Light as air
When you're not sure you'll need a windbreaker, it's a drag to take up precious space and weigh down your pack with a bulky jacket. Luckily, the aptly named GHOST WHISPERER by Mountain Hardwear weighs in at a ridiculous 2 ounces (56 g). It's so light you'll forget you have it with you, and so compressible you can pack it in your pocket. Its DWR-coated, ultrathin nylon can cut even a stiff breeze and will keep you dry in a 15-minute downpour. The design doesn't include pockets but it does have reflective logos so you can use it for city running. Comes in translucent green or white. $135; mountainhardwear.ca for retailers.
Shoulder the load
Whether you're off for a day hike or a serious trek, every extra gram can start to add up. So what about your backpack itself? For women, Jansport's CIENEGA clocks in at just 2 pounds (909 g) and holds an impressive 32 litres comfortably. It has a thin frame sheet to disperse the load, plus well-padded shoulder- and hip-belts. It's compact but the top pouch, three outside pockets and a hydration sleeve create more space for essentials inside. $125; jansport.com for retailers. Men should check out Mammut's CREON LIGHT. It's great as a light overnighter or a daypack. Despite tipping the scales at a respectable 2 pounds 3 ounces (994 g), it still has a stiff, U-shaped aluminum frame and an extra-wide, load-dispersing hipbelt, plus very handy zippered access to the lower pack. $190; mammut.ch for retailers.
Ultra-light tent technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past decade. You can now get a two-person, three-season tent that weighs in under 5 pounds (2.2 kg). Mountain Equipment Co-Op's VOLT A/C 2 is tight at 30 square feet but it's just 4.6 pounds (2.1 kg). When unzipped, the 17-square-foot vestibule shields the front and back doors from rain and the floor-to-ceiling mesh doors create great cross-breezes. If you want to shave off a pound of weight, expect to pay about $100 to $200 more. The MSR Nook is a good option. It's a bit tighter at 28 square feet, with a 6-square-foot vestibule, but weighs in at just 3.1 pounds (1.4 kg). Volt $289 and Nook $399, both at mec.ca.
Fleet of foot
There are plenty of wafer-thin runners out there, but most hiking shoes tend to leave you feeling like you're lugging a brick on each foot. Enter Vasque's VELOCITY 2.0. They've stitched the platform of a hiking boot with a high-traction lugged outsole onto the body of a lightweight, breathable running shoe. Its moulded TPU plate is flexible front-to-rear and is rigid enough to protect from torsion on uneven terrain — a good thing for those with wobbly ankles. And the sole guarantees that you won't feel rocks along the way. The result is a shoe that’s stout, stable and light at just 13 ounces (365 g). $120; vasque.com for retailers.
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