Ultralight packaging: tips to start shaving ounces

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Hyperlite Mountain Gear believes that a well-organized ultralight touring system pays off in terms of weight savings and organization. Its line of backpacks, shelters and storage bags can help you streamline your packing list.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear emphasizes a backpack system to lighten the load and stay organized on ultralight hikes. The harder the exertion, according to the theory, the more you will benefit from the weight gains.

While cyclists are notorious for their obsession with counting grams, ultralight backpackers can’t be far behind. Simplicity isn’t just about weight, however. Having a lightweight backpack helps you stay organized, optimize storage, and protect your gear, which is beneficial for long hikes.

Explore Hyperlite Mountain Gear Backpacks and Backpacks

Ultralight HMG tent. Photo courtesy of Hyperlite Mountain Gear.

Save weight (and money)

As we covered in Essentialism 101, packaging light means reducing layoffs.

If you’ve never packaged with an emphasis on weight gain, you might want to take the time to lay all of your gear on the floor. Go through a list of essentials and move these elements to one side. Obviously, if you weigh everything individually, it is easier to calculate different packing lists on paper.

Next, make a list of accessories. A titanium spoon is ultralight, but might not be worth the price compared to a plastic spoon that weighs a little more.

Essentials like backpacks, tents and sleeping bags are expensive items and are worth considering on a cost / weight basis. Even if you haven’t planned on other ultralight hikes, lighter items can also be used for more casual trips and car camping.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Storage Bags
HMG storage bags. Photo courtesy of Hyperlite Mountain Gear.

As if things went together

Deciding what to pack is also a matter of utility.

To stay organized inside a backpack, especially a minimalist ultralight backpack, you need to adopt a system that compartments your gear. Storage bags are a great way to keep sleeping gear, clothes, toiletries, and food separate.

Since you will be handing out heavier items at the base of a sack, chances are your tent and food will be at the bottom of your sack when it is time to set up camp. This saves time unpacking (and repacking) pods and bags, and setting them aside rather than having loose clothing cluttering up your site.

After a long hike, rummaging through a bag for an item can be frustrating. It is also important to keep the things that you are likely to need throughout the day more accessible and the items that are not needed until you get to camp stowed.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Bags and Pods

Product Images Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Bags

Hyperlite mountain equipment storage bags are designed to be more robust and water resistant than the usual nylon pouches that come with tents and sleeping bags. Replacing the standard packs that came with your tent, bag, and towel provides a gateway to ultralight materials that aim to shave ounces.

These Dyneema bags also have renowned durability, which can defend against a lost tent stake or pole that gets into your gear. Thicker storage bags will also add redundancy to protect items from moisture, especially if your bag collects morning dew.

Hyperlite offers advice on shopping bags will fit and protect your equipment. All of this precedes your choice of backpack. Buying an ultralight backpack doesn’t make much sense unless you’ve cut down the lowest fruits on your gear list first.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Backpacks

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight backpacks: (left to right) North Rim, Windrider and Southwest. Photo courtesy of Hyperlite Mountain Gear.

Typically, ultralight backpacks forgo the internal pockets, dividers, and zippers found in traditional backpacks. Hyperlite Mountain Gear manufactures four “basic” backpacks. The main packs are similar, but they use different exterior pockets and materials based on environmental considerations.

For example, stronger outer fabrics protect the 3400 North border canyoning pack. The North Rim is large enough for hikes but can be reduced for short hikes.

the 2400 Windrider is the brand’s original pack with less protected exterior pockets. Hyperlite Mountain Gear anchors the Windrider’s ideal spot on the Appalachian Trail and on trips lasting up to 4 days.

On the other hand, the roll-top 2400 southwest aims to meet the needs of hikers on the Continental Divide Trail, where contact with rougher terrain is expected.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear also makes bags for snowy missions and where waterproofing is paramount.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Tents and Shelters

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Tents and Shelters
The Ultamid 4 pyramid tent and the flat tarpaulin shelter. Photo courtesy of Hyperlite Mountain Gear.

Your home will come down to a choice of comfort and ease of installation.

The tents provide walls against the elements and early morning sunlight. Hyperlite Mountain Gear manufactures several tents, ranging from large Ultamid 4 Pyramid Tent architecture at the Echo 2 shelter system. Most models have complementary mesh inserts sold separately.

For true minimalists, there are tarpaulin shelters. If you are hiking with poles (generally considered worthy of this weight) and heading to drier climates, a Flat tarpaulin may be all you need.

If there are mosquitoes, plan to bring a mosquito net to wear around your head.

hyperlite-mountain-gear-tent-landscape
Photo courtesy of: Hyperlite Mountain Gear

Ultralight doesn’t have to be overnight

Unless you’ve been planning a hike or starting from scratch, assembling an ultralight kit is most convenient when done over time.

As mentioned with the storage bagsSo, dipping your foot into the market with smaller items can be an entry point to wasting ounces, especially if you’ve recently bought a tent or bag that you’re not ready to replace.

Another option is the Versa, Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s answer to the fanny pack. Hikers can certainly use it as part of an ultralight system.

It is highly weather resistant and weighs less than 3 ounces, so it can protect valuables like a phone and hold essentials like credit card, ID, and snacks in one place. That way, if you want to put your backpack down for a hike next to a stream or a viewpoint, you can bring the Versa with you for extra peace of mind.

hyperlite-mountain-gear-versa-pack-lifestyle
Photo courtesy of: Hyperlite Mountain Gear

Day packs can be a big investment when you start to build your kit that offers a variety of benefits without the extra size (or budget) of a pack designed for multi-night adventures.

the Dawn Ultralite Pack has enough space for hydration, food, clothing for temperature changes and other necessities. This type of bag is versatile for many types of adventures and is a first dive into the world of ultralight packaging.

No matter how you get started on ultralight backpacking, know that it’s all about weight, cost and utility. Once you’ve tried reducing your gear and walking in a lighter pack, the gain can mean more endurance and more miles.

Explore Hyperlite Mountain Gear Backpacks and Backpacks


This article is sponsored by Hyperlite mountain equipment. Find out more about its ultralight backpacks and storage bags here.

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