Last Updated on January 13, 2023
I’ve spent years assembling the best ultralight backpacking gear setup for my multi-day hikes into the wilderness, and I’d love to share my 2023 list with you.
Because the gear you bring along backpacking will make or break your trip. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.
On a 2014 attempted trek of the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland, a brutal storm put me and my inefficient gear to the test, and things went downhill fast. The humbling experience reinforced what I’d already known: it was time to overhaul my backpacking gear setup.
Since that fateful trip, it’s been my mission to assemble the best ultralight backpacking gear setup for my personal needs. I’ve counted ounces, scoured over reviews, and slowly pieced together my dream kit. The base weight of my 2023 ultralight backpacking gear list comes in right around seven and a half pounds.
Nowadays, I feel light, mobile, and unstoppable on the trail.
So check out the gear I love, read a few reviews, and use the checklists as you get ready for your next adventure into the backcountry.
Because backpacking is just better with quality ultralight gear.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ULTRALIGHT BACKPACKING GEAR
- Backpack, Shelter & Sleeping System
- Carried Clothing
- Cooking System & Food Storage
- Water Filtration & Storage
- Miscellaneous Items
- First Aid Kit & Toiletries
- Worn/Carried Items
- Ultralight Backpacking FAQs
- Benefits of Ultralight Backpacking
- Tips & Tricks for UL Backpacking
- Ultralight Backpacking Resources
- Final Thoughts
- More Hiking & Backpacking Resources
Backpack: Zpacks Nero 38 DCF
I switched to the Zpacks Nero 38-liter pack after my 2022 gear shakedown, and I’m thrilled with it. It’s comfortable, completely waterproof, and can haul four or five days worth of food with ease. For longer food carries, or during winter trips, I’ll continue to use my Arc Blast 55-liter pack.
Weight: 10.9 oz | 308 grams
Tent: Zpacks Plex Solo
I just downsized from the Zpacks Duplex to the one-person Plex Solo tent for the 2023 season. By doing so, I shaved seven ounces off of my base weight and now only have to carry one trekking pole. This is the lightest fully enclosed tent around, yet it still offers ample room to stretch out and store my gear.
Weight: 13.9 oz | 395 grams
Sleeping Bag: Katabatic Gear Alsek 22°
My Alsek 22° bag has never failed to keep me warm. Katabatic Gear’s quilt design saves weight by dropping the zipper and using less material than a mummy-style bag. The bag clips onto paracord that I wrap around the sleeping pad, which helps to control warmth and creates room to stretch out.
Weight: 23.0 oz | 653 grams
Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite
I used to sleep on the gigantic Therm-a-Rest Neoair Xtherm MAX, but I switched to the smaller three-season Xlite pad and trimmed 11 ounces off of my base weight. This pad is a commonplace among backpackers and has cemented itself as a staple in the ultralight community.
Weight: 12.2 oz | 346 grams
Stuff Sack/Pillowcase: Zpacks
I’m a finicky stomach sleeper and must have a quality pillow when I’m backpacking. By day, this functions as a waterproof stuff sack to hold my clothing, and when bedtime comes, I stuff my Plasma 1000 down jacket inside and it transforms into a super comfortable pillow that secures to my sleeping pad.
Weight: 1.4 oz | 40 grams
Tent Stakes: Zpacks Carbon Fiber
These ultralight carbon fiber tent stakes are as lightweight as it gets and stay anchored in the earth fairly well. As you might imagine, these are quite easy to break, and should be used gently; never forcefully hammer them into the ground. For more grippy stakes, opt for these ones instead.
Weight: 1.7 oz | 48 grams (8 stakes)
Total Backpack and Sleeping System Weight: 63.1 oz | 3.94 lb | 1.79 kg
Down Jacket: Montbell Plasma 1000
In terms of warmth-to-weight, the Plasma 1000 down jacket is second-to-none. By utilizing insanely efficient 1000-fill down as an insulator, Montbell has raised the bar for all premium ultralight down jackets. Gear nerds, rejoice, as it simply doesn’t get better than this.
