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Ultralight



Gear Review: Northern Lites Quicksilver Snowshoes

A simple, lightweight design with barely-there comfort.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 0 Sleeping Bag

A bag with down-like features for a fraction of the price.

Editors' Choice 2013: Sierra Designs Flash 2 Tent

Score a tent that has it all: low weight and impressive durability, plus ample living space and solid storm protection.

Gear Review: Snow Peak Mini Hozuki Lantern

A light and packable miniature lantern.

Gear Review: MSR MicroRocket Stove

A stove so compact it's almost not there.

Gear Review: Mammut Spindrift Lite 30 Backpack

A lightweight pack that doesn't skimp on features

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Wraith -20 Sleeping Bag

Cross a super-warm bag and a weatherproof bivy and you get the Wraith.

Gear Review: Mammut Sphere Alpine Winter Sleeping Bag

This ultralight sleeping bag packs small but lofts quickly for a warm night.

Outdoor Retailer Summer 2012 Recap Day 2

On day two of the Summer 2012 Outdoor Retailer show, our reader test team tackled ultralight, three-season hiking, and breathability.

Gear Reviews: Ultralight Packs

Cut weight and boost comfort with the best new ounce-shaving load haulers—tested and rated by tough-on-gear Grand Canyon National Park rangers.

Gear Review: Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack

A versatile pack that can be pared down or bulked up depending on your load and the terrain.

Gear Review: Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus FS Backpack

A roomy and comfortable ultralight bag.

Gear Guide 2012: Bargain Stove

The Olicamp Xcelerator Titanium was a favorite for our ultralight AT thru-hiker.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Hike 30 Miles in a Day

See a week's worth of terrain on an epic dawn-to-dusk hike.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook

Tired of the same old weekend loops? Looking to create memories your grandkids will talk about? In this how-and-where guide, we serve up 15 extraordinary escapes that will shatter your expectations of "normal." From adventure moviemaking to canyoneering, we'll take you places you've never been—but will long to visit again soon.

Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Packable Day Pack

Ultralight stuff sack and daypack

Two Ultralight Dinners: Beef Stroganoff & Spicy Curry Noodle Bowl

Pack light and eat well with these two dinner options.

Ultralight Makeover

A 12-step program for cutting weight.

Gear Makeover Contest - Meet the Winners!

These six readers convinced us their gear needed an update! Look for their full makeovers in our January 2012 Readers' Choice issue.

Ultralight Survey

Take our poll, then put your pack on a diet with tips coming in our August 2011 issue.

Gear Review: New Balance 101 Trail Runner

This barely there trail runner has the perfect blend of breathability, support, and durability.

Mother's Day Gift Guide: MSR DragonFly Stove

Don't just boil water, cook up a masterpiece

Gear Review: Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z-pole



Gear Review: Baladeo 22G Knife

A full-size, three-inch blade that's sharp and light.

Gear Review: Helly Hansen Pace SS Baselayer

A polypropylene/polyester blended baselayer that wicks away sweat.

Gear Review: MontBell Tachyon Anorak Jacket

An extremely light and extremely packable windshell.

Gear Review: Vargo Ti-Boiler Mug and Pan

A titanium mug and pot/lid set that is super durable and lightweight.

Gear Review: Jacks 'R Better High Sierra Sniveller Sleeping Bag

An ultralight sleeping bag with 3.5 inches of loft and an extra-wide torso area

Gear Review: GoLite Poncho Tarp

An ultralight poncho/tent with durable 15-denier, siliconized fabric

Gear Review: Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus Backpack

A 60-liter ultralight frameless rucksack perfect for long weekends

Gear Review: Cocoon Travel Pillow - Aircore Ultralight

Just because you're sleeping on the dirt doesn't mean you have to be uncomfortable.

Gear Review: Deuter Pace 30 Pack

An ultralight pack that's under $100...and comfortable.

Gear Review: First Ascent Rainier Storm Shell Pants

Ultralight shell pants that protect from snow and cold.

Gear Review: Salomon XT Wings II Softshell Jacket

An ultralight softshell that wicks.

Camp Chef Makeover: Mr. Lite, Fast, & Drab

Backcountry cooking doesn't have to mean bland.

Gear Review: Granite Gear Uberlight CTF3 Drysacks

Quite possibly the world's lightest waterproof stuffsacks

Gear Review: Soto OD-1R Micro Regulator

Finally, a canister stove that thrives in cold weather.

