How To Set Up For Lightweight Trekking With An Ultralight Backpacking Gear List

Ultralight BackpackingFor many of us backpacking enthusiasts, the ultimate goal is to reduce the total weight of our packed gear bit by bit. I look back on the many years I have spent in the great outdoors and my gear has evolved over and over. My total weight has ranged all over the place, but a few years ago I underwent a transformation from a gadget backpacker to a minimalist. I now take only the bare minimum on my multi-day trips. Are you interested in trimming the weight to ultralight standards? Below, we will go over some tips to accomplish this, as well as my most recent ultralight gear list.

The Big Three

No matter how many ounces you trim from your gadgets and gizmos, you will be limited by how heavy the big three are – your backpack, shelter, and sleeping bag/sleeping pad. This is the place where you can make the biggest impact on the total weight. But this is also where you can spend the most money. Unfortunately, most of the ultralight gear is on the higher end of the price spectrum. You will need to decide if shaving a few ounces is worth the additional cost, since you will likely start to see the law of diminishing returns manifest itself here.

What if you already own some nice gear, but it is just a little on the heavy side and you want to upgrade to lighter stuff? Sell your other items to fund your upgrades. This is a fairly standard practice, and is made even easier with the advent of EBay, Craigslist, and local online classifieds. Selling your old gear will soften the blow of upgrading to lighter, newer gear.

Backpack

[amazon_link id=”B00534ZLG6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]ULA CDT Ultralight Backpack - Torso Large - Hipbelt Large[/amazon_link]There is a great company out of Logan, Utah called ULA Equipment that makes ultralight backpacks. The CDT, for example, weighs 2 pounds and has a capacity of 3370 cubic inches. This is a very capable backpack for a multi-day trip, and you are starting off on the right foot with only 2 pounds of backpack weight. The cool thing about this pack is that there are removable features that will trim the weight by an additional 5 ounces if desired (like the hydration sleeve, water bottle holsters, and internal mesh pockets). At a price point of only $135, you might not think you are getting a great backpack. But because ULA Equipment dispenses with style and design costs, they pass the savings on to you. It might not be as visually appealing as a Gregory or Arcteryx pack, but it’s all about weight, and that is where these packs shine. Click on the following link to order your ULA Equipment CDT backpack today.

[amazon_link id=”B00534ZLG6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]ULA Equipment CDT Backpack[/amazon_link]

Shelter

[amazon_link id=”B001OPJVN2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Equinox Ultralite Mummy Bivi Sleeping Bag[/amazon_link]When it comes to finding a tent or other shelter that is lightweight, bivy sacks are the ultimate option. Weighing as little as 6 ounces ([amazon_link id=”B005W4K9P0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MontBell Breeze Dry-Tec UL Sleeping bag cover[/amazon_link], ~$115, and the [amazon_link id=”B001OPJVN2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Equinox Ultralight Bivy Cover[/amazon_link], ~$65), bivy sacks are basically sleeping bag covers that will keep you dry. Some come with wire hoops that give you a little headspace, but you will basically be confined to the shape of your sleeping bag.

[amazon_link id=”B0000E5N87″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Black Diamond Beta Light Tent[/amazon_link]Tarp tents are another great lightweight option. [amazon_link id=”B0000E5N87″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Black Diamond’s Beta Light 2 person tarp tent[/amazon_link] is about a pound and a half (split in half is about 12 ounces per person, plus trekking poles) and offers quite a bit more space than a bivy sack. For $150, you get a super light shelter for two. Another great option for about the same price is the [amazon_link id=”B00453MUNS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MSR E-Wing Shelter Tent[/amazon_link], weighing in at roughly 1 pound (plus trekking poles).

[amazon_link id=”B0036GT87G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 Person Tent[/amazon_link]Finding an ultralight tent in the 1 pound range is difficult, but splitting the weight of the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 (2 pounds 2 ounces) is about as good as it gets. The Fly Creek UL2 costs about $300, so quite a bit more than the other options, but you will have the most space and weather protection here. I have used this tent for most of my trips, and while it is cozy on the inside, it is perfect for me and my wife.

