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The Best Ultralight Backpacking Gear of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Our top picks across a range of categories to cut the pounds from your baseweight

Whether you’re in the middle of your first thru-hike or planning out next season’s adventures, upgrading to ultralight backpacking gear is a smart investment. The more grams you shed, the farther you’ll be able to travel day-to-day and the better experience you’ll have. To help you choose the best ultralight backpacking gear for your kit, we’ve rounded up our top picks from side-by-side tests conducted in the field.

  • Best Quilt: Therm-a-Rest Vesper
  • Best Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-Rest Uberlite
  • Best Water Filter: Sawyer Squeeze Mini
  • Best Utensil: GSI Pouch Spoon
  • Best Satellite Messenger: Garmin inReach Mini 2
  • Best Trowel: TheTentLab The Deuce #2
  • Best Rain Jacket: Montbell Versalite
  • Best Puffer Pants: Montbell Light Down Pants
  • Best Puffer Jacket: Crazy Levity
  • Best Trail Runner: Altra Lone Peak
  • Best Sock: Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock

How We Tested Ultralight Backpacking Gear

The Outdoor Life team has conducted numerous side-by-side tests of the top-ranked backpacking gear, from the best backpacking water filters to the best trail runners to the best backpacking quilts. The gear on this list were the top performing lightweight or ultralight picks from those tests. If we’re recommending it, we’re confident that it will work well across any terrain that backpackers travel in.

Continue reading more details on some of the best ultralight backpacking gear, written by Laura Lancaster here.


March 21, 2023

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Laura Lancaster

Outdoor Life


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