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LiteAF ECOPAK 40L Curve Full Suspension

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It’s fun, it’s funky, it’s ultralight! It’s the LiteAF ECOPACK 40L Curve ultralight backpack! But we test a lot of ultralight gear here at Terradrift, so what makes THIS pack so special? For starters, it has a full suspension tucked away in there. Yup. It’s simple, but a few skinny aluminum bars–that are removable if you want to trim about 5 oz, btw–keep the back more rigid and supportive to aid in packing and assist with slightly heavier loads. 

Slightly heavier. Let’s not get carried away, here. This is still an ultralight pack. But yes, it can comfortably carry up to 35 lbs, which, let’s be honest, is more than I’m gonna carry almost ever! But there’s more to this pretty orange pack than that. It’s also super functional.

The LiteAF ECOPAK 40L Curve ultralight backpack.
The LiteAF ECOPAK 40L Curve ultralight backpack.

LiteAF ECOPAK 40L Curve: The Deets

As evidenced by the name, this pack is 40L with an extra 15 thanks to the pockets–though it also comes in a 46 liter version–and has all the features you’d ever want in a pack: big stretchy mesh front pocket, roomy water bottle pockets that easily hold two smart water bottles or a big ol’ Nalgene and then some, a roll top, adjustable hip belt and sternum strap, and so much more.

How much more, you ask? Lots more. Because in addition to being able to buy this pack “off the rack” right on the website, you can fully customize your own for the perfect fit and set of features. Yup, it comes in multiple sizes based on your torso length, two shoulder strap lengths, and several belt sizes that fit waists that range from about 28” to 50,” a fairly inclusive spread.

There’s a whole page, complete with YouTube video, on sizing to help you figure out what size you need. I tested a small pack with a small hip belt, by the way.

Then there are the colors and patterns. Dozens of them. So you’re basically guaranteed to find one you love.

The top of the 40L Curve with the Y-strap.
The top of the 40L Curve with the Y-strap.

Plus, the ECOPAK material is made of 100% recycled materials and waterproof, plus recyclable, though that’s gonna be tricky to do because you can’t just toss it in your curbside recycle bin. Recycling fabric isn’t widely available yet, but hopefully by the time you’re ready to retire this bag it’ll be a lot easier.

Other customizations include shoulder strap pockets, upper side pockets in addition to the water bottle pockets, a bottom pocket, all of which are on this pack, pole and ice ax loops, even a single top strap or side pull down straps. 

Basically you can build the exact pack you want, which is awesome, because not only does that mean you’re getting the exact pack that suits you, but you’re more likely to want to use it for years and years to come, which keeps gear out of the landfill.

So I took The 40L Curve on a backpacking trip on the PCT in Southern California recently to see how it performed. Spoilers: I liked it.

The LiteAF ECOPAK 40L Curve ultralight backpack propped against a trekking pole along the PCT.
The LiteAF ECOPAK 40L Curve ultralight backpack propped against a trekking pole along the PCT.

LiteAF ECOPAK 40L Curve: The Review

No ultralight backpack is perfect for every single backpacker, but could this one come close? Maybe. But overall, I loved the fit and function of the 40L Curve.

That said, I was worried at first about the lack of load lifters, which I generally like on backpacks, but this is an ultralight pack, after all, so turns out, not only did I not need them, I didn’t even reach for them once over multiple days of hiking. In fact, I totally forget they weren’t there. The pack just carried so well.

The shoulder straps and back of the LiteAF 40L Curve backpack.
The shoulder straps and back of the LiteAF 40L Curve backpack.

I was also concerned the pack was going be too tall and would hit the back of my head while I hiked. And that might have been the case if I would have worn a wide-brimmed hat, but because I just donned a ball cap and a sun hoodie, I had no issue whatsoever.

Maybe more importantly, the whole pack just fit well. There was plenty of room in the belt to tighten or loosen and the hip belt was comfy. Though I do think I’d like a couple of hip belt pockets, which you can buy separately, of course, I just didn’t. Next time!

The hip belt on the 40L Curve.
The hip belt on the 40L Curve.

