Lightweight backpacking used to mean roughing it, an experience that was borderline unpleasant. But with innovative, new backpacking gear, it’s now possible to go light and go in comfort.
Just in time for summer, we’ve put together suggestions for a truly awesome lightweight backpacking setup – all of it made by innovative startups.
The pack: Windrider 2400 Pack by Hyperlite Mountain Gear
Weight: 1.8 pounds
Your backpack sets the tone for a trip, so make sure yours is comfortable, durable and lightweight. Backpacker Magazine named the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 2400 its “Best Ultralight Pack.” This 40-liter pack can carry up to 40 pounds and is perfect for weekend trips. It includes a hydration sleeve and port, removable aluminum stays and external mesh pockets for added storage.
Plus, the Cuben Fiber material that it’s made out of is waterproof, so you can leave the rain cover at home. (Note: moisture can seep in through the pack’s seams, so it’s a good idea to put your clothes and sleeping quilt in waterproof stuff sacks, also made by Hyperlite Mountain Gear).
Curious to know more? Read the story about how Hyperlite Mountain Gear got its start.
The sleeping quilt: Revelation Ultralight Custom Down Quilt by Enlightened Equipment
Weight: 1.2 pounds
A good night’s sleep is crucial to enjoying your mountain adventures. You can stay warm and cut weight with Enlightened Equipment’s Revelation Ultralight Down Quilts. All quilts are custom made and you can pick its length, width and down type. The partially zippered foot box allows you to cinch the quilt up tight when it’s cold, or open it like a blanket for those warm summer nights we dream about.
The shelter: UltaMid Shelter by Hyperlite Mountain Gear
Weight: 16.6 ounces (no guy lines) or 17.6 ounces (with guy lines)
Sometimes you sacrifice space when you cut weight. But with the UltaMid Shelter by Hyperlite Mountain Gear, you don’t need to worry about feeling claustrophobic. The tent, which comes in two-person and four-person models, stands more than 5-feet tall in the center and uses your ski or trekking poles for support. There are ample tie out points, vents and a waterproof zippered door. It’s designed for desert or winter conditions.
Down time: Hammock by Hummingbird Hammocks
Weight: 5.2 ounces (single) or 10.2 ounces (double)
You’ve gutted it out to reach an amazing spot, now it’s time to sit back and enjoy the view. You don’t have to feel guilty about bringing along a single hammock by Hummingbird Hammocks for this relaxing moment. It weighs only 5.2 ounces and will fit in the palm of your hand.
Pro tip: save the weight of a camp pad by using the hammock as your bed for the night. And, then use a lightweight tarp for shelter.
Want the backstory on Hummingbird Hammocks? Here's the scoop.
Food: Good To-Go Healthy Dehydrated Meals
Weight: 3.4 to 3.5 ounces
Finish your day with herbed mushroom risotto or Thai curry – delicious food made from real ingredients that weighs mere ounces. Good To-Go offers dehydrated meals created by a chef who once owned a nationally known restaurant in New York City. She refused to give up taste when backpacking and thanks to her recipe perfecting, you don’t have to either. The Thai Curry won Backpacker's Magazine's editor's choice award and it's also our personal favorite.
Sleeping pad: Klymit Inertia X Frame
Weight: 9.1 ounces
Klymit’s Inertia X Frame sleeping pad uses fabric only where it’s necessary. Don’t let the skeletal design fool you. Using body mapping research, it’s designed for support and comfort in pressure zones while eliminating material everywhere else. The three-season pad rolls up to the size of a soda can and takes only a few breaths to inflate.
Water filter: The Vapur MicroFilter and bottle
Weight: 2.7 ounces (bottle and filter together)
A lightweight, chemical-free water filtration system that weighs only 2.7 ounces ensures you can travel light, while staying hydrated and healthy without having to deal with the taste of iodine tablets. The Vapur MicroFilter and bottle removes bacteria and can purify hundreds of liters of water during its lifespan. It’s also dishwasher safe, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time planning your next adventure once you get home.
Want to know more about Vapur? Check out our review of the Vapur Element.
Cookware: Vargo Titanium Ti-lite Mug 900
Weight: 4.6 ounces
Made of titanium, this lightweight mug and pot can help you prepare the heartiest of meals. At 900 ml, the pot holds 30 ounces. It features foldaway handles, a stay cool rim and a strainer lid. Vargo also offers a line of titanium ultra-light utensils, like its folding spork, which weighs 0.6 ounces and a long handled spoon weighing 0.5 ounces.
Bathroom equipment: Lawson Outdoor Equipment’s Titanium Deuce Scoop
Weight: 0.75 ounces
It’s not the most glamorous piece of equipment, but if you are headed into the backcountry you should take along Lawson Outdoor Equipment’s “potty trowel.” Made from aerospace grade five titanium, it’s cut for optimized strength and scooping power. It’s small, lightweight and made in the USA.
Paddling: Supai Adventure Gear Canyon Flatwater 2
Weight: 1.5 pounds
There are few things that beat sitting beside a high alpine lake after a full day of hiking. But here’s one of them: paddling on that alpine lake. With the Supai Adventure Gear Canyon Flatwater 2 packraft you can. It weighs just 1.5 pounds and rolls up to the size of a wide-mouthed water bottle. Supai also makes 4-piece ultralight paddles that weigh 12 ounces. Use the Supai packraft to relax, fish, ferry across rivers or exit from canyoneering adventures.
For the Feet: Cloudline Apparel Socks!
Everybody needs good socks. They make the difference between a great and a miserable hiking experience. Made here in the USA, Cloudline socks give your feet that "new sock" feeling every time you put them on. They also come in sweet colors, a wide variety of thicknesses (for all types of weather), and several different heights. Spice up your sock drawer and make your feet happy in the process! "One can never have enough socks" -Dumbledore