“When will you review the HUCKEPACKS Phoenix Lite?” has been one of the most asked questions I have received in the past year - pretty much since I posted this pic last autumn. Well, after 12 months of use, the review is finally here!
Disclosure: This article has been supported with gear from HUCKEPACKS. There are Affiliate links in this article which are marked with an ∞ Infinity Sign 😊 You can use these AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU but I get a small provision from the company. As you know: I’m keepin’ it real and tell you how it is - I maintain full editorial control of the content published on Hiking in Finland. Read the Transparency Disclaimer for more information on the affiliate links in this article & blogger transparency.
The HUCKEPACKS Phoenix Lite is a 50 l Volume backpack which carries ridiculously comfortable up to 10 kg, and that for a weight of under 300 g. Add in the ZLite backpanel and the Hipbelt Plus and you can carry even more weight, in more comfort. It’s unique Accordion closure makes accessing the content easy without opening the rolltop, and gives this stylish pack a clean, functional look. It is ideal for backpackers who already have a base weight of four to five kilogram and are familiar with the ideas of ultralight backpacking. Watch the Video to see the pack in action:
This ULTRALIGHT backpack is made to enable your outdoor adventures without carrying a gram too much. It does carry really damn comfortable, though =)
My Phoenix Lite with a Medium back length weighs 296 g including all straps. Together with the optional Hipbelt Plus Lite (Size S, 57 g/ Pair), one Hipbelt Pocket (44 g) and the ZLite back panel (4 Segments, 106 g) it weighs 474 g.
As the Phoenix Lite is so light, you could imagine it doesn’t have a lot of features. Well, that’s not the case - here is its long list of features:
- Ergonomic S-Shaped Shoulder Straps with Daisy Chains on them
- Adjustable and removable chest strap
- Two really good side pockets
- One large stretchy front pocket
- Side compression straps to minimize the Volume on the Pack
- Inside and Outside attachment possibilities for the included ∞ ZLite Mattress, which functions as back cushioning
- The optional Hipbelt Plus lets you carry up to 12 kg in the pack
- And finally the Extension Collar with the innovative Accordion closure
The Accordion closure of the Rolltop closure is a HUCKEPACKS innovation and makes your roll-top backpack look clean, with easier and less noisy access to the inside.
Hand-made in Germany, from the highest-quality and lightest materials available. The quality is absolutely topnotch, and I expect this pack to last me many years =)
Sustainability & Recyclability
HUCKEPACKS produces in a small workshop in Cologne (you can see it in this interview) where the materials are cut and sewn together to create their ultralight packs and accessories. During cutting attention is paid to minimize waste, and also otherwise they try to minimize waste during production. The packs being made from DCFW or DxG I am not certain about what their recyclability is, but the life-cycle of the backpacks is long with normal, good care.
As always, this is the most important part of the whole article - get a cup of coffee ☕️ or tea 🍵 and then read on.
The HUCKEPACKS Phoenix Lite is the lighter brother of the Phoenix DxG, and the Lite is made from black Dyneema Composite Fabric Woven (what we called cuben back in the day) in different strengths. The material is waterproof, the pack isn’t however - because the seams aren’t taped. In reality I haven’t had any rain/ water get into the pack, and the material is durable and has survived bushwhacking and heavier loads without problem thus far.
COM. FORT. ABLE. I really love how comfortable this pack carries. The four segments of the ZLite, which function as the backpanel on the ergonomically designed back of the pack, are really pleasant on my back. And if you’re not a fan of it you also could use a different mattress or none at all, if you for example use the Burrito Frame packing method. I do get a sweaty back, but I do get that pretty much with every backpack I use. With food for 5 days, a tripod and camera gear the pack was really comfortable to carry all day long.
I always have loved the shoulder straps Mateusz has on his backpacks, and these are no different. They are really well designed and with a good, ergonomic fit that carries also heavier loads in comfort, and most importantly: I can attach my ∞ Peak Design Capture V3 Clip on them, for easy access to my camera. The shoulder straps are made from a 3D Mesh and Copolymer foam, in different thicknesses which makes them soft & flexible and they adapt well to you body, while at the same time transferring the weight really well, ensuring a comfortable carry.
The Side pockets are spacious, and I can grab my water bottle while hiking, which I really appreciate, and there’s also space for more stuff, like my tripod, a Kuksa and my chili nuts. The front mesh pocket is big enough to fit in a large shelter or my rain gear in there without problems.
The Hipbelt Plus Lite which I have with the pack suits my style better - I’m not a fan of the simple 20 mm hipbelt strap it comes with, and feel the Hipbelt Plus Lite is a good alternative for me. It wraps around my narrow hips nicely, and transfers the weight really well. Also long days with 10 to 12 kg are not problem, which is often the weight I carry at the start of a trip with all my camera gear, food and water.
And then finally, the collar and Accordion closure of the Phoenix Lite. Some of you might remember the original Laufbursche Huckepacks backpack, which already had a very innovative closure that ensured that no water can get inside the pack. With the Phoenix Mateus went for a classic Toploader design with a rolltop closure – but the rolltop closure has a twist - actually, more a fold =) The Accordion closure gives this pack a really clean appearance as it folds the material, which in other backpacks comes out at the sides, to the inside. I imagine this adds to the durability of the pack, but it definitely makes it easier to get things from the inside, as you don’t even have to open the small hook as you can grab past it inside. No noisy Velcro which keeps it together, but a clean, minimalistic and durable way to close the top. I love it.
Could be better
From a design perspective I understand why the Phoenix Lite’s main body is 40 l Volume and not more, but I have on the start of my trips often found that I’d wish the pack had 5 or 10 l more Volume. The simple reason is that in addition to the backpacking kit and food I also carry camera gear which can range in Volume anywhere between one and ten litres. Especially at the start of a trip, when there’s food for seven days along, it’s for me really hard to figure out how I get my camera stuff inside. This is a problem which likely not many will have, but I wish that somehow the pack would have a wee bit more Volume so I could fit my camera gear easier inside (I solve this problem usually by having the camera stuff in the beiPACK!).
I also would like to lose the grommet in the bottom. I haven’t had any water come inside through it, but similarly I never had to drain the inside of my pack. But I see as a possibility for moisture/ water to get inside the pack when I set it down where it is wet.
Finally, I’d like the side compression go the complete length of the pack. Now it only compress the upper 2/3 of the pack, and not the bottom, and I’d wish that the side compression straps would be more like on the ∞ ULA Ohm, which has from all the backpacks I have used in the past 20+ years the best side compression system.
I love how clean the pack looks when packed - there’s nothing superfluous on there, just a functional, beautiful pack which carries extremely well. And while I find it sometimes hard to fit everything I need to have along on a trip (as you can see above) it is a spacious pack for week-long trips. One thing I really appreciate and like is that a full pack doesn’t ride above my shoulders. Usually the pack stops on the same line as my shoulders, which is from an ergonomics point-of-view for me really good. It also gives usually the impression that one is on a day trip, as the pack is so small 😆 All in all this is my go-to pack when I’m heading outdoors, and I’m looking forward to many more great trips with this durable, beautiful, comfortable and well-designed pack. Also, make sure to see my detailed HUCKEPACKS Phoenix Lite Review Video to see what I carry in the pack and all the details in action!
Convinced? Then head over to HUCKEPACKS to place an order for your Phoenix Lite. In case they are Sold Out - which happens 😊 - follow HUCKEPACKS on Social Media (for example on Twitter) to see when a new batch goes online.
You can see more photos of the Huckepacks Phoenix Lite in this Flickr Album.
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