I also really liked the water bottle pockets, which weren’t stretchy like most standard pockets, but not only was it way easier to slide bottles in and out, the pockets are huge, and the material is the same durable stuff as the body, which means it’s not gonna snag on branches and bushes when you’re hiking the AT. I thought stuff might be more prone to fall out, but thanks to elastic bungees on the tops of the pockets, they were easy to just cinch a little to keep things in place but also easily accessible.

Large pockets on the LiteAF 40L Curve holds two slim bottles.
Large pockets hold two slim bottles.

The upper side pockets were a win, too, because frankly, I love a lid pocket on the top of a backpack. That’s where I usually put my first aid kit, bathroom kit, extra snacks, etc. Since this pack doesn’t have a top lid (it’s a roll-top with a Y-strap to secure it, along with gear like sleep pads), I liked the low profile stretchy pockets for holding the same stuff.

But my favorite pocket, and one I now want on every single pack ever, is the bottom pocket. It’s a perfect place to stash layers you shed, a hat, bandana or neck gaiter…stuff you want to have quick and easy access to without taking off your pack. I used it often on a long day of hiking when temps were fluctuating wildly but I was moving fast. Just reach back, grab my Buff or hat, and stuff it back in when the sun comes out.

A stretchy pocket on the bottom of the LiteAF 40L.
A stretchy pocket on the bottom of the LiteAF 40L is a good place to stash spare layers.

There’s also a tiny little opening on the opposite end of that pocket that’s designed to be a good place to stash trash, like from the Clif bar or Skratch chews you just pounded on the move. That can keep little scraps from flying out of lesser pockets, but if you’re also stuffing a jacket or bandana in there, there is a good chance you’ll yank out any trash when you remove it, so use with discretion.

As for the pack itself, I had no trouble jamming it full of all my stuff for a few days when temps were gonna get down into the mid thirties. It held my Enlightened Equipment quilt, Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Elite NXT sleeping pad, MSR Titan pot with stove and fuel, all my food, everything.

The shoulder strap pockets on the LiteAF 40L.
The shoulder strap pockets on the LiteAF 40L hold a Smart Water bottle.

My baseweight was about 11-12 pounds, probably close to 20 with food and a couple liters of water. And thanks to the minimal frame and comfy straps, including the two-way adjustable sternum strap–which I love because you can position it wherever you want to make it the most comfortable–it was pleasantly comfortable. And still nice and light. Just how I like it.

I wasn’t AS taken with the shoulder strap pockets. They weren’t quite spacious enough to easily accommodate anything but a Smart Water bottle and a protein bar didn’t nestle in there supremely well, either. I kept hand sanitizer and lip balm in one, but I really had to dig down in there to retrieve them, so it wasn’t the best case scenario. That said, if you’re the type who exclusively carries those slim 1L single-use bottles (I’m not a fan for sustainability reasons), they’ll suit you just fine.

A hiker Enjoying the view from the trail in Southern California.
Enjoying the view from the trail in Southern California.

Bottom Line

Overall, I really dig this pack. It fits well, is comfortable, looks rad in photos, and I’m seriously stoked about how customizable it is. Plus, I love supporting small cottage brands making great high quality-gear. Especially when they’re using more sustainable and super durable materials.

Do those materials make it the lightest ultralight pack on the market? Well, no. It’s 32 oz with the frame and about 27 oz without it. But it is super versatile and makes for a great ultralight pack that seriously reduces pack weight without giving up a lot of very useful features and impressive usability.

But let’s talk price. This specific configuration is $453. So No. No, it’s not a budget pack. But frankly, this thing is solidly built and supremely durable. This ECOPAK material is never going to snag and if you manage to tear it, it will be supremely easy to patch. Meaning this pack is gonna be with you for a loooong time. 

The most basic version of the pack starts at $315, by the way. Quite a bit less expensive. Either way, it’s a Thru-hiker favorite and The Trek Best Gear award-winner. And It gets two thumbs up from me, so that’s something, I guess. 

So if you’re ready to lighten your load, grab yourself an ultralight pack and wander on.

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