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Terra Nova Ultra 20 Backpack

Weighed On Our Scales » 4.83 oz. (137 g)

Terra Nova Ultra 20 Backpack

A bold, minimal pack for those completely and totally conscious of weight.


In 1992 the America3 Yacht team needed a new sail fabric that would be just as strong as the spinnaker fabrics they were using but that would be lighter and therefore help them win the America's Cup yacht race. They sought the help of a physicist and a composite engineer who, rather than creating a new fiber to sew into fabric came up with a new solution by latticing Spectra and carbon fibers in between sheets of polyester film. The result was what is commonly referred to as Cuben Fiber.

This fabric eventually caught the eye of the cottage ultralight gear manufacturers who began employing a Dyneema-based version in tarps, bivies, and backpacks. Mainstream gear manufacturers stayed away from the material presumably because it had not proven itself in this market until recently when Terra Nova began using the fabric in the production of some of its gear.

Terra Nova has has given their new backpack the namesake of the fabric it is created from, the Ultra 20. The "Ultra" refers to the fabric and the "20" refers to the packs volume (20L). The pack itself is delightfully simple, employing the Ultra fabric for most all of the construction. Pack users will also find a light mesh employed for the two side water bottle pockets and the undersides of the shoulder straps, narrow webbing used in the hipbelt and lower shoulder straps, as well as a very thin yet rigid cord applied for a collar cinch as well as to cinch the minimal top-lid and side compression. The bottom of the pack is constructed of a typical ripstop-nylon which has a higher abrasion resistance than the Ultra fabric when placing the pack on the ground.

The Ultra 20 pack is well designed by respected backpacking company Terra Nova and their craftsmanship shows. It does need to be stated however that the Ultra 20 fabric is a very thin fabric that although having a very high tear-resistance is prone to puncture and needs to be treated as such. If your primary style of hiking involves bushwacking prickly brambles all day this isn't the proper pack for you, nor is it the proper pack for you if you regularly scramble granite peaks and enjoy throwing your pack down the mountain in front of you before down-climbing.

The Ultra 20 pack is small volume and will only hold the most basic gear and therefore only the lightest weights. As such it is not overly designed with giant, beefy shoulder straps or a massive load-transferring hipbelt. It has simple shoulder straps, a sternum strap, and a hipbelt. The hipbelt clasp has a built-in whistle (you may wish to swap this out with the sternum buckle for ease of access). The pack is so small that the designers at Terra Nova more than likely intended it as a daypack but we here at BPL don't necessarily take an item at face value. 20L is big enough for an overnighter if you're going SUL and the Ultra 20 has room to handle that.


  • Ultra 20 is an extremely ultralight fabric
  • Two mesh water bottle pockets
  • Ultralight pack lid keeps rain out of top of pack
  • Whistle built into pack clasp for emergency signaling


  • Weight: 4.83 oz. (137 g)
  • Volume (suggested): 1200 cu. in (20 liter)
  • Volume (stuffed): 1373 cu. in (22.5 liter)


Regular Price$135.00
Member Price$131.62
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