The Starlite ultralight pack is the only frameless pack that has been both scientifically and independently tested to comfortably carry up to 35 pounds (see Backpackinglight.com's Frameless Pack Review Summary).
Designed for the long distance ultralight hiker, the Starlite has many features that make it feel right at home on your gear list. Whether you're a long distance hiker or weekender looking to lighten your load, the Starlite is the right pack.
The unique suspension system of this incredibly light 24 ounce frameless pack, allows you to comfortably carry loads up to 35 pounds. Should you wish to carry additional weight or prefer the added rigidity of an internal frame, simply slip in the (optional) hoop stays to create an internal frame pack.
The Starlite model incorporates the pad pocket into the body of the pack, while still maintaining rear access to your pad. This change brings the pack side pockets closer to your back for easier access. Plus it allows the Starlite to support for a wider range of torso sizes.
|25 oz. / 30 oz. with stays
4200 cu. in / 67 Liters
Torsos 15" to 22"
24"H X 12"W X 9"D
|210 Denier Dyneema Diamond
420 Denier Pack Cloth
|Pack Volume||Supported Pads|
Hip Belt Pockets(opt)
|Closed Cell Foam
3/4 or Full Length
The Starlite & Traveler packs are available with a choice of hip belt sizes and styles. Each belt is padded with a stiff 3/8 in thick foam core. The hip belts are available both with and without pockets.
The sizing of hip belt is dependent upon in the length of padding used in each belt. In addition to the padding, each belt has 30 inches of 1.5" webbing. This allows the belt considerable latitude for waist sizes. Which belt is right for you depends upon how much padding you wish. The table below list the various sizes of hip belts available and their recommended waist sizes.
Hip Belt Pockets Each of the two hip belt pockets measures 3.5" X 6" X 2" and holds 42 cu. in. of easily accessable gear. Together they add and additional 80 plus cubic inches of storage to your pack. They are sized to be large enough to carry a small digital camera, GPS, snacks, sun screen or other items you need quick access too. Still they aren't so large as to get in your way.
|Short||26 inches||26 to 34 inches|
|Medium||30 inches||30 to 38 inches|
|Long||34 inches||34 to 44 inches|
The Starlite & Traveler are available with a choice of shoulder strap lengths. The standard length is 18" and is s suitable for most people. A shorter 15" set of shoulder straps are available for short torso people.
Sometimes it's nice to have a little additional support. Especially when using an inflatable pad as your primary support. The Starlite supports the use of and optional hoop stay. This provides additional load transfer for heavier loads. They are easily inserted or removed from the pack. So you easily insert them when needed.
I do not understand why I do not see this pack on the AT. I see a lot of the ULA packs. I tried the ULA- a good pack, but this pack for me, is better. I find it very comfortable and easy to pack. I think this is the best Light weight pack on the market. Can you tell, I really like this pack?
1500 miles now on my Starlight. It's the most comfortable pack I've owned. My baseweight is between 12 and 20 pounds, depending on the trip. It can reliably take 35 pounds. I always use a ridgecrest pad in the pocket. I recommend the stays and hip belt pockets. The mesh pockets were foreign to me at first, but now seem obvious, you can see what's in there, they expand as needed, great for drying cloths. The elastic at top is secure, things don't fall out. I set the shock cord over the mesh once, never had to adjust it again. The top strap is all the adjustment needed for a large range of loads. Got its first rip this summer, mesh snagged while bushwacking, no functional damage. Nevertheless the sturdiness has far exceeded my expectations - this is a really well made pack, surprising considering its weight. One change I'd like are the zippers on the hip pockets; they need two hands sometimes to open/close, as the zipper path has a tight turn at each end, and the pockets are conveniently placed for frequently accessed items like cameras. I'm still amazed that it weighs 1/3 of my previous pack, costs less and works better.
I bought this pack in late Fall of 2011 after having spent many hours over the course of 3 months looking at everything available in this category of packs. I have taken it on multiple trips since that time, and have nothing but praise for how it has performed. I am trying to lighten my pack weight gradually and have now gotten a multi-day load, including food and water, in the mid-high 30lb range. This pack has held everything I needed and is actually more comfortable to carry than my other packs. It can only get better as I improve my packing efficiency, hence my pack weight will drop. Definitely one of my better purchases.
I have used my Starlite (06 model) on just 1 week long trip and I must say that I am very impressed. Having carried a 7 lb 4 oz Mountain Smith Crestone III for nearly 15 years, I replaced it with a Gregory Z pack and instantly fell in love. After 2 years with the Z I went in search of something lighter and more simple. I looked at the same packs that are being discussed here and even visited the ULA shop in Logan. Ultimately I decided on the Starlight. If I didn't already have the Z pack I would have most likely opted for the ULA but the Starlite is a long term keeper.
My current pack, bag, pad, and shelter, combined weigh less than the Crestone III empty! And that includes my 32 oz (with pad pumpsack) full length exped downmat 7. The downmat fits in the pad pocket of the Starlite just fine but provides little structural support. With the aluminum stays the pack is fine although quite not as comfortable as the Z pack when carrying the same weight. The carry is fine, its just that the Starlite, with the downmat, hugs my back closer and thus I get more sweaty on my back. With the Starlite coming in 22 oz less than the Z, it is a fair trade and in cooler weather the warmth is appreciated. For reference my bag is a WM Megalite or Golite Featherlite 40 and shelter is a SMD Lunar Solo for most trips. In colder weather it's usually snowing at which point I switch to my BD Lighthouse for shelter.