Gear Review: Patagonia Down Sweater

A sweet, packable puffy with big warmth

Gear Review: Columbia Silver Ridge Crew

A tee-shirt designed for super-hot weather

Gear Review: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack

An ultralight daypack that fits in the palm of your hand

Gear Review: Granite Gear Escape AC 60/Escape AC 60 K Ultralight Weekend Pack

A great choice for mileage-oriented trekkers who want an ultralight pack that can handle any load.

4 Ultralight Sleeping Bags

4 featherweight sleepers for all types of ounce-counters, spring through fall.

Gear Chick Holiday Gift Picks: Random Picks..For Everyone Else

It's tough to find the perfect something for everyone. These picks should give you some options.

Gear Review: Big Sky International Mirage 2-Person Tent

weighing in at 2 lbs. 6 oz, this ultralight tent fits two with room to spare.

Ultralight Done Right: Light Reads--Low Weight Books

You need a good read on any over-nighter. Just don't pack War and Peace. With these books, you'll stay on the ultralight track.

Ultralight Done Right: Packing

Packing smart is the easiest way to go ultralight. Use these tips and you'll be set.

Ultralight Packing Checklists

If you're planning to try ultralight in the summer, in a rainforest, in the desert, or in an alpine environment check out these must-take lists.

Summer Ultralight Packing List

Be ready for humidity; hot temps; storms; bugs galore Look for waterproof/breathable shells; synthetic, quick-drying fabrics; well-ventilated shelters

Desert Ultralight Packing List

Expect hot, sunny days; chilly nights; dry conditions; sharp and abrasive terrain Get warm, wicking fabrics; breathable footwear; durable gear; minimalist shelter

Alpine Ultralight Packing List

Expect intense cold and wind; sudden storm bursts; steep and rocky scrambling. Get down insulation; sturdy shelter; supportive footwear.

Gear School: Ultralight Tents

Looking to cut shelter weight in half this summer? A featherweight tent is just the ticket.

Ultralight Done Right: Rainforest

Expect torrential rains; wet snow; big temp swings Get synthetic insulation (it's warmer when wet); breathable shells; quick-drying fabrics; waterproof footwear; well- ventilated shelters with big vestibules for gear and cooking

Ultralight Done Right: What is Ultralight?

Ultralight defined. Plus, the most popular pieces of gear people either love or hate.

Ultralight Done Right: Customize & Adapt

Your pack's excess straps weighing you down? Cut 'em off. Plus how to maximize the gear you do bring.

Ultralight Done Right: Pack This...Not That

Leave this gear on the bedroom floor.

Ultralight Done Right: The Best Gear for the Least Weight

Learn what gear to ditch and what to keep so you don't sacrifice comfort. Plus, a little lightweight reading material.

Ultralight Done Right: Getting Started

Get started with these three simple tips.

Ultralight Done Right

Want to hike farther with less effort this summer? It's easy–just cut your pack weight in half with our foolproof 33-tip plan.

Weekend Planner: Pack Less

Get outside earlier and faster by taking less with you. Here's how to ditch excess gear and pack light, tasty food.

I Saw the Light: Jon Dorn's Ultralight Conversion

Going ultralight may be the ultimate get-out-quick scheme: It took me all of 60 minutes to shop and pack for a 5-day hike and all of 10 minutes to pitch or pack up my simple camp.

The Ultralight Challenge: 2.0

Pick the gear I can carry on a trip to determine how low one man can go.

Ultralight Shells

These versatile jackets weigh less than a pound and pack smaller than a grapefruit.

Gear School: Ultralight Packs

Shop smarter, hike farther with this guide to the guts of today's lightest load haulers.

Gear Review: Patagonia Houdini Ultralight Shell

Trim fitting, highly durable, and easily packable, this is one shell you'll never question packing.

Gear Review: The North Face Trajectory Hybrid Ultralight Shell



Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Tempo Ultralight Shell

With a fleece lining, and Gore Windstopper fabric, chills are blocked and breathability is excellent.

Gear Review: Marmot Mica Ultralight Shell

While editors were wringing out their socks, nothing penetrated the Mica's waterproofing.

Gear Review: ARC'TERYX Alpha SL Pullover Ultralight Shell

With a puffy insulated layer and the clean anorak design, this ultralight did the trick in wet Welsh weather.

