Open main menu

GoLite Ion

rated 5 of 5 stars

GoLite is no longer in business, and the Ion has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best daypacks for 2024.

photo: GoLite Ion daypack (under 35l)

Ultralight pack for days, summits, an overnight if you pack light. Only the shoulder straps are padded—you benefit from packing this carefully. Dyneema grid material is pretty durable, with some wear around the shoulder strap attachment points. Though GoLite is gone, MyTrailCo offers a similar product, the Backpack HL 20.


  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Inexpensive


  • Wear point—shoulder strap attachments
  • No padding on back

I purchased this pack to substitute for a much heavier, much more complicated day pack and as a summit bag.

This pack is nearly perfect if you are looking for a comfortable, lightweight, and simple pack. It holds roughly 1,800 cubic inches in one pocket—no side pockets for small items—but it holds a lot of gear for a pack that looks so small. It is basically a narrow tube with a top flap that has a waterproof zipper.

The pack also has a solid haul loop and an opening for a hydration tube. The shoulder straps are made of puffy, lightweight mesh, and it has a sternum strap and a non-load bearing waist belt. Other than the shoulder strap, it doesn't have any lash points. The hardware all works well, and the construction appears to be flawless.

At nine ounces, it is as lightweight as any daypack I researched and looked at. It's perfect for a small summit pack because it weighs almost nothing. It has no foam back pad and can be stuffed into an extremely small space. Keep in mind that without the foam back pad, you need to pack softer clothes near your back. I can't comment on wear because the pack is relatively new, but the pack body is made of dyneema grid—nylon ripstop with white dyneema in a square pattern. Dyneema (aka spectra) is a lightweight material that is very abrasion and tear resistant. It has been incorporated into very expensive packs for years. It should make the pack very durable.

The shoulder straps are surprisingly comfortable and well-reinforced where the straps attach to the pack body. I wouldn't carry more than 15 pounds in it, but I have had ten or so pounds in this pack without any problem. the pack is very narrow—it can be hard to extract gear if it's on the bottom of the pack. At the same time, that narrow profile means the pack doesn't impede your arms or movement at all.

I don't think the pack is fully waterproof. Due to the no frills design and lack of smaller pockets, I try to load gear in this pack in a series of Sea to Summit waterproof sacks, so waterproofing isn't an issue.

This is the most comfortable daypack I have owned, provided you don't pack anything lumpy or sharp near your back.

With GoLite reconstituted as MyTrailCo, check out this very similar option:


Years of day hiking, and a few years of use as a summit bag in the winter

Design: frameless, padless one-pocket day pack
Size: 1,800 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 1
Max. Load Carried: 10-12 pounds
Height of Owner: 5 foot 10
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $42

Your Review

You May Like

The Ion is the smallest of three packs in GoLite’s Ultra Series, designed for the core ultra-light customer. The Ultra packs (Ion, Jam2, and Pinnacle) offer maximum comfort at minimum weight for minimalist fastpackers, thru-hikers, backpackers, peak baggers, climbers, travelers, and day hikers.

The highly compactable Ion is designed for day hikes and peak bagging, ultra-light fastpacking, rock climbing, travel, and summit bids. It features a watertight zipper, space mesh shoulder straps, adjustable sternum strap, webbing for the hip belt, hydration tube opening, and haul loop.


(no Gender)
Price Historic Range: $39.96-$50.00
Price MSRP: $50.00
Historic Range: $39.96-$50.00
Reviewers Paid: $42.00
Use ultra-light fastpacking, rock climbing, summit bids, day hikes
Sizing Unisex (available in Small, Medium, and Large)
Capacity 1500 cu in
Weight 9 oz (260 g)
Price MSRP: $50.00
Historic Range: $24.98
Use ultra-light fastpacking, rock climbing, summit bids, day hikes
Sizing Unisex (available in Small, Medium, and Large)
Capacity 1500 cu in
Weight 9 oz (260 g)