Gossamer Whisper Uberlight Pack

Ultralight (4 oz.) weekend bag

Going with an ultralight pack like this is the easiest way to start reducing weight. This simple nylon sack pack weighs 4 ounces. There is no frame. You make a frame by first loading your tent in the bottom. You place your folded sleeping pad so it rests against your back and that gives structure to the pack. If you use folding tent poles, they are inserted inside the folds of the pad to give more structure. On top of the tent goes your sleeping bag. Then you add a couple of zip lock bags on top of that for your food and other belongings. I put my water containers in the outside flap. Then you simply roll the top a few turns and fix it with the velcro straps. There are no zippers, no heavy belts or straps, no compartments, pouches or other extras.

Most people are hooked on features. But, do you really need a separate compartment for your compass and a special web pocket for your water and a map case and three main compartments? I only need one compartment in my pack. Place your things in a few plastic bags. When you want something, pull out the bag you need. It is a relief, actually, to give up on all those compartments, pockets, zippers, thick padded straps, carbon frame and pounds of extras.

When you go the ultralight route your total pack weight will be less than 10 pounds and at that weight, you don’t need hiking boots either. They were designed for the olden days when packs were 40 plus pounds. Ultralight trail running shoes are a pleasure to wear.

Take a look at some of the features of some of the best selling, traditional weekend packs: carbon fiber frame, 4 pockets plus main compartment, dual-density padded shoulder straps, load lifter straps, cranial cavity (to make room for your head!), front bungee, tool loops, twin side water bottle pockets, removable lid doubles as a lumbar pack, interchangeable hip belt with fit zone, adjustable sternum strap with integrated whistle. Total weight: 6 pounds 9 ounces. That is 7 ounces less than my pack when it is fully loaded for a two-day trip!

-- John Aebi-Magee 07/9/07

(This product remains out of stock, indefinitely. If/when that changes, we will reinstate our recommendation for this solid pack. In the meantime, for longer trips requiring more pack room, check out the G4, also by Gossamer; and see this book for a primer on how to Lighten Up! -- SL — editors)

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