Kakwa 55

Sale price$260.00 USD

Size: Small
Ship Date: Pre-order (Ships November)

Our 2024 Kakwa 55 packs are now in stock and have been updated with a substantially larger front mesh pocket, new Ultra 200X fabric, drain holes on the side pockets, tougher attachment points, and even more double stitching.

The Kakwa 55 is our premium ultralight, multi-day pack designed from the first principles of load carrying and ergonomics to provide the greatest function, comfort and usability for an ultralight pack. Developed from Dan Durston’s attention to detail and thousands of miles of backpacking experience, the Kakwa 55 has class leading load carrying, materials, and pocket design while weighing just 31 oz (890 g).


The Kakwa 55 brings genuine load carrying capability into the sub 2 lbs weight class. 

Other packs this light generally sacrifice load carrying ability by omitting load lifters, lacking horizontal structure, and relying on less ergonomic shoulder strap and hipbelt shapes.

The Kakwa 55 solves this tradeoff through more efficient design and advanced materials including UHMWPE fabric and hollow aluminum tubing. Hollow aluminum tubing is a more efficient use of structural weight than the solid metal bars found in competing packs. We use this material to create a rigid frame with both vertical and horizontal structure at the same or less weight than competing packs that only have vertical structure.

This frame connects directly to the hipbelt for maximum load transfer and directly to the load lifters, which are rare on packs this light yet highly functional for shifting more of the weight off your shoulders and onto the hips. A capable structure is nothing without an ergonomic connection to your body, which is why the shoulder straps have a carefully developed S shape to contour around your upper body, while the hipbelt uses a dual strap design which cups your hips and has reverse pull 2:1 leverage for easy tightening. The result is a pack that comfortably and effectively manages loads up to 45 lbs.


Efficient access to your gear is a hallmark of ultralight pack design as it allows you to spend more time covering miles instead of digging through your pack.

What is needed is not a high quantity of pockets but rather a pocket layout that has been carefully considered to compliment and allow for a diverse range of storage possibilities while remaining simple enough to be easily organized.

For this, the Kakwa 55 has four types of pockets to optimize on-the-go access to your gear. First are the hipbelt pockets, which are designed to reliably operate one handed and easily accommodate medium sized items such as snacks, sunscreen, phones, and headlamps. That storage is augmented by dual top opening shoulder strap pockets which provide an ideal place for your phone for quick photos and navigation. These pockets also work well for small water bottles, sunglasses, and bear spray.

Additionally there is the innovative QuickPocket which consists of an easily reached compartment in the sidewall of the left side pocket. This allows you to stow and quickly access even larger items than normally possible, such as hats, mitts, maps and bulky snacks. Finally, a mesh style front pocket has been substantially increased in size for 2024 and quickly swallows the largest items like rain gear, tents, and cook sets.

Collectively, the Kakwa’s pockets are carefully considered so you can hike with maximum efficiency.


Most Comfortable

"The Kakwa is one of the most versatile and comfortable packs I've ever used for loads exceeding 35 lbs....this pack has my favorite carry feel".

Section Hiker


"The low weight is impressive for a framed pack....and it provides excellent weight transfer to the hips. The pocketing is fantastic for accessing what you need during the day without stopping."

The Trek

I Could Not Be Happier

"I’ve become a huge fan. It has smart places to put all the stuff, and carries all that stuff comfortably. I could not be happier to have it for the remaining 2,000 miles of the Eastern Continental Trail this winter."

Adventure Alan

Incredibly Well Designed

"The Kakwa has a famously excellent load carry. The whole setup is just so dang comfortable and user-friendly. It is in contention for best ultralight backpack on the market."


In our backyard in the Canadian Rockies we often spend more time off trail than on, so durability in materials and construction is a top priority. With the Kakwa 55 we are using the innovative Ultra 200X fabric from Challenge Outdoor, where the face fabric is dominantly woven UHMWPE fibers (more commonly known by the brand name Dyneema®) which is several times stronger and more abrasion resistant than traditional nylon pack fabrics. This material laminated with an eco-friendly adhesive to a backing film to build a material that is incredibly durable, lightweight, and waterproof. For 2024 we are using the even tougher 200X version that adds additional reinforcement and a thicker internal film.

Simply using a tough fabric is not enough if the pack has weak points in the stitching or supporting materials. That's why the Kakwa 55 is fully double stitched with heavyweight thread by the same factory that builds packs for Arcteryx, and uses stronger folded seams. We’ve also used the same tough Ultra 200X material for the hipbelt pockets and side pockets so these exposed areas also have maximum durability. The front pocket is generally less exposed to the brush, but still we’ve sourced a durable knit mesh for this pocket that is much tougher than typical lycra mesh.

Ultra 200X Fabric

This fabric is dominantly woven UHMWPE fibers (more commonly known by the brand name Dyneema®) which is several times stronger and more abrasion resistant than traditional nylon pack fabrics. This material is laminated to a film backing to make the material waterproof.

Hollow Aluminum U Frame

The hollow aluminum inverted U frame provides vertical and horizontal structure at less weight than frame stay systems for more effective load transfer and comfort at loads up to 45 lbs / 20 kg.

Dual Strap Reverse Pull Hipbelt

This hipbelt design cups your hips, and makes tightening the belt much easier with 2:1 tightening leverage and an ergonomic direction of pull.

Shoulder Strap Pockets

These pockets provide an ideal place for your phone, bear spray, sunglasses, small water bottles and more. We attach them permanently for a more solid and user friendly connection.

