Ultralight backpacks for trekking need to be comfortable and packed with features to make your life easier on the road. Whether you plan to trek up mountains or hike to a campground for a couple of days, you need a pack that’s there to support you. Instead of wasting hours looking for the best ultralight option, we’ve done the heavy work and created this review to make your life easy.
If you’re short on time, we’d recommend checking out the Osprey Exos 48 Men’s Ultralight. Its medium-sized capacity supports you on long and short treks while bringing you premium comfort and multiple essential features.
If you’re looking for a trekking backpack that’s more lightweight or has a larger capacity, then keep reading to explore some of the other best ultralight backpacks currently on the market!
- Gregory Mountain Optic 48 Backpack (Budget Buy)
- Six Moon Designs Swift V Backpack
- Osprey Levity 45 Backpack
- Granite Gear Blaze 60L Backpack (High End)
- Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor Backpack
- Osprey Exos 48 Ultralight Backpack (Top Pick)
Gregory Optic 48
One of the heaviest backpacks on this list.
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Six Moon Designs Swift V
|The Swift V is extremely customizable.
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Osprey Levity 45
|A great option for minimalist hikers.
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Granite Gear Blaze
A large backpack to accommodate longer trips.
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Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor
|Lightweight for the capacity the bag can offer.
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Osprey Exos 48
A versatile option for both short and long trips.
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1. Gregory Mountain Products Men’s Optic 48 Backpack
Overall Score: 80
- Great on a budget
- Less Durable
The Optic 48 weighs 2.39 lbs, which makes it one of the heaviest backpacks on this list.
The weight, in part, is due to the full frame that supports the distribution of weight in the pack and makes it more comfortable to carry.
If you can sacrifice a few pounds for comfort, then the Optic 48 is a great ultralight backpack for trekking.
Not only does its frame improve the comfort of this bag, but a dual-density FocusForm shoulder harness and padded hip belt also boost how easy it feels to carry.
The Optic 48 has a ventilated suspension system that ensures air flows through to your back throughout your trek. Great for keeping you cool.
The Optic 48 has 48L of capacity measured at 28″ x 12.5″ x 11.5″.
This is a pretty reasonable size for a trekking backpack and will allow you to pack waterproofs, camping gear, food, and other essentials you’ll need for your outdoor adventures.
The Optic 48 hits all the essential features you need in a trekking backpack.
It’s got dual attachment loops and locks for trekking poles, quick access pockets for water bottles on both sides of the bag, and an internal hydration sleeve and port.
The bag is not waterproof but has a custom-fitted rain cover included!
The Optic 48 is usually priced between $100 – $150, which is considered towards the budget end of the trekking bag scale.
We believe the cheap price is due to the lower quality of fabric (100D tenacity nylon) that most of the bag is made from.
If you don’t mind a couple of extra ounces and a lower guarantee of durability, then this is a solid budget option!
Overall Score: 78
- Not as durable
The Swift V is another heavier bag at 2.25 lbs, which is more ounces than you want for an ultralight backpack.
However, the hip belt and Delrin Hoop Stay (which makes up the suspension system) are removable, which shaves off about 9.5 ounces. This will impact how much you can carry.
When it comes to comfort, the Swift V is extremely customizable. When purchasing, you can choose from three types of harness to reach the desired fit of the bag for your body.
The options are shoulder harness, vest harness, or S-curve shoulder harness. The Swift V has an adjustable torso length, sliding sternum straps, and a suspension system. Making it easier to carry heavy loads for longer.
The Swift V has a 49L capacity, the perfect size for trekking over a couple of days.
It’s a more simply designed backpack, with two side pockets for quick access along the road, the main compartment for your supplies, and an internal zipper pocket for valuables.
With a removable hydration bladder and trekking pole attachment points, the Swift V ticks off all our essential features for a trekking backpack.
Apart from this, the Swift V doesn’t offer any unique additional features to blow us away.
The Swift V is modeled after the more expensive Swift X. The price difference is due to the Robic™ nylon used to make the Swift V.
This fabric is neither as durable nor water-resistant as other trekking backpacks. For its price, the Swift V is still fairly heavy. You could easily purchase a lighter bag for the same price.
3. Osprey Levity 45 Men’s Ultralight Backpack
Overall Score: 80
- Best for short trips
- Ultra comfort
- Only effective for light loads
- Difficulty accessing side pockets
Weighing 1.8 lbs, the Levity 45 is one of the lightest backpacks on this list. With a light wire internal frame, it’s a great option for minimalist hikers who want to pack as light as possible.
You can tell that Osprey has removed many of their signature features to reach this weight, such as hip belt pockets and extra padded shoulder straps.
The Levity 45 includes a 3D-tensioned mesh back panel which provides superior ventilation. This is great for keeping your back dry, and the mesh padding is extremely comfortable.
It covers all uncomfortable pressure points. With an adjustable hip belt, a sternum strap, and shoulder straps, you are guaranteed comfort wherever you plan to trek.
The Levity 45 holds up to 45L. This is rather small for a trekking backpack. Most of its capacity is given to the main compartment, but it also includes several small zipper pockets.
Ideally, you want a 48L backpack and over. This gives you the room you need for all your trekking essentials. However, it will work efficiently on shorter trips or overnight stays.
