5 of the Best Lightweight Backpack on the market
One of our proprietors was hit with numerous requests on inbox for the best lightweight backpack. We have been trailing for over 10 years, and so people will rightfully ask us all manner of questions regarding hiking and outdoor activities. Usually, we work with the heavier gear, as most of our escapades involve heavy treks, but we like a good challenge.
To answer this question correctly, we had to go all out and test some of the best gear, based on reviews on different sites. Luckily, most of the brands that deal in heavy-duty equipment also have one dedicated to the lighter packing, and so we bought our packs from them.
The intention was to test five packs from different manufacturers and to come up with a comprehensive report.
5 Best Lightweight Backpack Reviews 2018
1. Gonex Lightweight Backpack - Ultra Lightweight with best price
With its brightly colored exterior and numerous compartments, this backpack certainly stole our hearts. From a distance, it looks a little too happy for a hike; until you have a good look from up-close and realize that, the interior has a 1,220-c.i capacity.
It weighs 185g, and so it will not weigh you down even with a reasonable load. Its full size is 44 x 30 x15 cm, but you can fold it to fit into your smaller luggage as a sizeable sandwich would.
The material that makes this backpack is nylon, highly water, and element resistant. It does not tear that easily too, which makes it ideal for hiking even in extreme weather. It has an SBS metal zipper at the top, and others on the side to ease access. Shoulder straps are padded for comfort and breathable too.
While the main compartment is large enough to accommodate your essentials, the pack contains side pockets and one on the back to carry extra items. The side is ideal for our water bottles and tiny food containers while the back pockets make for easy access to guidebooks, maps, and even a camera.
It is vibrant, coming in blue, orange, black, light and dark green, purple, red, and rose red. This colorful feature increases visibility for cyclists. It is multipurpose, as you can also use it as a backpack for your books when you hang your hiking boots temporarily. At the airport, you could turn it into a hand luggage for your excess baggage to avoid paying for it.
2. 20L/33L New Outlander Backpack - most durable lightweight backpack
With its multiple compartments, this backpack is roomy without looking it. It is made of sturdy material with adjustable, stable shoulder straps that you can hang all day without harming your back or shoulders. It is lightweight, weighing in at 0.5lbs.
The backpack is made of nylon; which is rip and water-resistant. With minimal weight, of 20/33L, this bad will go a long way without a single rip. It is enforced with bar tacking to enable it to handle extra weight without ripping. This backpack will easily last you a long time, thanks to this keen tailoring and the material.
Any hiker likes a pack that gives them easy access to their essentials. The side compartments on this backpack will accommodate your camera, water bottles, and food containers without any strain. You can easily access them without removing your pack from your back. The abrasion resistant SBS metal zippers, both at the top and on the side pockets are easy to open and large enough to operate easily.
Apart from hikes, you can use this backpack for other purposes. It is quite colorful so that you can take it on your cycling expeditions and benefits from the visibility. It could fit school books quite well, with its roomy compartments. Additionally, you can turn it into a hand luggage, should you exceed your weight limit at the airport. When not using it as hand luggage, it fits quite well in your suitcase, as it is easily foldable.
The cost makes it a unbelievably cheap investment. This backpack is our absolute winner for so many reasons, not the least being its affordability and the durable material. Throw in the lifetime warranty from the manufacturer and you have yourself a stellar performer.
3. Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack - packable & high capacity backpack
Made of waterproof and rip resistant nylon, this pack will hug your back (literally) for years. The sturdy material makes it possible to stack more than you think this bad boy can take in.
With a 35-liter capacity in the main compartment, you will have enough room to carry your clothes and water bottles. The side pockets make for easy access for those items you will need along the way, such as water, snacks, an umbrella, and even a camera.
The double-layer bottom piece makes it possible for this pack to carry a heavy load without strain and the 2-way metal zippers keep the items well secured. To enhance longevity, this backpack has bar-tacks at all major stress points.
It also has a chest strap that is equally padded to keep your luggage secure on your back and to make the pack more comfortable.
To ensure you have enough room for your travel essentials, this backpack contains three compartments. The first is the main and largest, lined inside with a thick pad to protect the back and to make it secure. The side has two smaller pockets that you can use for your camera, umbrella, and water bottles. At the front, you have two zippered compartments for out passport, maps, and small books. It keeps your stuff organized and saves you time.
