out with deep exterior mesh pockets that stretched to accommodate large items (backpacking chair), hearty pull cords and zippers, A neat full-length zipper that allows side access, and a top Lid pouch that could be detached if needed. I liked that this could be detached along with the lower compartment divider, making this more like a 50-liter roll-top bag if that is what you desired for a specific trip. I typically don’t use a backpack with a stiff frame, opting for more UL-style bags, but I really liked how the frame transferred the weight to my hips and the hip belt and shoulder straps were very comfortable.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

12. Granite Gear Crown2 60

The Granite Gear Crown2 60 is a long-lasting and well-made lightweight backpack with a huge capacity and highly affordable. The hip belt is completely adaptable and has a removable top lid that includes a DWR-treated zipper.

The comfortable frame contains a foam pad and a detachable plastic sheet. There is a hydration port and internal hydration sleeve included in this backpack. The roll-top compartment can be opened with the centered dual strap and singular buckle for easy accessibility and simple compression. 

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Adjustable
  • Removable lid
  • Supportive frame
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Spacious
Cons
  • Water bottle mesh tends to tear
  • Get used to first

Sample Customer Review…This Backpack is amazingly light and made with durable materials. I love that it’s waterproof so I don’t have to worry about a rain cover! Not to mention the unbeatable lifetime warranty. This has a lot of pockets for storage, the side pockets are big and can fit two water bottles in both. It has one large front mesh pocket that you can use for quick/easy access items like camp shoes or rain jackets. The top comes off and can be used as a day pack or it can hang over your shoulders for quick access to snacks or what have you. I bought this because my last trip was 12 miles and I about died due to the weight of my pack being around 44lbs. Now my Base weight is down to 10lbs. I’ll at the most carry 20lbs of weight without sacrificing all of my favorite items I like to bring, like a chair!! This backpack isn’t so thin that you feel everything in it and very durable that you will have it for a lifetime. Though it is only rated for 35lbs max. I never want to get close to that weight even though that is 20% of my weight which is okay. I will be running up the trails to my campsite instead of dragging my feet kicking and screaming. Thank you Granite Gear! Your product is top-notch without paying crazy amounts of money.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

13. Mountainsmith Scream 55L Backpack

The Mountainsmith Scream 55L Backpack has a roll-top closure with emphasized Hypalon seal. It has a front panel J zipper for fast interior access. It has two huge external pockets that assist with the gear organization. This pack weighs 2 pounds and 13 ounces. It features double-barrel storage pockets at the front of the pack.

There are various clip-in sections for gear attachment. There is a simple pull-forward waist belt included. This backpack was created from high-quality Robic fabric with Ultra Tear-Strength PU coating with Aramid yarn woven throughout the backpack. This stops tears and abrasion from occurring.

Pros
  • Spacious
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Good weight distribution
Cons
  • Back pockets too tight
  • No top lid

Sample Customer Review…I have experience with many different packs – some larger, some smaller, some lighter, some heavier. I can promise you one thing – after several uses, I have never had a pack in this size range, 55 liters, that carried this well. I put my pack on my electronic scales and it came in exactly as advertised – 2 lb 13 oz. VERY light for a pack with a decent internal frame and all the features it has. Don’t know why the description doesn’t say more, but this pack has a hydration sleeve for up to 3 liters, load lifter shoulder straps, compression straps, belt pockets, and much more. I do not believe you can find a nicer, lighter, better made, or as comfortable pack from anyone else – especially at anywhere close to the price this pack is offered for. I would recommend this pack to ANYONE that it fits. Better than most others that cost 3 to 4 times as much.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

14. Osprey Exos 48

The Osprey Exos 48 has amazing features and is a long-lasting backpack. It has multiple pockets, straps, and attachment areas that permit flexibility and other modifications. It carries over 20 pounds easily and shines when loaded down with over 30 pounds. The suspension system offers comfortability and great ventilation.

It has a weight of 2 pounds 5.6 ounces. The carrying capacity is 48 liters. It has two stretch mesh side pockets to set aside water bottles and other items. The front stretch mesh pocket offers easy storage of rain gear or additional layers.

The backpack has a removable floating top lid with a combined FlapJacket which shields packed gear when the top lid comes off. The Osprey Exos 48 is available in two colors: Blaze Black and Tunnel Green.

