In 2017 Waymark Gear Company introduced the LITE and THRU series packs and entered the world of ultralight frameless backpacks. Since then, our packs have completed hundreds of thru hikes, and been the go to pack for thru hikers, section hikers, and weekend warriors alike.
Now in 2021 Waymark has introduced a refreshed line of backpacks based on the THRU and LITE designs that were introduced in Fall 2019. These new packs include the framed THRU and LITE, and the frameless THRU UL.
Before we break down each backpack in the Waymark Gear line, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about gear base weight and capacity of the packs.
Base weight plays a big role in helping choose the right pack. In simple terms your base weight is all of your gear items including your backpack, sleeping bag/pad, shelter, cooking gear, clothing, etc minus consumables. Consumables are defined as the food/water you’ll be eating and the fuel you’ll need for your stove to cook that food. For the sake of definition, Ultralight is defined as having a base weight of gear 10 pounds or under. More common however is hikers having a base weight of gear in the 11-14 pound range, as variables like season, duration of a trip, etc can cause a fluctuation in base weight.
When discussing capacity of a pack, we use liters as a unit of measurement to define the overall volume of the pack. Capacity of Waymark packs is posted as a total capacity that includes the main body of the pack and all pockets. Choosing the right capacity of a pack is determined by a few factors. You may have a light base weight of gear that allows you to use a smaller pack because your gear is more minimal and doesn’t take up as much space, but important considerations are potential requirements that a trail has. For example the John Muir Trail that has limited resupply points and requires use of a hard sided bear canister. Those aspects alone potentially rule out smaller capacity pack options that don’t facilitate longer food carries and the space of a bear canister.
Now that we’ve established an understanding of base weight, capacity and the mindset of a frameless backpack, let’s break down each pack within the Waymark line and define the intended use of the pack. We will move from smallest to largest in capacity starting with the MILE.
While the MILE is the smallest pack in the Waymark line up at 28 liters, it’s a capable long day hike and overnight ultralight pack. The MILE excels at being able to move fast on the trail, keeping your gear load high and tight against your back. Capable of carrying 18 pounds of gear, food and water comfortably, it has all the features you’ll find on larger packs. These features include a roll top design, front zipper organizer pocket, foam core back panel, stretch lycra front pocket, large side pockets, bottom straps and a burly Xpac fabric construction.
Whether day hiking or heading out on minimal focused ultralight overnight backpacking trip, the MILE is a sweet spot in size, weight and function.
The EVLV is our lightest weight, full featured pack capable of carrying a max of 20 pounds. Ultralight hikers with a base weight of 10 pounds or less will find the EVLV the right fit at 35 liters of capacity. It’s popular with Thru Hikers, Section Hikers and Ultralight Weekend Warriors who focus on keeping gear to a minimum and knocking out long days on the trail. The EVLV is a one size pack and while minimal in design, it has the necessary features for keeping any hiker comfortable for long days on the trail. Features include, load shifters that bring the pack closer to your body, keeping the pack from sagging away from your back. This is a feature often forgotten on other ultralight backpacks. It also features a roll top access, lycra mesh front pocket, large side pockets with easy access to bottles with the pack on, 1 inch removable webbing hip belt, and the Waymark shoulder strap articulation that allows the pack to more freely move with your body as you move down the trail.
THRU UL: (Discontinued May 2022)
The THRU UL is our newest frameless pack design that offers 3 torso sizes and additional options to make the pack more suited to you. Core features of the THRU UL are a carrying capacity of 38-42 liters depending on the torso size, foam core back panel that provides added comfort and structure to the pack, option of 4-Way Stretch Lycra or Heavy Duty Mesh front pocket material, large side pockets with easy access while wearing the pack, and more.
The THRU UL does not have a sewn in padded hip belt, and has a max weight capacity of 20 pounds. You can add our removable padded hip belt to the THRU UL and gain an extra 5 pounds of weight capacity that helps make the pack more applicable to more hiking situations.
Our Flagship backpack, updated for 2022 and now featuring a full internal frame system that makes the THRU more comfortable than ever! At 40 liters of volume, the THRU is a sweet spot in size for Thru hiking and weekend backpacking trips. The internal frame system makes it possible to carry 35 pounds of gear, food and water comfortably. This system features a sewn in padded hip belt, lumbar pad, foam core back panel, 2 aluminum stays, and load lifters. All these components work together as a single system that distributes pack weight, and creates an incredibly comfortable carry on the trail.
That's not all for the THRU though! We've given hikers the option of a Heavy Duty Mesh or 4-Way Stretch Lycra for the large front stash pocket. Heavy Duty Mesh is recommended for rugged and off trail use where you may be moving through brush or rubbing against sand stone walls. We've also included our popular standard features of trekking pole loops, ice axe loop, over the top Y-strap for securing bulky items, large side pockets big enough for 2 bottles, and more.
Defined as the workhorse of the Waymark Gear line up, the LITE is the largest volume pack we offer. At 50 Liters of capacity, the LITE steps up to the plate to function as a do it all backpack for many hiking situations. Backpackers looking to save weight on their backpack compared to "big box" brand packs will find the LITE to be the perfect option. At just over 2 pounds of weight, it provides ample space for bulkier gear and bulkier gear. Thru hikers preparing for the PCT or CDT where larger water and food carries are necessary will find the LITE ideal for the added space and function, without being bulky and oversized.
Like our THRU model, the LITE features our comfort focused internal frame system that allows the LITE to carry 35 pounds of gear, food and water in complete comfort. This system features a sewn in padded hip belt, lumbar pad, foam core back panel, 2 aluminum stays, and load lifters. All these components work together as a single system that distributes pack weight, and creates an incredibly comfortable carry on the trail.
Additional standard features on the LITE include a standard height side pocket on the right side and a tall pocket on the left side. This tall pocket functions as a large stash pocket for tall items like tent poles, taller bottles, etc. It's also big enough to stash an ultralight tarp or even some ultralight backpacking tents. We've put Heavy Duty Mesh on the front stash pocket to increase durability on a larger pack. An over the top Y-strap allows for securing a bear canister like a BV500, or a accordion style foam pad. You'll also find trekking pole loops, ice axe loop, and the option to add an upper side pocket to the right side of the pack.
Something for everyone!
Somewhere within the Waymark Gear Co. line of packs is a pack solution for everyone! Whether you're a day hiker, weekend warrior, ultralight overnighter, thru hiker, section hiker, peak bagger, etc, etc, there's a Waymark Gear Co. pack for you. Feel free to reach out to us if you have more questions about our packs. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org