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Ultralight Backpacking

Carry a featherweight load without leaving comfort behind.

(Photograph by Shana Novak)
Ultralight Backpacking Gear

1. POLES The carbon-fiber shafts of Komperdell's C3 Carbon Duolock keep the weight of each pole to a mere seven ounces, yet on the trail they feel as sturdy as anything else. $160;

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2. PACK At 2.5 pounds, Osprey's Exos 58 is half the weight of most weekend packs, but its solid suspension easily handled more than 30 pounds of gear. $220;

3. SHELL The North Face's 5.4-ounce, waterproof-breathable Triumph Anorak is just enough jacket to get you through a summer storm. $180;

4. TENT The numbers shouldn't add up, but somehow Big Agnes's Copper Spur UL 2 boasts 29 square feet of floor space and a liberal 42 inches of headroom but weighs just 3.4 pounds. $400;

5. BOOTS With a Gore-Tex membrane and a high cut, Inov-8's flexible Roclite 390 GTX is a real boot. But at 14 ounces, it weighs about as much as your trail runners. $160;

6. BAG Because it's stuffed with ultra-compressible (and lofty) 850-fill down, Marmot's 30-degree Hydrogen packs smaller than a loaf of bread and weighs less than 1.5 pounds. $320;

7. PAD There are lighter pads on the market, but Therm-a-Rest's new full-length Prolite Plus is warm enough to use on snow and has the best comfort-to-weight ratio we've seen (1.5 inches thick, 1.5 pounds). $100;

8. STOVE Not only is Primus's 15-ounce EtaExpress more efficient than lighter stoves (so you can carry less fuel); its windscreen allowed the flame to roar while other test burners were sputtering in the breeze. $95;

9. COOKSET GSI's 21-ounce Pinnacle Dualist packs all the essentials—bowls, mugs, and utensils—into one 1.8-liter pot. $60;

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