Ultralight Backpacks Overview:
We offer two backpack lines – Evolution & Unaweep. These two packs share our outstanding suspension components and frame, giving both incredible comfort with extreme loads. Both offer X-Pac packbags with rolltop closures, meaning that with proper seam sealing your pack will be waterproof for the lifetime of the fabric.
The Evolution features a suspension that can be used with or without a packbag. It is a freighter frame, dry bag hauler, and regular backpack. Choose from three different modular packbag sizes within this system. The Evolution also features an adjustable frame height that allows it to be used at either a 24″ or 28″ height. This pack system is extremely adaptable, rugged, and tailored to extreme adventures.
The Unaweep is a ruthlessly efficient design. We eliminated all unnecessary features in this pack to make it the lightest heavy load capable pack on the market. The Unaweep carries heavy loads as well as the Evolution, but cannot be used without a packbag. Choose from two packbag sizes within the Unaweep line. This pack is extremely efficient for a wide variety of outdoor pursuits.
Our adaptive system consists of three parts: Suspension, Pack Bags, and Talons
Our breakthrough suspension is comfortable with ultralight backpacking loads, and it retains that comfort level at extremely heavy loads.
This wide range of load comfort is achieved through a very stiff frame that supports heavy loads, but articulates at light loads to move with the users body. The result is something that no other backpack has ever achieved – one pack that is ideally suited for nearly any outdoor activity.
Choose from several pack bag sizes. Each is interchangeable on our suspension so you can dial your pack for either a summer overnight or a winter expedition.
X-Pac material is forever waterproof, ultralight, durable, and makes an ideal packbag fabric. Rolltop pack bag configurations are fast, efficient, and very weathertight.
Talons are pockets and day packs that connect to the compression system. Talons add volume and organization when needed. The Day Talons are a stand alone daypack for day trips that can be used as a compression panel with our pack bags if you are day tripping from a base camp.
The Unaweep shares the Evolution’s suspension, but in an integrated platform without the ability to use the suspension without a packbag.
The Unaweep is a ruthlessly efficient design. It is capable of handling a wide variety of outdoor pursuits, and doing them all extremely well. The pack is optimized for a 26 inch frame but will work with both a 24 and a 28 inch frame. This allows the pack to fit a wide variety of torso heights.
When coupled with a UL frame and lightweight fabrics you have a pack system that weighs a scant 2 lbs 10 ounces, while still being capable at loads well over 100 lbs. The construction of the Unaweep is simple, with all stress points being 500D Cordura or Hypalon re-inforced. The Unaweep can be ordered as a bag only (for customers who already own an Evolution) or as a stand alone pack.
Our Patent Pending ultralight backpack frame is incredibly strong yet shockingly lightweight. The backpack framing is strong enough that there is no torso collapse under any weight that is human portable. If you can physically pick it up and move it down the trail, this backpack won’t hold you back
Our packs are strong yet graceful, due to the unique ability to articulate. With light loads the upright frame rails move just enough to match the movements of your shoulders. At heavy loads this movement is restricted by the load itself and the compression needed to stabilize it.
- Articulating frame
- Adjustable frame height
- On the go torso adjustment
- Eight compression straps
- Integrated load shelf
- No-slip hipbelt
- Mechanical advantage hipbelt closure
- Moisture wicking harness
- Durable materials
- 2 lbs, 8 oz : 1.13 kg
- Load Rating
- 150 lbs : 68 kg standard frame
- 120 lbs : 54.4 kg UL frame
- Side zipper available on 4800 and 6300 sizes (not 3900)
- Dual side pockets
- Dual ice axe loops
- Over the top strap
- Hang loops for internal pockets
- Hang loops for external water bladder
- 3900 ci : 64 L
- 3400 ci : 56L main volume
- 500 ci : 8 L side pockets
- Weathertight rolltop closure
- No side zipper
- 4800 ci : 79 L
- 4300 ci : 71L main volume
- 500 ci : 8 L side pockets
- Side zipper included
- Weather tight rolltop closure
- 6300 ci : 103 L
- 5800 ci : 95 L main volume
- 500 ci : 8 L side pockets
- Side zipper included
- Weather tight rolltop closure
Talons are interchangeable pockets or daypacks that attach via the compression system to the Evolution suspension. They allow you to access frequently used gear without opening the main pack compartment, as well as dial your pack setup for each outing. Day Talons function as daypacks by themselves and excel at peak bagging, stalking, day tripping, or trail running. Base Talons are can be used directly on the frame as a compression panel, or with the pack bags. Base Talons do not include an integrated harness for stand alone use.
