The number one backpacking gear that you need for hiking or traveling is a reliable lightweight backpack. This needs to be a good and reliable bag that will accommodate everything you need. It mustn’t be too heavy because you will need to carry the extra weight.
You have so many options to choose from and I understand that this can get confusing. This is why I reviewed some of the best options available and compiled the following guide for you.
What You Should Know Before Buying Lightweight Backpack
So, before you get down to figuring out which backpack suits you, you need to know about the different features that matter. These will guide you to make the best decision depending on what you need. These are some of the main areas to focus on before purchasing.
If you want an ultralight backpack, then the frame needs to be simple and adequate to carry what you need. There are different types made from polypropylene, and some are metallic made from aluminum. Ultra Lightweight backpacks usually have the option of removing the frame to make your load even lighter to carry.
The material used in making the backpack will determine how heavy it will be. If a dense fabric is used in the construction, then it will be heavier. Nylon propylene and polyester are the most common types of fabric used in a lightweight backpack.
The thickness of fabric also matters in determining durability. Manufacturers use deniers to measure this. The higher the deniers, the thicker the fabric. Lightweight backpacks have a lower denier rating of between 100D to 420D.
Balance and Weight
You might have a lot of stuff to carry in your backpack, so you don’t need the extra weight from the bag itself. However, it is not all about the fabric and frame. How well the backpack is balanced and comfortable plays a massive part in how heavy it will feel.
Other than that, women sizes backpacks tend to be lighter than men’s, so take advantage of this and go for ladies rucksacks to save some pounds. Lightweight backpacks will typically weigh less than four pounds.
The type of opening on your backpack does not affect its overall weight much, but it affects your bag’s security, which is essential. There are a few openings that are common, as follows:
- Roll-top. As the name suggests, this type of backpack is rolled at the top and secured using either hooks or buckles. It is excellent since it allows you extra space and is considered the most secure opening.
- Drawstring. This is another favorite in lightweight backpacks as they give you a wide opening. They use a string that is drawn and tightened to secure it. They, however, have a lid fastened using buckles for extra security.
- Middle zipper. It is a great design when you have a large backpack, and you don’t want to spend too much time digging through it to reach the stuff at the bottom. It has a zip running from the top to the bottom of the bag.
Fit and Comfort
One of the main reasons to buy an ultralight backpack is that it doesn’t add to the load you’re already carrying. Shoulder straps help in making the bag easier to carry and while it may make the bag heavier, padded straps are best. They ensure that even when it is heavy, the straps won’t dig into your shoulders. The two main types are the stabilizer and sternum kind. Stabilizer straps help lift your load by centering it, so it reduces the tension on your shoulders.
The sternum helps distribute the weight off your shoulder and ensures that the bag isn’t slipping. You may also want to consider the bags with hip or waist belts. They help to give you a better fit and take away the strain from your back so it is more comfortable.
Back Panel Design
An important thing when determining the back panel design is lumbar support. This is a feature that provides a frame that helps improve your posture. It ensures that your back is comfortable by ensuring that it doesn’t strain through features such as padding. Many bags in this list have padding, which helps to keep your back upright and prevent friction.
What’s the Best Lightweight Backpack?
There are so many options in the market, and it might be difficult on your own to find a backpack that will give you all you need. This is why I have gone through many popular options and compiled this list for you.
I took into account the bag’s functionality and the price, and how big a load you need to carry. I have tried to make a list diversified to ensure that you have various options to make the best decision. I have also added a frequently asked questions section at the end to address any concerns that you may have.
Weight: 2.1 lb (1 kg)
Size: 23.5 x 13 x 8 in (59.7 x 33 x 20.3 cm)
Fabric: 100D High-tenacity nylon, 210D High-tenacity ripstop nylon
The Granite Gear Crown 2 is easily a popular backpack since it really has everything you would need in a lightweight bag. One of the things that you will appreciate is the 100D high tenacity fabric with 210 ripstop nylon. This makes it durable to withstand all your trips whether rough or light.
