light weight packs for SOTA

Anyone have any fabulous packs for SOTA. My pack is an Osprey and it is good and it weighs 2.5 pounds. I would like lighter with a waist support and chest belt. I want my cake and eat it too
Thanks in advance. Richard wa6kyr


Hey Richard,

I use the Arcteryx Alpha AR35. It is very comfortable and I find it light compared to my previous pack, it weighs 1.17kg / 2.5 lbs and has room for everything and then some more I highly recommend it.

73 De VE6JTW, Jesse

This is a UK store but some of the models may be available in the US from other suppliers. There are several around 300g but they are frameless so you will probably need to put in a sheet of foam to protect your back from the knobbly bits of your equipment. :slight_smile:


A lot of the lightweight packs have a ‘limit’ of the comfortable weight carried. Once I add water, radio and extra bits I’m well over most weights. I use an American pack a Kifaru 14’r. Carries a lot of weight well. It’s inevitably a trade off between comfort, cost, capacity and load capability.

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I have an an Osprey Mutant 38 for heavy work, but mostly I use a Mammut Lithium 32.

My Mammut Lithium 32 weighs under 2lbs but it’s a very capable pack, I carried my winter gear plus FT817 up Buckden Pike G/NP-009 yesterday in it.

73, Colin


I too have used this pack, for 85 activations. For a summer pack I went to Arcteryx Aerios 30 Litre tall.
Love it for loads up to 25 lbs.


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I’m not sure how much and what kind of stuff you want to carry but I went to REI and got a Gregory 18L I believe it is. Very light. They have some nice packs there but I feel they are are a bit on the pricey side. But then you get what you pay for.
Good luck and Thanks for all the chases.
Tim - K5DEZ

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Deuter backpacks fit me well in principle …

… but that’s the secret! It counts for nothing if the backpack is a few 100 grams lighter … What counts is the wearing comfort, and everyone feels differently.

I can only advise different model to test and with ballast! Perfect would be if you have your equipment and check how you can stow it.

If you do not have a well-stocked store near you, but just let you send some, choose one and send back the rest.

73 Armin


Hi Richard,

I actually when the other way - started light and went to a tacticoool one recently for the more padding and beefier hip padding as I too have gained some padding after our 2 lockdowns.



I find my larger and heavier rucksack much more comfortable than my light weight pack. That’s because it has a hip belt rather than a waist belt. Carrying the weight on the hips instead of the back makes a huge difference.


I have been using Hyperlite Mountain Gear Packs for the past several years with good success. The pack is DCF, lightweight and pretty bombproof. I am not easy on my gear and it has held up with no issues.

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And it has a holder for your spare Accordion bellows :slight_smile:


Corrugated iron tarp…?

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I use a Mountain Hardwear Scrambler RT 35 (the old one) which I’ve had for about 5 years.
Gobbles up all my gear including Sotabeams Tactical Mini mast. Weighs 900g and is comfortable for long hikes. Fully waterproof OutDry fabric with a roll-top and has never leaked.


Hi Richard,
Glad you found the Colorado go-to pack company :grinning:. I have at least seven packs – each one serves a different purpose (winter climbing, summer climbing, rock climbing, short day hikes, etc). My SOTA packs are both from Osprey. My winter pack is much heavier as it needs to be larger for snowshoes, ice axe, crampons or microspikes, Bothy bag, more clothing and gloves, etc. My summer pack is much smaller of course.

I don’t place a priority on pack weight but rather pack volume, features, and comfort. The weather here in Colorado changes quickly and the summit weather is much different than the trailhead weather! Some people make the mistake of not carrying enough gear for all the conditions they may experience. I also see people who carry only a small water bottle for a 10-15 mile hike in the summer! Some of these people end up needing rescue from either hypothermia, dehydration or just running out of energy/food. Of course, if you only do drive-ups or really short summit hikes you probably don’t need much gear :wink:.

The Osprey website has a great tool for presenting solutions based on your planned usage. They have a ton of products in every size/function category. Your requirements are most likely much different than mine.

73, Brad


Richard, I use the Ultimate Direction Race Vest 5 in which I can readily carry MTR, antenna, pole, raincoat if needed, minimal emergency survival stuff, energy bars, and up to two liters of water in a vest that itself only weighs five ounces. This suits me for day hikes, not overnight of course. - Fred KT5X / WS0TA / W5YA

here is a very inexpensive knock-off at 8 ounces and under thirty bux:


With all the hi tec gear here I am hesitant to jump in but its good to have contrast I guess. I use a Wal Mart $14.95 pack that lasts me about 100 activations at which time I throw it out and return to Wal Mart. The curmudgeon in me loves it. Never weighed it but cant be over a few ounces. Obviously my “survival kit” is pretty limited. Pretty much nothing in there that isnt directly needed for the activation. Nary a band aid.
BTW next door neighbor here in SW Colorado is Osprey international sales manager and their main offices 5 miles down the road in town, so well familiar with their first class stuff. They are the best.

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For lighter-weight activations, use the 10+ year old Camelback Peak-Bagger, a 26L. pack with 100 oz. internal hydration bladder. About 2 1/2 pounds, empty. For desert / wilderness activations, a Gregory Baltoro 85. Comfortable to 55-pounds, owing to excellent hip belt and suspension. Yours, truly, is a BIG water user.

73, Ken K6HPX

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I have an osprey but when I can (able to pack lighter) I use an off brand 9L smaller pack I think I paid 5 bucks at a yard sale. I guess it’s the baofeng of packs :wink: Whatever works imo!

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I use different backpacks depending on what volume I need and most of them are fairly old by now but still going strong. The ones getting most use is a Vaude Triset 25+4, a Lundhags Dovre (30 or 40L) and a Urberg Hiking G1 50L. But recently, I got myself a Granite Gear Women’s Blaze 60 and it’s even lighter than the Triset pack! It can be cinched right down, so now I use it if keeping the overall pack weight down is important, although it doesn’t look as rugged as for instance the Lundhags pack.

At the end of the day, the fit is the most important thing for a comfortable day out, so I’d suggest trying them out in person, and if that’s not possible, look at backlengths very carefully and buy from somewhere that will let you return it.