Throw in the Aircontactâs streamlined but functional organization and quality materials, and you have a compelling backpack design. You do not need expensive gear to enjoying backpacking. Weight: 2 lbs. Further, we love the fit system on the hipbelt, which can be adjusted to your exact waist measurement with a simple but precise Velcro system. This is where the old external framed packs had a distinct advantage â pockets and organization galore. 8.3 oz.Fabric: Nylon (600D and 1000D)Capacities: 50, 65LWhat we like: Cheap, well-built, and reasonably light.What we donât: Lacking in comfort when weighed down; limited organization. Granite Gear Blaze 60 ($270) The ULA Circuit is differentiated from the other ultralight packs on this list by its durable build. The result is best-in-class ventilation, and the flexible mesh conforms to your back and waist very well. Youâll see simplified organization, reduced padding, and a more basic frameâsome even go without metal stays (metal rods that give the pack a rigid structure) completely. Depending on the trip, you can throw them on for additional organization or leave them behind and trim 7 ounces off of the packâs weight. REI recently updated all of its sleeping bags, and the Igneo 17 is the men's middle-priced bag for 3-season use. The padded backpanel favors comfort and support over breathability, and we found it to be stiffer and warmer than a mesh-heavy design like the Atmos above. Itâs still smart to take extra care when bushwhacking or setting the pack down on rocks, but so far itâs the least compromised ultralight pack weâve tested. Itâs worth noting Osprey offers an even lighter alternative for thru-hikers and ultralight backcountry explorers in the sub-2-pound Levity. r how rough your day is, the REI Co-op Trailbreak Foam pillow ensures you have a good place to rest your head at bedtime. While brands like Hyperlite and Zpacks use Dyneema fabric (formerly cuben fiber) to cut weight, Gossamer Gear uses a light yet tough Robic nylon. As with the Baltoro, we found the Sidekick to have questionable value, so we donât see this as much of a downside. If not, the extra weight will overwhelm the packâs suspension, making for some miserable trekking. Taken together, itâs an excellent revamp to one of our favorite mid-range packs...Â Read in-depth reviewSee the Gregory Paragon 58Â See the Women's Gregory Maven 55. Bags made with Dyneema (previously known as Cuben Fiber) naturally are waterproof, which is a key benefit to the ultralight fabric. And a final note for true ULers: you can remove the backpanel and top lid to trim weight even further... Read in-depth reviewSee the Granite Gear Crown2 60Â See the Women's Granite Gear Crown2 60. The company makes a number of backpack options depending on conditions and sizing, and we think the 3400 Southwest is their best all-rounder. This compares to bags that are $400+, and the Igneo equaled their aspects in many ways. Our tester and staff were all surprised by this bag, it's right on the money. In terms of construction, the Arc Blast uses a similar water-resistant Dyneema (previously called Cuben Hybrid) construction as the Hyperlite above but in an even more streamlined form. Our tester and staff were all surprised by this bag, it's right on the money. We use affiliate links andÂ may receive a small commission on purchases. 1. 15% OFF. There are, however, sufficient lash points and mesh pockets on the body of the pack to keep most minimalists happy. Enjoy an expedition structured for success: with no pre-determined ending date our flexible itinerary gives our expeditions the freedom to make a summit bid on a timeline dictated by the mountain and the climbing team. This accounts for the low weight but weâve found it less durable for rough treatment and off-trail scrambling (we got a small puncture in the bottom of our Arc Blast putting it down on a rocky section of trail). And it rolls down to 1/5 its size so you can pack it anywhere. Weight: 1 lb. With a pack like the Osprey Atmos AG 50, youâll need to keep your packed weight low, stick to the essentials, and be sure to use the aforementioned compressible gear. Weâre also a little disappointed that Osprey got rid of the hipbelt pockets on the redesign, which we consistently find to be handy for storing small items like a phone or snacks. Visit REI Co-op online and in-store. Dyneema Composite Fabricsâformerly Cuben Fiber until a recent name changeâhas arrived on the ultralight backpacking scene in a major way. The Aircontact Lite (previously the ACT Lite) is Deuterâs entry-level pack and was updated last spring. As long as you keep your pack weight under the recommended 35 pounds, the Crown2 is a winner. This well-designed pack has thoughtful features like a large