The Mesh Talon is a non zippered pocket that functions as a compression panel on the front of our pack bags. The pocket is external to the pack and is fast to access. Ideal uses are to organize frequently used gear, to compress gear between the Talon and the pack bag, or to compress heavy or awkward loads.
- Weight – 4 oz : 140 gr
- Capacity – 1000 ci : 16.4 L
Base Talon – Hydration
The Base Talon Hydration is a zippered pocket that functions as a compression panel on the front of our pack bags. In addition the pocket has a full length mesh hydration pocket that is oriented facing the pack bag. This talon also has a female center buckle to attach over the top straps as well (similar to the pack bags). Ideal uses are to organize frequently used gear, to compress gear between the Talon and the pack bag, or to compress heavy or awkward loads.
- Weight – 6.5 oz : 140 gr
- Capacity – 1000 ci : 16.4 L
- One zippered pocket
The Day Talon builds on the framework of the Base Talon, but adds much more functionality. It retains the load compression ability of the Base Talon, but the Day Talon comes equipped with a captive ultralight shoulder harness that allows it to function as both an ultralight frameless daypack and as a compression pocket on the front of your pack bag. Ideal uses are day hikes, trail running, peak bagging, and day trips from a base camp as well as to organize frequently used gear, to compress gear between the Talon and the pack bag, or to compress heavy or awkward loads. The Day Talon is a roll top design, with a simple compression system and an optional mini top lid that functions for storing essentials.
- Weight – 12 oz : 340 gr
- Capacity – 1300 ci : 22.1 L
- Five pockets
- Open top full length pocket that accepts 3L hydration bladders
- Large Main chamber/li>
- Small Security lid
Dual Talon Hydration
The Dual Talon has two vertical long pockets with zippers running vertically along the left and right seams. The pockets are stitched in the middle. This Talon affords an incredible amount of organization.
Fitting and Torso Adjustment of a Paradox Pack is shockingly fast and can be accomplished while wearing the backpack.
Simply shoulder the pack, set the hipbelt, then adjust two ladderlocks on the encasement to allow the shoulder harness to rise to the point where the top of the harness is near C7 – the pointy vertebrae at the top of your back.
If you have a shorter than average torso then you can lengthen the hipbelt connection to the frame to gain up to two more inches of adjustment.
The Evolution frame adjusts easily to fit torso heights ranging from 15.5″ to 22″ inches.
- Small – 28-33″
- Medium – 32-37″
- Large – 36-41″
The Gunhook is an ultralight carbon fiber frame extension that easily attaches to our frame and allows you to very securely carry a slung rifle over the top of the backpack frame. The Gunhook allows you to transfer all rifle weight to the pack frame, while maintaining fast access to the rifle. An optional buttstock stabilizer strap further increases security by preventing movement of the rifle butt.
- Weight – 0.4 oz : 11.3 gr
The Gateway is an ultralight zippered front pack that includes a water bottle holder. It is large enough to store a water bottle, small binoculars, a snack, hat and gloves. It will attach to any pack that uses 3/4 inch or 1 inch webbing from the harness to a lower connection. Available in Cuben Fiber or Lightweight 30 Denier Silicone Impregnated Nylon. Weight is 2.7 ounces in Cuben and 3 in Nylon
The pocketed top lid has one large zippered pocket as well as a small security pocket. It allows you to compress gear on top of the pack bag as well as provide additional organization when you need it. It is usable with all of our pack bags.
- Weight – 6 oz : 170 gr
- Capacity – 650 ci : 10.7 L
Q: Should I order the standard or the Ultralight Frame?
A: The standard frame is extremely durable. The Ultralight frame is the same size as the standard, but uses a thinner walled material and is three ounces lighter. We have tested the Ultralight frame past 120 lbs repeatedly and tested the standard frame well past 150 lbs. The Ultralight frame will be more susceptible to damage incurred through heavy shock, such as taking a fall while loaded heavily, or dropping the pack on a hard surface while heavily loaded.
Q: What size packbag should I order?
