Super-strong, super-light, and waterproof, Dyneema has revolutionized ultralight backpacking gear in the past decade and has spurred widespread innovation in its application as well as the development of materials that compete with it. Here’s our take on the most desirable and useful Dyneema Backpacking Gear that any thru-hiker, section hiker, or weekend warrior would love to receive as a holiday gift. Large or small, a gift of an ultralight Dyneema tent, backpack, tarp, or accessory will remind them of you every time they use it on the trail.
Dyneema Ultralight Backpacking Gift Guide (2023)
These Ultralight Waterproof Rain Mitts gloves from High Tail Designs can be used alone or with a lightweight fleece or wool liner glove. They protect your hands from cold rain and keep you warmer. Weighing just over 1 ounce, they’re far lighter weight than conventional waterproof shells, they have glove pulls for easy on and off, and an elastic cordlock to prevent water from dripping down your arms and into the mitts. Available in multiple colors and patterns.
Multi-use gear is a cornerstone of ultralight backpacking philosophy. That’s the motivation behind Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Stuff Sack Pillow which can be used as a stuff sack and a pillow. Covered on one side with plush fleece, it makes a comfortable pillow on the ground or in a hammock. It’s available in two sizes, a small and a large, both under 2 oz in weight. This pillow is really comfortable to sleep with.
The Zpacks Bear Bagging Kit is by far the most popular bear bag with backpackers. Weighing just 3.4 oz, the kit includes everything you need to hang a bear bag, including a waterproof roll-top dry bag, 50 ft of bear bag line, and a rock sack to throw over a tree branch. The bear bag is large enough to hold up to 5-6 days worth of food but is easily compressed for shorter trips.
The problem with most of the nylon compression sacks you can buy is that they can be really heavy, weighing 4-6 ounces, each. But the Dyneema UL Compression Sacks from UltraliteSacks are a real breakthrough in terms of weight reduction, weighing less than one-fourth of that. That’s an instant weight saving at a surprisingly affordable price. A size medium (6.8L) is the best size for ultralight backpacking quilts or warm-weather sleeping bags.
It’s important to keep your dog hydrated and well-fed on hikes. Dutchware’s Dyneema Pup Bowl is made with 1.3 oz Dyneema DCF and Dyneema seam tape making the bowl completely waterproof. It weighs just 5.2g (that’s about 0.2 oz) so that your dog should have no problem carrying its very own meal/water bowl.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear revolutionized ultralight packing when they introduced their Dyneema Packing Pods, now widely copied by other manufacturers. Compatible with backpacks from other companies (not just Hyperlite), these kidney-shaped Dyneema stuff sacks use all of the free space in a backpack so none is wasted. Seam-taped and have a water-resistant zipper for added water protection, these packing pods allow you to organize your pack system more efficiently, and the clamshell design makes it easy to find items quickly. Available in two sizes (most people buy both).
The Ripstop by the Roll Zippered Pouch Kit is a good starter project for someone who likes crafts or wants to save money by learning how to make their own backpacking gear. These water-resistant pouches are the perfect minimalist storage solution for things like cash, credit cards, change, or phones. Each kit includes colored Dyneema fabric, a water-resistant zipper, and a cord pull. The PDF instructions can be downloaded from their website.
The Holster Stake Sack has a wide opening and drawstring closure no-hassle opening/closing. Dyneema stake sacks are very tough, last forever, and are hard to puncture even if you have sharp tent stakes. It’s also white, which makes it much easier to find if you drop it on the ground.
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dyneema Shoulder Pocket is by far the most popular shoulder pocket used by backpackers today. Compatible with backpacks from other manufacturers (not just Hyperlite’s) it’s ideal for protecting your camera, Smartphone, satellite communicator, or wallet from the rain while keeping it easily accessible. Two universal clips are included that attach to daisy chains or hydration loops on backpack shoulder straps.
