Lightweight backpacks shortlist 2021

A backpack is usually the single heaviest thing many hikers use. So you have a lot to gain by chosing a lightweight pack.In my list I focus on packs that will work for most people on overnight trips where you sleep outside. Since there are packs in the list that weigh around 1,5 kilo that have a load carrying capacity exceeding what most people can carry, there is IMHO no need to list or for anyone to use a heavier pack. Of course, it is a free world and anyone who wants to burden themselves more than they have to is free to do so. I prefer to use the lightest gear that does the job in a given situation.

Below you will find a list of  lightweight backpacks suitable for most people on overnight trips. This list is primarily for those not very familiar with brands, products, volumes and weights of lightweight packs. I have excluded frameless packs and those smaller than 40 litres. I have also limited myself to a handful of packs, but I hope to add a spreadsheet link that has a more extensive list of ultralight and lightweight backpacks.  Looking at the list below you can start scanning the internet for more info, more lightweight packs as well as retailers and prices. There are no sponsored products or links, this is simply an uncorrupted list to help people start their search for a lighter backpack.

By Jörgen Johansson
A HMG Porter Pack 70 litres 1000 grams in Brooks Range, Alaska
An HMG Porter Pack 4400 70 litres and 1000 grams on a month-long trip in Brooks Range, Alaska

Note that all brands in the shortlist also have other models of different sizes, features and weights. A double model name usually indicates a male/female model, single name means unisex or that male/female designs have the same name. Please note that all of these packs can be compressed to a smaller volume. The volume given is the maximum, from a combination of main compartment and outside pockets. Details at manufacturers website.


Packsize 40-50 litres

These are packs that will hold gear and food for most lightweight hikers during weekend (1-3 nights) trips. For ultralight or super ultralight backpackers they will of course work for longer hikes.
  • Exped Lightning 45 litres 1125 grams
  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 2400 45 litres 800 grams
  • Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 litres 850 grams
  • Osprey Exos/Eja 48 litres 1200 grams
  • Osprey Levity/Lumina 45 litres 800 grams


 Packsize 51-61 litres  

These are packs that will hold gear and food for most lightweight hikers during week long (-7 nights) trips.
  • Bergan Helium 55 litres 1000 grams
  • Exped Lightning 60 litres 1150 grams
  • Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 litres 800 grams
  • Granite Gear Crown 2 60 litres 990 grams
  • Granite Gear Blaze 60 litres 1360 grams
  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 3400 55 litres 900 grams
  • Osprey Exos/Eja/Lumina/Levity at 58 and 60 litres 900 - 1200 grams
  • Seek Outside Flight One/Two 61 litres 1100 gram
  • Sierra Designs Flex Capacitator 40-60 litres 1165 gram


Packsize over 61 litres

These are packs that will hold gear and food for extended trips and for those carrying specialized equipment like packrafting or climbing gear. Some of these will hold up for loads of 50 kilos (if you hold up for that...).

  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 4400 70 litres 1100 grams
  • Sierra Designs Flex Capacitator 60-75 litres 1200 grams
  • Seek Outside Divide 4800 88 litres 1250 grams
  • Seek Outside Unaweep 6300 120 litres 1620 grams
  • ULA Equipment Ohm 2.0 63 litres 940 grams