Weight: 8.8 oz | 250 grams
Rain Jacket: Montbell Versalite
I recently upgraded my rain gear game and switched from the ultra-popular and affordable Frogg Toggs rain jacket to the Versalite. While sporting a much higher price tag, the Versalite fits better, breathes better, and is far more durable. It also works quite well as a windbreaker.
Weight: 6.3 oz | 179 grams
Wind Pants: Enlightened Equipment Copperfield
Hiking can get chilly in shorts, especially if you’re above tree line. This crazy light pair of wind pants helps stop morale-zapping gusts and layers well with my thermal bottoms to keep my legs warm. They dry very quickly and weigh as much as an empty water bottle. They’re a no-brainer for me.
Weight: 1.5 oz | 43 grams
Long Underwear: KUIU Peloton 97
If there are lighter thermal bottoms on the market, I can’t find them. I’m retiring my old Patagonia Capilines and giving these a try for the upcoming season. They’re made from crazy ultralight fleece, and even rock zippers at the bottom of the legs so you can take them on and off while wearing shoes.
Weight: 4.5 oz | 128 grams
Gloves: KUIU StrongFleece 220
I’m quickly becoming obsessed with KUIU gear. Their innovative materials are on the cutting edge of ultralight tech, and are quite comfortable to boot. These silky soft gloves helped shave nearly an ounce off my 2023 base weight, and should do everything I ask of them in the backcountry.
Weight: 1.3 oz | 37 grams
Headwear: KUIU Ultra Merino 145
My odor-blocking KUIU Merino wool neck gaiter has loads of practical functions on the trail, and will forever be a part of my backpacking kit. I regularly use mine as a headband, beanie, and face-covering during my hikes, and its versatile enough to be worn in countless other different ways.
Weight: .9 oz | 43 grams
Total Carried Clothing Weight: 23.4 oz | 1.46 lb | 663 grams
Food Storage Bag
I carried the Jetboil Flash for years before I decided to lighten my load and switch to the insanely light BRS-3000T. I’m glad I did. I shaved 9 ounces off my cooking setup weight and can boil water with ease. This little stove is a little erratic, but it gets the job done nonetheless. Read More >>
Weight: .88 oz | 25 grams
Pot: TOAKS Titanium 450 ml
Because I moved on from the Jetboil to the BRS-3000T, I needed to pick a camping pot to for all my backpacking food endeavors. The TOAKS 450 ml titanium pot fits the bill and has been as useful and durable as advertised. It’s a great portable mug for traveling as well.
Weight: 2.7 oz | 76 grams
Spork: Sea to Summit Alpha Light Long
This titanium Sea to Summit spork is feather-light, sturdy, and great at shoveling fresh-cooked backpacking food into your mouth. Its long handle measures about 8.5 inches, making it easy to scoop food from the bottom of freeze-dried meal pouches without dipping your hand into the bag.
Weight: .39 oz | 11 grams
Food Storage: Ultralitesacks DCF Bear/Food Bag Kit
This waterproof DCF bag (1.9 oz) can hold 7-8 days’ worth of food during multi-day backpacking trips. It helps masks odor from bears, and rodents, and can be used with a rock sack and paracord (.5 oz) to suspend and hang my consumables when hungry creatures are a threat.
Weight: 2.4 oz | 63 grams
Lighter: BIC Mini
I use my BIC Mini lighter to ignite my stove and to burn off any frayed threads on my precious backpacking gear. It’ll also help me start a fire to keep warm during low-temperature emergency situations. A lighter could be a lifesaver and is essential for any backpacker’s ultralight gear list.
