retreat, stillness, simplicity
holidays, hikes, stays and sabbaticals in France in the Pyrenees mountains

Ultralight gear for hiking mountain retreat survival.

Compared : ultralight and good quality affordable hiking gear. Rucksack, tent, sleeping bag and mat: that's where you can save most weight. For a 4 weeks mountain retreat high up between 2.000 and 3.000m go lighter. Being up for 4 weeks without food supplying you need to save weight.

Best value for money hiking gear.
The best ultra light hiking gear.


best quality to price ultra light hiking gear: rucksack, tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat.Best value for your money hiking gear.

To be clear: we have no connection whatsoever to Decathlon. We just used their ultra light hiking gear for about 20 years now for our hiking mountain retreats. Here's our choice:


For a 4 weeks as light as hiking mountain retreat, a 70L rucksack should suffice. Quecha Easy Fit 70L and Forclaz 70L hiking rucksack weigh about 1,9kg, the Quencha Easy Fit weighs 50gr lighter (1,85kg) according to their website. The Quecha Easy Fit 70L costs (2017) 100€, the Forclaz 70L Hiking Rucksack 64€.


You need an ultralight 2 persons tent. 2 persons means 1 in comfort. It allows you to keep your rucksack inside.
To avoid condensation you need as well a two skin as a 2 entrances ultralight trekking tent. 2 entrances are most useful when weather is hot too. 2 entrances allow to create a refreshing draught. Whereas it's almost impossible to keep a single entrance ultralight tent livable when the sun is shining hot and there aren't shady places around to hide.
Decathlon has a very good 2 persons ultralight trekking tent. The QuickHiker Ultralight 2 Hiking Tent. It weighs 1,96 kg. Has 2 doors and an inner tent. The bag (40x12x12cm) fits easily into your rucksack. It resists Force 8 winds and has been tested in the field by 200mm rain per hour. It costs 150€

Sleeping bag:

A sleeping bag should be light and keep you warm. As manufacturers used to be rather dishonest about the warming quality of their sleeping bags the European Commission introduced  Euro norm EN 13537. This Euro norm temperature rating for sleeping bags allows you to compare the quality of sleeping bags. It offers 3 temperatures: Comfort, Limit and Extreme. Only the Comfort temperature gives a realistic idea about a good warm sleep. In summer in the Pyrenees between 2.000 and 3.000m under beautiful weather conditions (high pressure) at dawn it may freeze down to -2°C.
Ultralight sleeping bags are down-filled sleeping bags. Makalu 1 Down Simond Ultralight Sleeping Bag (price 170€, weight 1,28kg) has a -4°C comfort temperature according to the Euro norm.

Sleeping mat:

Not to freeze instead of sleeping doesn't depend on the comfort temperature of your sleeping bag only. You need a well insulating sleeping mat too! A comfort 0° sleeping bag won't keep you warm if you're almost sleeping on the ground. You need a some 6 cm insulating air cushion between you and the ground. Ultralight sleeping mats are not self inflating. You will need to inflate them yourself.
Decathlon has the Quencha Forclaz Inflatable Sleeping Mat. It measures 180x48x5cm and weighs 550gr. Do note 48cm wide isn't that comfortable but depends of course on how wide you are. It costs 40€

To summarize:

Total cost: rucksack: 64€ + tent: 150€ + sleeping bag: 170€ + sleeping mat: 40€ = 424€.
Total weight: rucksack: 1,9 kg + tent: 1,96 kg + sleeping bag: 1,28kg + sleeping mat: 0,55kg =  5,69kg.


The very ultra light gear is also very expensive.The very ultralight hiking gear.

Very ultralight gear is much more expensive. Up to you to decide if it's worth its price. Be aware that a lighter weight to carry is not only more comfortable but more safe too.


My choice: EXPED Thunder 70 Rucksack 70 Liters / Internal Frame / Hydration Compatible
Weighs 1586g. This rucksack fits best and closest to my back of all rucksacks I ever had. Available in green kaki or blue. Price (2017): 207€.


A new trend is carbon poles, an easy way to lower the weight of a tent. I tried it out and wouldn't at all advise to chose a carbon pole tent. I still have a MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Backpacking Tent 3 Season / 2 Person / Mesh Inner / Height: 91cm, Length 213cm / 2 Entrances. The tent weighs just a bit under 1kg (pegs and bag included of course) cost (2017) 450€. MSR stands for Mountain Safety Research. However in the midst of a storm the top carbon pole broke. The alu cartridge that should cover the break to repair it was of no use at all: each time the carbon pole broke of at the end of the cartridge. MSR sent me a spare pole, in aluminum. The problem with carbon is it resists fine to vertical pressure but not to wrings. I bought some spare alu poles at Decathlon (25€) and repaired my tent. It now weighs about 1,200 kg.

An alternative would have been NEMO's Hornet 2P Backpacking Tent 3 Season / 2 Person / Mixed Inner / Height: 102cm, Length 216cm / Two Entrances. It has alu poles and weighs 960gr. It's price: (2017) 348€

ultralight sleeping bag and mat:

Cumulus has very good ultralight sleeping bags. The Panyam 600 has a comfort temperature of -6°C, weighs 1000gr top down quality (cuin 850) and costs 305€.
The ultra lightest and widest comfortable sleeping mat is since years a Thermarest. Thermarest NeoAir™ XTherm™ Large (= with rounded head and less wide foot end weighs 570gr. it's rectangular twin NeoAir™ XTherm™ Max Large weighs 640gr. Price is the same: 199€ at Cumulus (2017).

to summarize:

Total cost ultra light gear: rucksack: 207€ + tent: 348€ + sleeping bag: 305€ + sleeping mat: 199€ = 1.059,-€ you lose 635,-€.
Total weight ultralight gear: rucksack: 1,586kg + tent: 0,960kg + sleeping bag: 1,0kg + sleeping mat: 570gr = 4,116 kg you gain 1,494kg.

Rucksacks: the Forclaz 70L hiking rucksack weighs 1,9kg and costs 64€, the ultralight Exped Thunder 70 weighs 1,586kg and costs 207€. That's 315gr less for 143€ more).
the QuickHiker Ultralight 2 Hiking Tent weighs 1,96kg and costs 150€, the Nemo Hornet 2P weighs 960gr and costs 348€. That's 781gr less for 198€ more.
Sleeping bags: Makalu's 1 Down Simond -4° Ultralight Sleeping Bag weighs 1,28kg and costs 170€, the ultralight Cumulus Panyam 600 weighs 1,0kg and costs 300€. That's 280gr less for 130€ more.
Sleeping mats: the Quencha Forclaz Inflatable Sleeping Mat weighs 550gr and costs 40€, the ultralight Thermarest NeoAir large weighs 570gr and costs 199€. That's 20gr less (but it's 15cm wider) for 159€.

Important: Prices here are from March 2017. Feel free to search the internet to find Exped Thunder 70 rucksacks, Nemo's Hornet 2P ultralight tent, Cumulus' Panyam 600 -6 Ultralight Sleeping Bag or NeoAir's Xterm Large sleeping mat at lower prices. Webshops may change their prices or offer sales.  

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For longer hikes ultralight bacpacking gear is necessar.   around lake Lanous Pic Carlit  4 weeks hiking mountain retreat? Do you have ultralight tent, rucksack, sleeping bag and mat?