The main opening is a roll-top, which means that it is water-resistant so it can withstand a little rain. It has a capacity of 60L for the main section. There are plenty of side pockets, with the lid having space to carry some smaller items that you would want to access quickly. It features a V.C Mark 2 frame, which is made from polypropylene. This is an essential part since it gives the pack the much-needed ventilation so you can sweat without making it wet.
- NeverWet treatment to keep the fabric dry,
- Wide roll-top design for easy access and security,
- Stretchy side pockets for extra space,
- Compression straps to reduce strain in your shoulders,
- Adjustable hip belt for a better fit,
- Load lifter straps to ease strain from your back,
- It has a long lifespan
- Quite pricey,
- It’s not the best if you sweat a lot
Capacity: 55 Liters
Weight: 2.7 lb (1.2 kg)
Size: 31.5 x 16.1 x 14.6 in (80 x 40.9 x 37.1 cm)
One of the things that they focused so much on this bag is comfort. It has AirSpeed suspension, which is supposed to take the load off your backpack. This makes it suitable for hiking, and no matter the weight you carry, it shouldn’t feel heavy on your back.
It includes a reservoir sleeve for the hydration bladder, which can carry up to 3L. There’s the regular front mesh pocket that is stretchable so that you can accommodate many things. Some additional features include sleeping pad straps that are removable, a trekking stick attachment, and a flap jacket.
- The floating top lid is removable,
- It can carry up to 40 pounds,
- Evenly distributed weight with AirSpeed suspension,
- Compression straps for better weight transfer,
- A stretchy front mesh pocket offers more space
- The compression straps are fragile,
- No hip pockets
Capacity: 50 Liters
Weight: 2.2 lb (1 kg)
Size: 25.6 x 13.8 x 9.8 in (65 x 35.1 x 24.9 cm)
Fabric: Polyester, Nylon
It is considered a daypack since it doesn’t have an internal frame, but you can get in three to four days of supplies. This means that the bag has no structure which will affect how you pack. It will be slightly more difficult to arrange everything in your backpack.
It does have various side pockets and a front zipper pocket that provides more than enough space to carry what you need. The eight adjustable straps are beneficial here since they allow you to attach a sleeping bag, hiking pole, and any other equipment that you may need.
- It is affordable,
- Various utility pockets for added space,
- Water-resistant in case of slight rain,
- Adjustable straps for comfort,
- Made using polythene and nylon making it durable
- No internal frame so there is no structure and back support,
- It’s a bit small
Capacity: 58 Liters
Weight: 2.7 lb (1.2 kg)
Size: 30 x 12.5 x 12 in (76.2 x 31.8 x 30.5 cm)
This is a lightweight backpack that holds everything together pretty well thanks to its robust frame, which comes in handy for the 58L capacity. If you wish it were lighter, you can always remove the top and replace it with the protective weather flap.
They have also done a pretty good job balancing the load, thanks to the leaf spring pad that makes it comfortable. While it has a large capacity, it is pretty compact, making it ideal for women who would like to backpack for a long time. There have been concerns about it being fragile, so you will have to be more careful with it.
- Includes a rain cover,
- Focus Foam shoulder harness makes it more comfortable to carry,
- The internal aluminum frame gives the bag good structure,
- Ventilated back panel with EVAP moisture wicking to keep it dry,
- Removable lid to ease the load
- The mesh is a bit light,
- It is not durable
Capacity: 60 Liters
Weight: 2.4 lb (1.1 kg)
Size: 26 x 13 x 5.4 in (66 x 33 x 13.7 cm)
Fabric: Ripstop/420D Nylon Oxford
Outer Fabric: 100D Nylon-Poly
It is made using 100D Nylon and 420D Oxford, so it is a durable bag that won’t break easily. This model is about 40-60L, is medium-size, but there is a smaller and bigger pack.