Sleeping Bag/Sleeping Pad

[amazon_link id=”B00AYH8HQ8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Unisex Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 Bag BLUE Reg RH[/amazon_link]There are a few other articles on this site that talk about lightweight sleeping bags. My favorites include the Marmot Helium down bag, the Mountain Hardwear Phantom series, and the [amazon_link id=”B007LL3LX4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MontBell UL Super Spiral Hugger series[/amazon_link]. Down sleeping bags will give you the best warmth to weight ratio, but will generally cost more. There are different temperature ratings to be aware of as well. Colder conditions will require lower ratings, which will bump up the weight and price. My choice is the Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 degree sleeping bag, which weighs only 2 pounds (~$450), and with a 15 degree temperature rating, I’m usually comfortable for 3 season trips, even at higher elevations.

[amazon_link id=”B005I6QZE6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Thermarest Prolite Sleeping Pad (Large)[/amazon_link]As for the sleeping pad, if you decide to have one at all (think more weight savings by leaving one at home), look for a pad around 1 pound or less. You might have to settle for a torso length (only covers your waist and up) to shave more ounces. The [amazon_link id=”B0047BXBUO” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Exped SynMat UL 7[/amazon_link] in medium weighs in right at a pound ($170). Thermarest’s Prolite pad is another great option. You can get a smaller dimension torso length pad weighing 8 ounces for $60.

Totals For Big Three (My choices)

Backpack [amazon_link id="B00534ZLG6" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]ULA Equipment CDT[/amazon_link] $135 24 ounces (2 pounds)
Shelter [amazon_link id="B0036GT87G" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2[/amazon_link] $300 17 ounces (1 pound 1 ounce split in half)
Sleeping Bag [amazon_link id="B00AYH8HQ8" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15[/amazon_link] $450 24 ounces (2 pounds)
Sleeping Pad [amazon_link id="B0075JN8FS" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Thermarest Prolite Small[/amazon_link] $70 11 ounces
Totals $955 76 ounces (4 pounds 12 ounces)

Clothing

[amazon_link id=”B005BV88NO” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Outdoor Research Men's Helium II Jacket, Medium, Glacier[/amazon_link]If you are really going for weight savings, you will need to skimp on extra clothing. Plan on bringing a few extra layers for night and for rain/snow/colder weather, as well as extra socks and under garments. Having extra socks and under garments will prevent chafing and blistering, as well as keep you from stinking to high hell. But these garments should be as light as possible. Here is a list of what I pack with me on a spring/summer/fall mountain multi-day (3-5) trip:

Trail Socks [amazon_link id="B00EYABH2W" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Icebreaker Men's Multisport Ultralite Micro Socks[/amazon_link] $15 1.6 ounces X2
Sleeping Socks [amazon_link id="B004M5UG4O" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Darn Tough Vermont Men's Merino Wool Boot Full Cushion Socks[/amazon_link] $15 4.8 ounces
Thermal Top [amazon_link id="B005I0JXPK" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Terramar TXO 2.0[/amazon_link] $15 6 ounces
Thermal Bottom [amazon_link id="B005I0JYTU" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Terramar TXO 2.0[/amazon_link] $15 6 ounces
Undergarment [amazon_link id="B00D4KISI4" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Icebreaker Men's Anatomica Boxer[/amazon_link] $50 3 ounces X2
Spare T-Shirt [amazon_link id="B00BONJ6YI" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Mountain Hardwear Way2Cool[/amazon_link] $50 4.4 ounces
Shell Top [amazon_link id="B005BV88NO" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Outdoor Research Helium II[/amazon_link] $150 6.4 ounces
Shell Bottom [amazon_link id="B004OZ6R3G" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Mountain Hardwear Epic Pant[/amazon_link] $90 8 ounces
Beanie [amazon_link id="B00EV0KDCK" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Mountain Hardwear Effusion Dome[/amazon_link] $25 1 ounce
Gloves [amazon_link id="B006O2EZ0O" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Mountain Hardwear Winter Momentum[/amazon_link] $40 2 ounces
Clothing Stuff Sack [amazon_link id="B00ATNIB7M" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Outdoor Research Lightweight Stuff Sack (10L)[/amazon_link] $15 1.3 ounces
Totals $545 49.1 ounces (3 pounds 1.1 ounces)

Food and Water Prep

[amazon_link id=”B000AXVOLQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Vargo Titanium Triad Alcohol Stove[/amazon_link]Depending on the length of your trip, your menu will vary. One of the most important things to remember is to plan your hike along a source of water. This will allow you to re-supply via water purification. You don’t want to have to carry all the water you will need for a multi-day trip, since water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon (more than the big three combined!). Below is a list of what I utilize for food and water prep with their accompanying weights and costs:

