Testing ultralight backpacking options

This time we’re doing a test for a very common scenario. Can you get by with using your daypack for an overnight on the trail?

This time the competition will be between 2 bag sizes. The Teton Sports Oasis 1200, and the Teton Sports Summit 2800. Both under 2kg. Both under $70. Both can transition from Town to Trail.  Both are tempting ultralight backpacking options.

Which one is best for a night at the million star motel?

Contender 1 – Teton Sports Oasis 1200

Weighing in at 1 kg (2.25 lbs) and going for $56 on Amazon, this is a 19.65L 1,200 CI small daypack.  It comes with a built-in rainfly, 3L hydration bladder, and in Blue/Gray or Black/Orange.
Basic specs from the manufacturer:

  • 600D Dobby / 210D Polyester
  • Pack Weight: 2.25 lbs (1kg)
  • Hydration Capacity: 101-Ounce (3 Liter) Bladder Included
  • Capacity: 1200 Cubic Inches / 20 Liters
  • Waist Belt: 26″ – 60″
  • Torso Length: 19.5″
  • Dimensions: 19.5″ x 12″ x 9.5″

Contender 2 – Teton Sports Summit 2800

Weighing in at 1.5 kg (3.2 lbs) and going for $69 on Amazon, this is a 45L 2,800 CI large daypack.  It comes with a built-in rainfly, 3L hydration bladder, and in your choice of Gray.
Basic specs from the manufacturer:

  • 420D Double Line Ripstop
  • Pack Weight: 3.2 lbs (1.5kg)
  • Hydration Capacity: 101-Ounce (3 Liter) Bladder, Not Included
  • Capacity: 2,800 Cubic Inches / 45 Liters
  • Waist Belt: 26″ – 60″
  • Torso Length: 19.5″
  • Dimensions: 26.5″ x 13″ x 10″

The Challenge: 2 trips in the backcountry

Early Snow on Humphrey's Peak

I took the bags on 2 separate overnight trips:

Trip 1 was a ride over the San Francisco Peaks on the Stagecoach trail – a favorite of mine. Lots of elevation, lots of time on the trail.

Trip 2 was a trek through Walnut Creek. Very little elevation, but much more time on the trail.

The Gear:

Seem like a lot of gear? It’s really not – 11.3 lbs (5kg) base and 18.29 lbs (8.3kg) with all the food and water.

My ultralight camping loadout for a one-nighter trip
My ultralight camping loadout for a one-nighter trip

This same gear, packed in both bags. You can really see where the capacity of the bag comes into bearing here. The Oasis 1200 is definitely over capacity.

My ultralight camping loadout for a one-nighter trip packed up in a Teton Sports Oasis 1200
My ultralight camping loadout for a one-nighter trip packed up in a Teton Sports Oasis 1200

By contrast, the Summit 2800 fits all this with no issues.

My ultralight camping loadout for a one-nighter trip packed up in a Teton Sports Summit 2800
My ultralight camping loadout for a one-nighter trip packed up in a Teton Sports Summit 2800

As far as capacity goes – there’s no contest, obviously. The Summit 2800 is twice the size of the Oasis 1200. There’s more to this than capacity, of course. Having proven that it is indeed possible to overnight in even a small daypack – let’s get to the conclusions!

Under Load – Teton Sports Oasis 1200:

Under load, the Oasis 1200 was a bit awkward, but still pretty comfortable. I fidgeted a bit with the sleeping bag at stops, but the pack held up just fine and it was well worth it. In hotter weather, the sleeping bag would be perhaps half this size – and then it’d be more than adequate.

Under Load – Teton Sports Summit 2800:

The Summit 2800 was much better suited to this gear, and could have carried more. There’s issues with padding on the straps and the waist, but I think it was clear that this size pack, if not this pack itself, is the way to go.

Conclusion:

You can absolutely do ultralight backpacking in a Teton Sports Oasis 1200, especially in hot weather. But I would recommend you go one size up, and look into a 2800 or better. The 500g is well worth it.

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