So you're thinking about upgrading your backpacking setup and you’re wondering what this ultralight thing is all about? Or you’ve tried some other UL packs to get your toes wet and now you’re ready to fully submerge into the lifestyle?
The LiteAF 35L Curve Fast-Track-Pack is made to help you skip down the trail, perhaps without ever taking it off thanks to its conveniently-located side stretch pockets.
LiteAF 35L Curve General Info
The LiteAF 35L Curve Fast-Track-Pack is a frameless rolltop backpack made to carry loads up to 20lbs. The pack weighs 16oz and has an underside pocket (made popular by the brand Palante) that allows you to easily reach snacks and trash. The pack does not come with a hip belt but one is available as an add-on for purchase. There is one main 35L compartment, a large stretch mesh pocket on the back, and two stretch pockets big enough for a water bottle or phone on the curved shoulder straps.
WARNING: This backpack is for committed UL backpackers. If that doesn't sound like you, it would still make a great day-hiking pack.
DOUBLE WARNING: Life AF currently has orders for this particular model of pack on hold while it works to shorten lead times on custom packs.
LiteAF 35L Curve Specs
- Weight: 16oz
- Price: $299.99
- 35L + 10L stretch pockets
- S-curve shoulder straps with pockets for water bottle or phone
- 2 side pockets that can each fit two 1L bottles
- Bottom snack pocket with trash hole
- Dual adjust sternum strap
- Removable top Y-strap
- Material: CT9HK.18/wov.6 Black (5.0 Oz. Dyneema®) back, bottom and lower front panelsCT5K.18/wov.32c Black (2.92 Oz. Dyneema®) side and front
- All internal seams sealed with Dyneema® seam tape
- 3 point side compression with lineloc 3 adjusters
Things I Like
Chest Pockets - The pockets on the shoulder straps fit my iPhone 7plus and a 750ml Smart Water bottle great. They are well-placed for easy access to snap a quick pic or take a fast sip.
Bottom Pocket w/ Trash Hole - The pocket underneath the pack is perfect for a day's worth of snacks, and the trash hole makes it easy to secure wrappers. This pocket eliminates the need for hip belt pockets, freeing your hips while still having easy access to your 10 am Snickers.
S-Curve Straps - The shoulder straps are more curved than other packs I’ve worn, which made the pack feel more secure and close to my body when moving. I also utilized the sternum strap, which I usually go without, because the shape of the straps made it fit better around my shoulders.
Back Pocket Stretch Mesh - The external pocket on the back of the pack runs almost the entire length of the main body, so there is enough space to hold my cook pot, headlamp, spoon, TP, inReach, and bag of Fritos. By putting these odds and ends in an easy-to-access spot and out of the main body of the bag, it reduces lumps and bulges against my back since this is a frameless pack.
Watertight - During an afternoon of rafting in Moab, I used the pack as a dry bag for jackets in a non-bailing boat. After sloshing around the floor of the boat, our jackets were dry and ready to wear. *Have not tested in a rainstorm.
Tall and Slim - I like that this pack is slimmer than other packs I’ve worn, such as the Mountain Laurel Designs Prophet. This allowed me to move through narrow overgrown trails without my pack catching.
Things to Note
External Pocket - I wish there was a cinch cord on the opening of the back stretch pocket because when it's not full, the top is loose and it seems like items could easily slip out.
Frameless - This backpack has no frame, which means there is no extra support or built-in rigidity. So, if you don't load it carefully, then you'll feel every lump inside your pack against your back. I recommend not using stuff sacks to avoid round lumpy items and instead allowing gear to float and fill space. To add support, I use my Zlite sleeping pad as a makeshift frame. As a bonus, it also offers cushion and shapes to my back.
20lb Limit - This pack’s max weight capacity is 20lbs, so you should make sure your gear can be this light. If you're taking the steps toward a lighter backpacking setup, I recommend upgrading your sleep system before investing in a smaller pack.
No Hipbelt - There is no waist strap meaning all weight is carried on your shoulders. The shoulder straps are comfy, but you may want to adjust your sternum strap width every so often to give your shoulder muscles a break when first wearing the pack.
Snack Pocket - The stretch pocket on the bottom only has one opening for bars, so be sure to pack them in the order you want to eat them. That way you don’t have to pull out 3 bars to finally find the Snickers you’ve been craving.
Side Bottle Pockets - The side water bottle pockets are shorter than I am used to, so when only one bottle was in the pocket, it would tilt forward and rest against my side. This has led to the bottle occasionally falling out.
The LiteAF 35L Curve Fast-Track-Pack is for an experienced backpacker who wants to move quickly on the trail without needing to take off their pack. Its strengths are durability, simplicity, and pack-on accessibility.