Best New Ultralight Gear 2024
Last Updated: February 16, 2024
Best New Ultralight Gear of 2024 Thus Far
We love testing out new ultralight gear, and here we’ll catalog our favorite new releases to help keep you in the know on prominent industry developments. This list will never be complete, but we’ll strive to update it frequently. Styles that were released more than a year ago will be removed as they age out. If you have a suggestion, please drop us a line in the comments.
We’ve handpicked this assortment of high-performance new ultralight gear to highlight major releases in the year thus far, based largely on our own preferences and perception of marketplace significance. Please note that the emphasis is on prominent releases. This is not a catalog of every new piece of ultralight gear from every brand. Nor is it claiming to highlight strictly best-in-class equipment. For that, please refer to our buyer’s guides and gear lists.
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Q1 Editor’s Notes, February 4, 2024
The first tranche of new ultralight gear has dropped, and it’s comprised mostly of styles from big name brands like REI Co-op, Altra, MSR, and NEMO. We expect to see lots more exciting gear from the Cottage Industry coming soon, which usually tends to release products in late winter/early spring to coincide with the gear-up phase of hiking season. But in summary, the biggest news is the 14.9 oz Zpacks Duplex Lite (lightest 2p fully enclosed tent), REI Co-op Flash Air 50 (a sub-two-pound ultralight backpack), and NEMO’s Tensor All-Season Ultralight Insulated sleeping pad (statistically superior to the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir NXT). Lastly, we’ve kept a couple of late Q4 2023 styles in the mix, just in case you missed them.
The New Ultralight Gear
Durston Wapta 30
16.9 oz | $280
Durston delivers again! The fully featured Wapta 30 frameless ultralight pack is first-to-market with an exciting new Challenge Ultra competitor called ALUULA Grayflyte. This composite fabric combines a 100% UHMWPE woven face with a glue-free waterproof film laminate. It’s also fully recyclable, low water absorption, edge stable (meaning it doesn’t fray), and heat bondable. While these improvements on Ultra feel more like an optimization than a true innovation, we’re still excited to see any advances in pack technology. And did we mention the features? For a 16.9 oz pack, Wapta is fully tricked out with storage, including a full size suite of front, side, hip belt, built-in shoulder strap, and under-side pockets. And the heat bond-ability allows for padded air mesh panels on the back for comfort and sweat reduction. Wapta 30 is viable as both a daypack or multi-day fastpack, and ships in Mar/Apr 2024. We can’t wait to test this one out! Keep up the good work, Dan!
Zpacks Duplex Lite
14.9 oz | $669
The brand new Zpacks Duplex Lite claims the title of lightest 2P fully enclosed tent, weighing in at a scant 14.9 oz! It achieves this miracle by starting with the base Duplex chassis, narrowing it slightly, and utilizing a slightly thinner floor fabric and guy line cordage. While this is technically a 2P tent, there is zero width to spare, so it’s more like a 1.8P tent, and probably designed with thru-hikers in mind who are unlikely to ever use it at full capacity. The 25 sq ft interior floor is definitely cramped for two, but appropriate for fastpackers or a pair of smaller people who wish to prioritize weight savings over camp comfort. This is definitely an optimization, not an innovation, but well-worth considering for soloists. We wouldn’t actually recommend it for most 2p use.
REI Co-op Flash Air 50
30 oz | $299
We’re thrilled to see REI continue pumping out Co-op brand ultralight gear, and the Flash Air 50 has potential to be their crown jewel. Weighing in at just under two pounds, it hits the bullseye and is competitive with most other ultralight packs, albeit not pushing any limits. The design is like a streamlined version of the popular Flash 55 Pack. They have a similar chassis and pocket configuration, with similar accessories, only Flash Air 50 has no brain, uses lighter weight materials across the board, and costs $100 more.
REI Co-op Magma 30 Down Trail Quilt
20.3 oz | $329
The REI Co-op Magma 30 Down Trail Quilt is a versatile, fully-featured quilt capable of shifting between blanket mode and hood-less sleeping bag by way of a zippered footbox. Its 850 fill power down, warmth-to-weight, and overall backcountry performance seems to be appropriate for the $329 price point, and with lots of inclusive sizing options. All that said, it’s not the huge value pickup that it used to be, and lighter weight minimalist options are available on the market for a similar price. But for a lightweight trail quilt, this seems like a pretty dang good, readily available option.