Weight: .39 oz | 11 grams
Total Cooking System Weight: 6.8 oz | .43 lb | 192 grams
Dirty Water Reservoir
Clean Water Container
Water Filter: Sawyer Squeeze
The Sawyer Squeeze has cemented itself on countless ultralight backpacking gear lists. Why? Because it’s simple, effective, and very lightweight. Word to the wise: Don’t try to save weight by purchasing the Sawyer MINI. It’s maddeningly slow. Read More >>
Weight: 3.5 oz | 99 grams
Dirty Water Reservoir: CNOC Outdoors Vecto 2L
Though it weighs an ounce more than my old Evernew pouch, my new Vecto makes it far easier to collect water along the trail. It’s dual-opening design allows me to easily capture H2O from streams or scoop it up from shallow sources. It’ll also hang from a tree while gravity filters the water for me.
Weight: 2.5 oz | 71 grams
Filter/Bottle Coupling Adapter: Sawyer
This tiny little gizmo makes life much easier when filtering water on the trail. It allows me to connect my Sawyer Squeeze filter to my Smartwater bottle, making the process much more seamless. When properly connected, my filtering kit can also be hung on a tree for hands-free purification.
Weight: .3 oz | 9 grams
Clean Water Container: Smartwater 1L Bottle
Even though it’s twice the weight, I prefer the one-liter Smartwater bottle over the Sawyer Water Pouches that come with the Squeeze Filter. Why? Because the Smartwater bottle is more durable, easier to slide in and out of my pack, and doesn’t collapse when I’m filtering water.
Weight: 1.5 oz | 43 grams
Total Water Filtration and Storage Weight: 7.8 oz | .49 lbs | 221 grams
Cell Phone: iPhone 12 Mini
I recently switched to the iPhone 12 Mini mainly because it’s one of the lightest smartphones on the market. It has a fast processor, 128 GB of storage, takes great photos, but only has so-so battery life. My phone is my go-to navigation tool over physical maps on multi-day hikes.
Weight: 4.8 oz | 135 grams
Battery Bank: Nitecore NB10000
Since I rely on my phone as my primary form of navigation, a battery bank is essential for my multi-day trips. As far as I know, the Nitecore NB is the lightest 10,000 mAh power bank on the market. It’ll keep my phone, headphones, flashlight, and GPS unit charged for nearly a week.
Weight: 5.3 oz | 150 grams
Charging Port: Anker PowerPort Mini
Whenever I hit a town and stop into a restaurant or shop to quickly charge my cell phone and battery bank, the Anker PowerPort Mini is perfect for the job. It’s equipped with fast charging 12-watt output and can juice up my battery bank and other gadgets in just a couple of hours.
Weight: 1.3 oz | 38 grams
USB Cables: Cable Creation 6″
To charge my smartphone, battery bank, headphones, and headlamp, I carry two tiny six-inch USB cables (lightning connector and one micro-USB). Their minuscule length doesn’t allow me to use my phone while it’s charging, but that minor inconvenience is worth the weight savings.
Weight: .70 oz | 20 grams
Headphones: Apple AirPods Pro
Music, podcasts, and movies are an immense morale boost while hiking or winding down in the tent, so I always backpack with headphones. I recently upgraded to the luxurious Apple AirPods Pro. They weigh more than my old Panasonics and must be recharged, but they’re entirely worth it to me.
Weight: 2.0 oz | 57 grams
GPS Unit: Garmin inReach Mini
I used the Garmin inReach Mini for the first time on my thru-hike of the Colorado Trail, and I was thoroughly impressed. I was able to send messages to friends and family no matter where I was, and they could see my exact GPS coordinates every time. It’s great for solo backpackers who want peace of mind.
Weight: 3.5 oz | 99 grams
Flashlight/Headlamp: RovyVon Aurora A5X
I recently switched from my Nitecore NU25 headlamp to this teeny tiny USB-rechargeable flashlight. It has great battery life, rocks four different brightness levels, has a reading lamp setting, glows in the dark, and clips to the brim of my hat (all while weighing half an ounce). Need I say more?
