Gear Reviews

The Best Ultralight Thru-Hiking Gear

Featherweight picks for gram-counters.

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When you’re walking 2,200 miles, the ounces add up. Cut a little weight, and you’re saving a lot of energy. Shave your kit down to the bare minimum with these inspired picks from thru-hikers who have been there and know what it takes.

ZPacks Arc Blast

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The Arc Blast is the lightest version, which everyone likes for its pure simplicity and big, external mesh pocket.

ULA Rain Kilt

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This waterproof skirt replaces rain pants, which are bulkier and heavier, and get sweaty.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite

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This pad has the lowest weight for the insulation (R-value is 3.2) and cushion (2.5 inches) that I’ve found.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer

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For the weight, it’s one of the warmest jackets out there, and there’s a model with a hood, too.

Katabatic Alsek 22

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This is a good transition model for newbies because you never feel the draft you would with minimalist quilts, thanks to strong clips that secure it to inflatable pads.

Dirty Girl Gaiters

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Ultralighters don’t like carrying extras. But at just an ounce, these gaiters easily justified their weight—especially in the desert, where they kept rocks and stuff out of my shoes.

ZPacks Hexamid Solo

best ultralight tent zpacks
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If you’re already carrying trekking poles, you can use them to pitch this one-person shelter and save the weight of tent poles.