NEMO Tensor All-Season Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad
14.1 oz | $200
Wow, the NEMO Tensor All-Season Ultralight Insulated is a dang impressive sleeping pad and our new preferred model. With an R-Value of 5.4, and weighing only 14.1 oz, it clocks the highest R-Value-to-weight-ratio among 3-season pads, besting the esteemed Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT, despite being an ounce heavier in total. This is achieved with two suspended layers of thermal mirror film – ultralight insulation, but ultra efficient. You also get the industry standard, ultra comfy 3.5″ thick NEMO Spaceframe baffles and overall quiet sleep experience. What’s more, Tensor’s predecessors had been known for durability issues, but this is solved with the increase to 40d ripstop nylon underside, up from 20d. Great work, NEMO!
NEMO Tensor Trail Ultralight Insulated
13 oz | $180
The updated-for-2024 NEMO Tensor Trail Ultralight Insulated sleeping pad appears to be a merger between the previous ultralight insulated and non-insulated Tensors, and now includes the word “Trail” in its name. Weighing just 13 oz yet still featuring the quiet, weight-dispersing Spaceframe baffles, we think most people will find this pad to be comfier than average. And while its predecessors were plagued by durability issues, they’ve now reinforced the underside with 40d ripstop nylon, up from 20d; a big win. The industry standard 3.5″ thick chassis easily blocks roots and lumps, but the 2.8 R-value isn’t very impressive. As such, we thick this will be a killer summer pad capable of flexing into spring or fall conditions.
Altra Lone Peak 8
10.7 oz | $140
We’re excited to hike in the Altra Lone Peak 8, the latest iteration of the trail shoe that popularized zero drop. V8 appears to be a minor upgrade over the 7 series. This season, the mesh upper has been swapped back to a more traditional woven ripstop grid fabric for enhanced durability and old-school Altra chic. You still get the comfy wide toe box, the rock plate, the 25mm stack height, and the wannabe-Vibram MaxTrac outsoles. Perhaps the biggest and best surprise is that Altra cranked the price downward by $10, inflation be damned.
MSR Titan Cup 450
2.4 oz | $50
The MSR Titan 450 compares favorably to just about any other ultralight backpacking cup. The titanium chassis is durable and lightweight, while the silicon grip handles and lip saver help prevent burns and increase functionality. You can pretty much have your cake and eat it too. The only downside here is that double wall models from other brands exist at the same price point.
MSR Titan Kettle 900
4.4 oz | $650
The MSR Titan Kettle is a really nice titanium pot with all of the right features. Firstly, it weighs just 4.4 oz, making it lighter than average, even among other ultralight pots. It also has a small-but-effective pour spout. This is great for safely pouring boiling water and reducing the likelihood of hot water burns. We also nod to the siliconized handle grips, and how the lid fits securely onto the pot. This is a nice piece of ultralight cookware!
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35
23.5 oz | $359
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35 is an ultralight fastpack made with waterproof Dyneema and an internal frame for load transfer and enticing shoulder strap pockets. The entire package weighs just 23.5 oz and comes with all of the right features. It’s perfect for short backpacking trips or carrying a fully dialed-in UL kit. We’re thrilled to see HMG return to the cutting edge of UL gear.
Zpacks Offset Solo
18.8 oz | $749
If you’ve ever felt cramped in a 1P tent, Zpacks Offset Solo is your ticket to spreading out comfortably. This two-door, two-vestibule ultralight DCF trekking pole shelter offers truly exceptional interior volume and floor area, easily accommodating wide pads, tall hikers, and plenty of gear. Enjoy best-in-class headroom with the offset ridgeline directly above where you actually sit up, and signature foot-end-strut to lift the ceiling away from your sleeping bag footbox. It is a top tier comfort and performance option for solo hikers, thru-hikers, and fastpackers.
New Ultralight Gear Conclusion
We hope you’ve discovered your next new ultralight gear purchase on this list. Many of these styles are at the cutting edge of performance and design trends and we know you’ll love them. Have you tested a new release that you’d like to see us feature? Please drop us a line in the comments Happy hiking!