J-shaped zipper for access to the main compartment, plenty of exterior pockets, and a rain cover. Fly over the lakes and rivers of Alaska’s wilderness into the rugged peaks of the Alaska Range to Denali's Kahiltna Glacier: one of the largest, most impressive glaciers on the mountain. Done right, an ultralight pack is a deserved replacement to your old faithful traditional pack. I gotta agree with you fellow camping enthusiast. Backcountry Gear deals on the largest selection of outdoor gear and brands anywhere. Nevertheless, we donât recommend packing much more than 30 pounds in an ultralight packâand itâs often better to keep it closer to 25. Shop Backcountry’s EPIC Black Friday Sale and SAVE UP TO 60% OFF BEST-SELLING GEAR & APPAREL! Excessively soft padding might feel great when first trying on a pack, but it doesnât offer the long-term support needed for hauling heavier loads. Despite these complaints, the Trailbreak is one of the more well-thought-out models weâve seen at this price pointâit even weighs a reasonable 3 pounds 13 ounces and includes hipbelt pocketsâearning it our top budget pick.See the REI Co-op Trailbreak 60Â See the Women's REI Co-op Trailbreak 60. But at 3 pounds 9 ounces and a reasonable $230, itâs an attractive option for anything from overnight to extended trips. We took the latest model on a difficult trek through the Grand Canyon and were pleased with its overall performance. Technical gear costs money. Below are our favorite backpacking packs for the 2020 season, from ultralight bags for minimalists and thru-hikers to comfort-oriented options for weekend warriors and extended trips. What do you compromise by going with the Exos? I'm the editor of this site, not the author of the review. REI See all the gear deals REI has to offer. Low weight, decent quality down, weather resistant striping in good places, and packs down quite small. Mystery Ranch is relatively new to the backpacking scene, but the brand can trace the roots of its founder, Dana Gleason, to the legendary Dana Designs packs of the 1990s. The polypropylene frame sheet and thin padding on the shoulder straps and hipbelt just canât handle a typical full load of gear. Thanks for reading the review. One of the Glacierâs main competitors is the Osprey Aether above. In addition, the Rook has a basic suspended back panel for ventilation, is well-built, and is extremely tough: the 600D/1000D polyester and nylon is by far the thickest weâve tested, even beating out the 6-plus-pound Mystery Ranch Glacier below. What sets it apart is how few tradeoffs there are in using this 2-pound 3-ounce bag (ours has a large frame and medium hipbelt). This review smacks of rich people's approach to buying equipment. If you're more of a visual learner, REI put together anÂ informative video and articleÂ on how to get your torso and hip size. Cozying into your sleeping bag at the end of a long day on the trail is one of the simple pleasures of backpacking. Cheers. SHOW DEAL. Additional access to the bottom or middle of the pack via a u-shaped zipper can be a big help, keeping you from having to shovel through a once-meticulously organized pack to find some elusive item. I have the older version! Verified and Tested. Most importantly, thereâs reduced stress on all your joints by hauling less weight, so you can cover more miles with less effort (and less pain). Buy a Wagner or a grizwald or even a no-name. Weight: 4 lbs. Some ultralight packs do a decent job of balancing these needs, including the Osprey Exos 58, which uses a creative mesh design surrounding thin foam for a good balance of weight and support. The good news is that most backpacks offer decent water resistance with hard-face nylon, but sustained rainfall will penetrate the fabric. As nittanyvalley responded below, and as I responded to ItsBail in another comment, price is very much relative. How about spending some time finding that out? Whatâs not to like with the latest Blaze 60? That said, the Flash lives up to its name and is now a bona fide option for serious ultralight backpackers...