The Levity 45 comes with the trekking essentials: a hydration port and dual side pockets.
The only downside is that the side pockets are slightly high, making it difficult to grab your water bottle without stopping.
With the Levity 45, you can tell Osprey has stripped away what features they could to bring you the lightest possible backpack.
The Levity 45 is usually priced between $230 to $350. We think this is pretty reasonable, especially if you consider the 210D Nano-fly fabric that makes this bag as lightweight as it is.
This material is also abrasive resistant. For comfort, durability, and weight, we’d recommend this pack to anyone that wants an ultralight backpack for shorter treks.
4. Granite Gear Blaze 60L Backpack
Overall Score: 82
- Large capacity
- Small hydration pack
Weighing 3 lbs, this backpack could be considered heavy. However, for the extra capacity, it’s understandable that it will not be as light.
As it happens, the Blaze is regarded as ultralight for its size. Using a similar fabric to the Levity 45 and Swift V, the Blaze keeps it light with Robic nylon.
With a dual-density shoulder harness and adjustable hip belt, the Blaze ensures your trek remains comfortable even with the extra weight from the pack.
The molded foam back panel provides even more support and comfort for your back, allowing you to easily carry up to 50 lbs comfortably.
If you’re interested in a larger trekking backpack that can accommodate longer trips, then the Blaze is our recommendation.
With 60 L of space, you’ll be able to pack enough provisions and gear for winter trips or extensive trekking adventures.
P.S.: Here is an ultralight winter camping gear list for you in case you aren’t always sure about what to pack!
The space is divided into a large main compartment, two side water bottle pockets, and a stretchy long front pocket.
A handy addition to the Blaze is the removable top lid. This makes cutting a couple of ounces easier. Without the top lid, the Blaze is also compatible with a bear canister, so you can transport food easily.
The Blaze comes with an essential hydration sleeve. However, this sleeve will not fit a 3L hydration pouch inside. This is annoying, as you’d expect a bigger pouch with a bigger bag.
Usually priced between $250 and $300, the Blaze is pretty expensive. Most ultralight backpacks with a bigger capacity will likely be slightly pricier, which can’t be avoided.
If you can move past the price, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how comfortable this backpack is for its size.
Overall Score: 86
- Multiple quick access pockets
- Not weatherproof
- Reduced hip belt adjustability
The Sierra weighs 2.4 lbs, which is lightweight for the capacity the bag can offer. The reason it’s stayed so light could be attributed to the Y-Flex DAC suspension, made from aluminum.
It allows the bag to remain flexible while providing ample support for your back throughout your trek.
The Sierra comes with adjustable shoulder straps and a thick padded hip belt.
This bag attempts to remain versatile and lightweight, but this can be difficult if you use one hip belt design and shoulder straps to carry many weights.
Previously this bag offered four hip belt sizes, but unfortunately, the updated bag now only offers two.
The reason we love the Sierra is due to its adjustable capacity. Its expandable size increases the bag from 40L to 60L.
This is controlled by 4 compression straps, which make expanding and contracting the bag simple.
With two hydration ports, stretch mesh side pockets, and multiple small quick-access pockets dotted around the bag’s straps, you’ve got everything you need at your fingertips.
It should be noted that the Sierra is only water resistant and does not come with a rain cover. This is a big downer for us, as you need a trekking backpack to be durable in all weather.
Usually priced between $200 and $230, the Sierra is a more affordable ultralight backpack option. Its versatility is where its true uniqueness lies.
So, if you’re looking for a backpack adaptable to shorter and longer trips, this is what you’re looking for.
6. Osprey Exos 48 Men’s Ultralight Backpack
Overall Score: 90
- Not the lightest
The Exos weighs 2.76 lbs, which is relatively lightweight for its capacity.
We know it’s not the lightest backpack in this review, but when we combine its comfort, features, and weight, it truly is the best ultralight backpack for trekking.
Compared to other backpacks in this review that compromise comfort for cutting weight or reducing features to save you some ounces, the Exos provides these equally.
The Exos is named after its ExoForm harness, which provides ultra cushioning and alleviated comfort. Alongside this, the Exos includes an ultralight airspeed suspension, providing up to 4″ torso adjustability.
The Exo offers a customizable and personal fit. Perfect if you’re trekking long distances.
With a 48L capacity, the Exos offers space for medium-sized loads. This makes it a versatile option for short trips or packing lighter on longer adventures.
The space is divided into the main compartment, multiple pockets, and a removable top lid.
With trekking pole attachments, a hydration port, and quick access side pockets, the Exos has all your trekking essentials.
Compared to the Levity 45, the Exos has added some handy features that make trekking even easier. These include hip belt pockets, front stretch mesh pockets, and web lash points.
Although they may add a couple of ounces, they’re worth it for the convenience.
Usually priced between $200-$220, the Exos is one of the most affordable ultralight backpacks currently on the market.
It’s also constructed using recycled ripstop nylon, making this bag durable and eco-friendly!
With guaranteed comfort and versatility, the Exos is the best ultralight backpack, perfect for any trekking adventure!
This review has covered 6 of the best ultralight backpacks for trekking. We hope it’s provided you with all the information you need to make the right choice.
Whether you’re looking for a lightweight pack that’s budget-friendly or an ultralight option with a bigger capacity, we’re here to make your life easier. Happy trekking!