Initially I thought I would miss the top lid pocket that I have had on every pack I have owned for the past 30 years, but the mesh pockets work well and I quickly adjusted. I typically don't get into my pack during the day unless there is a rapid unexpected weather change so it wasn't a big deal. Having a mesh pocket that can hold my shelter was an added plus, particularly in inclement weather when the it is still a little wet. This also allows for drying during a sunny break without having to get in my pack. If it is still raining when setting up camp I don't have to expose the contents of my pack to rain/snow either. I can unpack after the tent is up.
Another great feature of the Starlite is that once emptied, it simply vanishes into a bundle some 3 in diameter and 24 long. If you use your pack as insulation and padding for your legs you can cut a piece of closed cell foam that is the size of the pad pocket that could be used for a camp seat as well. I have done this to use as a sitting pad and to keep sweat off of my sleeping pad during the day while I hike.
The new 07 model with pockets on the hipbelt would be cool, but my shorts/pants have many pockets so it isn't a big deal. At any rate, this is a fine truly lightweight pack that has a real suspension and can comfortably carry 35 lbs if required. I haven't carried anything greater than 25 lbs for the past 3 years, including up to 10 days of food, and I rarely carry more than 20oz of water.
It is obvious that Ron has put a lot of thought and engineering into the design of this pack - as well as his other products. I appreciate the fact that they are more evolutionary than revolutionary, building on a good design foundation instead of "reinventing the wheel" like many other companies do.
Now that I have some 35 more days of use with this pack I have sold or given away ALL my other packs with the exception of a Mt Smith lumbar pack for day hikes that weighs as much as the Starlite but is better suited to technical scrambles and sliding over rocks. I was initially concerned that the Starlite would be a little small for the extra bulk of winter trips, but this has proven to be untrue as I continue to reduce the weight and bulk of my gear. It is a very versatile pack and continues to impress with its comfort, features, and durability.
So far the weather has stayed out for the most part but I pack everything in a waterproof stuff sacks and line the pack with a garbage sack. I prefer to not have one more piece of gear to keep track of and have found that packcovers tend to be more bothersome than the minimal protection they provide. Fortunately most places I frequent have intermittent showers at most and more often just the occasional thunderstorm that can be VERY heavy but not necessarily long lasting.
I was a little concerned that the lighter silnylon on the collar extension would be the weak link but despite many miles "bushwacking" up through the lower elevations, it has remained damage free and cleans up with a damp cloth. I tend to be very careful with my gear and expect this pack to last a very long time.
The new panel loading "Traveler" pack from Ron looks to be another great addition to his lineup and should help those that don't particularly care for the roll-top closure pull the trigger on an SMD pack. I have always used a top loading pack but would certainly consider this if and when I need to replace the Starlite.
Overall a great pack - particularly if you are looking for one pack that can do pretty much everything from thru hikes to day hikes.""
Options: 1/8 Blue Spectra Gridstop, padded hip belt and stays.
Price: $178.00 including shipping
Weight: 23.3 oz without the stay and 28.0 with the stay.
I am 5' 10 and have a 20" torso.I have owned this pack for about 9 months and have used it for two six night trips as well as numerous overnight trips, day hikes and even one overnight trip to a 10th Mountain Division ski hut. One of the six night trips was in the Grand Canyon and we needed to carry five quarts of water for dry camps above the redwall going in and coming out. The other was along the Colorado Trail and we experienced rain and temperatures below 20 degrees. Maximum weight carried was 35 pounds.
I have used a variety of pads inside the pad pocket including, a 6-section Z-Rest, a POE Insul Mat max-lite 1.0 3/4 length self inflating pad, and a 3/4 length Term-A-Rest LE, but my favorite is the Gossamer Gear torso length NightLight Sleeping Pad.
This is a full suspension pack with hip belt, sternum strap, load lifters and delta straps. The way the stays are curved the pack has a look similar to the Osprey packs. I use the removable stays all the time because I like the added comfort. With 35 pounds the stays effectively shift the weight to the hip belt. The pack is comfortable up to 30 pounds and acceptable up to 35 pounds.
The hydration port is slanted downward and will not leak, but it is also so tight that the bite value needs to be removed to get the hydration tube through the port. There are loops inside the pack on both sides near the stay sleeves. A ULA Hydration Sleeve can be installed on those loops to prevent the bladders from making a ?puddle? in the bottom of the pack.http://www.ula-equipment.com/p2_options.htm
It is nice to know the volume of the pockets, but I find that it is more useful to know what will fit in them.
The short side mesh pocket is big enough for a quart bottle inside the OR insulated carrier or both a Optimus Nova fuel bottle and PUR Hiker filter. It can be accessed with the pack on, but not very easy.
The long side mesh pocket is big enough for a Shires Tarptent, a Hennessy Hammock with poncho rain fly, or a 8'X10' silnylon tarp with a lot of room left over. The handle to a Voile snow shovel fits nicely under the compression strap.
The front pocket will hold the blade of the Voile snow shovel, or your rain jacket, lunch, Waldies, bathroom trowel and bear bag kit.
Ths shockcord over the front pocket is good place to dry socks or carry a rolled closed cell pad.
The profile of the pack is low enough that a poncho fits very nicely over the top.
The Starlite is well made. It is not over engineered and the selection of features make it obvious it is designed and manufactured by a long distance hiker. The Spectra Gridstop fabric is very waterproof and durable. The roll down top closing will protect the contents from water in all but the heaviest of rains even without a poncho. I do not line the inside with a plastic bag and only use silnylon stuff sacks for my dry clothes and sleeping bag.
The pack weakness is that the mesh pockets pick up pine needles, etc. while bushwhacking and are vulnerable to abrasion from the lava rocks found in the Grand Canyon. The side mesh pockets are the only sign of wear on my pack.""