Any recommendations on a lightweight backpack for overnight to five-day trips?
I’d say get a pack around 50 liters that’s lightweight but not ultralight, so you can use it on a greater variety of trips, that will carry up to 35-40 lbs., but is light and compressible enough for a 20- to 25-lb. trip.
The Deuter ACT Zero 50+15 is an excellent example and reasonably priced.
The Osprey Exos 58 is one of my favorite packs for light to moderate loads; I’ve used it for years. It’s a pound lighter than the other packs I’m recommending here, but will handle 30 to 35 lbs. comfortably.
The Gregory Savant 58 would handle a somewhat bigger load, but is still not too big for what you’re looking for.
You might consider a slightly larger-volume pack if you want to have one that would allow you to also carry some of another person’s (wife, kid) stuff, like the Osprey Atmos 65.
Hope that helps. Make sure you measure your torso correctly to get the right size pack. Try on packs with weight in them before picking one. Good luck.
[In Ask Me, I share and respond to a reader question. Got a question about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside? Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it to @MichaelALanza. I will answer the ones I can in a post, using only your first name and city, with your permission.]