Ultralight Backpacks

I have a fantastic Eagle Creek backpack that I’ve used for more than 15 years.  It has survived just about every type of weather condition and baggage handler imaginable.  While it’s an extremely versatile travel bag the harness system wasn’t really designed for an 1100-mile trek.  I did carry this bag around the Annapurna Circuit in 1999 and I do remember thinking I was pushing the limits.

Having made the decision to purchase a new bag my first thought was to check out Eagle Creek.  They have a new bag called the Truist 45L which has been at the top of my list for several months.  It has the size and features I’m looking for and is priced at just under C$200 (£110).  However when I put together my gear list I included the weight, in grams, of every item and at 2070 grams the Truist 45L was easily the heaviest item of all. I decided I needed to have a close look at some lighter packs.

When it comes to outdoor equipment shops we’re spoiled for choice in Victoria.  There are three major outlets within a few minutes walk of each other (and another half dozen shops within 10 minutes walk).  After a couple of hours it was apparent that there were a handful of bags in the 45-55 litre size range, all costing around C$200 and weighing approximately 1500 grams.  Two that stood out were the Gregory z55 and the North Face Skareb 50.

I also spent some time researching lightweight packs on-line.  I found out about the Gossamer Gear Gorilla ultralight pack by way of Geoff Gafford’s Ultra-lightweight hiking and backpacking blog.  Amazingly, the Gorilla weighs in at less than 700 grams.  While researching the Gregory pack I came across several backpacking forums and that’s where I learned of the Osprey Exos 46.  This ultralight pack weights in at between 740 and 960 grams, depending on whether it’s the S, M or L version.  It has a lot of great features, has received a lot of positive reviews online and currently sits at the top of my list.

If anyone has any opinions on these packs please post your comments here!  Thanks.

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