Â Read in-depth reviewSee the REI Co-op Flash 55Â See the Women's REI Co-op Flash 55. And finally, donât forget about exterior attachment points or loops for an ice axe or trekking pole. These compromises push it to the bottom of our rankings, but the Kelty fills an important niche for those looking to maximize capacity and value.See the Kelty Coyote 85. Shop now! But if those nitpicks arenât deal breakers for you, the Glacier is a wonderfully built pack thatâs made to last.See the Mystery Ranch GlacierÂ Â See the Women's Mystery Ranch Glacier. And yes, you can get a sleeping bag for less than $170, less than $100, even less than $60 in some cases. It is my first down bag and I love it.I have since used it sleeping in my car. Weight: 2 lbs. Gregory modernized the design last year by trimming a few ounces off the previous version, improving ventilation with mesh along the backpanel, and adding a large stretch shove-it pocket at the front. $300 is now "middle-priced"? And guess what? Alternatively, if youâre into minimalism and ultralight gear, you can get away with a corresponding lightweight pack. The pack includes a range of removable featuresâREI calls them âPackmodâ accessoriesâincluding compression straps, two hipbelt pockets, a shoulder strap pocket, and the aforementioned water-resistant top lid. One area where we wish REI hadnât compromised was fit adjustments: both the hipbelt and shoulder straps are fixed in place and offer limited customization. It all starts with nailing the size, which can then be... An in-depth look at the top backpacking tents on the market, from ultralight models to spacious all-rounders and leading budget options. All told, the Trailbreak is a fine option for those just getting into backpacking or who only plan on taking one to two shorter trips a year. Available at REI, 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed. Hiking boots are critical to your comfort and performance on the trail, but this no longer means a stiff and burly model that will weigh you down. But we do like the price and weight, which are why the Deuter makes this list.See the Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10Â See the Women's Deuter Aircontact Lite 45+10. These bags are intended to haul heavy loads with strong suspensions, firm but supportive padding, and excellent organization. It's a mummy bag, but pretty comfy as mummy bags go. $300 for a "entry price" sleeping bag. Last but not least, we love the large J-shaped zipper for easy access to the main compartment. Incredible customer service. The vast majority of quality backpacking packs cost upwards of $200 or more, but if youâre willing to sacrifice some in terms of comfort and features, you can save with a design like REIâs Trailbreak. Considering the build quality, features, and comfort, the Traverse is a solid value at $249. Shop Gear & Outerwear and get 10% back in Moosejaw reward dollars! Gregoryâs Optic combines the brandâs comfort-first ethos in an ultralight package. What did REI change with its most recent update? In addition, the mesh backpanel gave it a nice, close feel, and we appreciated the included rain cover and hipbelt pockets, which are features not found on all ultralight models. The Baltoro is among the most comfortable and feature-rich designs out there, but it comes at a weight penalty. REI Co-op Trailbreak Foam Pillow | REI Co-op. Other concerns are that the pack has minimal organization, lacks a front shove-it pocket, and is only made in one size (with four levels of torso adjustability nevertheless). Overall, the Atmos is an extremely well-rounded build that works great for anything from quick overnight trips to extended jaunts into the backcountry. Most impressively, the Blaze pulls this off while undercutting most of the competition by 1 pound or more. On the flipside, if you can manage to keep it light (in the 25-pound range or less), the basic padding and suspension system can do the trick. Moreover, smart use of padding and support makes the Zpacks and particularly the Hyperlite handle weight surprisingly well. What do you give up by choosing REIâs entry-level pack over the pricier options on this list? The men's REI Co-op Trailbreak 20 sleeping bag gives the right balance of warmth, packability and weight for those breaking into backpacking and everything that comes with it. Below we cover all the gear you need for your backpacking adventures, including detailed round-ups, reviews, and... REI Co-op entered the world of ultralight backpacking in a big way with the release of their Flash 55 pack last year. More than any other model, the 60-liter Crown has put Granite Gear solidly on the ultralight map. Ive been rocking a $40 bag and yes, its bulkier, heavier, and maybe not as warm as a multi hundred dollar bag but it works for me. Browse our best trail running shoes for men today. Impressively, the design manages to carry heavy gear comfortablyâweâve had it loaded with over 45 pounds on more than one occasion. If financial costs are a big part of this barrier for you, we recommend considering the REI Trailbreak 30. Packs like the Gregory Baltoro and Arc'teryx Bora AR are great examples of effective use of this type of high quality, firm padding. And because itâs the piece of gear that will be hauling the rest of your stuff, commit to moving your entire setup to ultralight status. However, you don't need an expensive bag to keep you warm or comfy. New for 2020, the 60-liter