Weight: .55 oz | 15 grams
Total Electronics Weight: 18.3 oz | 1.14 lb | 514 grams
Pen and Paper
Sit Pad: Folding Foam Mat
This lightweight sit pad is nearly identical to the one included with my Zpacks Nero 38 pack. It works as a comfortable cushion when sitting on the ground, fits inside my pillowcase to add volume, and served as padding for my Arc Blast when its frame snapped mid-hike. Read More >>
Weight: 1.0 oz | 28 grams
Trowel: ‘The Deuce #1’ by The Tent Lab
Nobody wants to step in doo-doo on their backpacking trip and Leave No Trace principles require that hikers dispose of their waste properly. This light-as-a-feather backpacking trowel helps me dig holes in the wilderness to bury my poo while leaving the surroundings virtually undisturbed.
Weight: .45 oz | 13 grams
Compass/Thermometer: Coghlan’s Four Function
A compass, thermometer, and whistle for under an ounce? That’s a no-brainer. I haven’t used the whistle or compass yet, but they’ll be there for me if I’m ever in a pinch. I hang this outside my tent so I can check the external temperature every morning.
Weight: .81 oz | 23 grams
Micro Scissors: Tacony Super Shears
I used to carry a mini Swiss army knife, but I never used any tools aside from the scissors. So, I swapped it out for this incredibly lightweight and compact pair of micro shears and shaved almost a full ounce in the process. These scissors are sharp, durable, and minimalist.
Weight: .18 oz | 5 grams
Mini-Towel: PackTowl Ultralite (Face-Size)
I use my PackTowl Ultralite microfiber towel for wiping down the condensation inside my tent and drying out my cooking pot, but it can serve many other purposes. It can be used as an emergency fire starter, mask, or gauze if the situation calls for it.
Weight: .56 oz | 16 grams
Pen & Paper
I love to take notes during my backpacking adventures, especially at nighttime inside my warm ultralight tent. Note-taking improves my memory and helps me recover important details when I’m writing my hiking guides weeks or even months after my initial experience.
Weight: .35 oz | 10 grams
Ditty Bag: Ultralitesacks DCF Ultralight Zip
Organization is key when backpacking, so I use this waterproof ditty bag (large size) to keep my electronics, accessories, toiletries, and first-aid items in order. It’s the perfect size for my needs, and I keep it at the top of my backpack for quick and easy access on the trail. Read More >>
Weight: .67 oz | 19 grams
Total Miscellaneous Weight: 4.1 oz | .26 lb | 116 grams
Total First Aid Kit & Toiletries Weight: 1.8 oz | .11 lb | 50 grams
Total Base Weight: 125.3 oz | 7.83 lb | 3.55 kg
Worn and carried items do not count towards total base weight.
Trail Running Shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D V8
These shoes saved my Colorado Trail thru-hike. 120 miles in, I made a switch from the La Sportiva Wildcats, which ran very small and put blisters all over my feet. The XA Pro 3D V8s were comfy and breathable from day one and made the rest of my hike enjoyable and pain-free. Read More >>
Weight: 27.8 oz | 788 grams
Hoodie: KUIU Peloton 97
KUIU’s Peloton 97 hoodie is a new addition to my list, and I can’t wait to get it into the mountains to put it through its paces. It weighs a meager five ounces, which is unfathomably light for a fleece hoodie. I still love my Montbell Cool Hoodie, but this is simply too innovative not to try out.
Weight: 5.0 oz | 142 grams
Shorts: Patagonia Nine Trails
I always used to hike in my prAna Strech Zion pants but came to realize that I’m happier wearing shorts. The Nine Trails are extremely comfortable, water-resistant, have built-in boxer briefs, and sport three separate zippered pockets. What more could you ask for in a pair of hiking shorts? Read More >>
Weight: 6.4 oz | 181 grams
GPS Watch: Garmin Instinct
Maybe it’s a bit of an ultralight backpacking luxury, but the Garmin Instinct’s usefulness on the trail makes it a no-brainer for my 2023 gear list. This sturdy and straightforward watch helps me navigate, records my heart rate, tracks altitude and distance traveled, syncs with my phone, and much more.
