Your Complete Ultralight Backpacking Gear List

Ultralight Backpacking Gear List
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For your next backpacking trip, consider packing ultralight. It is important to always consider each aspect of your items and if it is necessary to haul them on your back during your trip. Some items often tend to be unnecessary and will weigh your pack down. Instead of having to think about the safety of multiple items you have packed, you should be enjoying your backpacking experience. So, when packing, think about carrying items that have more than one use. For instance, buy a phone that has a good camera so you wouldn’t have to carry an extra camera and lenses. However, this could be a different scenario if you are a professional photographer. Here is a comprehensive article of your essential but ultralight backpacking gear list

Ultralight Backpacking Gear List
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Headlamp & Torch

These are essential items for any outdoor trip be it camping, hiking, or backpacking. For example, you may travel and reach your destination only to find a power blackout. In this case, a headlamp or torch comes in handy. Also, they are essential for any camping trip because when night falls, your campfire can only help you see so much without burning your tent. However, of the two, most outdoor enthusiasts prefer the headlamp because it’s ultralight, and allows you to have both hands free.   

GPS Watch

One of the ways to enhance your backpacking experience is getting a GPS watch. When looking for the best watch for hiking or camping, get one that gives you the most in terms of data. Also, it’s best if your watch is a multi-purpose watch that does more than tell time. This helps to save costs and keeps your backpack light.

Some of the features to consider when buying a watch include one that monitors your health and fitness. Get one that you can customize to give you smart notifications. The most important part of hiking and backpacking is being on the right track. Therefore, it would be wise to have a watch as part of your hiking gear that has a 3-axis compass included. It isn’t bulky nor does it weigh you down as it slides perfectly on your wrist.

Headlamp & Torch - Ultralight Backpacking Gear List
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When purchasing a backpack, think about one that is not so huge that it limits you from your activities. However, think of one that also isn’t too small that it again limits from packing important items. The less backpacking gear you have, the less you have to think about while enjoying your backpacking experience. Your bag should have several compartments to organize your items and the main compartment should have your clothes packed inside. 

Your backpack should also be part of your carry-on luggage if you are doing an international or long-distance local trip. It should be comfortable enough to allow you to do certain activities such as hiking and photography with ease. Putting your backpack down or leaving it with strangers is a definite no-no. You should keep your belongings safe in sight at all times for maximum enjoyment during your backpacking adventure


The priority to consider when packing your clothes is that it’s comfortable and ultralight. The comfort of clothes includes a material that absorbs sweat—which is offered by an outfit created by 100% cotton. The reason being is that you want to be as comfortable as possible while observing hygiene. However, clothes can be heavy and bulky when packed or rolled up into your backpack. So, it is best to find clothing gear that can make your pack load lighter. For example, buy multi-functional pants, and make sure your hiking pants have multiple pockets where you can store items such as keys, wallets, cards, and money that you need to quickly access. In this way, your backpack is lightweight and you carry the essentials with you. 

Next, consider the season you are travelling. If you are travelling during winter then get a jacket that is water-resistant to withstand downpour and heavy snow. In addition, if it’s the cold season, some items such as scarfs, wool hats, and gloves will have to be included in your packing gear list. When buying hiking shoes, look out for a durable pair of shoes that serves different functions. Most importantly, a light-weight and comfortable pair is a top priority. Most brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Decathalon offers ultralight shoes that have all your hiking and comfort requirements.

For shirts and pants, it is always a good idea to go for long-sleeved shirts and t-shirts for windy evenings and just in case the weather changes. For pants, you should buy convertible pants so that when it gets hot you can easily pack away the bottom part of the trouser. Other clothes to consider packing include raincoats, hats, sunglasses, and an extra pair of sandals.

GPS Watch - Ultralight Backpacking Gear List
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Phone & Accessories

When purchasing a phone for your travel, consider one that can also function as a camera. Also, buy a memory card especially for your trip so you can store your travel experiences through images. 

Phone features to look out for include the screen; take into account the size of the screen for purposes of taking selfies. Think about battery life; buy a phone that has a large battery as they tend to last longer. Consider having a phone that can easily and quickly sync between your other devices such as tablets and laptops that can be of help for a long period of time, even during times after your backpacking adventure ends. The phone can have other accessories such as casing or phone cover, headphones, and chargers.

Carry a spare charger for your phone. It should be an ultralight accessory and relatively small. The best ones can cost from $5 to $50. Also, if backpacking internationally, always remember to pack an adapter that is compatible with the sockets of the country you are visiting. American sockets tend to be different from those in Europe so a universal charger and adapter will come in handy. Another important gadget is a USB charger. Small and ultralight, it can be used to transfer documents as well as charge your phone.

Emergency Kit

Have an emergency kit with your backpacking equipment that will help you do small repairs during your trip. Items such as tape, match sticks for starting a campfire if out on a camping trip, and a repair kit. A repair kit comes in handy when setting up and taking down a tent for your camp. Also, a proper emergency kit helps to mend any item that gets faulty on the way. You can imagine if the buckle of your bag snaps, the only item that can help you repair it would be a tool in the repair kit and a multi-purpose tool such as a Leatherman comes in handy.

Ultralight Backpacking Gear List
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Your toiletries bag should include toothpaste, lotions, and mosquito repellent. Also, remember to carry drugs such as pain killers, antihistamines, and anti-acids because they come in handy and help ease discomfort in case of an emergency. For these items, in order to keep your backpack ultralight, it is best you get them in pill form instead of liquid in bottles. Less liquid in bottles means a lighter and a flatter backpack. Also, carry items such as Band-Aids in case you encounter cuts and bruises.

Compact Travel Case

This is where you pack all your hygiene items. Put all of them in one place so that they are easily accessible. Depending on how long your trip will be, you can consider getting smaller containers to pack items such as toothpaste, lotion, soaps, and shower gels in smaller containers. Get a compact case that is neither too bulky nor too small that all your items cannot fit in your travel case.

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Sleeping Bag

This can be packed and carried at the bottom of the backpack. It is recommended that you carry a sleeping bag that is made to be lightweight. This is so you have a comfortable place to sleep during the night and an ultralight backpack to carry around as you backpack all day. The most popular ultralight sleeping gear is the Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20. Get a sleeping bag that is going to keep you warm in the cold seasons, one that has a hood to cover your head and helps absorb heat while you sleep.

Cooking Items

All this depends on whether you are travelling as a group or an individual and whether it is a local camping trip. You should consider dividing the items up among the group of people you will be travelling with for easy carrying of the items. Ensure you have shopped for the foods you will eat ahead of the trip. Having a meal plan helps you plan better before you reach your destination.

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Water Bottle

A very essential item in your packing list. You may need to purify water and then store in your water bottle. In addition to packing the water bottle, purchase some water purifiers as you do not know the water situation at your destination.


If you are solo travelling around the world, purchase a lock and key. Ultralightweight, they double to keep your backpack and belongings safe. When getting the accommodation, you may store your items in a locker or room to allow you the freedom to sightsee.

These essential items are for international, backpacking, and camping trips that ensures your backpack stays ultralight. Pack only necessary items such as clothing, emergency items, and gadgets.


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