Examples of Lightweight Backpacking Equipment
By Steve Gillman
This page on lightweight backpacking equipment is an update
to The Ultralight Backpacking Site, with examples of what's
available now, at least for the big three items (backpack, tent,
sleeping bag). There are also links to other pages about gear
further down this page -- and some of these have also been recently
41 ounces - The REI Quick UL 45 was selling for about
$100 last time I checked, and has a capacity of 3,000 cubic inches.
Some owners complain about there not being enough pockets--never
a complaint of mine, since pockets add weight. Others recommend
keeping the load under 30 pounds--I would never go close to that
39 ounces - The Osprey Talon 44 sells for around $160,
and has a capacity of 2,600 cubic inches. It is highly rated,
with some comments about the fragility of components, and is
good for up to about 25 pounds.
6 ounces - That's not a misprint. The Mountain Laurel
Designs Prophet costs around $130 and has a capacity of 2,750
cubic inches. It is meant for carrying loads of 15 pounds or
less (my kind of backpacking), which gets easier when you start
with a pack that is this light.
Under 3 pounds - There are a few tents this light available
from GoLite. I am currently using a GoLite screen tent (one-man)
that weighs about a pound, pitching it under a one-pound tarp,
for a total shelter weight of around two pounds if I leave half
of the stakes home and use natural materials instead (easy to
do in most places).
23 ounces - The Photon Elite Tent, from Terra Nova,
sleeps two (tightly perhaps), and is actually a double-wall tent
(it has a rain fly). The titanium stakes weigh just a gram each--one
of the ways they kept the weight down. The tents normally sell
for more than $300.
16 ounces - There are still tarps from several manufacturers
that come in at less than a pound.
7 ounces - The Thermo-Lite 2.0 Bivy Sack is essentially
plastic with screening for ventilation at the foot. I have used
one of these on a rainy night without getting to damp inside
it. I did keep my head outside the bivy (under a small umbrella)
so I wouldn't add the moisture of my breath. The last time I
looked these sold for about $30.
16 ounces - The Marmot Atom Sleeping Bag: 40 Degree
Down sells for around $230 and is an ounce lighter than even
my old Western Mountaineering bag.
16 ounces - The Western Mountaineering HighLite is
still for sale after all these years, and I see that the regular
length is a bit lighter than mine. I love my HighLite. They sell
for about $260 now, and although they rate it as good to 35 degrees
Fahrenheit, I have stayed warm in mine down into the 20s.
12 ounces - The Laser 300 Elite from Terra Nova has
to be the lightest real sleeping bag I have seen. They say 11.64
ounces, to be precise, and it is good to about 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
I didn't even know they made 900-fill down (900 cubic inches
per ounce). It sells for about $330 at the moment.
Lightweight Backpacking Equipment Pages
Tents - As well as other options like tarps and bivy sacks.
Bags - The lightest and other alternatives.
- The various options for internal frame, external frame and
frame less backpacks.
My Ultralight Sleeping
Bag - Over ten years old, just 17 ounces, and still works
Hiking Clothes - Some of
the options for things you can buy and... make?
Lightest Backpacking Gear - Examples and suggestions for
keeping it light.
Backpacking Equipment - Examples I posted in 2008, worth
reading for the "extra" information.