Is Ultralight Gear Worth the Price?

You have to be prepared before you go backpacking. Once you put tread to trail you can’t drive to the store if you need more food, you can’t run home to grab a jacket if you get cold, and if you forget to bring something, you’re of of luck. Basically, you rely on yourself and the gear on your back. If you want something while you’re on the trail, you have to bring it.

That being said, the more weight you load into your backpack, the harder you’ll have to work. The weight of your backpack directly affects comfort as well as the difficulty of your hike. You don’t want to skimp on necessary outdoor gear to save weight, however. Rather than forgo crucial backpacking gear, backpackers choose the lightest hiking gear options available. Ultralight gear for backpacking typically comes with a big price tag, though. So is ultralight gear worth the price?

Here are some things to consider before spending big bucks on ultralight gear.

Ultralight = ultra expensive

Ultralight gear and lightweight backpacking gear generally costs more than bigger, heavier gear options. There are a few reasons why a drop in weight leads to an increase in price.

Ultralight gear uses more expensive materials than ordinary outdoor gear. That’s because the gear can’t just be light. Ultralight backpacking gear has to be as light as possible, but it still needs to be strong. This usually leads to pricey premium materials such as titanium, carbon fiber, ultralight polymers, etc.

The amount of research, testing, and technology that goes into producing the lightest possible backpacking equipment ups the price tag as well.

Of course, manufacturers can also charge more for ultralight gear, because many ultralight backpackers and hikers are willing to pay for it.

What are your needs?

What type of backpacking do you do?Are you taking a leisurely pace on moderate trails over the weekend? Are you setting a grueling pace up steep hills and sharp descents over a month?

Every ounce in your pack gets heavier the longer the trail, the more time you spend on the trail, the faster you go, and the more difficult the trail is.

How much weight you really need to save depends on the nature of your backpacking trip. If you’re in relatively good shape doing a moderate hike 2 or 3 times a year, you don’t need to break the bank buying ultralight gear. If you’re getting ready for a thru-hike of the AT or PCT, buying ultralight gear might be worth the price.

If backpacking is your favorite hobby and makes a big difference to your quality of life, an investment in gear that will increase your enjoyment of every weekend and all your vacations is worth it.

How much is comfort worth?

Consider how much you value comfort. The lighter your pack weighs, the more comfortable you’ll be on your hike. More comfort means improved mood, which can lead to an overall better experience on the trail or in the backcountry. Of course, luxury items like a portable backpacking chair can also increase comfort and improve mood even though it ups your pack weight.

Reducing the weight of your pack by 2+ pounds will create a noticeable difference in comfort, but eliminating a few ounces won’t be noticed by the average backpacker. Ultimately, you have to ask your self a couple of questions.

Does shaving a few ounces from your overall pack weight make that much of a difference to you?

Is it worth paying more money?

If it is, then go for it.


Is ultralight gear worth the price?

It depends.

If you have lots of extra cash lying around, if comfort matters enough to you, or if you actually need the lightest backpacking setup possible, get geared out with the latest and lightest. Not everyone needs the lightest gear, however. Sure, we’d all love to lose some pack weight, but you don’t have to fork out the money for titanium and carbon fiber to do so. Here are some things to do before upgrading to ultralight gear.

  • Eliminate unnecessary items
  • Look for gear that serves multiple purposes, and get rid of items where there’s overlap.
  • Be resourceful and find new uses for items.
  • You don’t need backpacking specific gear, so don’t get tunnel vision.
  • Consider eliminating luxury items.


We carry a great selection of hiking, backpacking, and camping gear. Whether you want the basics at an introductory price or the top of the line ultralight equipment, we can get you set up for your time outdoors! Stop by and see us next time you’re looking for outdoor gear in Fayetteville, Arkansas!

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