The ultralight backpacker is an outdoor minimalist at heart. Their gear of choice is always versatile, efficient, and capable of delivering a next-level performance, just like them. The ultimate goal? An (ultra) light pack filled only with the essentials that won’t weigh them down, but allow them to be fully immersed in the moment.
So stuff their stocking full of gear that shaves and saves every precious ounce on their back. The more lightweight and multi-purpose it is, the better. A sleek design with cutting edge features certainly wouldn’t hurt either. After all, this is minimalism to the max, and this purist knows that less is truly more.
Just in time for the holiday season, we rounded up ten top picks here at NEMO, including a few from our favorite brands that the stealthy peak bagger will love. Give them a gift that will actually keep giving so they can stay focused on what matters most.
Dagger™ Backpacking Tent
The ultimate in ultralight backpacking, Dagger™ is roomy and spacious when it is set up and packs down to a mere 3 lbs, 5 oz. It’s easy to split the load with a friend thanks to the Divvy™ dual-stage stuff sack, and a specially-designed mesh paneling gives you visibility overhead, and privacy alongside the tent walls so you can get lost in the night sky.
Biolite Headlamp 330
Whether it’s an alpine start or trekking long after sundown, this nearly weightless headlamp provides light without getting in the way. A streamlined design ensures a snug fit (no bouncing!), plus spot and floodlight settings with dimmability, so you won’t zap your battery life.
Kayu™/Aya™ Ultralight Down Mummy Bag
Constructed with premium packable 800 FP down, our Kayu™ (men’s) and Aya™ (women’s) offers unparalleled warmth and comfort that can withstand temps as low as 15 degrees. A contoured fit seals in heat and won’t waste space when it’s unrolled or stowed away.
Pre-dawn wake-up calls aren’t complete without hot coffee. This is the smallest, most durable, portable coffee dripper out there, with machined grooves to keep it secured. It’s so compact that you can easily slip it into your back pocket. How’s that for ultralight?
Osprey Aether AG 60/Ariel AG 55 Backpack
‘Tis the season for upgrading their ultralight kit. Osprey’s Aether AG 60 (men’s) and Ariel AG 55 (women’s) is built to go the distance and haul all your gear on multi-day trips. One continuous piece of lightweight mesh provides an airy cushion, and adjustable compression straps offer a customizable fit.
Dragonfly™ Ultralight Tent
Dragonfly™ has an asymmetrical design that allows it to shave off unnecessary ounces and still have ample headroom inside. This freestanding tent strikes just the right balance between livable and lightweight, complete with oversized vestibules to keep your gear safe and dry.
Thrupack Summit Bum
This lightweight and versatile hip pack can be worn around your waist, torso, or slung over your shoulder. It’s perfect for keeping your essentials close by so you can continue to log miles without stopping to fish around for small items. As a bonus, the Summit Bum easily attaches to the Thrupack Handsy — a portable handwarmer that keeps your digits nice and toasty.
Astro™ Lite Sleeping Pad
Comfort and packability go hand-in-hand when it comes to the Astro™ Lite. Coming in at a cool 1 lb, 2 oz when packed down, Astro™ Lite has lofty lateral baffles that are designed to be cushy but never bulky. Our zero-profile, micro-adjustable valves and premium 20D fabric makes for an ultra-lightweight construction and your best night’s sleep.
Ruffwear Palisades Pack
Get their furry sidekicks outfitted in their own technical gear for the backcountry. This pack allows them to carry their weight thanks to removable saddlebags, hydration reservoirs, and adjustable straps to keep things nice and snug. It’s great for a multi-day trip and perfect for the good boy or girl in your life.
Fillo™ Elite Ultralight Backpacking Pillow
Our Fillo™ Elite is a tiny but mighty addition to the outdoor minimalist’s arsenal of gear. We like to call it, “your tiny backcountry best friend” because of the top layer of Primaloft® insulation and 3” baffled air cells that are lightweight, packable, and an actual dream come true.
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