Choosing only the lightest gear for the conditions increases enjoyment by reducing effort and strain. Packs, tents and sleeping systems are your heaviest items of kit and careful attention to the weight of your pack is essential in making the best purchasing choice.
What is not understood is that load placement is more critical in reducing energy consumption than load weight. Sports Science research conclusively shows that balancing the load in front and behind is more important than the lightest pack design. By distributing the weight evenly around your center of gravity the leverages of an offset load on your back are eliminated. Only with an Aarn Balance Pack will reducing the weight of the gear you carry in your pack give the biggest rewards.
Our design focus is reducing pack weights without compromising durability & load carrying performance. Our toughest Stronglite models weigh less than a twelfth of the load they are designed to carry comfortably. Balance pockets are optional on these models. Stronglite models that easily handle 20 kg weigh no more than 1.7 kg. (pack only).
Our Ultralite models take this process further using lighter materials and minimalist design eg. On our smallest models, we use internal dividers to maintain our superb concave back shape. Larger models use our lightweight frames and a slimmed down feature set. eg. Our Ultralite 62L Featherlite Freedom M weighs 1.65 Kg, including Sports Balance Pockets, which are standard equipment.
Our PRO range of Ultralite packs and Balance Pockets use Dyneema Gridstop fabrics to further reduce the weight. eg. Our Our 65 L Natural Balance PRO weighs 1.36 kg, or 1.44 kg with internal Dri-Liners.
We experimented with Dyneema composite fabrics in packs over a number of years. These fabrics are laminates, with a mesh of Dyneema fibres glued together. Although very strong under dispersed tension like a sail or a tent, these fabrics were not good for packs where the tensions are more concentrated along seams and around frames, shoulder straps and hipbelts. Our test packs proved easy to puncture and suffered abrasion damage more readily than our standard nylon packs. The cost was 4-10 times the traditional nylon fabrics used in packs, so when used in packs by some cottage US brands, only the heavier weight composites work well, and the packs need to be very simple and ergonomically unsophisticated to achieve a marketable price.
For packs, Dyneema gridstop woven fabrics overcome the problems of laminated fabrics. These are ripstop fabrics with Dyneema forming the heavier grid, and nylon fabrics forming the lighter infill. These combine the strength of Dyneema with the puncture and abrasion resistance of a tightly woven nylon (the qualities needed for packs), and the prices are only 2-3 times equivalent nylon fabrics. This is the reason that the major US brand, Osprey, has starting to use Dyneema Gridstop fabrics in their packs, and why Aarn is now introducing them progressively into our Ultralite range. Our largest models in this range, Featherlite Freedom and Natural Balance, as well as our largest Balance Pockets, Sport and Expedition, are now available in Dyneema gridstop as our PRO series.
Using one of our packs is the first step in reducing effort, but the pack is only part of the load you carry. In order to achieve really light loads, each essential item needs to be chosen for the highest performance /weight ratio. Start with footwear because 1 pound on the foot equals 6.4 on the back.
Buy the lightest gear for the terrain and climate you frequent. Ultralight kit for a week's trip can be well over 5 kg lighter than standard equipment. This makes a huge difference to your comfort, enjoyment and safety. Travel farther and more easily by traveling lighter.