Borah Gear is known throughout the Ultralight Backpacking world for their bivy sacks. Weighing an insanely low 4.25 oz, their cuben bivy has a waterproof Dyneema Floor, breathable top fabric, and noseeum mesh over the face. A chest or side zipper option is available (we recommend the side zipper). If you want to squeeze every last ounce off your gear list, this is the bivy sack to get.
The Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp is a simple Dyneema pyramid tarp that only weighs 6.1 oz, can be a primary shelter for ultralight adventures, or can be tucked away in a pocket for a surprise afternoon thunderstorm. The tarp provides plenty of space for one person plus their gear. Both doors can be rolled open for ventilation, while the corners are outfitted with guy cord and lineloc tensioners.
Weighing just 5.14 oz, the Hammock Gear Dyneema Fiber Hex Hammock Tarp is amazingly lightweight and well made. It folds up small and provides huge weight savings when compared to other hammock tarps made from silnylon or silpoly, in some cases as much as a pound or more. Six-sided, it is optimized for three-season use and provides excellent protection against wind and rain.
The Zpacks Duplex Zip is a 20.4 oz two-person trekking pole tent designed for three-season use that’s a popular choice with section hikers and thru-hikers. It’s very easy to set up and provides good weather protection. The two rainbow-style doors and side vestibules make it easy to share with another hiker, but the tent is lightweight enough that it can even be used by one person. Any hiker would love to get a Duplex Zip as a gift.
The HG Dyneema Hammock Ground Cloth provides hammocking backpackers with a clean and dry place to stand when they get out of their hammocks to go to the bathroom at night, change their clothes, or as a dry place under their gear. It’s very nice to have a ground cloth for this purpose. Sized at 52.5″ x 34.5″, it weighs just 2.17 oz, has four corner stakeout points which are really useful to hold it in place at night. With a few cordlocks, you could probably use it as a rain skirt as well.
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Backpack is durably built with solid external pockets to tackle harsh conditions without getting ripped up. It’s available in a wide range of volumes and torso lengths so you can get one to match your exact needs. The 3400 Southwest (55L) is the best size for multi-day backpacking trips and thru-hiking.
The Durston X-Mid Pro 1 is a 15.7 ounce single-wall trekking pole tent that is exceptionally easy to set up. This 2-door tent is made of Dyneema DCF, an ultralight and extremely waterproof material. All of the seams are taped and the inner tent is sewn to the fly so the tent can be pitched in the rain and still remain dry inside. This exceptional tent is quite stormworthy and includes extra guy-out points for extreme conditions.
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp is a flat tarp with 90-degree corners that can be set up in many different ways or “shapes” depending on weather conditions. It’s available in two sizes: an 8’6″ x 8’6″ model (8.85 oz) and one that’s 8′ x 10′ in size (9.74 oz) in white or spruce green Dyneema DCF. It comes with 16 perimeter tie-outs and 4 internal ones so you can lash it to the ground or nearby vegetation in many different ways. The tarp comes outfitted with line locks and the ridgeline is factory sealed. 10 guylines are included, but you have to attach them yourself.
The Zpacks Dyneema Pack Cover is exceptionally waterproof and as just 1.4 oz, it is considerably lighter in weight than conventional pack covers. If you want to shave as few ounces as possible this is the pack cover for you. Available in multiple sizes, it includes a clip to prevent loss in windy conditions.
The Tarptent ProTrail Li is a superlight Dyneema pup tent with a front door and vestibule. Weighing just 17.75 oz, it is ideal for trekking pole users who want the ultimate lightweight and protection. Elegant and sturdy, the ProTrail Li will fit the confines of any pack and gives you the freedom and security you want for a wide range of conditions.
The Hyperlite Versa is a waterproof fanny pack with a waterproof zipper that’s ideal for keeping your personal effects close at hand even when you’re wearing a backpack. It’s great for holding snacks, a Smartphone, maps, and sun tan lotion so you can keep pounding out miles without stopping. It’s also great for travel and urban use