Wednesday, October 4, 2023

KS-Ultralight Gear KS-50 Backpack Evaluation

The KS-Ultralight Gear KS-50 is an ultralight backpack that’s good for thru-hiking and multi-day backpacking journeys with a max beneficial (snug) load of 20 lbs (9kg). When ordering a KS-50 you may have the choice to customise it in many alternative methods in an effort to tailor it on your wants and preferences. I study the materials and options I selected on my customized KS-50 beneath, however KS-Ultralight Gear has a near-infinite vary of choices obtainable, so you may customise the KS-50 to your actual wants.

Specs at a Look

  • Quantity: 48L
  •  Weight
    • Backpack together with hip belt and aluminum stays- 18 oz
    • Further 2.2 oz for elective 1L hip belt pockets
    • Further 2.3 oz for Gossamer Gear Thinlight 1/8″ closed cell foam pad.
  • Supplies:
    • 200D Nylon/Spectra
    • 330D Cordura
    • 3D mesh on shoulder straps and cell foam pad pockets.
  • Sizing:
    • Torso size: 53 cm (matches 18″-21″)
    • Hip belt size: 95 cm (matches 32-38″)
The large durable front pocket provides lots of convenient storage.
The big sturdy entrance pocket offers a number of handy storage.

Cloth Decisions

KS-Ultralight Gear affords backpacks in Nylon 200D Spectra, Dyneema DCF, VX07, X21RC, EPX200, and Ecopak Ultragrid 200. They use 330D Cordura by default for shoulder straps, facet pockets, and hip belts. Though KS-Ultralight Gear affords their packs in waterproof materials like X-pac and Ecopak, none of their packs are seam-sealed. A pack liner is beneficial.

In my case, I ordered a KS-50 backpack primarily manufactured from Nylon 200D Spectra, together with the primary physique, facet pockets, and hip belt. The underside of my pack is constructed of 330D Cordura. Outfitted with KS-Ultralight Gear’s elective hip belt pockets and a 1/8″ Gossamer Gear Thinlight pad, my KS-50 weighs 22.5 oz and offers sufficient flexibility to satisfy the calls for of my weekend backpacking journeys.

Backpack Body and Suspension

The KS-50 is available with external aluminum stays and load lifters.
The KS-50 is on the market with exterior aluminum stays and cargo lifters.

I ordered my KS-50 with the exterior body possibility, which is comprised of two aluminum stays secured by small pockets and loops alongside the perimeters of the pack. These aluminum stays assist to higher switch masses to the hips and assist maintain the load extra inflexible. The stays could be eliminated however the weight penalty for the additional help is only some ounces.

I included line-loc load lifters on my KS-50, though KS-Ultralight Gear additionally affords them utilizing webbing. Whereas they do convey the pack’s load nearer to my again, they’re oddly shallow in angle compared to the load lifters on different packs I’ve worn.

The hip belt is sewn to the bottom of the pack and solely flippantly padded. KS-Ultralight Gear claims that their packs’ consolation restrict is 20 lbs (9kg), and I’ve discovered that I can comfortably put on my KS-50 all day with none discomfort at that weight or much less. Carrying extra is rather a lot much less snug.

Sitpad pad pocket w: Gossamer Gear Thinlight Foam Pad
I ordered a sit pad pocket to be used with Gossamer Gear Thinlight Foam Pad

Including a Thermarest Z-pad or different closed-cell foam pad like Gossamer Gear’s Thinlight 1/8″ pad to the again of the KS-50 will increase the pack’s rigidity and help for carrying masses. I’d say that utilizing one is sort of an absolute necessity for consolation’s sake, as a closed-cell foam pad additionally prevents objects in your pack, like a small bear canister, from poking you within the again. Even then, you shouldn’t anticipate the type of luxurious consolation you’ll get from a extra conventional ventilated backpack from Osprey or Gregory. After a number of miles of climbing with the KS-50, I typically discover that my again is drenched.

Backpack Storage and Group

Closed Storage

The KS-50 is a simple pack with a large cylindrical main compartment.
The KS-50 is a straightforward pack with a big cylindrical fundamental compartment.

