By Max Neale
It’s a waterproof stuff sack, it’s a backpack, and it weighs only 3.8 ounces!! The Stuff Pack is a dream come true for international travel. I spent two months on a sport climbing and travel trip throughout Turkey. An old college friend, Anna, and I have been zooming between climbing and tourist destinations by bus, train and ferry. We’re carrying climbing gear (a 70m rope, 20 quickdraws, belay devices, shoes, etc.) and camping gear (tent, sleeping bags, sleping pads, stove, pot, etc.) in 60L backpacks. Despite having lightweight and compact gear, space in our packs is limited and every ounce is accounted for. Thus, instead of bringing a traditional daypack that weighs more than a pound and consumes 4-5 liters of space, I’ve been travelling with Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Stuff Pack.
The Stuff Pack carries both climbing gear to and from the steep limestone crags and totes daytrip essentials for exploring historic cities. The Anatolian peninsula is, after all, one of the planet’s oldest continually inhabited regions of the world. The Stuff Pack has accompanied me to some of Turkey’s most famous ancient sites. The Hagia Sofia, a church built in 532 AD, and the ancient city of Troy, the setting of the Trojan war.
When not employed as a backpack, the Stuff Pack serves as a waterproof container for my clothes or sleeping bag. It compresses so small that it fits inside my back pocket. This is great for exploring a city because you can depart with it in you pocket and return, perhaps with souvenirs or food, with it on your back.
The best part about the Stuff Pack, however, is that it’s better than all other similar ultralight packs. Many other companies make lightweight packs from DWR treated ripstop nylon, but the Stuff Packs’ Cuben Fiber is stronger, more durable and functionally waterproof. The other nylon packs I’ve used aren’t waterproof, get trashed by the slightest abrasion, and have heavy and bulky zippers and straps. The Stuff Pack takes ultralight compressible packs to the next level. Though the folks at Hyperlite Mountain Gear designed the Stuff Pack for long distance hiking resupplies (where you leave your primary pack at the trail and go fast and light into town), it also works brilliantly for international travel.