Trail Filter [amazon_link id="B006QF3TW4" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]LifeStraw[/amazon_link] $20 2 ounces
Stove [amazon_link id="B000AXVOLQ" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Homemade Alcohol Stove[/amazon_link] $0 .5 ounces
Fuel [amazon_link id="B0016GXNC4" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Heet Methanol[/amazon_link] $2 12 ounces
Cook Pot [amazon_link id="B009B5E39O" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]TOAKS Titanium 600ml Pot[/amazon_link] $30 3.8 ounces
Mug [amazon_link id="B004BKHVYI" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Sea to Summit X Mug[/amazon_link] $15 2.7 ounces
Spork [amazon_link id="B001E7S5BO" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Light My Fire Titanium Spork[/amazon_link] $15 .5 ounces
Firestarter [amazon_link id="B004TPFKPW" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]SOL FireLite and Tinder Quick Fire Starter[/amazon_link] $10 1.3 ounces
Water Bottle [amazon_link id="B002LSS68C" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Platypus Soft Bottle (1L)[/amazon_link] $10 1.6 ounces
1/4 Water Towel [amazon_link id="B001QWFHIQ" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]MSR Packtowl (S)[/amazon_link] $12 1 ounce
Food and Water Stuff Sack [amazon_link id="B00ATNIB7M" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Outdoor Research Lightweight Stuff Sack (10L)[/amazon_link] $15 1.3 ounces
Totals $119 26.7 ounces (1 pound 10.7 ounces)

Toiletries, Tools, First Aid

[amazon_link id=”B0032Y4IUE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Leatherman 831204 Squirt ES4 Black Keychain Tool with Scissor[/amazon_link]When it comes to gadget backpacking, this is where I used to go crazy. I used to pack multiples of different tools based on the old axiom ‘two is one and one is none.’ While there are a few things that might require a little redundancy, most everything in this category will be just fine by itself. Think carefully about these items and how much each weighs. Look for gear items that serve multiple purposes. And if you really feel like you should include redundant gear, go ahead and do it. You will see if you really needed it while on your trip, and might be able to trim it for your next excursion. Below is a list of what I take with me on the trail:

Toiletries Stuff Sack [amazon_link id="B00ATNIB7M" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Outdoor Research Lightweight Stuff Sack (5L)[/amazon_link] $12 1 ounce
Light [amazon_link id="B003VU4I3Q" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Black Diamond Wiz Headlamp[/amazon_link] $20 2 ounces
Multitool [amazon_link id="B0032Y4IUE" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Leatherman Squirt[/amazon_link] $30 2.1 ounces
Firestarter [amazon_link id="B00711YQN8" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Mini Bic Lighter[/amazon_link] $1 .5 ounces
Tinder Dryer Lint (in Ziploc bag with Petroleum Jelly) $0 1 ounce
First Aid Kit [amazon_link id="B00BAV6C5U" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Ultralight and Watertight Medical Kit (.3)[/amazon_link] $9 2.3 ounces
[amazon_link id="B002KQ6682" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Duct Tape[/amazon_link] Wrapped around Old Credit Card $0 2 ounces
[amazon_link id="B00664KXGA" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]550 Paracord[/amazon_link] 50 feet $5 3.6 ounces
Sunscreen [amazon_link id="B0014L9TH4" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunblock Lotion SPF 30[/amazon_link] $2 1.2 ounces
Soap [amazon_link id="B000TG6HI4" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Gel 1 OZ Travel Size[/amazon_link] $2 1.2 ounces
Toothpaste [amazon_link id="B0070IZQBS" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Colgate Toothpaste 2.8oz Travel Size[/amazon_link] $2 2.8 ounces
Travel Toothbrush [amazon_link id="B000052YA2" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]GUM Travel Toothbrushes with Antibacterial Bristles[/amazon_link] $2 1.6 ounces
Towel [amazon_link id="B0075JTNXO" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Packtowl Nano Light Towel (M)[/amazon_link] $10 .9 ounces
Trail Map Laminated Map $0 1 ounce
Totals $95 23.2 ounces (1 pound 7.2 ounces)

Worn Or Carried On Self

[amazon_link id=”B0054TJOUE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Salomon Men's XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 Running Shoe,Swamp/Black/Deep Red,10.5 M US[/amazon_link]Not everything will go into your backpack. Some of the gear you will be wearing or carrying on your person. For example, sunglasses, hats, trekking poles, boots, clothing, a watch, a headlamp, etc. will be extra weight but won’t be on your back. You should still consider these items because your body is still exerting energy to carry all of them, even if the final tally doesn’t count against your pack weight. Think about packing some of the items above in other lists in pockets or on your belt for easier access.