Gear Guide 2009: Mountainsmith Eclipse 55 Review

Make the Eclipse your go-to pack for long treks and backcountry bushwhacks.

Gear Guide 2009: Lafuma X Light Mid OT Boot Review

The Outdry treatment and ultralight weight mean this hiking shoe will go wherever you do.

Gear Guide 2009: Asolo Lothar Gv Boot Review

For all-around performance, check out this ultralight and super comfortable boot.

Gear Guide 2009: Vasque Velocity VST GTX Boot Review

For lightweight versatility, lace up this low-cut and supportive shoe.

Gear Guide 2009: Teva Aniso eVent Boot Review

Hit the trail with this waterproof and ultralight boot from Teva.

Gear Guide 2009: Montrail Hardrock 09 Boot Review

Run and hike through any terrain thanks to the sticky outsole of this shoe.

Gear Guide 2009: Kayland Dragonfly eVent Boot Review

These trail runners are the perfect mix of waterproof and breathable.

Gear Guide 2009: Asics Gel-Trabuco Boot 11 WR Review

If you want the perfect pair of trail runners, look no further than the Gel-Trabuco's.

Gear Guide 2009: Vaude Versametric Ultralight 60+10 Review

Vaude created a simple, no-frills pack high on stability with the Versametric Ultralight 60+10.

Gear Guide 2009: Deuter ACT Zero 60+10 Backpack Review

If you want ultralight, look no further than Deuter's tough and roomy ACT Zero 60+10 pack.

Gear Guide 2009: Osprey Exos 58 Backpack Review

The ultralight Osprey Exos 58 backpack is high in stability and smart features.

Gear Guide 2009: Granite Gear Vapor Flash Review

Scramble around the trail with Granite Gear's ultralight and stable Vapor Flash backpack.

Gear Guide 2009: Vaude Cross Ultralight Comfort 35 Review

The Vaude Cross Ultralight Comfort 35 is the ideal lightweight bargain pack for dayhikes or weeklong treks.

Gear Guide 2009: Millet Elevation 30 Review

The Millet Elevation 30 has everything you want in a pack—stabilty, support, and even wrist loops.

Gear Guide 2009: Marmot Alpha 25 Review

Pack up the weekend toys for your outdoor activity of choice in Marmot's ultralight–and ultra cheap–Alpha 25 backpack.

Gear Guide 2009: Deuter Speed Lite 30 Review

For dayhikes and light overnights, strap on the simple and smartly configured Deuter Speed Lite 30 pack.

Gear Guide 2009: Crumpler Bumper Issue Review

Want rugged? Go for the Crumpler Bumper Issue, a rough and tough pack that takes on narrow slot canyons and unforgiving brush fields.

Gear Guide 2009: Black Diamond RPM Review

Run, climb or ski with the low profile Black Diamond RPM pack.

Editors' Choice 2009: MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger #1 Sleeping Bag

Ultralight meets ultra-comfortable in this roomy sleeping bag.

The Specialist: Plan Away Pounds

Shed useless pack weight, not luxuries

Weekend Packs: Other Top Packs



March 2008 Perfect System: East



March 2008 Perfect System: Southwest



March 2008 Perfect System: Rocky Mountains



March 2008 Perfect System: Northwest



Backpacker 2008 Gear Guide: Perfect System

The best gear in the world can be worthless in the wrong conditions. That's where Backpacker's Perfect System comes in.

March 2008 Essentials Review: Hydration



March 2008 Essentials Review: Trekking Poles



March 2008 Essentials Review: Blades & Tools

From an ultralight knife to a full-service multitool, prepare for your Survivorman moment. Or lunch.

Headlamp Reviews



March 2008 Essentials Review: First-Aid Kits



March 2008 Essentials Review: Sunglasses

Save yourself from squinting, and get the most of the view you've worked for with these essential specs.

March 2008 Essentials Review: Binoculars



March 2008 Essentials Review: Navigation



March 2008 Essentials Review: Shell Jackets



March 2008 Essentials Review: High Tech



March 2008 Essentials Review: Camp Kitchen

Packs, tents, boots, and bags--that's easy. Now comes the hard part: Everything else. Below, you'll find our top picks for all the lust-worthy backcountry essentials you'll need to make your trip safe, fun, and simple.

