3 Ways To Save: Ultralight Dayhiking

Save weight, your feet, and money with these three pieces of ultralight gear

Backpacker_Magazine_GoLite Wisp

GoLite Wisp (Courtesy Photo)

Backpack_Magazine Hi-Tec V-Lite

Hi-Tec V-Lite Trail Eruption (Courtesy Photo)

Backpacker_Magazine_OR Dry Peak Bagger

Outdoor Research Dry Peak Bagger (Julia Vandenoever)

Weight & Space | Your Feet | Money

Weight & Space

The hoodless GoLite Wisp pullover weighs about the same as a large Snickers–only three ounces–and packs almost as small, making it the perfect ultralight shell on days when you’d rather not pack a coat at all. It’s made of a silky 22-denier polyester taffeta with a DWR coating; the fabric cuts wind, breathes adequately, and sheds light precip (perfect for afternoon bursts, not all-day downpours). A nine-inch chest zip offers a bit of ventilation on hard climbs, a bottom drawcord seals out gusts, and a tiny hip pocket doubles as a stuff sack. The Wisp isn’t as abrasion-resistant as a soft shell, but it’s also not as heavy. $50; men’s S-XL. (888) 546-5483; golite.com. Reader service #118

Weight & Space | Your Feet | Money

Your Feet

For fair-weather hiking that involves long miles and sections of sketchy terrain, you want a breathable shoe that’s more supportive than a trail runner but lighter than a boot. The Hi-Tec V-Lite Trail Eruption nails it. After wearing the Eruption on several scrambly outings and big days in Idaho, our resident shoe tester says these are best of class. “The aggressive rocker, forefoot flex, and good cushion are typical of the category,” he says, “but these have more torsional rigidity than standard trail runners, and a plastic shank provides some stability and underfoot protection.” The mesh uppers are extremely breathable (not waterproof) and dried quickly after a stream dunking. The outsole has lots of shallow lugs–good for dry surfaces but not slick mud. A plastic toecap increases durability, but as with many similar lightweight shoes, we expect them to last about 300 miles. $110; 1 lb. 10 oz. (men’s 9); men’s 7-12, 13 and women’s 5-10, 11. (209) 545-1111; hi-tec.com. Reader service #119

Weight & Space | Your Feet | Money


Instead of buying a waterproof sleeping bag stuff sack for overnight trips and an ultralight dayhiking pack, get a two-in-one deal with the Outdoor Research Dry Peak Bagger. It has 1,650 cubic inches of storage space, which is ample room for layers, snacks, water, camera, and emergency gear on a dayhike, but it’s so light and packable that it also serves as a waterproof stuff sack for a typical three-season sleeping bag. (And then doubles as a summit or daypack in camp.) There’s nothing fancy–just a rolltop closure, exterior stuff-it pocket, mesh shoulder straps, and sternum strap with safety whistle. And it has no hipbelt, which means comfort maxes out with a 10-pound load aboard. But why would you carry more than that on an ultralight dayhike, anyway? $49; 9.6 oz.; one size. (888) 467-4327; outdoorresearch.com. Reader service #120

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