Below is what I normally hike with on my body on a sunny, warm day (obviously, these things will change with the weather and possibly the terrain).

Trail Shorts [amazon_link id="B004M9XOA8" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shorts[/amazon_link] $50 6.3 ounces
Trail Shirt [amazon_link id="B00BONJ6YI" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Mountain Hardwear Way2Cool[/amazon_link] $50 4.4 ounces
Trail Socks [amazon_link id="B00EYABH2W" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Icebreaker Men's Multisport Ultralite Micro Socks[/amazon_link] $15 1.6 ounces
Trail Hat [amazon_link id="B008ENFV40" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Mountain Hardwear Men's Chiller[/amazon_link] $40 2.9 ounces
Sunglasses [amazon_link id="B00CM0957A" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Polarized P52 Sunglasses Superlight[/amazon_link] $30 1 ounce
Watch [amazon_link id="B0006OGJZK" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Dakota Watch Company Digital Compass Watch[/amazon_link] $40 9 ounces (belt clip)
Trail Shoes [amazon_link id="B0054TJOUE" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Salomon Men's XA PRO 3D Ultra 2 Trail Running Shoe[/amazon_link] $130 14 ounces
Trekking Poles [amazon_link id="B00AU2R8XU" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles[/amazon_link] $140 10.4 ounces
Totals $495 49.6 ounces (3 pounds 1.6 ounces)

Location Specific/Extra Gear

[amazon_link id=”B00H8MPCIS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Garmin eTrex 20 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator[/amazon_link]There are a few gear items that, depending on where I am hiking, I will bring along. If I am backpacking in bear country, there are a few extra precautionary items to bring along, like bear spray or a bear canister. Below is a list of these extra items that I may or may not pack.

Bear Canister [amazon_link id="B0055QGZUS" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Bear Keg Food Container[/amazon_link] $65 56 ounces
Bear Spray [amazon_link id="B002E6VAHK" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]SABRE FRONTIERSMAN Bear Attack Deterrent with Hip Holster[/amazon_link] $36 7.9 ounces
GPS [amazon_link id="B00542NVDW" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Garmin eTrex 20 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator[/amazon_link] $165 5 ounces
Emergency Messenger [amazon_link id="B002PHRDQU" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger unit[/amazon_link] $90 8.6 ounces
Bug Spray [amazon_link id="B00DP2A1SQ" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Deep Woods Sportsmen[/amazon_link] $5 2.2 ounces
Mosquito Net [amazon_link id="B0009PUSZI" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Coleman Insect Head Net[/amazon_link] $2 1 ounce
Additional Water Bottle [amazon_link id="B002LSS68C" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Platypus Soft Bottle (1L)[/amazon_link] $10 1.6 ounces
Camera [amazon_link id="B009TCD8V8" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]GoPro HERO3+: Black Edition[/amazon_link] $400 20 ounces
Warmer Top [amazon_link id="B0061CSTNG" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Terramar Txo 3.0[/amazon_link] $50 6.3 ounces
Warmer Bottom [amazon_link id="B0061CSV8O" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Terramar Txo 3.0[/amazon_link] $50 6.3 ounces
Warmer Jacket [amazon_link id="B00ABSTNBS" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Outdoor Research Halogen Jacket[/amazon_link] $200 13.3 ounces
Fishing Kit [amazon_link id="B001E18M2M" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Eagle Claw Pack-It Spin Combo Telescopic Rod[/amazon_link] $25 12 ounces

Meals

Backcountry foodsWhen it comes to packing food for an ultralight 3-5 day trip, you really need to maximize your calories-to-weight ratio. There are a lot of good trail foods that help achieve this, like trail mixes, peanut butter, cheese, and granola. Protein is another essential menu item, and any time you are able to have a warm meal, you will have a more enjoyable time on the trail.

Food fatigue is a real enemy of backpackers, and can be a dangerous situation if prolonged. Pack a variety of flavors and types of foods. Sure, 10 pounds of trail mix is chock full of calories, but will you want to eat it three meals a day for 5 days straight? I will go over my ultralight backpacking menu in another post, but keep in mind that you will want to keep your food to about 2 pounds per day, give or take a few ounces. I pack my meals without extra packaging or boxes. For example, if you are taking an MRE, strip all the ingredients out of the MRE pouch and leave behind anything you don’t plan on consuming.