pack hits the basics: you get simple foam padding along the backpanel and hipbelt, an internal steel frame for structure and support, and a 35-pound max load that can work well for many overnight and multi-day treks. Now get out your pan and keep on cookin’ in cast iron! We loved the design, although there are a few sacrifices in choosing this type of pack (see our in-depth review of the Atmos AG). SHOW DEAL. Standout ultralight packs that made our list include the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60, Zpacks Arc Blast 55L, Hyperlite 3400 Southwest, and ULA Circuit 68. The Exos 58 was Ospreyâs original take on an ultralight pack (also offered in 38 and 48 liter capacities), and is still one of our favorites in this category. Both models offer impressive carrying comfort and features for ounce counters and thru-hikers at well under 3 pounds. Alternatively, you can purchase a separate rain cover, and we like Ospreyâs UltraLight Raincover best: it weighs just over 3 ounces, packs down small, and fits snugly around a decent range of pack sizes. If you aim to keep things light and simple on a backpacking trip, this probably isnât the bag for you. We tested the 58-liter version while backpacking in Patagonia and had zero comfort-related issues while hauling up to about 35 pounds. 9 oz.Fabric: Nylon (100D x 630D)Capacities: 50, 65LWhat we like: Close fit and fantastic back ventilation.What we donât: Fairly heavy at over 4 pounds. 4.1 oz.Fabric: Dyneema Composite (2.92 oz/sqyd)Capacity:Â 55LWhat we like: Incredibly lightweight; very water resistant.What we donât: Not very durable. In cases like the Gregory Baltoro or Osprey Aether, the u-shaped opening is so wide that you can pack and remove items much like a travel suitcase. To start, you get plenty of functional features: Granite Gearâs signature (and elaborate) compression straps, plenty of mesh pockets along the front and sides, and a roll-top closure for securing the load. All non-ultralight overnight, weekend and extended travel packs feature foam padding to increase comfort. The Blaze 60 is Granite Gearâs flagship piece, combining heavy-hauling credentials and functional organization at a 3-pound weight. See the REI Co-op Trailbreak 60 See the Women's REI Co-op Trailbreak 60 Best of the Rest 5. People thru hiked the AT and the PCT 20 years before that with even heavier, less functional stuff. It was more difficult to pack and access gear than other models weâve used and didnât make the Aircontact perform better on the trail. Sometimes I just go to REI and touch stuff if I'm passing by to see what the latest innovations are in outdoor tech. Weâll start with the positives: itâs priced well at $200 and reasonably lightweight at 3 pounds 14 ounces. We'd like to start reviewing cheaper gear, but it's very hard because models change often, manufacturers typically don't provide good warranties, and there is little to no information on what the products are made of. There are some exceptions, and backpacks overall are becoming lighterâtake for example theÂ Gregory Baltoro, which dropped a lot of weight between models (about 9 ounces to get down to 5 lbs. Updated deals every day, garage sale items, special discounts for members. A properly set up pack will place most of the weight on your hips, with the shoulder straps taking a light amount of weight and keeping the pack tucked in close to your back. As long as I can stay warm without a rock or stick in my back Im passing out no problem. Make sure the pack youâre looking at has these side compression straps towards both the top and bottom to aid in load stability. The UpLift design from REI on theirÂ Traverse 70 pack is notable in that it pulls the packâs load into a focused area along your lower backâexactly the place you want to be carrying the majority of the weight. The RotoGlide, as Arcâteryx calls it, places the hipbelt along a track in the backpanel that allows it to move up and down as you lean forward on a climb. True. But they will be warm and comfortable. These extra zippers add a little weight, but are often worth it. 2. Top-brand gear, clothing—and outdoor adventures! The final benefit is that the Dyneema fabric is highly resistant to water, which means you donât have to worry about bringing a rain cover. The Mariposa 60 also uses Robic nylon, but itâs a lower denier and as a result a little less tough. This is a 3-season backpacking bag. Just that this one is cheaper than super high-end competitors, and does a great job. Is this a new pack from REI? Very lightweight gear sometimes goes without even a whiff of foam in the hipbelt and/or shoulder straps, so itâs an absolute necessity to keep your loaded weight to a minimum. 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