Trend suggests increase in emphasis on done-in-a-day activities and high action adventure sports such as fastpacking and peak bagging

There is a huge crop of light packs in the 30 to 45 liter range (1800 to 2750 cu in). It seems like every pack manufacturer is in the business of making “one-day/one-night” packs in the two to three pound range with durable materials and good load handling characteristics.

We asked representatives from Lowe Alpine, Gregory, and other pack manufacturers that have traditionally made their bread and butter on heavier and larger volume packs about this trend. They are seeing an increased interest in adventure day hiking (long distance day hiking/ peak bagging), quick overnight backpacking with small loads, and fastpacking (high mileages in a few days). This trend reflects the outdoor’s increasing focus on frontcountry done-in-a-day activities and decreased time spent in the backcountry among a busy American public.

We think it’s all well and good that there are so many products from which the general outdoor consumer can choose. But even the astute lightweight or ultralight backpacker can capitalize on these packs. Using an ultralight mentality (one pound down sleeping bag, small tarp shelter, highly compressible clothing, etc.) we think you can cram a week’s worth of food and gear in these packs and enjoy the benefits of carrying a small, compact load comfortably while enjoying the benefits of durability and reasonable suspension systems. And, you can’t ignore the “cool factor” of meeting a NOLS group 20 miles from the trailhead picking their jaws up off the ground because they found out you were backpacking their same route with a day-sized backpack.

Conversion Notes:

  • 1 liter = 61 cu in
  • Example conversion 35 liters x 61 l/cu in = 2135 cu in

Osprey launches the new Atmos series pack line with AirSpeed suspension, a mesh panel supported by a spring loaded aluminum hoop frame (3 oz). The suspended mesh back is comfortable and breathable. You can even tuck a hydration bladder between the suspended mesh and the back of the pack body. There are three pack in this series 25, 35 and 50 liters

Osprey Atmos 35 and 25 (pictured): 35 liters, 2 lb 5 oz, 25 liters 1 lb 15 oz. Both packs are almost identical in features and construction. They are panel loaders with solid stretch zippered rear pocket, stretch side pockets, mesh pockets on the hipbelt, and hydration bladders. The 35 is billed for weekend adventure racing and ultralight backpacking. The 25 is billed for one day adventure racing and trail running. We would add peak bagging and a possible overnight to this pack’s possibilities. There is also a 50 liter version of this pack with a top lid that weighs 2 lb 13 oz.

Marmot Vapor 30 (pictured), 35 and 45: 30 liters, 2 lb 8 oz – 35 liters, 3 lb oz – 45 liters, 3 lb 6 oz. The Vapor 30 is a durable panel loading entry from Marmot. It has a well ventilated backpanel, hollow aluminum stays, two rear zip pockets, water bottle pockets. Day hiking, peak bagging, ski touring, overnight trips. A bit heaver than some but a solid frame and full sized, well padded suspension will probably handle anything you can fit in it. The 35 and 45 are top loaders with a removable lid.

Lowe Alpine Walkabout 35 Hyperlite: 35 liters, 2 lb 9.5 oz. A clean pack with integrated side pockets and at top lid. A top seller in Europe.

Lowe Alpine Attack 30 Hyperlite: 30 liters, 1 lb 7 oz. A very light pack perfect for peak bagging and adventurous day hiking and equally suited for fastpacking and overnight backpacking.

Lowe Alpine Attack 20: 20 liters, 1 lb 14 oz. Designed for freedom of arm movement, this a fabulous pack for a day climb or long trail run. Pack expands for approach and easily compresses for the climb. This is not just for technical climbing but would be great for non-technical peak bagging as well.

Black Diamond Speed: 30 liters, 1lb 15 oz. A light pack with a top lid. ¾ length bivy pad and a single stay. Very durable fabric

Black Diamond Hollowpoint: 20 liters, 14 oz. An exceptionally light and durable daypack. We could see getting an overnight in this pack or a long day hike with ease.

Arc’Teryx Needle 35 and 45 (pictured). 35 liters, 3 lb 2 oz – 45 liters, 3 lb 5 oz. Arc’Teryx replaces the Khamsin series with their new Needle series of lightweight packs. The 35 and 45 packs are almost identical in design and features—large accordion rear pockets, top loading with a lid, solid suspension and very durable Dimension Polyant X-Pac fabric.