It weighs 0.7lbs, and multifunctional. You can use it for your hikes as well as frequent travel. It comes in various colors too; orange, blue, pink, and black. When not in use, you can fold it to sandwich size for easy storage.
4. Hikpro Lightweight Backpack - best lightweight foldable camping outdoor
This lightweight (8oz) backpack from Hikpro looks like a small package until you open it. It has a 25-liter capacity, and is ideal for daytrips, day packing, and school. It is foldable to sandwich size, small enough to throw in your suitcase when you travel. It is multi-colored too, and so you can turn it into your cycling bag.
The manufacturer backs it up with a 5-year warranty, within which period you can exchange your purchase. If you are utterly unhappy with it, you can return it within 30 days for a full refund. Although the main compartment is meant to handle up to 25 liters, it can take more, thanks to the bar-tacks placed on each stress point to prevent it from ripping under pressure.
It has four zipped compartments, apart from the side, meshed compartments ideal for water bottles and umbrellas. The main compartment is for your usual load, while the second compartment at the front is perfect for a camera or an iPad. The third part will carry your books magazines, maps, and guides, while the last small zippered compartment holds cash, credit cards, and passports.
The mesh shoulder straps are adjustable and padded for comfort. They are breathable to prevent soaking your clothes and blistering the sensitive skin. Thanks to the adjustable shoulder strap, this backpack fits both the tall and the short.
HikPro has this backpack in four colors: teal, navy blue, red, and black, which is the newest color in the collection.
5. Large 35L Outlander Lightweight Backpack - with multi compartments
When Outlander releases a new backpack, they go all out. They are especially color happy, which makes us happy too! This pack shows mastery in its making, with a sturdy mesh shoulder strap. The strap has extra padding to protect the shoulders, which are prone to injury.
The pack has a chest strap to keep it secured to your back. It also makes it possible to retain an upright posture, as you are to a forward slack, owing to the weight on your back. The colors give you a wider selection wider than any other backpack manufacturer we have come across. You have orange, gray, blue (different shades), black, red (different shades), fuchsia, and purple. Everyone is catered to!
Nylon, water resistant, and tear-free is the material of this pack.
This pack has three compartments. The main part hold your larger belongings such as clothes, the first outer part is ideal for a camera and gadgets, while the outer pocket can hold your small books, and guides. The meshed side pockets are for umbrellas, snacks, and water bottles.
It folds easily to fit in your suitcase during travels and for easy storage. You can also use it in several ways, including hauling your gear when you go cycling (colors will call attention to motorists), use it for your day travels, and even make it your hand luggage when your exceed weight limit.
We got packs from Gonex, Outlander, Hikpro, and Venture Pal. E had to get two from Hikpro, as they impressed us with their design and variety. What followed was a near ruthless treatment of these packs.
Not a scratch on the iPad. We were impressed. These backpacks performed so well that the five of us decided to keep them. I like the fact that the colors keep me visible to my fellow cyclists when I am on the road.
What We Liked
- Padded Shoulder straps-The shoulder straps are meshed and protective of the shoulder with their extra padding.
- Their light nature that could have you fooled of their durability. These packs are made of lasting material that is not only waterproof but also tear-free.
- Most of them have a long warranty, while a few are guaranteed for life. This is a sign of the manufacturer’s confidence in their products.
Perfect size for those that like to travel light
Ccompartments to allow for a modest amount of organization
A bit flimsy
Hard to find stuff between 2 pockets
The inside lining starts peeking after a second use
The material is soft but not padded
Not very water-resistant
Comfortable shouder strap
Adjustable shouder strap
Chest strap included
Comfortable shouder strap
The larger pack also has a different shoulder straps
- Main pocket
- Main pocket
- Main pocket
- 3 Zippered compartments.
- Main pocket
Why Bring A lightweight Backpack?
The idea of lightweight is actually a personal decision. For some people, 30 pounds is the lightest they could squeeze in, while some will make do with a mere 15 lbs. It is ideally the minimalist theory of ‘less is more,’ a line that every hiker perfectly understands. I mean, the last thing you need in the wild is a heavy load holding you back while you have your body weight to contend with. So, why is that lightweight backpack a necessity?
- No deadweight needed
As we noted above, you do not need extra weight holding you back. You are already subjecting your body to some serious activities and using most of your energy propelling yourself forward.