Weight: 1.8 oz | 52 grams
Socks: Darn Tough Light Hiker
The Darn Tough Light Hikers are the perfect backpacking sock. They don’t have much cushion, but are still durable, comfortable, and extremely breathable. Not quite your style? Check out our extensive post on the 16 best hiking socks for men and women in 2023.
Weight: 2.1 oz | 58 grams
Trekking Pole: Zpacks Carbon Fiber
This lightweight carbon fiber trekking pole is absolutely essential to my gear list. It distributes weight away from my injury-prone knees as I navigate steep terrain and also acts as tent pole to keep my Plex Solo standing strong. It’s light as a feather, durable, and tall enough to pitch my tent.
Weight: 7.2 oz | 204 grams
Hat: KUIU Air Mesh Flexfit
It was time to get a new hat, so I figured I’d grab one from KUIU that matches the pattern on my hoodie. Though I haven’t put it through the ringer yet, this hat seems quite breathable and should ventilate well when I start sweating. I love trying out new hats, so we’ll see how long this sticks around.
Weight: 2.6 oz | 74 grams
Sunglasses: Knockaround Fast Lanes
I’m too clumsy and forgetful with sunglasses to hold onto a pair for longer than a season, so I wear the budget-friendly Knockaround Fast Lanes. They’re stylish, fit my face well, and have polarized lenses. They’re only $28, so if I break or lose them, I won’t be heartbroken.
Weight: .85 oz | 24 grams
Total Worn/Carried Items Weight: 53.8 oz | 3.36 lb | 1.53 kg
I’ve accumulated an array of tiny plastic containers over the years to carry my sunscreen, blister prevention cream, bug repellent, Advil, and multivitamins. I carry the bare minimum of what I think I’ll need on a given trip and stash my toiletries and first aid supplies in two separate Ziploc bags.
Food for a day on the trail (about 3,000 calories) weighs about 24 oz (1.5 pounds | 680 grams), and I always bring an extra day’s rations in case of emergency. Check out my guide on backpacking food and meal planning if you want to see exactly how I pack food for a trip.
On average, I carry about a liter of water (35.25 oz | 1 kg) at a time during my backpacking adventures and filter water as I go. If the trail I’m hiking goes long stretches without any freshwater sources, I’ll carry two or more liters at a time. Water is heavy, so I try not to overload myself if opportunities to purify are abundant.
Consumables do not count towards total base weight.
Total Consumables Weight (Five Days of Food + One Liter of Water): 155.0 oz | 9.69 lb | 4.39 kg
Total Worn/Carried Items + Consumables Weight: 211.0 oz | 13.19 lb | 5.98 kg
Total Worn/Carried Items + Consumables + Base Weight: 334.8 oz | 20.93 lb | 9.49 kg
That’s it. You’ve now taken a peek at every single item on my 2023 ultralight backpacking gear list. I hope this post helps you in one way or another on your multi-day hiking endeavors.
And now, for those of you who aren’t entirely familiar with ultralight backpacking, I’d love to answer a few of your questions.
What is Ultralight Backpacking?
Ultralight backpacking is the minimalist practice of packing as light as possible while remaining safe and comfortable on the trail. The typical base weight limit for an ultralight setup is 10 pounds or less.
The ultralight mindset can be traced back over a hundred years but has only been widely practiced since the 1990s. Since then, technology has brought upon significantly lighter gear that is easier than ever to get your hands on.
What is Base Weight and What are Consumables?
Base weight is the total combined weight of your pack minus food, fuel, and consumables. Worn clothing and items that will be carried outside of your backpack (like watches, sunglasses, trekking poles, etc.) don’t count towards your base weight.
Think of your base weight items are the things that you’ll carry for the entirety of your hike (your backpack, tent, sleeping bag, extra clothing, etc.) The weight of these items should be more or less fixed for your entire trip.
