5 Best Ultralight Backpacking Backpacks of 2020 – Our Overall Review

Reviews of Backpacking Backpacks

This page was last updated December, 2020

Did you know that millions of people put too much weight in their backpacking backpacks? This may not seem like a big issue but depending on your age and fitness level, this can lead to health issues like lower back pain. That’s why its so important to understand how much weight your body can safely carry for an extended period of time.

The best way to alleviate any back issues when backpacking is to back as light as your possible can. Not only will this greatly lower the risk of injury but it will also make your backpacking experience much more enjoyable.

Anyone who has packed in to a campsite with too much weight knows that the experience isn’t nearly as enjoyable as it could have been.

So with that in mind, lets look at some of the best lightweight backpacking backpacks currently on the market.

Our Reviews for the Top Ultralight Backpacking Packs of 2020

If you’re looking for a quick overview of the best backpacking backpacks reviews, check out these top five reviews to determine the best pack for you to buy today.

ProductWeightStorage CapacityPrice
#1 – ULA Circuit
ULA Circuit backpacking pack
2lb 9oz68L$$
#2 – Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 backpacking backpack
1lb 14oz40L$$
#3 – Granite Gear Crown2 60
Granite Gear Crown2 60 backpack
2lb 3oz60L$$
#4 – Osprey Exos 48
Osprey Exos 48 backpacking backpack
2lb 9.9oz48L$$
#5 – Zpacks Arc Blast 55
Zpacks Arc Blast 55 backpack
1lb 5oz55L$$

ULA Circuit Backpack

Weight: 2lbs 9oz

Storage Capacity: 68L

Product Summary

The ULA (Ultralight Adventure) Equipment Circuit in our opinion is the best ultralight pack on the market. This pack is not only ultralight, it can hold up to 68L if need be which is tons of room for something so light. Keep in mind that the main compartment is 39L but when you include the collar, the large mesh pocket located on the back of the pack, the 2 side pockets, and the hip belt pockets, you have 68L of space.

One of the strongest parts of the ULA Circuit backpack is that it is made from 210D Robic Nylon which is extremely tough and durable material. Though this material isn’t waterproof, the pack does come with a nylon pack cover which weights 3.0 oz.

Some other great features include:

  • 2 side compression straps
  • Compression strap on top of lid
  • Bottom of the pack is tappered to brin weight close to the bottom of your back
  • Both shoulder straps have water holders and hand rests for your thumbs to use instead to keep blood moving throughout your body. 
  • Tightening bungi cords for side pockets
  • Dual trekking pole holders
  • Roll down type style design that clips securely to the pack
  • Front shock cord on outside of main mesh pocket to hold down clothes
  • Hydration pack sleeve in main compartment
  • Interior stash pocket for small items in main compartment

For those of you who are looking to go even lighter than the 2lbs 9 oz, there are several features that you are able to remove from the pack.

You can remove the following to cut down on weight:

  • Water Bottle Holding straps: 0.4 oz (per pair)
  • Hand Rests: 0.8 oz (per pair)
  • Shock Cord: 3.0 oz
  • Hydration Pack Sleeve: 1.4 oz
  • Internal Stash Pocket: 1.1 oz
  • Aluminum Stay: 3.0 oz
  • Carbon Fiber Loop: 1.2 oz
  • Hip Belt: 8.0 oz

Note: If you remove all of these features than you can get that bag down to its minimum weight of 22.1 oz.

Another aspect of this pack is that it is very customizable. You are able to order according to your torso size, shoulder strap style, pack color, and hipbelt size. You can even have your pack custom embroidered to make it unique. Its options like this that make this pack second to none.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Backpack

Weight: 1lb 14oz.

Storage Capacity: 40L

Product Summary

At just under two pounds, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest is very light weight. This is due in part to the material that its constructed from which is called Dyneema composite fabric. This fabric while thin, is very durable and lightweight.