A heavy load would not only slow you and your fellow hikers down but also water down the activity for you, seeing that you would be too drained to enjoy your surroundings. Your pack needs to weigh as little as possible to accommodate the essentials of your trip without making you want to turn back midway.
- Extra Storage Space
These bags are designed with the seasoned hiker in mind; the kind that goes away for days. It has enough compartments to pack whatever you need without wasting any precious space. They are camels in a way.
You can load up a lot of things for your trip without seeming like you have that much in there. You have compartment dedicated to food, one for water, and another for your clothing items. It also saves time, apart from lightening your load. You can access your water bottle easily, without putting the entire pack down or even slowing anyone down.
- Light Material
You may dismiss these bags for what seems like the lightness of the material, but their sturdiness would surprise you. They are tough enough to take practically anything you throw at them. Because the design and make have the hiker in mind, this bag pack is light, compact, and some of them will be weatherproof.
You will create memories with your for a long time. Additionally, this light material reduces your pack’s weight significantly, without compromising on the storage capacity.
- Health Concerns
Do not compromise your back in the name of adventure. Lugging heavy load al day for a week could harm your spine in the long run. As a hiker, you cannot avoid this as your need to carry your earthly possessions (literally) o your back every day of your hike.
What you can do is ensure to take only the necessities and keep them as light as possible.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Best Lightweight Backpack
The ideal backpack (at least for me) has enough space to accommodate my luggage, and is easily accessible. I like those that have large zippers across the top to make work easier even when I am bone tired. If the torso height is adjustable and it has a full wrap belt, then, I am sold. These factors are vital
- The Initial Cost
I am not sure I should have brought this up. Seeing that you want to invest in quality, which is synonymous with a high price. Nonetheless, the make and quality of the bag should determine whether you buy it or not. The cost will have to play a role somewhere because you do not want to break the bank in the name of investing in a designer backpack. Remember it is not a luxury trip, but a hike in the wilderness.
Brand names are okay, excellent even, but you do not have to beat yourself up for not affording a backpack from the largest manufacturer. Smaller, unknown manufacturers could surprise you.
- Capacity and Compartments
This particular aspect is one of the most important of your potential backpack. The ideal pack is one that accommodates your daily water and food portions for the day and other essentials without bulging. It is not like you are bringing your entire house along, but your sleeping bag and warm clothing will certainly take up space.
Instead of it being one large space to throw everything in, the ideal pack will consist of compartments for each item. This way you can pack carry more that you thought it would accommodate, thanks to specialized spaces. Additionally, with designated compartments, pulling out a water bottle will not turn into an event.
- Comfortable Suspension
You will be hanging this pack on your back all day, and so you certainly want it to be as comfortable as possible. The handles should be padded for comfort so that it does not feel as though they are digging it your back.
Additionally, of the back is padded, the more comfortable the pack will be. Remember that you are lugging a load that will get heavier with distance and time, and so comfort is a big part of your adventure.
Make it durable. Lightweight backpacks cannot compare to their heavy-duty counterparts that have weatherproofing material, but light does not mean instant tears. Try and get one made of breathable material, such as fiber to keep your stuff aerated.
In A Nutshell
Lightweight backpacks are literal lifesavers. They make it possible to run through life without carried a load heavier than you should. Again, literally.
There are thousands of everyday scenarios where a backpack comes in handy: picture this; you want to take a walk far away from home and may not be back for a good two hours. How do you carry your water? Backpack. Make that a lightweight one to keep you from feeling as though you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Children in the school-going age carry lots of books these days, and they do that repeatedly. What may not seem as such a heavy burden becomes a health concern when you accumulate the days they lug those bags.
To keep their delicate and developing shoulders (and spinal cords) from harm, invest in a lightweight backpack. Most of them weigh a measly 0.8ls, which will not have an adverse impact even after adding your intended content.
As for hikers, you not only want to make your load easy but value for your money too. You will certainly feel the pinch if the almost new backpack that you bought a year ago gives in, even before you bond sufficiently.
In this review, we only chose the lightweight backpacks that are leading their respective packs. They all impressed us in the trial, but two did best. Gonex - Ultra Lightweight with best price leads the pack, owing to its durability, the breathability of the material, and its size. We also like the variety of colors and compact design.
20L/33L New Outlander - Most Durable Lightweight Backpack comes a close second. We especially liked the capacity, mesh shoulder straps, and is minimal weight. The compartments also played a part in reaching this decision.