Consumables are the items that fluctuate in weight during the duration of your trip (like food, water, stove fuel, Advil, sunscreen, etc.) The weight of your consumable items is not fixed and will vary from day to day.
Keeping track of your base weight and consumables separately will give make it easier to calculate how much you can expect to carry on a given trip.
There’s no cut-and-dry list of base weight items vs consumables in the ultralight backpacking community, so don’t fret much about how to classify everything you carry. Base weight is just a number in the end.
Does Backpacking Have a Weight Chart?
There’s no official weight chart for backpacking classifications, so defining them is completely objective. Based on my personal backpacking experiences, here’s my best stab at it:
- Traditional Backpacking: 30+ lb base weight
- Lightweight Backpacking: 20 lb base weight
- Ultralight Backpacking: 10 lb base weight
- Super Ultralight Backpacking: 5 lb base weight
Is Ultralight Backpacking Dangerous?
It can be, but only if you don’t prepare yourself properly.
Lightweight backpacking gear can perform just as well, if not better, than heavier traditional gear, so there’s no added risk if you pack for your trip appropriately. If anything, a proper ultralight setup is safer than a traditional setup because it will put less strain on your body.
Where ultralight backpackers can get in trouble is when they leave behind essential items (first-aid supplies, physical maps, weather-specific gear) for the sake of cutting weight. This practice of being “stupid light” is foolish and can put hikers in danger.
Is Ultralight Backpacking Gear Expensive?
For me, ultralight backpacking has been quite pricy, but it doesn’t have to be for you.
My current ultralight backpacking setup is worth around $2,500 brand new, which is no small price to pay. Cost aside, the quality gear in my pack will perform at a high level and likely won’t need to be replaced until many years in the future. That’s money well spent, in my eyes.
It’s possible to put together an ultralight backpacking for a fraction of what I spent, however. You just need to be willing to get a little creative. How, exactly? Seek out second-hand gear, research budget brands, and be willing to sacrifice a little bit of quality to save some money.
Many backpackers hesitate at buying ultralight gear, believing that packing less will diminish their experience on the trail. Here are some benefits that suggest that quite the opposite is actually true.
Carrying Less Weight Means Fewer Injuries
The heavier your backpack, the more susceptible you become to slips, falls, twists, sprains, and breaks on the trail. Lightening your load will make you more sure-footed and lessen the chance of injuries that can derail your hike in an instant.
You Can Move Faster and More Efficiently with a Lighter Pack
A fine-tuned ultralight backpacking setup will allow you to hike faster and more effectively than if you were to carry a backpack full of heavy, inefficient gear. This faster pace will lead to more daily distance hiked and less energy expended per mile.
Ultralight Backpacking is More Comfortable than Traditional Backpacking
Anyone who has ever carried a heavy, overstuffed backpack knows how agonizing the experience can be. Straps dig into your shoulders, dull pain creeps up your back, and your knees begin to ache with every step.
Too much weight on your back distracts from your hiking experience, plain and simple.
A streamlined ultralight setup will ease the discomfort of traditional backpacking, lessen your aches and pains, and put your mind off of your body and back onto your surroundings.
A Lower Base Weight Means More Space for Consumables
When you make the transition to ultralight, a lot of free space will open up in your backpack. This newfound room will allow you to pack extra food, water, and fuel for the long stretches of trail where you’re unable to resupply for several days at a time.
Over my years of backpacking and converting to an ultralight setup, I’ve learned quite a few valuable lessons along the way. Here are some of the best bits of ultralight backpacking wisdom I can offer you.
Buy a Scale
Every ounce counts in the world of ultralight backpacking, so get your hands on a precision scale and weigh every item that goes into your pack. Analyzing the weight of your existing gear will help guide the way for future changes to your setup.
To get your base weight as low as possible, you’ll need to take a close look at every single piece of gear on your packing list. Compare your current gear meticulously to other items on the market, and always ask yourself, “Can I go lighter?”