Don’t forget to bring along some water additives as well. Water fatigue is another problem to be aware of. Sweeten up your water with some Crystal Light or Gatoraid powder, and bring along some coffee/hot chocolate/tea for evenings and mornings.

Final Weight Talley

Big Three $995 76 ounces (4 pounds 12 ounces)
Clothing $545 49.1 ounces (3 pounds 1.1 ounces)
Food/Water Prep $120 27 ounces (1 pound 11 ounces)
Necessities $95 23.2 ounces (1 pound 7.2 ounces)
Worn Gear $495 49.6 ounces (3 pounds 1.6 ounces)
Gear Subtotal $2250 175.3 ounces (10 pounds 15.3 ounces excluding worn gear)
Water 1L $0 35.2 ounces (2 pounds 3.2 ounces)
Food ~2 pounds per day $40 ($10 per day) 128 ounces (8 pounds)
Total Pack Weight 338.5 ounces (21 pounds 2.5 ounces)

Final Thoughts

You can see that the total weight of a little more than 20 pounds for a multi-day excursion is not only achievable, but will also afford quite a bit of comfort in the backcountry. The gear base weight at a little more than 10 pounds is just breaking the unofficial ultralight threshold, but I choose to bring along a few extra comforts (like extra socks and underwear) that push it over the top. Your mileage will vary, and you may very well fit comfortably under the magic number of 10 pounds.

Remember that trimming weight from the Big Three is essential for obtaining this goal. I have listed a few options above for getting there, but there are certainly a lot more options on the market today. Get started making your list and find ways to trim extra weight.

Hopefully, this article will help you to get started in the wonderful world of ultralight backpacking. Use these lists to help modify the gear that you pack. Thanks for reading and happy trails!

What do you use for your Big Three? What is your gear base weight? What about your total 3-5 day weight? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for your contributions!

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The Best Lightweight Summer Sleeping Bags On The Market

Summer Night CampingWhen it comes to finding a summer sleeping bag for your next backpacking trip, many trekkers look for the lightest option available. Summer is the best time to experience ultralight or minimalist backpacking at its finest. Summer sleeping bags are usually rated at 40 degrees or higher, and because of this, they have less insulation, which means the bags are lighter, smaller, and more compact. It is not uncommon to find a summer bag that is close to a pound in total weight, which means you are well on your way to packing less than 10 pounds of gear (usually the cutoff for ultralight backpacking). If you are looking for a summer sleeping bag to add to your equipment arsenal, this is the place for you to be. Below, we will highlight our favorite lightweight summer sleeping bags out there on the market today.

Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 – $170

[amazon_link id=”B00314H5EQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 Degree Sleeping Bag - Jungle LH[/amazon_link]The Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 is very high on our list of best summer sleeping bags. It is a lightweight 800-fill down sleeping bag that weighs only 1 pound 3 ounces. It is cut to snuggly fit your body to maximize warmth and minimize weight. Mountain Hardwear sleeping bags are known for their comfort, and the Phantom is no exception. The price is right, especially if you can find it on sale at Amazon (which at the time of this writing it currently is). Click the following link to purchase yours today!

[amazon_link id=”B00314H5EQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45[/amazon_link]

Marmot Atom 40 – $290

[amazon_link id=”B003C17HWS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Atom Down Sleeping Bag, Regular Left, Red[/amazon_link]Marmot is another name in the industry that has a devout following. The Marmot Atom 40 is one of their ultralight sleeping bag offerings for summer month backpacking, and is a 2008 Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice award winner. Coming in at 1 pound 5 ounces, this bag is super light, compacts down to the size of a Nalgene bottle, and will keep you warm below 40 degrees with a simple base layer. The Atom features 850+ fill power goose down, which is the best weight to warmth down on the market today. Click this link to order your Marmot Atom 40 today!

[amazon_link id=”B003C17HWS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Atom 40[/amazon_link]

Marmot Always Summer – $200

[amazon_link id=”B00AO5NBKW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Always Summer Down Sleeping Bag, Regular-Left, Red[/amazon_link]Appropriately named, the Marmot Always Summer is a perfect summer sleeping bag for backpackers of all types. While not as light as the Marmot Atom or some of the other bags on this list (coming in at 2 pounds 3 ounces), the Always Summer makes up with its attractive price point of under $200. It features a slightly heavier 650-fill down, so it won’t be as compactable as higher-fill down sleeping bags, but the bag is rated down to 40 degrees. This is an all-around great summer sleeping bag, and offers great value at its price point. Get yours today by clicking on the following link!