March 2008 Sleeping Bag Review: Start Smart Sleeping Bag Tips



March 2008 Sleeping Bag Review: Winter Sleeping Bags



2008 Three-Season Sleeping Bag Reviews



2008 Sleeping Bag Review: Summer Sleeping Bags



March 2008 Boots Review: Start Smart Boot Tips



March 2008 Boots Review: Heavy Duty Boots



March 2008 Boots Review: Mid-Duty Boots



March 2008 Boots Review: Light Duty Boots



March 2008 Tents Review: Mountaineering Tents



March 2008 Tents Review: Three-Person Tents



March 2008 Tents Review: Two-Person Tents



Backpacker Gear Guide: One-Person Tents



Backpacker Gear Guide: Essentials

Packs, tents, boots, and bags–that's easy. Now comes the hard part: Everything else. Below, you'll find our top picks for all the lust-worthy backcountry essentials you'll need to make your trip safe, fun, and simple.

Backpacker Gear Guide: Boots

You won't go far with sore feet. So our testers went the distance–5,000 miles, to be exact–to bring you the best shoes for every foot and hike.

Backpacker Gear Guide: Sleeping Bags

The secret to a great day outdoors? Start with a great night. Sleep well in all conditions with one of these snooze-tested bags.

Backpacker Gear Guide: Tents

You can test-drive a car, but not a tent. So our crew did the shakedown for you, logging 600-plus nights under stars and storms. Here's what we liked.

March 2008 Backpacks Review: Start Smart



Weeklong Packs: The Best



Weeklong Packs: Other Top Packs



Backpacker Gear Guide: Weeklong Packs

The Goal: Hit the trail and forget you're even wearing a pack.

Weekend Packs: Ladies' Luxe



Weekend Packs: Bargain!



Weekend Packs: The Best



Backpacker Gear Guide: Weekend Packs

The Goal: Hit the trail and forget you're even wearing a pack.

Daypacks: Bargain!



Daypacks: The Best



Backpacker Gear Guide: Daypacks

The Goal: Hit the trail and forget you're even wearing a pack.

Backpacker 2008 Gear Guide: Backpacks

The Goal: Hit the trail and forget you're even wearing a pack. The Solution: One of these 30 field-tested vanishing acts.

Day Hike Menu: Ultralight

What to eat when you're one person spending one day on the trail and looking to travel light

Ultralight Gear Checklist

Strip off the pounds with our ultralight checklist and hit the trail light as a feather.

Half The Weight, Twice The Fun: Hike The John Muir Trail

Find out what happens when four people hike the 221-mile John Muir Trail in just a week. Then learn how to bag the classic in more sensible lightweight fashion.

The Menu: Be an Ultralight Gourmet

No, it's not an oxymoron. You, too, can say buh-bye to endless energy bars and instant rice glop--and eat like royalty for less than two pounds a day.

The Skills: Ultralight or Bust

A 10-step plan for getting your base pack weight under 15 pounds

The Plan: Doing Ultralight Right

In 10 days, carrying just 25 pounds, you can pound through the John Muir Trail...happily. Get the plan.

The Gear: Cut the Fluff

Shave pounds from your whole packing list.

The Hike: John Muir In a Week

Got a few days off, a pair of healthy feet, and a pain threshold higher than Dean Karnazes? You can (possibly) blaze the length of America's Most Beautiful Trail

Tent Review: Six Moon Designs Europa 05

A weather- and bug-proof tent of negligible weight.

Backpack Review: Gregory G Pack

A pack that cuts the weight without sacrificing the comfort.

Tent Review: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

A traditional tent with ample room for one.

Tent Review: Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2

The lightest freestanding double-wall tent in the universe.

Backpack Review: GoLite Perspective

An ultralight pack that can hold a sizable load.

Stove Review: Vargo Jet-ti

A compact, superlight canister stove to call your own.

Trekking Pole Review: Gossamer Gear Lightrek Plus

Pick up the pace with these lightweight trekking poles.

Sleeping Bag Review: EMS Mountain Light 0

An economically-priced sleeping bag that's one sweet deal.

Cookset Review: Brunton IB Cookset

A cookset that will be your new ultralight favorite

Let's Strip: Lightening Your Backpack

5 ways to get rid of unneeded pounds without buying a new pack

Cookset Review: Brunton IB

An aluminum cookset that's light in your pack and on your wallet.

