Kakwa 55

Sale price$260.00 USD

Size: Small
Ship Date: In Stock

Our Kakwa 55 packs have been updated for 2024 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. Due to very high interest the M and L sizes are already sold out but pre-orders are open for the next batch.

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 (880 g).

LOAD CARRYING

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

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.

BackpackingLight

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

Impressive

"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."

MATERIALS & QUALITY

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 which are 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.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

WEIGHT

Complete Pack (oz)

29.8 oz (S), 31.0 oz (M), 32.2 oz (L)

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Complete Pack (g)

845g (S), 880g (M), 915g (L)

-

Removable items

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

MATERIALS

Main Fabric

Ultra 200X

Features

FEATURES

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.

Compare

COMPARE

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).

LOAD CARRYING

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

Yes

Sometimes

FAQ

FAQ

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

Contact Support

Customer Reviews

Based on 168 reviews
94%
(158)
5%
(8)
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(1)
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L
Lee Heckman
An excellent pack!

This is a great backpack. It is very comfortable and carries weight very well. For me the weight sits mostly on my hips, but without having to have the waist straps super tight. It just sits really well on my back and is a very comfortable carry. With 22 pounds in it, I don't notice the weight at all - it almost feels empty, which I find surprising. I made a few minor additions - I added some straps to the shoulder pockets to keep my bottles from working upward, and I added some compression strap over the mesh pocket for added security and another spot to possibly carry gear (see pictures). I can actually reach the side zipper pocket while hiking. I run bottles in the shoulder pockets - I can fit up to a liter in each but I find 500 ml to be the most comfortable for bottle size, and I can hike for a while before I drink a liter, but in hot weather I will run larger bottles. My pack does leak in the rain, even after I put some sealer on the seams - not a huge deal and I will just run a pack liner. The side pockets are a great size, but I can't reach them on the go which is why I have drinks in the shoulder pockets. It's also quiet, and doesn't squeak or creak while hiking (unlike some of my other packs). The mesh pocket is functional, though I would pick a stretch mesh if I had the choice, and a bigger pocket would be awesome. Overall, I love this pack. For winter when I'm carrying lots of bulky gear, I think it's just a bit small. I would absolutely love to own one of these in a bigger size. But it does hold everything I need, with some gear (tent) on the top of the pack. The top strap works great for holding some gear on top of the pack. I highly recommend this pack - it's well made, high quality, has functional features without any extras I don't need, and has served me well on trail. I would like to emphasize that it is super comfortable (for me anyways). If I ever see one of these in a larger size (I have the 55) I am totally getting it. Great job Durston Gear! I am a happy camper.

A
Aaron Mabry
Recovering Osprey User

Simply put, the Kakwa 55 is a joy to hike with. For my kit, with an average base weight between 15-18 lbs, I’m not in the ultralight realm, but I’m certainly cognizant of how ounces add up. Thus, shaving nearly 3 lbs against my Osprey Atmos 65 was a major win, and the difference is felt. The Kakwa 55 carries well, sits on the hips better than the Osprey, and simplifies my approach to nearly everything by virtue of having only six areas/pockets to store gear. So if you’re like me - looking to simplify your kit, be faster and lighter without breaking the bank, get the Kakwa 55. It’s a real no brainer.

L
Logan Mayberry

Kakwa 55

B
Bradley Wood
I Love This Pack

I can’t wait to get this out on some long hauls. It’s comfortable, well thought out and extremely well made. This thing is a beauty.

J
James Walton

I have been a lifelong backpacker and in the hunt for the holy grail of ultralight and lightweight. For reference my base is sub 10lbs and total pack weight less worn clothing, food and water is 18.5lbs. Plus I am a hammock guy so my gear needs more space (volume). Had successfully gotten my load out down to a 30 liter main pack and using the side pockets and mesh pocket. I love that pack and was very comfortable but was tired of my hammock and other various pieces being outside the pack. Was tired of pack getting wet and soaking up water in the rain. I am going to be making some trip out west and am going to need to carry a bearikade. My present pack was not going to do the job. Made up my mind I wanted a pack made with Ultra fabric and wanted a capacity where I could put everything in the main compartment and carry a bearikade. As I was doing my research, I fell in love with the reviews the Kakwa was receiving. I was a bit apprensive though as I didn’t think the rear of the pack had any type of cushioning. Then the search sent me to the other guys; HMG, ULA and Z. After a bit of back and forth and countless You tube review videos, I finally found the answer I was looking for, I verified that there is indeed a bit of foam between the pack body and my back for comfort. It is always a leap of faith when trying on a pack but I really am glad I leaped with this pack. I love the shape of the pack being smaller at the bottom then the top, really helps with center of gravity and pointing the load towards the center of my spine. I really like the large opening at the top, love the extra large side pockets with the left side being taller than the right. Love the top of the straps being connected by a yoke, keels the straps from turning and twisting and keeps the pack centered on my back. It was very comfortable as I have already made on trip and look forward to many more trips with it. Haven’t had it in the rain yet but am confident it will shine.