Pros
  • Back ventilation
  • Affordable
  • Good quality
Cons
  • Not easy accessible water bottles
  • Missing hip pockets
  • Heavy
  • Not as durable

Sample Customer Review…This is the pack that beats all other packs that do not require a second mortgage to afford. Great pack, maybe I could have gotten away with the Exos 38 but a little extra room will come in handy when I adventure in the cooler climates. Light super light. Great quality. I used it for three days two nights on the Superior Hiking Trail in northern Minnesota and performed excellently. My load with food and water was about 32lbs.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

15. Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor

The Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor has adjustable volume to control short and long hauls and a Y flex suspension system that carries more than its weight class. There is a bucket lid that includes a stash pocket to secure everything. It includes dual flexible pockets on the shoulder straps and a side pack cover. It is hydration compatible with a detachable reservoir sleeve. This pack weighs 2.5 and is ultra-lightweight. It is available in two colors: Birch and Peat. 

Pros
  • Able to compress and expand
  • Durable and strong
  • Comfortable
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Missing front mesh
  • Cannot adjust torso

Sample Customer Review… This Backpack is amazingly light and made with durable materials. I love that it’s waterproof so I don’t have to worry about a rain cover! Not to mention the unbeatable lifetime warranty. This has a lot of pockets for storage, the side pockets are big and can fit two water bottles in both. It has one large front mesh pocket that you can use for quick/easy access items like camp shoes or rain jackets. The top comes off and can be used as a day pack or it can hang over your shoulders for quick access to snacks or what have you. I bought this because my last trip was 12 miles and I about died due to the weight of my pack being around 44lbs. Now my Base weight is down to 10lbs I’ll at the most carry 20lbs of weight without sacrificing all of my favorite items I like to bring, like a chair!! This backpack isn’t so thin that you feel everything in it and very durable that you will have it for a lifetime. Though it is only rated for 35lbs max. I never want to get close to that weight even though that is 20% of my weight which is okay. I will be running up the trails to my campsite instead of dragging my feet kicking and screaming. Thank you Granite Gear! Your product is top-notch without paying crazy amounts of money.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

16. TERRA PEAK Adjustable Hiking Backpack 

The TERRA PEAK Adjustable Hiking Backpack is created for comfort and is extremely adaptable. It has an adjustable internal frame structure that assists with achieving the best fit which will greatly decrease exhaustion on long expeditions with heavy loads. The padded and breathable mesh back panel and shoulder straps provide added support and comfort.

There is a sternum strap with an SBS buckle that can be adjusted up or down. It has deep butterfly side pockets with double compression straps and meshes side pockets in order to keep your items organized. This backpack contains tool attachment points and has various pockets.

There is an elastic bungee cord system, 8 compression straps, and a trekking pole extension for hanging up sleeping bags, tents, hammocks, and various gear. This product has a rain cover and added hood for heavy rain. Additionally, the outer parts of the backpack are coated with a water-repellent coating for lighter rain conditions. The TERRA PEAK Backpack includes a two-year manufacturer’s warranty. 

Pros
  • Expands up to 20L
  • Hydration system compatibility
  • Multiple pockets and attachment spots
  • Comes with rain cover
  • Is water resistant
  • Comfortable yet breathable with padding and mesh
  • Adjustable frame and straps
Cons
  • Not durable

Sample Customer Review…I really like this backpack to use for day trips. It is the perfect size for me. It fits my back well and the adjustable straps are comfortable for me to wear. The two main pockets are large enough to hold a variety of items. The back one has a sleeve that I can slot papers, books, or a laptop into. The middle pocket has a wall with sleeves for smaller items like pens, pencils, or a phone. Both these main pockets have a zipper that is covered by the canvas. It came in handy when I was caught briefly in the rain last weekend and I didn’t need to worry about water dripping inside and onto my stuff. There are also side water bottle pockets and a strap to tighten a towel or jacket on the outside of the bag. What I like best though, is the pocket on the front of the backpack. It has a high and small zipper, yet the pocket goes down deep. I feel like I can put my more important items like keys, wallet, or phone, that I need to access easily, and they will be safe down in the bottom of that pocket. It comes in very handy.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

17. Granite Gear Virga 2 

The Granite Gear Virga 2 Backpack includes a roll-top closure, frameless suspension, and an internal hydration hanger. It is available in short and long sizes. The reworked shoulder straps and padded hip belt offer comfort and durability. This backpack weighs 1 pound and 3 ounces. For this product, the recommended maximum load is 25 pounds.

