Traveling light always is liberating. One bag and only the gear you’re really going to use is the way to go. Lighter luggage and less stuff equals less worries. Using public transportation is easier and walking is not pain in the back (quite literally) anymore. One thing that matters, though, is the quality of your gear. To make the process of finding the right gear easier in this article I’m giving our recommendations, that include some of the best ultralight backpacking gear.
It’s a quality backpacking gear, that’s super light and is going to last you. It’s also gear that’s suitable both for backpacking and hiking trips. Are you planning to go and camp in the wilderness? Thanks to ultralight travel gear nowadays it’s possible to go on these kind of trips light as well.
Scroll down to learn more about how to make a backpacking journey more pleasant (lighter bag = better), and hassle free. Note that you may not need all of that that I’ve listed below – and that’s fine – most will not need all of that. And you should also not look at it as a complete packing list. Because it isn’t a complete backpacking packing list.
Ultralight Backpacking Gear List + Short Backpacking Gear Reviews
What to pack for a backpacking trip? What to pack for a hiking trip? How to travel as light as possible? These are some of the questions I’m going to help you to find the answers to in this best lightweight backpacking gear guide. Remember, quality ultralight backpacking gear is not cheap! So, if you want to travel light and have good travel gear, save some money and start preparing for your trip early enough!
One more thing to remember – the lightest stuff is not always the best. So do your research, know where are you going to and choose your gear wisely! Scroll down for our ultralight backpacking gear list + our recommendations.
Not only it is important to choose lightweight clothes and gear, but also a backpack! Choose an ultralight backpack to reduce total weight even more. Remember, the lightest backpack is not always the best lightweight backpack, so do a research before buying!
Best Ultralight Backpack: Osprey Levity / Lumina
Comfortable and supportive extra lightweight backpacking pack. Despite being so lightweight it’s durable and will hold up to wear and tear.
The exterior of the Osprey Levity pack is made of NanoFly material which is very durable and abrasion resistant.
Ultralight AirSpeed suspended mesh back panel which is fully ventilated will keep you cool and comfortable. The backpack features well padded ExoForm hipbelt and harness which balance out the weight of the bag perfectly.
The Levity pack features two fabric side pockets with InsideOut compression cord. There are also removable side compression cords and a front fabric pocket, as well as internal hydration sleeve.
45 liter: 1.8 lbs (830 g);
60 liter: 1.9 lbs (870 g).
Women’s specific version of the Levity – Lumina – is available. Check it out on Amazon!
2. Backpack Rain Cover
To protect your pack and gear in it from rain you’ll have to get yourself a lightweight rain cover. Actually, you can get any rain cover because majority of them are lightweight enough. However, if you count every ounce, we recommend you to get the Osprey UltraLight rain cover.
Lightweight Backpack Rain Cover: Osprey UltraLight Raincover
To be able to protect your backpack and your belongings in it from rain better get yourself a good lightweight rain cover!
The Osprey UltraLight rain cover is a great option for those who count every ounce. It is made of lightweight 40D Rip-stop Nylon which is durable and extremely water resistant. The rain cover folds down into its own pouch.
Note, that the Osprey UltraLight rain cover is not the most durable rain cover when it comes to rough transportation conditions.
Size: M, L, XL (30 – 110 liter).
Weight: 2.8 oz (80 g) – 3.5 oz (100 g), depends on size.
3. Backpacking Tent
To save space in your bag and make it lighter as possible choose a lightweight tent. It should be good quality and extremely water resistant in case you get caught in a downpour.
Best Ultralight Tent: Nemo Hornet Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Made of durable ultralight materials, The Nemo Hornet is one the lightest tents on the market.
The tent features a privacy panel for extended coverage and security, and DAC Featherlite hubbed tent poles which reduce weight and allow you setup the tent quickly. The one-piece tub floor will protect you from the elements and increase the longevity of the tent.
This ultra lightweight tent has a vestibule where you can keep your gear.
The Nemo Hornet is available in 1 person and 2 person sizes. The 2 person tent features dual doors.
Nemo’s 2 person tent is quite tight, thus it’s the best backpacking tent for couples and solo travelers. If you are two friends who plan to travel and camp together, check out other options (e.g., Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL).
1 person: 2 lbs (0.9 kg);
2 person: 2 lbs 5 oz (1.05 kg).
4. Sleeping Bag
Just like with everything else try to choose the lightest possible. However, it might not work for everyone. Some of us are cold sleepers, and the most lightweight sleeping bags are summer sleeping bags. But, cold sleepers, don’t worry! There are plenty of good and warm sleeping bags that aren’t that much heavier than most of the best lightweight summer sleeping bags.
Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering 32 Degree Summerlite
An ultralight sleeping bag perfect for minimalist travelers that count every ounce!