The KS-50 is definitely a 48-liter pack. There are 36 liters of area in the primary compartment, which incorporates the extension collar, 8 liters within the entrance pocket, and a couple of liters in either side pocket. The principle compartment is a single, giant cylinder. Clients can order their backpacks with a draw wire or a roll-top closure.

KS-Ultralight claims that the KS-50 and KS-60 can carry a BV 500 bear canister vertically inside the primary compartment. Whereas I can match my equally sized Bearikade Blazer into the KS-50 on this manner, there’s not sufficient room for all of my different gear until I safe it to the surface of the pack. I’d get extra quantity if that’s a state of affairs you’re more likely to expertise.

I recommend getting the 1L hip belt pockets because they are so high utility.
I like to recommend getting the 1L hip belt pockets as a result of they’re so excessive utility.

KS-Ultralight Gear additionally affords one-liter hip belt pockets for his or her packs, that are hooked up by elastic straps and hooks. I initially determined to order my KS-50 with out hip belt pockets solely to understand how a lot I missed having them. They’re simply so darn handy and properly well worth the few additional ounces they add to my backpack’s total weight.

Open Storage

The KS-50 has an open 8-liter entrance pocket, which I had made with low-stretch Nylon 420D on my KS-50. It offers sufficient room for my toiletries, snacks, sunscreen equipment, a two-liter Vecto bladder, and a Platypus Quickdraw filter.

The side pockets can hold 2 x 1L smartBottles
The facet pockets can maintain 2 x 1L tall bottles

The KS-50 additionally affords facet pockets with ample room for 2 1 liter bottles every, or one 2 liter bottle. However retrieving water bottles from these facet pockets whereas sporting the backpack is frustratingly unattainable. Nevertheless, KS-Ultralight Gear lately enlarged the facet pockets which can assist alleviate this drawback.

I ordered a pad pocket to carry a Gossamer Gear Thinlight as a sit pad, but when I needed to do it over once more, I’d have ordered my KS-50 with easy bungee cords to the pad in place. I discover placing the froth pad again into its 3D mesh pockets is unnecessarily time-consuming and inefficient.

I opted for a roll top closure and a simple top strap.
I opted for a roll-top closure and a easy high strap.

Exterior Attachments and Compression

When you can order a V or Y strap for carrying a bear canister on high of your pack, I opted for the KS-Ultralight Gear’s customary 13 mm strap which is secured by a hook and D-ring. Whereas I discover the D-ring and hook a bit fiddly at occasions, it’s a easy, mild design that works properly total.

Facet compression is supplied by paracord strung alongside the perimeters of the pack and is a straightforward method to safe objects like water bottles, tent poles, trekking poles, and the like.

My KS-50 has daisy chain webbing sewn alongside the shoulder straps, permitting for accent pockets or electronics to be hung from them.

Backpacking with the KS-50 in the White Mountains
Backpacking with the KS-50


The KS-50 Backpack is properly made and can meet the wants of solo backpackers who can maintain their whole pack weight beneath 20 lbs (9kg). For those who can maintain your whole pack weight together with consumables) that low and also you desire a backpack tailor-made to your specs, then the KS-50 or KS-Ultralight Gear’s different backpacks are properly price contemplating. As well as, see Philip’s assessment of the KS Ultralight Gear Alpisack Backpack from a number of years in the past, which is a 56L alpine backpack appropriate for winter use.

In regards to the creator

Vincent Palmieri has been backpacking since 2009. He accomplished his New Hampshire 48 in the summertime of 2022 on Mt. Isolation and has backpacked extensively within the White Mountains in all 4 seasons. For the previous 13 years, he and his spouse, Deborah, have hiked and backpacked throughout North America, together with sections of the Colorado Path, the John Muir Path, the PCT, the Wind River Vary, the Cascades, and the Canadian Rockies. They accomplished the Tour du Mount Blanc in 2017 and the Hundred Mile Wilderness in 2022, they usually have plans to finish the AT in Maine within the close to future. Vincent enjoys spending his free time researching gear.

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