Top 5 Ultralight Backpacks (30L and Under) of 2023

Hiker rolling up their Hyperlite hiking backpack in the desert evening

In this post, we'll take a look at:

When choosing a backpack of with a capacity of 30 liters or less for ultralight backpacking, you must consider its weight, durability, and comfort.

Don’t be afraid of the smaller size; it will align with your new ultralight gear and carry everything you need for a 2 or 3-day trip.

Our TOP 5 guide is here to assist you in making the best decision, guaranteeing that your upcoming backpacking adventure will be truly amazing, and your back will thank you.

Top Ultralight ≤ 30L Ultralight Backpack Picks

  1. Most Ultralight: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Pack 30 (4.65oz/132g)
  2. Best Overall: Zpacks Sub-Nero Ultra 30L (9.7oz/275g)
  3. Best Value: Granite Gear Virga3 26 (19.75oz/560g)
  4. Most Comfortable: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Elevate 22 (17.88oz/507g)
  5. Budget Option: Six Moon Designs Wy’east (25.04oz/710g)

1. Most Ultralight
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Pack 30

Ultralight <30L Hiking Backpack: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Pack 30

Key Specs

Weight: 4.65 ounces (132 grams)
Capacity: 30L
Material: DCF11
Price: $


✅ Ultralight

✅ Good quality


❌ Extreme option

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Pack 30 is a basic yet advanced backpack designed for ultralight backpacking. It’s an extreme choice, but perfect for those who want to carry as little as possible.

While there are a few areas that could be improved, like the top closure that tends to open when the bag is full and the absence of straps, this backpack works well for the most committed ultralight backpackers who appreciate simplicity and creativity.

2. Best Overall
Zpacks Sub-Nero Ultra 30L

Ultralight <30L Hiking Backpack: Zpacks Sub-Nero Ultra 30L

Key Specs

Weight: 9.7 ounces (275 grams)
Capacity: 30L
Material: UHMWPE
Price: $$


✅ Durable

✅ Waterproof


❌ None

The Zpacks Sub-Nero Ultra is perfect for ultralight backpackers looking for a simple pack without a frame. It’s great, especially if you like to keep your gear simple yet well-organised.

This backpack is crafted from durable Ultra fabric, known for its strength and waterproof properties, and it’s highly popular among the backpacking community.

The design features an older-style roll-top closure, similar to the Arc series, which many users really like. It can easily accommodate your gear, two days’ worth of food, and still have room for additional miscellaneous items.

It really has no downsides if you know what you’re looking for in a 30L backpack.

3. Best Value
Granite Gear Virga3 26

Ultralight <30L Hiking Backpack: Granite Gear Virga3 26

Key Specs

Weight: 19.75 ounces (560 grams)
Capacity: 26L
Material: robic nylon (100D and 210D)
Price: $$


✅ Comfortable

✅ Adjustable shoulder strap width


❌ Shoulder straps are non-breathable

The Granite Gear Virga3 series brings a fresh perspective to ultralight backpacking, offering plenty of adjustable features and a relatively light design for everyone to enjoy.

Although the shoulder straps could use better ventilation, they provide excellent padding and a clever attachment for water bottles and other gear. However, in our experience, smaller bottles might be a bit tricky to secure.

Despite this small issue, the Virga3 26 is still an attractive option for those seeking a well-made, easily adjustable, and affordable backpack.

4. Most Comfortable
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Elevate 22

Ultralight <30L Hiking Backpack: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Elevate 22

Key Specs

Weight: 17.88 ounces (507 grams)
Capacity: 22L
Material: DCH50; DCH150
Price: $$$


✅ Almost perfect

✅ Comfortable


❌ No hip-belt pockets

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Elevate 22 daypack is a versatile and high-quality companion for outdoor adventures.

The daypack is made from lightweight and waterproof materials, making it great for shorter trips. Users really like its roomy side pockets and how comfortable it is to wear. Surprisingly, some adventurous folks have even taken it on week-long journeys, covering about 100 miles.

While we wish the pack had hip-belt pockets for easy access to items, it’s worth noting that the belt is removable. With a bit of creativity, you can replace it.

All in all, the Elevate 22 remains a dependable choice to carry your essentials as you embark on your ultralight journey

5. Budget Option
Six Moon Designs Wy’east


Key Specs

Weight: 25.04 ounces (710 grams)
Capacity: 30L
Material: 210D nylon robic or EPX200
Price: $


✅ A lot of useful features

✅ Relatively affordable

✅ Good for shorter individuals


❌ Relatively heavy

❌ Slim shoulder straps

The Six Moon Designs Wy’east daypack has a simple and practical design with deep side pockets for secure water bottle storage and convenient compartments. It’s a bit on the shorter side, which makes it a good fit for shorter folks like me.

But, there are a couple of things to keep in mind: the inside zippered pocket is small, and the shoulder straps are wide but slim. So, if you plan to use it for regular travel, especially at airports, it might not be the best choice. However, when you’re always on the move, it’s okay, and the straps don’t sacrifice comfort too much.

Overall, the Wy’east is still a versatile and affordable option for various trips.

How to Buy the Right Ultralight Backpack

Once you go ultralight, you won’t want to lug around a heavier backpack ever again, even if it has fancy features.

These backpacks are super light, but they might not have as much space or be as tough as regular ones. Finding the right balance between reducing weight and staying comfortable is essential.

Ultralight backpacks come in different types, like simple frame, tensioned air frame, and frameless. They each have their strengths and are great for certain situations:

  • Framed: Ultralight packs often feature an upside-down U-shaped frame made from materials like carbon or aluminum. In our perspective, considering a framed option would make the most sense for extended treks where you need to carry a significant amount of food due to limited resupply points.
  • Tensioned air frame: If you tend to sweat a lot, ultralight backpacks can be an excellent choice, especially during those scorching summer months. There’s nothing wrong with opting for a tensioned air frame, even though it adds a bit of extra weight.
  • Frameless: Our personal favorites as they embrace simplicity. They might be a bit challenging to pack, but when you have ultralight gear, everything falls into place, and you’ll truly appreciate your setup. Sure, your back might get a bit sweaty, but at the end of a long day, your back and shoulders will thank you for the comfort.

Selecting the right backpack can indeed be a tough decision, with several factors to consider, such as the backpack’s size, your preference for a lid, and the typical amount of weight you carry.

In our opinion, going for a straightforward roll-top design is a wise decision since it effectively secures your belongings while preserving the ultralight characteristics you desire.

Look for one made with quality materials that offer sufficient weatherproofing and the option to attach a hip belt for the most versatile choice available.

Still looking for a bigger backpack? Take a look at our TOP 5 guide for 30-45L backpacks.

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