It has a horizontal gusset is one of the features that stand out here since it allows you to expand or contract your backpack. Note that whether you increase how wide it is or not doesn’t change how heavy it feels due to the Y-flex suspension. It has three stays that support the load in a balanced way to make it easy to carry up to 40 pounds.
- It comes in various sizes,
- It is expandable,
- It has a removable reservoir sleeve,
- Made using 100D nylon fabric so it is durable,
- It is versatile so it can be used anywhere,
- It has a lifetime warranty
- The upper pocket is a bit small
Capacity: 40 Liters
Weight: 0.8 lb (0.4 kg)
Size: 22.8 x 13.4 x 7.9 in (57.9 x 34 x 20.1 cm)
Fabric: High Quality Water and Tear Resistant Nylon
Many great backpacks come with a price tag of more than $200, but this one costs significantly less, and you get value for money. It is a pretty small backpack, so remember that it is a day bag, but you can have at least two days of supplies with proper packing. The top flap has a pocket to fit in some more things allowing you to carry more.
Since it is pretty lightweight and compact, it is made with women in mind. The straps are well-padded and have a chest strap to make the bag easier on your shoulders. The material is tear and water-resistant, but it is breathable enough to prevent excess sweating. Avoid pulling the straps, so they don’t snap.
- It is affordable,
- A zipper closure system for easy access,
- It has a water-resistant cap,
- Compact design,
- Wide variety of colors
- Arm straps are a bit weak
Capacity: 65 Liters
Weight: 5.1 lb (2.3 kg)
Size: 32 x 18 x 12 in (81.3 x 45.7 x 30.5 cm)
Outer Fabric: Ripstop
This is a pretty large bag, so it is suitable for a long trip thanks to its 65L capacity. It may look a bit awkward when empty, but it does well once you fill it up. The main pocket holds most of the stuff, but the side pockets and the mesh, too, keep quite a bit. The material is pretty water resistant but included is a rainfly that will ensure all your belongings remain dry.
Many backpacks have sleeping bag attachments, but the Explorer 4000 has a dedicated pocket for that. Other than the padded shoulder straps, you get waist and hip attachments to make it more comfortable. It is suitable for backpacking for a few days, hiking or trekking.
- Large capacity so you can carry supplies for up to five days,
- It is expandable to increase space,
- Performs well in rugged trips,
- It has a sturdy internal frame,
- It has a sleeping bag compartment,
- Compression straps for a comfortable fit
- It isn’t easy to access the side pockets
With the above list in mind, you may still wonder which is the best backpack on the list. According to my comparison, the Granite Gear Crown 2 60L Backpack is the best pick. It is a large backpack that can allow you to carry what you need to last for days or weeks.
It is comfortable thanks to its load lifter technology, which distributes the weight of your load. The extra straps ensure that you get a good fit and it helps in balancing what you carry. The bag is also durable due to its 100D rating. If the price tag is within your budget, then this would be a very good option for you.
Questions and Answers About Lightweight Backpack
What is considered a lightweight backpack?
A lightweight backpack is determined by the material used in its construction. They use lighter fabrics such as polypropylene and nylon which are durable. These bags also have a lower denier count of no more than 420D which is not too thick hence not heavy.
What is the best base weight for a lightweight backpack?
The best base weight for a lightweight backpack is about 15 pounds. This ensures that you have all the necessary items. Anything lower than this and you may end up missing one or two important things such as a sleeping bag. At this capacity, you will still have enough space for foodstuff and still manage to keep the overall weight under 25 pounds.
What features should you consider when choosing a lightweight backpack for women?
What to look for is not too different from that of men, but the most important thing is to find what is essential for you. One of the most significant considerations is size. The total weight you carry should not be more than 20% of your body weight. Since many women weigh less and are generally smaller than men, a smaller backpack would be more comfortable. Other points to consider are how comfortable the bag is and whether it has a day bag unzipped from the main one.
Are ultra lightweight backpacks worth it?
Yes, they are. They ensure that you only carry what you need, so you don’t overburden yourself with extra weight. They are easier on both your shoulders and back, especially when walking or hiking long distances.