The Western Mountaineering Summerlite 32 is a 3 season sleeping bag but some people might get too cold in this sleeping bag during late autumn or early spring. So, if you are a cold sleeper, get yourself a warmer sleeping bag. There are plenty of warm yet quite lightweight sleeping bags (eg., Western Mountaineering 10 Degree Versalite).
The Summerlite is a traditional mummy sleeping bag, but it has an insulated draft tube and a warm hood with a drawcord. The sleeping bag has a double full length zipper that can be opened down at the footbox if it’s too warm.
This compact sleeping bag comes in a stuff sack.
Weight: 1 lb 5 oz (595 g).
5. Sleeping Pad
Sleeping pad – for extra warmth and comfort. Quality, ultralight insulated sleeping pad is the best option for hikers that want to travel as light as possible.
Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Pad: Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air Sleeping Pad
Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air – ultralight and compact inflatable 3 season pad.
The shell of this pad is made of high-tenacity, rip-stop nylon material. The sleeping pad features PrimaLoft Silver insulation which traps body heat. Thus you’ll stay warm even when the temperatures will start to drop. Antimicrobial treatment inside the pad prevents microorganism growth.
The sleeping pad has a low-profile, single port, two-way valve which allows you to inflate the pad easily and deflate it fast. It comes with a repair kit.
The Big Agnes sleeping pad is available in both mummy and rectangular shape, and comes in several sizes.
Weight: 10.6 oz (301 g) – 15.9 oz (451 g), depends on the size.
6. Camping Pillow
Lightweight inflatable camping pillow is the best option for ultralight hikers. It folds down to a small bundle and doesn’t take up much space.
Ultralight Backpacking Pillow: Sea To Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow
Made from 20D laminated polyester, the Sea To Summit Aeros Ultralight is very light and compact. It folds down to a small bundle and doesn’t take up much space.
The camping pillow is laminated with abrasion resistant high strength TPU, and has durable RF-welded construction. Thanks to the curved internal baffles your head will rest comfortably on the pillow.
Thanks to the scalloped bottom edge that centers it over the shoulders, you can use this pillow when you are sleeping on your back, side or sitting upright in a chair.
It takes only a few breaths to inflate the Sea To Summit Aeros pillow.
Weight: 4 oz (113 g).
Hammock can be used both for lounging and camping (sleeping). If you are traveling to a tropic destination and plan to camp there, a hammock, a lightweight tarp shelter and a summer sleeping bag are all what you need for sleeping.
Ultralight Backpacking Hammock: Hummingbird Hammocks Ultralight Single+ Hammock
The Ultralight Single+ is an extremely lightweight and packable backpacking hammock. It folds down to a small bundle, a size of a small toiletry bag (6″ x 4″ x 2″ / 15 x 10 x 5 cm), and weights way less than other backpacking hammocks on the market. The hammock features Button Link attachment system which is lightweight and doesn’t contain heavy metal parts.
The Ultralight Single+ hammock is made of nylon and is very durable – it can hold up to 350 lbs (158 kg). It is designed by an FAA Certified Parachute Rigger.
Weight: 7.6 oz (216 g).
8. Collapsible Travel Bottle
It’s very important to stay hydrated all the time! So, when preparing for your upcoming trip, don’t forget about a reusable water bottle! Choose a quality, lightweight bottle to reduce the total weight of your bag.
Despite the flimsy look, collapsible travel bottles actually are very good and durable. Just get one from a reputable brand, such as Platypus.
Lightweight Collapsible Travel Bottle: Platypus SoftBottle
Platypus SoftBottle – a super-flexible travel bottle. It’s very lightweight and durable, and has simple yet smart design. Bottle narrows at the middle for ease of holding.
It’s very compact and highly packable thus it doesn’t take up much space when folded.
Platypus SoftBottles are BPA-free, BPS-free, and phthalate-free.
The Platypus SoftBottle comes in 0.5 and liter-size (16.9 and 33.8 fl oz) with either a Closure Cap or a Push-Pull Cap.
Weight: 2 oz (57 g).
9. Microfiber Towel
Bath towels are not really designed for travel, especially a hiking / camping trip! They are large, fluffy and take up much space in the bag. A microfiber towel is a great alternative. It’s lightweight, folds up really small and dries quickly.
Lightweight Microfiber Towel: Sunland Microfiber Towel
Way more compact and way lighter than a regular bath towel. The Sunland microfiber towel folds down to a small bundle and doesn’t take up much luggage space.
It dries quickly and is versatile. It can be used as a bath, beach, camping or even as a dish towel.
The Sunland towel is soft and gentle to the skin, and is super-absorbent.
The towel is available in several sizes and comes with a carry bag.
Weight: 3 – 10.2 oz (85 – 288 g), depends on the size.
10., 11. Camping Stove and Camping Cookware
If you are going on a self supported trip making your own food is the only option. Get yourself a portable camping stove and lightweight cookware set to save space in your bag and reduce total weight of the bag.