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The advantages of having a lightweight, frameless backpack are huge - but without that heavy frame, the backpack has all the qualities of a large sack. For maximum comfort, you'll need to pack carefully, in a way that gives your backpack form and balance.

On a partial hike of the Appalachian Trail, I learned the importance of packing correctly using a GoLite Gust, a durable and capacious pack that weighs a little over a pound. My sleeping pad became a frame, and my tent poles gave the pack structure. It took me a while, but eventually I figured out a system that worked for the Gust. Depending on the materials available (i.e. your gear) and your type of pack, the exact formula will vary. However, you'll need to consider form, balance, and functionality when packing your ultralight backpack, regardless of its type.


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