Pros
  • Spacious
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Uncomfortable at medium loads
  • No frame
  • Simple compared to other packs

Sample Customer Review…I replaced a 4 lb framed pack with this. This is my first frameless pack and I was nervous but I have LOVED it. I bought some other ultralight gear at the same time so now my pack weight about 15 lbs for a 2-3 day trip. (assuming you can filter water along the way). The straps on the outside work great for securing the tent and trekking poles to the bag. I am 5’7″ and the Regular size has been very comfortable for me. I haven’t had any sore spots. Your back will probably get hot and you have to pay attention to what to pack against your back but that seems a universal problem with frameless.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

18. Hawk Gear Internal Frame Backpack 

The Hawk Gear Internal Frame Backpack contains a section for your sleeping bag, multi-directional compression straps, and various pockets and sections for well-planned packing.

The Nylon fabric is water-resistant which is perfect for hiking, camping, mountaineering, climbing, and fishing. Therefore, it is one of the best ultralight backpacking packs for thru-hiking and those other outdoor activities.

It has Dragon Bone Technology has S-type shoulder straps with added back support style. The breathable mesh pads allow for comfort when traveling. The aluminum internal frames aid the pack and disperse the weight of its objects across the body easily, by moving the weight to the hips and legs. The extension top collar with two drawstrings can enlarge the backpack and increase the main pocket capacity by 5 liters.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Can expand
  • Durable
  • Adjustable belts for chest and waist
Cons
  • Drawstring can close only half

Sample Customer Review…I found this is bag pack great for camping and hiking. First able, size can be adjusted high and low, sometimes this is very helpful when clothing and tool mass up after unpacking, but this fully resolve this issue during my travel. Secondly, it is good tough water prove material that impressed me the most. Third, I love the lightweight that gives me much less pressure on my trip. It’s just a great bag pack that can replace most of my previous ones.

Review from Ubuy.com.

19. NatureHike 65L Internal Frame Hiking Backpack 

The NatureHike 65L Internal Frame Hiking Backpack features an ergonomically designed breathable mesh back pad and shoulder cushions for comfortable wear. There is a compression strap located on the top and both sides of the pack, you can secure trekking poles or sleeping bags firmly in place.

The separate pocket located at the back of the backpack permits accessible shoe storage when traveling. The fabric is made out of 420D Nylon which prevents tearing and scratches. Also, the fabric has waterproof properties.

This backpack can accommodate and hold several travel items such as sleeping bags, tents, clothing, shoes, and trekking poles. It is a multifunctional and compact bag that can be used for camping, outdoor travel, and more. 

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Ergonomic design
  • Comfortable
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Ventilation
  • Multifunctional
Cons
  • Missing rear straps

Sample Customer Review…The fit was perfect for me. The torso length can be adjusted a small amount- about 18.5 inches to 20 inches. I wear a 20-inch torso pack. The pack holds all of my normal gear well. The side pockets are accessible while walking with a pack on. It is reasonably lightweight, just over 2 pounds. Sewing and assembly look very good. I actually received compliments from my family on this pack. Noticed no strap slippage at about 26 pounds total weight. Unbeatable price. Durability – TBD.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

20. Osprey Levity 45

The Osprey Levity 45 has NanoFly fabric combining ultra-high molecular weight ripstop and Cordula nylon, forming a light but long-lasting fabric that decreases pack weight. It has a 3D-tightened breathable mesh back panel with included side ventilation that assists in keeping your back comfortable and refreshed.

There is a fixed top lid with zippered pockets for keeping any items and gear within convenient access. The front fabric pocket allows for easy storage. The two side pockets keep water bottles and other small items close by. The main section compression straps and detachable InsideOut compression cords located in the side pockets help lock in your load.

Additionally, the sternum strap has a built-in safety whistle. This backpack is also hydration compatible, and it weighs 1 pound and 12 ounces. The top lid cord loop attachment permits you to add on additional gear. 