A: If your gear will fit in a 65L drybag without issue, the 3900 is for you. If you need a bit more room then the 4800 will suit your needs as a 65L dry sack will fit inside a 4800 with room to spare. If you see expedition length trips or a lot of winter use in your future then the 6300 will be ideal. (There is a very small weight penalty for sizing up. Talons compress the packbags so well that even a large bag completely empty is still stowed neat and tight.)
Q: What packbag material should I order?
A: VX21 X-Pac is forever waterproof and is our most popular fabric. X33 X-Pac has a cordura face and is more robust than VX21. If you are very hard on gear choose X33 over VX21. VX42 X-Pac has a 420d face and is our most abrasion resistant fabric, making it excellent for talus, scree, and slickrock. Cuben is less durable than our X-Pac fabrics but is extremely lightweight.
Q: Which Talon do you recommend?
A: All Talons compress the packbag and integrate with the compression system. Beyond that, the Base Talon is the lightest offering one zippered pocket, the Hydration Talon is a Base Talon with an added mesh sleeve sized to fit a 3L bladder, the Dual Talon offers two zippered long pockets, and the Day Talon is usable without the main pack as a daypack or trail running pack.
Q: What is your best hunting backpack setup that offers some organization?
A: The lightest ultralight hunting backpack would be one of the following. Either of these would work great as a lightweight or ultralight hunting backpack it just depends on what you prefer.
- UL Frame, Cuben 4800, Blaze Talon sub 3 lbs and 5800 capacity
- UL Frame, VX21 4800 with side zip, no talon (3 lbs 3 ounces , 4800 CI and expandable on load shelf
Q: Do you have spotting scope pockets or how do you recommend carrying a spotting scope ?
For general purpose backpack hunting the water pockets work great for a tripod. Smaller spotting scopes will fit in the Talons or the Lid. The side access zipper is also a very good place to store a spotting scope and keep it well protected from the elements.
Q: What is the advantage of an adjustable frame height?
A: Tall frames carry heavier loads more comfortably than short frames, but short frames help you navigate thick brush without snagging. We give you the best of both worlds. The tall frame height excels at ultralight backpacking, backpack hunting, or as a meat hauling backpack. Take the frame extensions out for a truly ultralight backpacking load, or if you are bushwhacking. (Also, the extensions don’t add weight and are included in the base price.)
Q: I need an elk hunting backpack. Will the Evolution work well?
A: Backpack hunting for western big game is one of the core capabilities we designed into this backpack. The backpack frame is incredibly strong, shockingly ultralight, has adjustable height, load shelf capability, and we offer forever waterproof pack bags. The ultralight aspect allows you to travel further and farther in search of game, the adjustable frame height allows you to pack in and then hunt with a shorter smaller frame, but have the ability to expand the frame if game is down. Waterproof packbags mean your gear doesn’t get wet, and you can leave the raincover at home. The strength and comfort of our ultralight backpack suspension makes the Evo the most comfortable meat hauling backpack ever designed. Long story short, we believe our pack is the best elk hunting backpack on the market.
Q: What is your lightest backpack?
A: An ultralight frame paired with an ultralight material 3900 without a side zipper and a Base Talon will get you to 3 lbs. If you forego the Base Talon you can get down to 2 lbs 12 oz. This configuration offers a tremendous amount of capability and functionality for an ultralight backpack. Cuben fabric will get you a bit lighter.
Q: I need a backpack to carry a rifle or a bow. How does the Paradox Evolution accomplish this?
A: Our basic rifle carry solution is the Gunhook, which allows you to use the rifle sling you probably already have to carry the weight of the rifle on the backpack frame. The Gunhook is ultralight at only 0.4 oz, and it provides security for the rifle while still offering fast access. Bows can be easily compressed under a Talon for secure carry.
Dave Chennault is an outdoor adventurer whose passion is for ultralight backpacking, adventure racing, mountaineering, pack rafting, backpack hunting, and the backcountry. He is an accomplished writer who put over 300 miles on our pack in three months in the fall of 2013. The author took a scientific and very detailed approach in his review.
Scott Reekers and Nevada Amack are avid outdoorsmen, hunters, and backpackers who tested our ultralight backpack along with several other top end hunting backpacks for a comprehensive review published on 24hourcampfire.com.