Ultralight and lightweight backpackers get all giddy when the talk turns to the Dyneema Backpacking Gear they want for the holidays. Super-strong, super-light, and waterproof, Dyneema has revolutionized 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.
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.
UltraliteSacks makes very high-quality sewn and seam-taped Dyneema roll-top stuff sacks that are surprisingly affordable. They’re available in five colors and six sizes ranging from 1.6L in volume to 12 liters and range from 0.5 oz to 1.25 oz in weight, which is insanely lightweight. You can buy them individually or several together in a variety pack. The size “medium tall” 6.8L is ideal for carrying a 20 degree down backpacking quilt which is pretty common with most ultralight backpackers.
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 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 is a 18.5 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 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 tarp. 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, and it has four corner stakeout points which are really useful to hold it in place at night. With a few cord locks, 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.
SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.