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Backpack Like a Girl. A Q&A with Holly Hyperlite

Words & Photos by Emily Brown

Q: So, how was your maiden voyage? I heard you went around Mount St. Helens.

A: Oh, it was wicked. I've been sitting in the gear closet for over a month now, so it was awesome to get outside and stretch my straps. That's one downfall of being a backpack—you're totally dependent on a human taking you out. I guess I'm like a dog in that way, but you don't need poop bags. Though I technically carry tools for pooping in the woods, let's not go there. Anyways, I was ecstatic to be walked around a volcano on my first trip. The scenery! Greg the Backpack had it right—you get to see so much, looking backward on a trail. Plus, you get to photobomb a lot.

Ultralight hiker on trail

Q: What are your favorite things to carry?

A: Hmmm, I don't have many pockets, but that just means I carry less, which, in turn, means I only carry the good stuff. Obviously, I love carrying a sleeping bag because it's like I'm hugging a body pillow. I also love my handy hip belt pockets because they're ideal for holding snacks. You know in Napoleon Dynamite when Napoleon reaches for his tater tots in his cargo pants pocket? That's what these pockets are like. But please don't put tots in me—too dense and greasy. Peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets, on the other hand, are ideal and very welcomed. For St. Helens, I carried a whole bag of bean chips in my outer mesh pocket. It felt frivolous, but the human was adamant.

Q: I hear you're kind of a lightweight?

A: Girl, please. I can hold my water. Next question?

Ultralight hiker going into the valley

Q: Okay, okay. Light but not a lightweight. So, what's it like to be stuffed?

A: Umm, that feels a little intimate, but sure, I'll tell you. Being super lightweight means, you take a different perspective on everything you push inside me. Translation: I'm stuffed with care. Think like Santa here–stockings can only hold so much, so the stuffers better be good. And if you don't believe in Santa (more cookies and milk for you), think of me as a glorified survival kit—if you don't need the thing to sleep, walk, eat, or poop, forget about it.

Ultralight hiker poses in front of mountain

Q: How do you feel about your human?

A: She's alright. She gives a good piggyback ride, and her back doesn't get that sweaty. Can't ask for much more from something you're clinging to like a starfish.

Q: Starfish—that seems accurate. I've also heard you compared to a sausage. What do you make of that?

A: Ha! I could see that. I'm not offended. It's kinda true, only my casing is tougher, and I won't increase your cholesterol. If anything, lugging me around is heart healthy. Which is more than little porky can say. What is sausage's claim to fame anyway? Tastes good with mustard? That's cute. I taste good with adventure. And I eat gear sprinkled with dirt for breakfast.

ultralight hiker moves up trail

Q: Do you have a trail name?

A: The human calls me Holly, as in "haul-y." I know, I thought it was quite clever. And since we're literally attached at the hip, I might as well accept the fact that naming me means she's getting attached. This is what they warn you about when you're a newborn inanimate object. But I do have a couple buckles, so bonding is inevitable. I guess it's nice to snuggle. Don't tell the human. She can be a little clingy.

[inaudible comment]

Wait, what was that?

Q: I said touché.

Freelance writer + editor at EVR Creative. Creates change with words because EVRy word matters. Passionate about social entrepreneurship, public health, and connecting people through words to spark social good. Instagram: @evr_creative. Find out more about her work at