[amazon_link id=”B00AO5NBKW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Always Summer[/amazon_link]

MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger – $320

[amazon_link id=”B007LL3RG0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MontBell U.L. Super Spiral Down Hugger 40 Degree Sleeping Bag Blue Ridge Regular / Left Zip[/amazon_link]This is a sleeping bag that I was personally excited to test myself. First of all, it comes in multiple temperature ranges, but the 40 degree bag is by far the lightest and most economical of them all. The Spiral Down Hugger features 800-fill power goose down that weighs an amazing 1 pound 2 ounces. That is truly ultralight. This sleeping bag also features a stretch woven fabric that allows the bag to conform to your body as you sleep. This stretch keeps the bag snug to your body but does not constrict your nightly movements. I loved this bag, for all of the reasons discussed above, and would recommend it to anyone seeking a truly ultralight summer sleeping bag for backpacking. To get your MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger today, click the following link!

[amazon_link id=”B007LL3RG0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger #4[/amazon_link]

Big Agnes Pitchpine SL – $330

[amazon_link id=”B004MQSM58″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Big Agnes Pitchpine SL 45-Degree Sleeping Bags(800 Down fill), Reg Left Zipper[/amazon_link]Another summer sleeping bag that gets really close to the one pound threshold is the Pitchpine SL by Big Agnes. Rated to 45 degrees and insulated with 800-fill power goose down, the Pitchpine SL offers a 1 pound 2 ounce package that compacts to a very small overall size (5”x6”).  This is a comfortable bag that has a lot of comfort add-ons, like a pillow pocket, sleeping pad loops that allow flexibility in the legs, and a water repellant surface treatment to keep you dry and warm.  The Pitchpine SL is a true ultralight summer sleeping bag that offers a lot of bang for your buck. Click on the following link to get yours today!

[amazon_link id=”B004MQSM58″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Big Agnes Pitchpine SL[/amazon_link]

Lafuma Lightway 45 – $125

[amazon_link id=”B00B6QLSDU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Lafuma Lightway 45-Degree Down Right Zip Sleeping Bag, Olympic Blue[/amazon_link]A more economical choice (around $125), the Lafuma Lightway 45 will still allow you to approach that ultralight backpacking concept. Weighing in at 1 pound 9 ounces, the Lightway features 600-fill power duck down which is more affordable than higher power goose down. This is a perfect summer sleeping bag option that has an attractive weight and price tag. To get your Lafuma Lightway 45 today, click the following link.

[amazon_link id=”B00B6QLSDU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Lafuma Lightway 45[/amazon_link]

Kelty Cosmic Down 40 – $100

[amazon_link id=”B009PRN4QG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Cosmic Down 40-Degree Sleeping Bag, Yellow, 6-Feet[/amazon_link]The most affordable sleeping bag on our list, the Kelty Cosmic down 40 sleeping bag comes in right around $100. It features 550-fill power down, which adds a little to the overall weight of 1 pound 13 ounces. It also includes hang loops for storage, sleeping pad security loops, internal liner loops for those cooler summer nights, and a form fitting and snug shape. If you are looking for the best bang for your buck, the Kelty Cosmic down 40 sleeping bag is for you. Click the following link to order yours today!

[amazon_link id=”B009PRN4QG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Cosmic Down 40[/amazon_link]

Exped Ultralight 300 45 – $350

[amazon_link id=”B0087XXFEK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Exped Ultralite 300[/amazon_link]The 1 pound 4 ounce Exped Ultralight 300 lives up to its name as one of the best summer lightweight sleeping bags on the market today.  Featuring a high loft 840-fill goose down insulation and a waterproof packsack and net storage bag, the Exped Ultralight 300 is a great choice for ultralight backpackers. To order your Ultralight today, click on the following link.

[amazon_link id=”B0087XXFEK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Exped Ultralight 300 45[/amazon_link]

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

You probably noticed that every single sleeping bag on this list is a down bag. It is just a fact that natural down has a better warmth to weight ratio than synthetic insulation does. Technologies change, and this might flip in the future, but right now, if you are looking for the lightest sleeping bags, especially for summer ultralight backpacking, down is the way to go.