Tent Review: GoLite Trig 1

A spacious ultralight tent that stays dry.

Camera Review: Casio Exilim EX-S500

Capture every backcountry moment with this wafer-slim digital camera

Tent Review: New-School Shelters

Slash weight, not weather protection, with this year's top new ultralight tents.

Boot Review: Five Light Hikers

Introducing a new breed of synthetic boots: fast, nimble, and surprisingly supportive.

Cooking Review: Flatworld Orikaso Dish

Multi-use cookware fit for gear geeks, geniuses, or anyone willing to sacrifice soup for space.

Tent Review: Tarptent Cloudburst

This upgrade suits the fastpacker's need for a roomy, bugproof tent during hot and humid nights.

Backpack Review: Lafuma Pro 4810 Light

Cram all of your stuff and your hiking partner's five extra bags of gorp into this light daypack.

Backpack Review: Gregory G Pack

This ultralight weekender stabilizes any load

Winter Gear Lightens Up: Tent and Clothing Review

Carry less, enjoy the cold months more with the latest four-season tents, gloves, hats, and gaiters.

Burn, Baby, Burn

3 surefire ways to light a reluctant fire

Stone Cold Campers

They kill swiftly and silently. They flit like ghosts through enemy forests. And they will brew you a fine cup of cowboy coffee. Meet America's deadliest hikers as we hump ruck with the Special Forces.

Get A Spine

No frame, no pain--if you try these simple backpack solutions.

Go Light, Not Hungry

The One-Pan Gourmet shows how to eat like a king.

Getting Navy SEAL Gear

How to acquire your very own Navy SEAL Protective Combat Uniform.

Eye Dropper Storage

Carrying around those little extras just got easier with this trick.

One Good Thing About Golfing

Who would have thought a piece of golf equipment could be really useful to backpackers?

South Is Thata Way

Determine direction without your compass.

Fetch Me Water

No need to bring along a big, bulky container for your water in camp when you have this great compact suggestion.

Jiffypop Pan

This classic snack offers more then just a tasty treat for backpackers.

Find Gear Fast At Night

This trick will help you find just what you're looking for in the dark.

Ultralighter's Pad

Here's the best way to make a lightweight and inexpensive camping mattress.

Think Outside The Bottle

10 surprising uses for your water bottle.

Homemade, High-Tech Gear

A do-it-yourself guide for sewing space-age hats and other performance outdoor gear.

Best Dayhikes In America

With strong legs and an ambitious plan, you can see more wild country in 12 hours than some backpackers see in a week, and still make it home in time for dinner.

Hot, Light, And Cheap: Homemade Camp Stove Contest Winners

The best ultralight cookers built by BACKPACKER readers.

Turn Small Sacks To Favorite Packs

Nine features that can turn a small sack into your favorite backpack.

Ultralight Backpacking Do's and Don'ts

Jon provides first-hand advice for ultralight beginners.

Challenge The Backpacker Editor: The Ultralight Report

Torrential rain and wind expose chinks in our author's ultralight armor, but don't dampen his enthusiasm for the pleasures of unencumbered trekking.

Reader Tip: In The Wick Of Time

Follow this BACKPACKER reader's tip to get the most out of your candles on the trail.

Reader Tip: Bladder Bowl

Try this homemade, ultralight bowl for long distance treks.

Camp Cuisine: No Cooking Required

Camping without stove or fire gains you freedom, flexibility, simplicity, and compactness, and sometimes a lighter load.

Ultralight vs. Ultranormal

How light can you go? Six friends face off to determine whether carrying less gear makes you half as macho, or twice as smart.

A Short History Of Ultralight

While hiking light may seem like a new trail trend, nearly 20 years ago, many outdoor manufacturers were beating the ultralight drum.

Approach Shoes Instead Of Hiking Boots?

Consider these points when deciding if an approach shoe is right for you.

Modern Man Vs. Mad Dog

A techno-packer and a yard-sale minimalist go stride for stride to find out what kind of equipment is best for a good time. Or more importantly, does it really matter?

Ultralight: The Ray Jardine Way

He rocked the world of climbing, challenged the accepted wisdom in sea kayaking, and now Ray Jardine turned his renegade way of thinking to backpacking.

You Can Leave Home Without It

Putting the Ray Jardine ultralight way to the test.

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