Lightweight Backpacks

    Ultralight Backpacks Overview:

    The Paradox Evolution ultralight backpack excels at packing skis, snowshoes, crampons, ice axes, bear canisters, rifles, bows, or other bulky and cumbersome loads.  This can pack can be used as an ultralight hunting backpack, a pack rafting backpack, or as an ultralight expedition backpack. With a Paradox if you can physically pick it up and move it down the trail, the pack won’t hold you back.

    Our adaptive system consists of three parts:

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    Ultralight Packs in Detail

    Evo Composite


    Our Patent Pending ultralight backpack frame is incredibly strong yet shockingly lightweight.  The Evolution 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 fail you.

    The Evolution is strong yet graceful, due to its’ 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.

    4800 Full and Compressed (640x480)

    Adjustable Frame Height


    • Articulating frame
    • Adjustable frame height
    • On the go torso adjustment
    • Eight compression straps
    • Integrated load shelf
    • Ventilated mesh back panel
    • No-slip hipbelt
    • Mechanical advantage hipbelt closure
    • Moisture wicking harness
    • Durable materials
    • Ultralight


    • 2 lbs, 8 oz  :  1.13 kg
    • Load Rating
      • 150 lbs  :  68 kg  standard frame
      • 120 lbs  :  54.4 kg  UL frame

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    The Unaweep is built on the same lightweight Paradox Suspension System, but in an integrated platform, without a built in load shelf. It is Talon compatible, ruthlessly efficient in design, and an extremely capable pack. It is optimized for a 26 inch frame but will work fine on a 24 and a 28 inch frame. When coupled with the UL frame, and VX07 Packbag, you have a pack system that weighs a scant 2 lbs 11 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 separate bag on the Evo platform, or with a bundled suspension starting at $379.00 Made in The U.S.A of the the best materials available. The Unaweep does not provide as many customization options as the modular pack system, however it is available in VX07 Red, VX21 Gray and X33 MultiCam. The 3900 CI Version Unaweep does not provide side access zipper, while the 4800 versions do.

    Unaweep VX07




    Pack Bags

    Designed for performance and efficient travel, our pack bags are ultralight, functional and exhibit thoughtful but not superfluous features.

    Rolltop packbags are inherently weathertight, fast and easy to access, and ultralight.  Paired with our forever waterproof X-Pac material and a bit of DIY seam sealing your packbag will be weather proof in most applications (we do not recommend full submersion usage when paired with the optional zipper).

    Drawstring packbags are paired with a top lid and have a more traditional feel.

    left 4800 : right 6300


    • Side zipper optional (under customizations)
    • Dual side pockets
    • Dual ice axe loops
    • Over the top strap
    • Hang loops for internal pockets
    • Hang loops for external water bladder

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    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.


    Base Talon

    The Base Talon is a 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 –  5 oz  :  140 gr
    • Capacity –  1000 ci  :  16.4 L
    • One zippered pocket

    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

    Day Talon

    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

    Pocketed Top Lid

    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

    Basic Fitting

    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.

    Advanced Fitting

    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.


    Torso Height

    The Evolution frame adjusts easily to fit torso heights ranging from 15.5″ to 22″ inches.

    Hipbelt Sizing

    • 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

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    We are now taking on custom pack projects on a case by case basis.  If you can dream it our expert seamstresses can likely turn it into reality.  Many ultralight or ultra-durable fabrics and configurations are available.

    Please contact us with your project idea so we can quote pricing.


    • Custom sizes
    • Pockets
    • Layouts
    • Zippers


    • VX21 X-Pac
    • X33 X-Pac
    • VX07 X-Pac
    • VX42 X-Pac
    • Cordura
    • Dyneema
    • Spectra
    • Cuben Fiber
    • 210 D Ripstop Nylon
    • Pack Cloth

    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.  Both X-Pac fabrics are more durable than what is common in the market.  Our Ultralight fabric is a heavily coated mil spec 210D ripstop and is an excellent choice if you’re willing to give up lifelong water resistance for weight savings.

    Q:  Which Talon do you recommend?

    A:  The Base Talon is an awesome piece of kit.  It compresses the packbag, stores all your frequently used gear, and allows you to access that gear without getting into the main packbag. The Day Talon can be used stand alone as a daypack or a trail running pack.  It also contains five pockets vs the Base Talon’s one pocket.  The 1800 Day Talon offers the same capability and pocket configuration of the Day Talon but in a larger capacity.  It is better suited to cold weather use when bulky gear is common.

    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, 210D Tan Fabric 4800 (no zip), Blaze Talon (3 lbs 1 ounce  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:  Should I order the frame with frame extensions?  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.

    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.

    Paradox Packs Evolution pack system 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

    Hardcore Hunting Backpack Review