'Space Age' Look for Super-Light Pack

Space-age design meets wilderness utility in an upcoming backpack line from Terra Nova Equipment. The U.K. company’s to-be-released Quasar series includes three packs — 30, 45, and 55 liters in size — that employ Terra Nova’s “Ultra fabric,” a crinkly polyethylene material used in yacht sails.

Touted as “groundbreaking” because of their high strength and low weight, the Quasar packs will weigh as little as 14 ounces. While the “Ultra fabric” makes up the body of the pack, reinforcements come via a Cordura fabric in high-wear areas as well as bar-tack points stitched with Dyneema thread, a thermoplastic polyethylene strand that has a strength ratio stronger than steel.

Quasar pack.jpg

Crinkly “sailcloth” material makes up the body of the Quasar pack

The Quasar design is that of a basic backpacking or mountaineering “sack” — there is no frame, only a sheet of foam for support, and the packs have few bells and whistles beyond removable hip-belt pockets and a hydration sleeve. OK, so there is one whistle! There’s an emergency whistle integrated into the chest strap buckle.

The biggest pack in the line, the Quasar 55, has a single alloy strut to give additional support and stability under a load. It weighs 21 ounces at maximum, or less than 1.5 pounds, for something that could tote a load for three or more days outdoors.

Packs of this ilk are available from a few manufacturers. I have backpacked, climbed, and adventure raced for a couple years in the frame-less Race Pro 30 from Inov-8. Because the Quasar line has a simple alpine-like design and employs Dyneema, they might quickly draw comparison to packs from CiloGear, a company that trades on non-woven Dyneema fabric, light weight design, superlative durability, and price tags that can break past $1,000.

Terra Nova’s Quasar offerings, in contrast, include costs between $240 and $300. They will be marketed primarily to backpackers and adventure athletes, not alpine climbers. The Quasar series will be available to purchase in February and previewed next month in Salt Lake City at the Outdoor Retailer trade show.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.

Posted by Mep - 12/21/2011 09:28 AM

Looks awesome! I have yet to try ultralight backpacking, (Mostly cause I know myself… I’ll spend $3000 on stuff, then go twice…). This looks awesome though. I wonder if you’d even FEEL 14 oz. on your back…

Posted by Some Guy - 12/21/2011 02:48 PM

Looks cool and the price is inline with the cost of the materials. IT is not a new space age fiber, it is cubic tech material. http://www.cubictechnology.com/index.htm Now availabe from Korea or Texas depending on your manufacturing. It is unique now because a cottage company is also using it. Also see Granite Gear, Backpacking Light, Cilo Gear and Others with thier takes on the fabric. The biggest issue i have with lightweight packs is that the harness system sucks, maybe they have some up with a better harness, but I say Dana Design did it best 10 years ago.

Posted by Tom Murphy - 12/21/2011 03:12 PM

In addtion to pack weight, it would nice to know the recommended pack load limit.

You need to reduce their pack weight significantly before going to frameless packs.

Posted by Norm in the Rockies - 12/21/2011 04:31 PM

Looks a lot like the GoLite Gust from about 10 years ago, with updated material. Gust was rated at 30lbs load, and weight something like 24 oz.

Posted by Brian - 06/20/2012 06:09 AM

Sounds like cuben fiber. Hammock campers use this for tarps, bags and packs. Check out zpacks.com

Posted by Jeremy - 07/08/2012 12:01 AM

Lol @ “Crinkly polyethylene”. It’s called Cuben Fiber, and the polyethylene is just the laminate. The real strength comes from the spectra fibers that are sandwiched between layers of BoPET (mylar).

Also, Terra Nova (and Gear Junkie) are pretty late to the game. Although they may be one of the first “big” manufacturers to use Cuben, small manufacturers have been using it for years. Check out zpacks.com as mentioned below and also Hyperlite Mountain Gear for some sweet designs.

Add Comment

  1. Add link by using "LinkText":http://google.com