10 Best Ultralight Frameless Backpacks of 2023

CEO Tam DT
Backpacking has become more than just a recreational activity; it's a way of life for many adventure enthusiasts. As they search for the perfect balance between functionality and weight, ultralight backpacks have become extremely popular....

Early model of the Gossamer Gear Frameless G4 Backpack - 2011

Backpacking has become more than just a recreational activity; it's a way of life for many adventure enthusiasts. As they search for the perfect balance between functionality and weight, ultralight backpacks have become extremely popular. These frameless backpacks are designed to carry loads of 20-25 pounds or less, making them ideal for thru-hikers, section-hikers, and long-distance backpackers.

10 Best Ultralight Frameless Backpacks of 2023 Early model of the Gossamer Gear Frameless G4 Backpack - Frameless packs have come a long way since 2011.

If your goal is to reduce the weight of your backpack to close to a pound or less, you're in luck. There are numerous ways to achieve this without sacrificing functionality. Here are some tips to help you reach your ultralight backpacking goals:

Use a Frameless Backpack

One of the simplest ways to reduce weight is by using a frameless backpack. With loads under 20-25 pounds, you don't need the added support or weight of a frame or hip belt. Frameless backpacks are designed to be lightweight without compromising durability or functionality.

Reduce Pack Volume

Another way to shed weight is by reducing the volume of your pack to 40L or less. This forces you to choose lighter and more compact gear, making your overall pack weight lighter. By carefully selecting essential items and avoiding unnecessary gear, you can significantly reduce the weight of your backpack.

Choose Ultralight Fabrics

When selecting a backpack, opt for ones made with ultralight fabrics like Dyneema DCF, Ultra, or EcoPak. These materials are not only lightweight but also waterproof and highly durable. They allow you to confidently take on any adventure without worrying about your gear's performance.

Frameless Ultralight Backpack Selection Guide

Now that you know the key factors to consider, let's explore the 10 best frameless ultralight backpacks of 2023:

1. Nashville Packs Cutaway (42L)

View at Nashville Packs

2. Pa'lante Packs V2 (31-37L)

View at Garage Grown Gear

3. LiteAF Ultra Curve 30L (45L)

View at LiteAF

4. Waymark EVLV Ultra (35L)

View at Waymark

5. Dandee Pack's The Standard Pack (35L)

View at Garage Grown Gear

6. Superior Wilderness Designs Ultralight Superior (40L)

View at S.W.D.

7. Mountain Laurel Designs Burn (38L)

View at MLD

8. Gossamer Gear G4-20 (42L)

View at Gossamer Gear

9. Mountainsmith Zerk (40L)

View at REI

10. Atom Packs - The Atom (35L)

View at Atom Packs

When choosing a backpack, consider your specific needs and requirements. The right backpack will enhance your backpacking experience and make your adventures more enjoyable.

Frameless Ultralight Backpack Selection Guide

Early model of the Gossamer Gear Frameless G4 Backpack - Frameless packs have come a long way since 2011.

Custom vs. Off-the-Shelf Backpacks

Many frameless ultralight backpacks are handmade by cottage manufacturers and can be customized in terms of colors, fabric, or features. On the other hand, more established backpack manufacturers offer stock backpacks with a fixed set of features. Consider the advantages of each option and choose the one that suits your preferences and requirements.

Frameless Ultralight Backpack Volume

Figuring out the right volume for your backpack depends on various factors such as the climate, duration of your trip, and the gear you need to carry. A 40L pack is usually sufficient for a 3-5 day trip, including essential gear, food, fuel, and water. While a 30L pack can be challenging to pack, it might be suitable for those who can resupply more frequently or don't need to carry much water.

Massive External Storage

Frameless ultralight backpacks often come with plenty of external storage options that allow easy access to your essentials while keeping the backpack on. With pockets sewn onto shoulder straps, stretch pockets, and accessible side pockets, these backpacks prioritize convenience and functionality.

Ultralight Backpack Fabrics

Most ultralight backpacks are made with durable and lightweight materials such as Dyneema Composite Fabrics (DCF), XPac, and various types of nylon. These fabrics provide excellent durability and resistance to abrasion. The choice of fabric depends on how lightweight you want your backpack to be, as well as your preferences for waterproofing and sustainability.

Hip Belts on Frameless Backpacks

Hip belts on frameless backpacks are not load-bearing since there is no frame to transfer the load. Therefore, many ultralight packs don't include them, or they are removable or stowable. They primarily serve as anchorage for hip belt pockets or to prevent the pack from bouncing against your torso.

Shoulder Straps

Some frameless pack makers include S-shaped backpack straps, which provide more comfort for women by accommodating their anatomy better. Vest-style shoulder straps are also becoming popular, offering additional width and pocket storage for better load distribution.

Torso Length

While matching your exact torso length is less critical for a frameless backpack, it's still essential to find a pack that fits you well. Shorter torso lengths are increasingly available to accommodate women. Consider your shoulder strap padding preferences and strap width for optimal comfort.

10 Best Ultralight Frameless Backpacks of 2023

These are the key factors to consider when choosing the perfect frameless ultralight backpack for your adventures. By understanding your needs and preferences, you can confidently embark on your backpacking journey with a reliable and lightweight pack.

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Happy backpacking!

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