3 Great Ultralight Backpacks

Your backpack is one of the most important items of gear you own. A quality ultralight pack will not only eliminate several pounds from your back, it will also ensure a comfortable ride for many miles and days.

As we rapidly march into hiking season in the Northeast, here are three styles worth considering for a potential ultralight upgrade.

Osprey Exos 38
Osprey Exos 38
I have the 2013 version of this pack. I love it. It's one of the best packs I've owned, and it's shown little sign of wear from moderate use, mostly longer day hikes with some ultralight overnighters.

The current iteration is more the same than different, with minor changes to the harness system. It remains very lightweight (just a spare ounce or two above two pounds), with a capacity between 36 - 40 liters (2200 - 2450 cubic inches), depending on size. It's a great deal at $160.

Two larger versions, the Osprey 48 ($190) and Osprey 58 ($220), cater to those who desire more capacity.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60
Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Ultralight Backpack
Gossamer Gear has long set an industry standard for ultralight gear--and the Mariposa has long been one of its flagship products.

The current version weighs less than two pounds, has a capacity of roughly 3500 cubic inches, and can comfortably carry up to around 35 pounds.

You can configure the sizes of the frame and hip belt to match your dimensions. The extra large version accommodates tall bodies up to 6'7" (a plus in my tall book). It runs $255.

Gossamer Gear also makes other ultralight packs worth considering, including the featherweight G4 54.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest
Another excellent offering from this small Biddeford, Maine-based company. It's pricier ($330), but is built for much more abuse than most ultralight packs. It's also waterproof.

The fabrics used in the pack are tough ('Dyneema® Composite Fabrics'), plus the rugged material used for the storage pocket on the sides and back ensures greater resistance to snags, abrasions, and other off-trail abuse. It weighs right near two pounds even, and has an internal capacity of 3400 cubic inches and external pocket capacity of an additional 600 cubic inches.

If you're looking to abuse your ultralight pack, this would be a good option.

“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.