ultralight backpack reviews

The Osprey Exos 58 in Glacier National Park.

The 10 Best Backpacking Packs of 2021

By Michael Lanza Backpacks come in many sizes and designs for a reason: so do backpackers. Some of us need a pack for moderate loads, others for heavy loads, and still others for lightweight or ultralight backpacking. Some prefer a minimalist pack, others a range of features and access. Everyone wants the best possible fit and comfort, and almost everyone …

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Backpackers in upper Titcomb Basin, Wind River Range, Wyoming.

The Best Ultralight Backpacks of 2021

By Michael Lanza Do you need an ultralight backpack? Many backpackers might answer “no” when their answer should logically be “yes.” These packs aren’t just for thru-hikers. Typically weighing roughly between two and three pounds empty, ultralight packs have support for carrying 25 to 35 pounds—making them ideal for more than just ultralight backpacking. For many backpackers, that represents the …

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Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Windrider backpack in the Wind River Range.

Review: Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Windrider Ultralight Backpack

BackpackHyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Windrider$345, 55L/3,400 c.i., 1 lb. 15 oz. (medium)Sizes: S (fits torsos 15-17 ins.), M (17-19 ins.), L (19-21 ins.), Tall (21+ ins.)backcountry.com When the 3400 Windrider was delivered to my house, the box looked much too small to contain a backpack—if I’d had no idea, I might have guessed it contained a small tent. It’s not …

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A backpacker on the John Muir Trail overlooking the Cathedral Range in Yosemite National Park.

The Best Backpacking Gear for the John Muir Trail

By Michael Lanza So you’re planning to thru-hike the John Muir Trail and making all of the necessary preparations, and now you’re wondering: What’s the best gear for a JMT hike? Having thru-hiked the JMT as well as taken numerous other backpacking trips all over the High Sierra—mostly between late August and late September, which I consider that the best …

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The Osprey Exos 58 in Glacier National Park.

Gear Review: Osprey Exos 58 and Eja 58 Ultralight Backpacks

Ultralight Backpack
Osprey Exos 58 and Eja 58
$220, 58L/3,539 c.i., 2 lbs. 11 oz. (men’s medium Exos)
Sizes: men’s Exos S-L, women’s Eja XS-M
backcountry.com

It’s difficult and sometimes dangerous to improve on a piece of gear that’s nearly perfect in its simplicity and functionality. So when Osprey rolled out the redesigned Exos for 2018, along with a women’s version, the Eja, with some changes to this popular model—which became an ultralight pack archetype when it was introduced in 2008—I immediately wanted to see whether the changes represent an improvement. Taking it on a six-day, roughly 90-mile hike on the Continental Divide Trail through Glacier National Park, I found definite improvements—including that it carries better than the previous iteration—and I think some backpackers may miss one convenient feature that’s absent from the updated pack.

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