Hiking can be a serious business.
Not only do you have to pack all-weather clothes and provisions, you also feel the weight more as you begin to tire. So why add extra pounds with any old backpack?
In this detailed article, we want to provide you some great recommendations for lightweight comfortable backpacks that won’t slow you down when you’re on the hiking trail.
As fabric technology develops so too does outdoor gear design. Bags are getting lighter and lighter, which is great news for us hikers who want to stay light on our feet.
Here, I'm going to look at our top five best ultralight backpacks, focusing on design, weight, durability, and versatility.
Hopefully, I can do enough of the heavy lifting so you don't have to.
My best picks of lightweight day packs feature Osprey, CamelBak and Deuter models. They are some of the heavyweights in the hiking industry and for good reason. They deliver extremely comfortable and long lasting hiking backpacks with a name you can trust.
Top Weekend/ Day Hiking Backpacks (1-2 Days)
The first lightweight day pack on my list is the Osprey Packs Talon 22. The people at Osprey say that this pack will 'cling to your back like a frightened monkey' and to be honest we have found that they're not wrong.
The back panel with foam ridges hugs the body and is delightfully breathable, while the chest strap will keep the pack stable when you're moving over uneven terrain.
The interior is roomy and the features are versatile. Side mesh pockets give you plenty of options for storage. The bags are almost unbelievably lightweight, but yet doesn’t sacrifice in the quality of the materials or overall structure of the pack. This is a tough little bag that you'll be hiking with for a long time.
Most importantly, this daypack comfortably fits to your back and is so lightweight that you won’t even notice it on you during your hike.
The Osprey Daylite is the second pack from this Californian company on my list. While the Talon 22 has a multitude of features, the Daylite has a much simpler concept. The body of the bag is streamlined and the outer pockets are limited.
The designers have kept the chest strap for stability, and the back panel has plenty of padding while maintaining breathability.
Features include a key clip and large loops and buckles, so you have access to the pack on the move.
The Daylite is a great size for a lightweight day pack, with enough room for all your hiking essentials.
Deuter have dominated the outdoor gear market since their beginnings in the 19th Century. You can trust that with their experience and talent, they produce some of the best ultra light backpacks on the market.
The Deuter Men's Speed Lite is no exception to this German company's classy reputation. The pack has a grab handle, and nicely padded shoulder straps, with added stability from a hip belt and chest strap. The mesh back is comfortable adding to the pack's lightweight feel.
The main compartment's zippers have large loops which are great for attaching accessories or for opening the pack without stopping.
This is a perfect sized bag for a day hike. Fitting easily onto my list of the best lightweight backpacks, the CamelBak Cloudwalker 18 is as light and as breezy as its name suggests.
Quite frankly, it’s like walking on clouds. Not really, but anyways it sounded cool.
The ripstop fabric makes the CamelBak Cloudwalker incredibly durable without losing any of its airiness. There is also a central air channel in the back panel that promises a comfortable hike no matter the climate.
This pack's key feature however is the hydration bladder. With your bag organized and ready to go, you don't need to worry about water bottles slipping out of side pockets as the hydration bladder has you covered.
Deuter proves once again that they make some of the top lightweight backpacks available with the Race X. As the name suggests, this pack is about speed, airiness and cool.
Starting with speed, the design is bright, bold and smart. Well-marked pockets and zippers make organizing your pack easy and fast. You won't be fumbling with this bag when on the move or in cold temperatures.
Mesh shoulder straps means the Hiking Race X is very breathable and the central airstrip in the back panel aids further airflow.
In terms of cool, the design is edgy and confident; you won't be missed when out in the wilderness.
Top Multi-Day Hiking Backpacks (3+ Days)
Although the daypack reviews above are considerably lighter and best for shorter trips. There comes a time when you will need a pack for longer than a few nights.
When these longer trips come into play you will need to pick up one of the best multi-day hiking backpacks to carry all your clothes, equipment, and food.
Below, we outline our three favorites and offer a best value cheaper option at the end.
If you can’t tell by now we are huge Osprey fans. I have used there packs consistently as they make arguably the best packs on the market. They have a great reputation and it is for good reason.
Although the daypacks are much lighter, Osprey does a great job of putting in great lightweight, but durable materials in all there packs.
We love the LightWire frame that transfer the weight to the hipbelt and makes it easier to carry around all the heavy equipment.
As expected, this pack has oodles of great compartments for storing all your gear and sleeping equipment.
Osprey again put out another excellent multi-day pack at a slightly smaller frame than the one listed above. But yet, it is still comparable at 65 Liters size.
They have excellently comfortable straps and the hip belt is fantastic.
The pack comes with a nice adjustable harness and a top lid that comes off if needed. In case you doubt it’s comfort, the company boasts an anti-gravity suspension providing it with a perfect fit.
Personally, we love this pack and we have found that this pack has rated out as high as any pack out there.
If you are ready for a new, lightweight hiking backpack, we know this one will satisfy all your needs.
Teton Sports easily makes our best value option in the top lightweight hiking backpacks category.
The pack has great comfortability at a 55 liter capacity (slightly less room than the previous two offerings). The pack is wonderfully lightweight at less than 5 pounds.
It is important to note that we found this pack to be a little less comfortable and the pockets not nearly as accessible as the Ospreys listed above.
However, that is to be expected at a much lower price point.
In case you are hesitant to try out a new brand, TETON Sports offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty and seems to really value satisfying their customers if something goes wrong.
If you are looking to save money and need a mid range multi-day pack, we believe the TETON Sports Scout 3400 is the way to go!
Summing It Up: Picking The Best Pack
I've looked at some great, innovative ultra light backpacks from some of the best manufacturers on the market.
Before you choose your pack you should think about which style suits your needs best. If you use the pack for a variety of purposes, then more pockets will help you organize your day more.
However, if you want ease of use and roominess, then a simple pack like the Osprey Aether 70 will be more than likely be your style.
The wealth of packs available online can overwhelm you the buyer, but hopefully my guide has lightened your load.