The list of sleeping bags above has a wide range of prices. The cool thing is that the more affordable sleeping bags actually stack up quite well against the higher priced bags. My favorite summer bag is the MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger with its 1 pound 2 ounce weight and excellent comfort, but a close second is the Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 (one ounce heavier than the Super Spiral). Any one of these sleeping bags would provide excellent summer sleeping comfort, and exceptional warmth to weight. Hopefully, this guide will get you started on your search for a summer sleeping bag to fit your needs.

What do you think of the list of summer sleeping bags above? What is your favorite summer sleeping bag? What sleeping bag do you use for ultralight backpacking? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

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Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent Options

Weight is the enemy of every ultralight backpacker. Ounces can quickly add up to pounds, and more and more pounds can equal an uncomfortable backpacking trip. It is easy enough to leave non-essential gear items at home, but if you are expecting wet weather conditions on you trek, you will need a tent to add needed protection from the elements.

Tents come in all shapes and sizes. Solo tents and bivys are perfect for ultralight backpackers. But they are tight for space and many backpackers like the flexibility and extra space offered by a two man tent. Below, we will go over the best tent/bivy/tarp options for ultralight backpacking, starting with the most minimalist and moving towards the two man tent options.

Minimalist Options (Tarps/Bivy Sacks)

Black Diamond Beta Light Ultralight Tent – $199

[amazon_link id=”B000RVX27K” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Black Diamond Beta Light Shelter Blue/Silver, One Size[/amazon_link]The Black Diamond Beta Light is designed to be used with your trekking poles to provide you with a lightweight outdoor shelter. If you don’t hike with trekking poles, this won’t work for you. This is a fantastic minimalist option that provides great protection from rain without adding more than 19 ounces to your pack. It is lighter than a bivy but has more space than one, since two people could sleep dry underneath one. For those of you who want rain protection without having to haul around a tent, this is the option for you. [amazon_link id=”B000RVX27K” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Click here[/amazon_link] to purchase yours today.

Outdoor Research Advanced Bivy – $300

[amazon_image id=”B000VVHYE8″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Outdoor Research Advanced Bivy (Mojo Blue, One Size)[/amazon_image]

When it comes to bivy sacks, especially options that are 3 season capable, the Outdoor Research Advanced Bivy is our favorite model on the market. It features 3 layers of Gore-Tex Respiration Positive fabric, a durable hydroseal coated waterproof nylon floor, and completely fully taped seams to keep ground water out. Two shock corded poles allow for sturdy head space, but can be left behind for extra weight savings. What really sets this bivy apart from others is the internal volume. There is  a ton of room for a high-loft down sleeping bag and sleeping pad, and there are integral loops for attaching the pad to the bottom of the bivy. This bivy sack comes in at 37 ounces, so it is a nice ultralight option for solo backpacking. [amazon_link id=”B000VVHYE8″ target=”_blank” ]Click here[/amazon_link] to order your Outdoor Research Advanced bivy today.

One Man Tents

Eureka! Solitaire – $69

[amazon_image id=”B000EQCVNY” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Eureka! Solitaire – Tent (sleeps 1)[/amazon_image]

The Eureka! Solitaire solo tent has taken the good points of a bivy sack and expanded it out to a tent. Instead of feeling couped up in a constrictive bivy sack, the walls are 2 feet high the length of the tent. Without the rain fly on, the entire tent is made of mesh for excellent ventilation on warmer days and for stargazing at night. The weight is very manageable for one person, at only 41 ounces. For all the extra space in this tent compared to a bivy, the extra few ounces are worth it for me. And the price (always subject to change) of under $70 is a steal! To get your Eureka! Solitaire solo tent today, [amazon_link id=”B000EQCVNY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]click here[/amazon_link].

ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 1 Tent – $119

[amazon_link id=”B00B9GCRL4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 1-Person Tent[/amazon_link]Another great option for a solo tent is the Alps Mountaineering Zephyr. This tent comes in heavier than the Eureka! Solitaire, but boasts a lot more interior space and comfort. Weighing 62 ounces (3 pounds 14 ounces), it is by no means a light weight tent (and some two man tents weigh the same or less), but the tall walls add an amount of comfort that a lot of backpackers seek from their tents. Maybe this doesn’t fit in our ultralight discussion here, but if you are alright with sacrificing a little bit of weight for a lot of comfort, the Alps Mountaineering Zephyr is the solo tent for you. [amazon_link id=”B00B9GCRL4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Click here[/amazon_link] to get yours today.