Quick Pocket

The Kakwa's unique Quick Pocket is easily opened while on the move and provides quick access to larger items like hats, mitts, oversized phones, maps, and snacks.



Ultra 200X Fabric

This fabric is dominantly woven UHMWPE fibers (known by the brand name Dyneema®) which is several times stronger and more abrasion resistant than traditional nylon pack fabrics. This material is laminated to a film backing to make the material waterproof. This pack uses the new 'X' version which adds a tougher inner film.

Hollow Aluminum Frame

The inverted U frame provides both vertical and horizontal structure while the hollow aluminum tubing makes it lighter than flat frame stays.

Load Lifters

Load lifters are often omitted on lightweight packs but are a key component of the Kakwa's exceptional load carrying ability.



The Kakwa 55 provides best-in-class load carrying, usability, and durability for a sub 2 lbs pack. To illustrate, the table below compares the Kakwa 55 to what is typically seen in this niche (50-60L packs under the 2 lbs mark with premium fabrics).


Kakwa 55

Main Competitors

Frame structure

Inverted U frame provides vertical and horizontal support

Flat bars provide only vertical support (prone to rounding into a cylinder)

Load lifters






Complete pack (ounces)

30.5 oz (S), 31.3 oz (M), 32.2 oz (L)


Complete pack (grams)

865g (S), 890g (M), 915g (L)


Removable items

Frame (3oz / 90 g) and backpad (0.5oz / 15 g) are included but removable.


Main fabric

Ultra 200X



Browse the FAQ to learn more or get in touch if you have further questions.

Contact Support

Customer Reviews

Based on 54 reviews
Matthew Brown
Kakwa 55

Unbelievable fast post to Australia
Bloody quality product
Carries the weight so well
Super super impressed

Great workhorse pack

I bought this pack to use for trips where I'm carrying winter gear or 6+ days of food, and I've been very happy with it so far. It carries comfortably at the maybe 35-40 pounds I've tested it with so far. The features are well designed - I love the mesh pockets on the shoulder straps and the Y-strap on top.

Vernon H
Addition to my gear

The Kakwa 55 is my 4th backpack I have owned. It will be one of three backpacks that I rely on. I am 48, 5'8" and at the time of this review a little over 215 lbs. When I need to carry heavier items or long water carries - Kakwa 55 will be my choice. My other Pack does fantastic for 18-22lbs max weight. There are only 3 things I am not a fan of. First is nothing too big but I would like more color options for the fabric. Second, slightly annoying is that I tapers smaller at the bottom and when I set my pack down it falls over. I don’t really like that it’s not balanced. My other pack can stand up when fully loaded without having to lean up against anything. I wish the Kakwa 55 could freely stand on its base particularly when loading gear into it. Not a deal breaker. Lastly my only gripe is some odd noise that I can’t seem to figure out where the squeak is coming from. I reloaded and unpacked and tried to see if it was something I had in the pack itself but alas it is the construction causing the squeak. It not loud but when the trail is quiet or when I am going up an incline and trying to be in the zone- that noise can be a bit of a mild distraction. All that being said… I really love how the kakwa 55 fits and carries heavier loads. It is very comfortable. The waist and tightening mechanism is my favorite as it’s super easy to use and hold well to the waist as it should. The build in pockets on the shoulder straps fit and work super well for me. I love putting my phone in one and my 16 oz Nalgene bottle in the other. It makes it easy for me to stay hydrated and to take photos or check my route. The side mix pocket is unusual but I do like having access to my gloves, hat and permits/paper maps from it. The larger side pocket is nice for my helinox chair zero. I still struggle getting water bottles out of the other side pocket but that is not the Kakwa, that is more my shoulders being stiff and less mobile. I don’t understand the internal carry of water option but some would enjoy that. I have not had any rain events to test that aspect of the pack but I also use a pack liner and gear pods so I generally don’t worry about rain. The material feels and seems quite sturdy and I appreciate the shoulder strap pack lifters. My other pack does not have them and it makes a world of a difference. I found also that after about a mile or so of hiking I had to re-adjust the pack to my body but this is actually better than my other pack which seems like I have to really crank down on the hip belts/waist belts often to keep things from hurting my shoulders. Overall I give the kakwa 55 a 4.5 star review only because I think there 3 items I mentioned could be part of future renditions of this amazing pack. I love durston gear, I own the tent, the poles, and the kakwa 55. I am saving up for future Durston gear purchases as I am definitely a fan of Dan’s company and his products.

Thanks for the kind review. It would be nice to add more colors. It's hard to do that because our factory has a high minimum for each version in a production run, but as these packs get more popular that might be an option. Regarding that squeak, often these things go away as the pack breaks in, but you might want to try closing the frame pocket a bit tighter in case the frame is moving a bit to cause the squeak.

Hope that helps,

Dan H
Awesome Backpack

This Kakwa 55 backpack reduced my empty pack weight from over 7.5 lbs. to just under 2 lbs. - a significant savings. Coupling that with some other light weight gear made for a more enjoyable backpacking experience on the Mt. Hood Timberline Trail. The outside pockets on the pack are conveniently placed and of good design, making necessary on-the-trail items easy to access. I was pleasantly surprised with how comfortable it is.

I am 72 and reducing pack weight was a smart thing for me to do. I am thankful that it was brought to my attention by my son, who completed the 500-mile Colorado Trail during the month of July using the Durston Kakwa 55 and other light-weight gear, including a Durston X-Mid 1 Solid (which I borrowed).

Malin Orcutt
Kakwa 55

Very durable, I was able to load it just under 30 Lbs for a longer trip and it was very comfortable