But lighter gear doesn’t always mean better gear, however, so be prepared to do thoughtful research and make decisions based on an item’s effectiveness as well as its weight.
Focus on the ‘Big Four’
In most backpacking gear lists, the heaviest items are as follows:
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping Pad
By getting your hands on a new ultralight tent, backpack, sleeping bag, and pad, you can trim not only ounces but pounds off of your traditional backpacking setup.
Don’t Bring Duplicates
Packing double of an item when one will do is a no-no in the ultralight backpacking community. Why? Because the UL mantra is about carrying only what you need and nothing else. This means you can leave the extra socks, shirts, pants, underwear, and sandals at home.
Share Gear with Others
Communicate with your hiking partners, share your gear, and distribute the weight between your backpacks whenever possible. Pooling the weight of your ultralight tents, stoves, pots, water filters, knives, etc. is a great way to lower your base weight by sacrificing some comfort and convenience.
Research Your Hike Thoroughly Ahead of Time
The trail you hike and the weather you expect to encounter should dictate what gear you pack and what you leave behind. Study your hike’s terrain, check forecasts, determine the distance between water sources, and pack accordingly.
For example, backpacking alone for two days in the world’s driest desert will call for a vastly different gear list than hiking for a week through intense wind and rain in Patagonia.
Let the journey ahead decide what you pack and leave all your other unnecessary gear behind.
Stupid Light, Not Even Once
Ultralight backpacking isn’t a contest, so don’t leave essential items behind just to shave a few ounces off of your base weight. This practice is called being ‘stupid light’ and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Prepare yourself for worst-case scenario weather, bring a complete first aid kit, and pack physical and digital maps when navigating unfamiliar terrain. Cutting corners to trim weight is foolish and can be life-threatening if your hike goes sideways and you’re all alone in the backcountry.
Here are some helpful books, websites, and tools that have been invaluable along my journey as an ultralight backpacker. I hope you find them as useful as I do.
Reddit.com/r/Ultralight is a helpful forum to discuss ultralight backpacking, gear lists, trip reports, and more. Redditors in this super-involved community are quick to answer questions, share wisdom, and offer advice.
LighterPack is a great place for backpackers to keep track of, analyze, and compare their gear lists. Users can assign weights to each piece of gear in their backpacking setup and the website calculates base weight, carried weight, and consumables in a helpful pie chart.
Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips
Though Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips was published in 2011, it’s full of thoughtful information that is still 100% valid today. The author, Mike Clelland, packs over 150 incredibly useful pointers into the book, all drawn from his lifetime of hiking, camping, and exploring the great outdoors.
Andrew Skurka has been an absolute legend in the ultralight backpacking community for years. Want some proof? Check out his 4,700-mile expedition around Alaska, where he hiked, packrafted, and skied for seven straight months through some of the world’s most remote wilderness.
Ultralight Backpacking YouTube Channels
YouTube is full of great ultralight backpacking enthusiasts who are eager to share adventures, gear recommendations, and tips with the world. My personal favorites are Darwin onthetrail, John Zahorian, and Jupiter Hikes.
In a word, definitely.
Going ultralight is an exercise in freedom and efficiency.
There’s simply no downside in drastically cutting your pack weight, as long as your new set up keeps you safe, happy, and comfortable on the trail.
Trimming weight and minimizing your packing list means that every item you pack should serve its purpose as efficiently as possible. Space and energy will no longer be needlessly wasted on hauling around a bunch of unnecessary stuff.
Less weight on your back means you’ll hike farther, longer, and more comfortably. There are simply no arguments against responsible ultralight backpacking that make sense, so my advice is to give it a try. Lighten your load, what’s there to lose?
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What are some of your favorite pieces of ultralight backpacking gear of 2023 that didn’t make my list? What’s your base weight? Do you have any ultralight packing tips or tricks? What is the lightest backpacking gear list you’ve ever seen? Let me know by leaving a comment below!