Two Man Tents

Nemo Equipment Meta 2-Person Ultralight Trekking Tent – $319

[amazon_link id=”B0035EJMTI” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Nemo Equipment Meta 2-Person Ultralight Trekking Tent[/amazon_link]The Nemo Meta two person tent is our favorite ultralight option out there right now for a few reasons. First of all its weight – an astonishing 47 ounces (2 pounds 15 ounces) – is outstanding for a two person backpacking tent. This weight is achieved by utilizing your trekking poles for the construction of the tent body, so if you don’t use trekking poles again, this tent isn’t for you. There are also well placed vents on this tent that allow for exceptional air flow. The internal floor space is 37 square feet, with an additional 22 square feet of vestibule space for gear. That is a lot of floor space for two people. There are other 2 person tents out there with weights close to that of the Nemo Meta, but they are cramped (often with less than 30 square feet and a tiny vestibule area). This is a very comfortable and ultralight tent option, usually two characteristics you have to choose between. To get your Nemo Meta two person trekking tent today, [amazon_link id=”B0035EJMTI” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]click here[/amazon_link].

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Person Tent – $369

[amazon_image id=”B00GSYH5IC” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2-Person Tent – Silver/Gold[/amazon_image]

The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 is another exceptional two person tent. Another ultralight tent option, coming in at 42 ounces (2 pounds 10 ounces), the Fly Creek could easily be divided between two backpackers or carried solo. The internal space is cramped when compared with the Nemo Meta above (only 28 square feet of internal space, with only an additional 7 square feet of vestibule space), so it is not as comfortable. But it does shave 5 extra ounces off the overall weight, and you don’t need your own trekking poles to set up the tent. This award winning tent (winner of Backpacker Magazine’s Editors’ Choice award in 2010) is one of the lightest two person tents on the market. For ultralight backpackers, that is the most important factor. To get your Fly Creek UL2 from Big Agnes, [amazon_link id=”B00GSYH5IC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]click this link[/amazon_link] today.

Summary And Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

There are several things to think about when investing in an ultralight backpacking tent, starting with the overall weight. Do you plan on sleeping in your tent alone? With another person? Your dog? Do you like having extra space for gear storage? Can you handle cramped quarters? Do you like to sleep under the stars? What will the weather be like? Think about these questions as you browse our favorite ultralight backpacking tent options on the market today. Hopefully this article will help you to choose a tent that fits your needs.

What is your favorite ultralight backpacking tent? Do you prefer the bivy sack to the tent? Are you a true minimalist that sleeps under the stars/tarp? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

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Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Backpacking Tent – Ultralight Tent Defined

[amazon_link id=”B0036GT87G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 Person Tent[/amazon_link]The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 person backpacking tent is an award winning ultralight tent option loaded with features and functionality. Weighing in at an astounding 2 pounds, 10 ounces (packed weight), the Fly Creek UL2 could easily be carried by a single person. Even though it is so light, the living space is quite comfortable for 2 backpackers. This is a top choice of many backpackers around the world, and for good reason. Let’s look at the features of the award winning Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 tent below.

Features

The weight saving technology utilized by Big Agnes in the development of the Fly Creek UL2 is mainly evident in the materials used to build the tent’s fabric and poles. The tent is also a snap to setup (Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Setup Instructions), and a single person could easily utilize the single hub pole assembly. The tent walls are mostly made of woven mesh, providing insect protection while allowing for excellent ventilation, even with the rain fly on. The seams are all properly taped and waterproofed.

Other highlights include:

  • 1 door
  • 1 vestibule
  • 28 square feet of interior space
  • 7 square feet of vestibule space
  • Rain fly
  • 3 pockets
  • Gear loft

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 is a design feat of modern innovation. In 2010, this tent was awarded the Backpacker Magazine Editor’s Choice for innovative design. That speaks very highly of what Big Agnes has accomplished with this tent. The Fly Creek UL2 is one of the lightest, if not the lightest, 2 man tents on the market today. Even though it is ultralight, it still offers a large interior for comfortable living. The features included in this tent make the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 person 3 season freestanding backpacking tent one of our best choices for ultralight backpacking. If these features are what you are looking for, click this link here to purchase this tent –

[amazon_link id=”B0036GT87G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 Person Tent[/amazon_link]

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