Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Insanely light, packs up super tiny, fits slightly larger people
Cons: Nearly no features, only one big pocket, super thin fabric, can feel contents
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
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Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack
|Price||$39.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Insanely light, packs up super tiny, fits slightly larger people||Comes with hydration bladder, very comfortable hip belt, good capacity, solidly constructed||Comfortable, well-ventilated, adjustable torso length, included rain cover||Adjustable torso length, very durable, great features and pockets||Moves with you, durable build, well-balanced load carry, good pockets and carry options|
|Cons||Nearly no features, only one big pocket, super thin fabric, can feel contents||U-shaped top opening is smaller, some pockets are less convenient||Heavy, ill-fitting hipbelt||Runs a bit small, front stow pocket a bit small||No hydration reservoir clip (loop only), not meant for downpours, very long torso|
|Bottom Line||An ultralight, super simple pack for ounce-counters||An extremely comfortable daypack for committed hikers||A great pack for those who hike in wet climates and who are on the smaller side||A comfortable and durable pack that works as well around town as it does out on the trail||Comfortable to carry even over long distances when fully loaded, with great balance and good features|
|Rating Categories||Ultra-Sil Day Pack||CamelBak Sequoia 24||Osprey Sirrus 24||Osprey Tempest 20||Black Diamond Nitro 22L|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Ultra-Sil Day Pack||CamelBak Sequoia 24||Osprey Sirrus 24||Osprey Tempest 20||Black Diamond...|
|Back Construction||Lightweight nylon||AirSupport(TM) backpanel; mesh covered foam panels with air flow channels||Ventilated tensioned mesh||AirScape backpanel; large spaced padding covered by large-holed mesh||OpenAir backpanel; ridged foam covered by large mesh|
|Hydration||None||External hydration sleeve and 3L Crux reservoir included||Internal hydration sleeve||External hydration sleeve||External hydration sleeve|
|Outside Carry Options||Short daisy chain||Trekking pole and ice axe attachments, side pocket, expandable overflow pocket, hip belt pockets (one zip, two stretch), daisy chain, hydration hose clip||Trekking pole attachment, ice axe loop, side strech pockets||Lidlock helmet attachment, trekking pole quick-stow, large stretch front pocket, ice tool loop with bungee tie-off, side pockets, hip belt pockets, sunglasses shoulder stow, bike light loop||Ice axe loops, dual 5-loop daisy chains, expandable side drink pockets, front stuff pocket, hip belt pocket, small zippered top pocket, four shoulder strap loops|
|Materials||30D ripstop nylon||420D oxford nylon||210D nylon body, 420D nylon bottom||70D x 100D nylon body, accent and bottom 420HD nylon packcloth||210D ripstop nylon, 210D Dobby Abrasion|
|Notable Features||Packs into its own pocket, carabiner included||Hydration bladder included, hydration pocket has blue zipper pull, removable metal stiffening rod in center of back. multiple pockets in both hip belts, several internal stretch pockets, U-shaped top zipper||Integrated rain cover, ice axe loop, trekking pole attachment, adjustable back||Helmet attachment, trekking pole quick-stow, sunglasses quick-stow, bike light loop, shoulder strap pocket, stowable ice axe loops||Bike light loop, main zip opens all the way down, ReActiv shoulder straps connect to each other behind the waist and waist belt not attached to frame to facilitate twisting, front expandable pocket reinforced with internal structural foam panels|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil is the smallest, lightest daypack we reviewed. Sea to Summit used 30D ripstop nylon and cut out all padding to make this pack weigh just 2.7 ounces.
For a pack that has literally no padding anywhere, this pack is… well, not comfortable unless you pack it right. It has no hip belt or load lifters or sternum strap, and the shoulder straps are padding-less. They do, however, have a very flat, ergonomic design that helps them to hold up this bag without digging into your shoulders. And though they claim this bag can hold 250x its own weight or over 40 pounds, we wouldn't recommend it for any length of time. The Ultra-Sil requires careful packing to stop from feeling every edge and corner from digging into your back. We found that this pack and other ultralight packs we tested are similar in overall comfort, though they take slightly different approaches to achieve that - rather than using some minimal padding in the shoulder straps, Sea to Summit chose a wide, ergonomic design with no padding.
A lot of a pack's versatility hinges on the usefulness of its features, which the Ultra-Sil is lacking a lot of. This bag is just one zippered pocket and that's about it. There's a tiny loop on top you could clip something to and three fingers-worth of daisy chain on the bottom. If you really want to get inventive (and we bet you do, you ultralight enthusiast!), the tiny stuff pouch that ends up inside the pack could double as a little pocket for your keys. It also comes with a carabiner, which can then be used to attach something to the outside of the bag while it's in use. Other ultralight models retained a few extra pockets that we think make them more useful and versatile than this one.
It's hard to beat a bag that only weighs 2.7 ounces (carabiner included). Even the other ultralight models we tested weigh more, though barely. This weight reduction does come at the cost of those extra features and key areas of padding. But if weight is paramount, the Ultra-Sil is the lightest we tested.
Ease of Use
The Ultra-Sil is extremely simple. At 20 liters of capacity, it has just one large compartment that zips wide open for easy access. It's also easy to lose one small item in just one large compartment, as we discovered. This pack is also without any zipper pulls, which cuts weight, but we found ourselves missing them, as the zipper tabs are incredibly short.
One area in which the Ultra-Sil has a slight advantage over other ultralight models we tested, is the size of person it can accommodate. With slightly longer shoulder straps, this pack is easier for taller and larger folks to wear.
Made of 30D ripstop nylon, this pack is the thinnest we tested. Even other ultralights are thicker (though marginally so). That being said, we had no actual issues with this bag during our months of testing. That doesn't mean we'd recommend it as your primary bag to hike through a thorny ecosystem though. If you like lightweight, but don't want to sacrifice quite so much in fabric durability, you might consider some of the other lightweight, simple packs we tested that only weigh a few ounces more.
This pack is one of the cheapest we reviewed. For how versatile and portable it is, we think this is a great value. And hey, if you do rip an unfixable hole in that 30D nylon, replacing the whole bag at this price isn't quite so painful.
We appreciate the lengths Sea to Summit has gone to, to create this ultralight, super packable bag that just works. It's not one to load up with heavy or pointy objects or take on a long day out. Though we ultimately like the features included in slightly heavier ultralights just a little bit more, for an on-the-go bag, this one's pretty handy too.
— Maggie Brandenburg