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Ventilation
Cons
  • Fragile, not durable
  • No hip belt pocket
  • Not a lot of room
  • No padding

Sample Customer Review…This review is for the Levity 60. This pack is amazingly lightweight and is designed for weekend camping or for ultra-light longer camping. Like all Osprey packs, it does an amazing job of distributing weight on your body so that whatever you put in it, it will feel lighter than it is. We already own an Osprey Atmos pack which is a workhorse with lots of zipper pockets and belt pockets, etc. It is a pack mule and is made to hold loads of weight. The Levity is made to be lightweight—it weighs just under 2 pounds empty—and has one zipper pocket. There is absolutely nothing extra on this pack and it is made to hold much less weight—10-25 pounds is my understanding. As such, it is fantastic for overnight or weekends, but even then for the camper who travels light. Some purists may get under that weight for longer hikes, but it isn’t for everybody. If ultra light is how you travel, this is definitely an amazing pack. Both my husband and I love it!

Read more reviews at Amazon.com.

Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing Ultralight Backpacking Packs for Thru-Hiking

Having an ultralight backpacking pack is great for hikes, the main appeal of these bags is how they can carry your supplies with you feeling little to no weight at all. What is listed below are things to consider when making a decision for an ultralight backpack tailored to your future hiking endeavors.

What Features to Look for

The first thing anyone looks for in an ultralight backpacking pack is the features. Ultralight backpacks are well known for being light when hiking, but what more can they bring? This is where you would have to look into what else it can bring. Examples of things to look for are how many holsters or pockets does it have, is it considered waterproof, are there straps to reduce weight or spread the weight out throughout your body? These are things you would want to consider looking for when making a purchase, as you would want the most from your bag if you were hiking for days.

Weight and Volume

Weight being a pivotal part of an ultralight bag, as they are known for their lightness. Their weight is from their ability to distribute it around your back with the aid of straps. Typically ultralight bags are packed as light as possible, this correlates to volume.

As they are packed as light as possible you would want to make the most out of how much space you have. You would want a bag that would suit your needs, a bigger bag will be heavier and vice versa, this all depends on how you will use it. These factors will also affect your overall comfortability with your bag, as a heavier bag may cause discomfort. Keep these in mind when looking for the ideal bag based on weight and volume.

Durability

When hiking you would want the most durable bag, as a rip or tear could potentially ruin your whole trip. Durability is based on the materials used to make your bag, typical bags are made from Ripstop Nylon, Cuben Fiber, Silnylon, or X Pac.

Each has its own benefit, for Ripstop Nylon is highly resistant to rips and tears. Cuben Fiber is an ultralight fiber that is more resistant to water and labeled as one of the strongest fabrics. Silnylon is more affordable and potentially longer-lasting than other fabrics. X Pac is a layered fabric made with a nylon face that is tear-resistant and finished with a waterproof film treated with a water-resistant coating.

Is it a Good Fit?

Looking for a good fit can be quite hard especially when shopping online, as sometimes your bag may not fit you correctly and cause discomfort, and an inevitable return. To avoid this you would want to make sure you measure yourself to get one that fits you the best. While considering measurements, another idea to consider is what it will most likely contain, as this will also affect the fit for the bag. Choosing one can be tough, but consider these factors, and features to help offset any weight for the perfect bag for you.

How Much Should You Pay?

All the factors above help determine how much you should pay for an ultralight backpack. Your backpack should be based around you, and what features you want out of it. This means all additional features, what fabric should it be made out of as each of the mentioned fabrics has its own price with Cuben Fiber being the most expensive. And the volume of your bag also relates to the prices, as a larger bag will definitely cost more.

Prices usually range from $190-$400 for an ultralight bag with the higher-end bags being of higher quality. Depending on how you use the bag you can make it off with a lower costing bag. You would most likely have to do some additional research into these bags mentioned to see which one is the best for you.

Conclusion

All of the backpacks listed above are great choices in enhancing your outdoor hiking or camping experience. This guide is a comprehensive resource in selecting the best ultralight backpacking packs for thru-hiking for your needs and for your comfort.


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Written by Taylor Sims, Steven Nguyen and Christine Quist

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