The Dyneema composite fabric is also almost 100% waterproof so even if rains, your gear will remain dry. An added advantage of this material is that when you’re backpacking on hot days and find yourself sweating, the material doesn’t soak up the moisture and stick to your skin.

For backpackers who are used to using a larger bag (somewhere in the 60L range) you will be pleasantly surprised by how much gear you are able to store if need be. The external sleeves, including the main sleeve on the back of the pack as well as the two side sleeves, are quite large and will be able to store 10 additional liters of gear.

In addition to the large sleeves, the hip belt has 2 large storage sleeves that are perfect for your cellphone, keys, gps, or snack.

Granite Gear Crown2 60 Backpack

Weight: 2lbs 3oz.

Storage Capacity: 60L

Product Summary

Weighing in at just 2lb 3oz (excluding the removable lid), the Granite Gear Crown2 60 is an ultralight backpack with a storage capacity of 60 liters. This makes the Crown2 60 a very lightweight option that provides plenty of room for all of your gear.

Some of the packs special features include its adjustable Re-fit hip belt which allows the user to adjust the size of the padding on the waist, making it a perfect and comfortable fit for all body types.

The lid on the top of the pack comes equipped with a DWR treated zipper that is perfect for storing small items for quick and convenient access. However if you are looking to save even more weight, you can completely remove the lid.

The backpack also sports the V.C. Mark 2 frame which is a molded frame sheet that contains holes in order to minimize pack weight without compromising the design of the pack. In addition to removing the lid to save weight, you have the option to remove this frame sheet which should bring the weight of the backpack down to 1lb 11 oz.

Osprey Exos 48 Backpack

Weight: 2lbs 9.9oz

Storage Capacity: 48L

Product Summary

The Osprey 48 is great compromise between an ultralight pack and strong design. Osprey is a brand known for adding lots of features. While some of the features of the Osprey 48 have been removed in order to reduce weight, the backpack still comes with plenty of them.

This backpack is a top loading pack meaning the only access point to the main storage compartment is through the top of the bag. Like the Granit Gear Crown2 60, the lid of pack can be completely removed in order to reduce weight. If you decide to keep the lid on, it comes with a zippered pocket on the top exterior of the lid as well as a zippered pocked located on the bottom interior of the lid for additional storage.

The Osprey 48 also comes equipped with Osprey’s AirSpeed back panel which is designed to keep weight off of your back as well as provide plenty of air ventilation to keep your back nice and dry.

While the height of the shoulder straps isn’t adjustable, the sternum strap is. You are able to fit your chest comfortably by simply sliding the sternum strap up and down the shoulder strap.

The pack is designed with large and durable stretchy side pockets including an additional side pocked for easy access to your water bottle as you walk.

All in all this is a great ultralight backpack that provides you with enough features and room to suite your backpacking needs.

Zpacks Arc Blast 55 Backpack

Weight: 1lb 5oz

Storage Capacity: 55L

Product Summary

The Zpacks Arc Blass 55 backpacking pack is much like the Hyperlite 2400 Southwest pack in that it is also made of Dyneema Composite Fabric also known as Cuben Fiber. The material is both extremely durable and lightweight.

Like the other packs on this list, it is also a top loaded pack, meaning the only access point to the main storage compartment is through the top of the pack. The main compartment has a volume capacity of 42 liters and the remaining 13 liters of storage are spread through the side pockets (2.5L per pocket) and the mesh pocket on the front of the pack (8 liters).

Besides the material in which the ZPacks Arc Blast is made, the best thing about this pack is the adjustable patented “Arc Frame” which allows you to customize the ark of the frame by tightening down on straps to bend the carbon fiber stays away from your back in order to maximize comfort and breathability along your backside.

All in all we think this is great pack. We love that it is so light weight and highly adjustable. The only thing we wished is that there was some more convenient storage areas such as pockets for the hip belt.

Backpacking Gear Reviews

If you would like to read some more of our other reviews on backpacking gear, please check out our homepage.