Seek Outside Flight Two Review
After 9 weeks of hard use (500+ miles), the Seek Outside Flight Two has earned its title as the “The Best Overall Lightweight Backpack for Backpacking.” From comfort with heavier loads to its thoughtful design, the Flight Two is an exceptional pack for multi-day ultralight trips.
Capacity: 52L (int.) + 9L (ext.)
Weight: 1088 g
Main Material: SpectraGridHT
Hardware: YKK & ITW
Frame Style: Internal – 7075 Aluminum
Manufacturing Country: USA
Warranty: Lifetime (original owner)
Length of Test: 9 Weeks (500+ miles).
Acquisition: in exchange for our honest feedback, Seek Outside sent us the Flight Two with zero expectations. As always, the content of this review wasn’t shared with the company prior to publishing. Just know, our job isn’t to tickle the ego of a gear brand… it’s to provide you with the insights you need to make a sound buying decision – nothing more, nothing less.
Climate(s): Tropical Savanna.
Weather: Hot and Humid (highest temp 35 C), Cold and Dry (lowest temp 14 C), and Heavy Rain.
The Flight Two is designed for:
It’s not designed for:
Construction: with a no-frills design and bomber build, the Flight Two utilizes SpectraGridHT: a 100D high-tenacity nylon fabric with a tightly woven X-grid of 200D Spectra. Basically, it’s a lightweight fabric that’s reinforced with burly Spectra fibers to create a “hills and valleys” effect where the “Spectra hilltops” take the brunt of abrasion and protect the “nylon valleys.”
Performance wise, SpectraGridHT has a similar abrasion resistance to 500D Cordura (although it’s several ounces lighter) and is tough enough to withstand off-trail bushwhacking and high-contact scrambling. In addition, the fabric is functionally waterproof with a hydrostatic head of 1500 mm, th anks to a quality PU coating. During Thailand’s unforgiving monsoon season, the SpectraGridHT kept the gear in my pack dry while only absorbing a very small amount of water and drying relatively quickly.
However… given that the Flight Two isn’t seam sealed, I still recommend using a nylofume pack liner as a redundancy for weather-resistance.
Hardware: the compression straps on the pack are secured using plastic gatekeeper clips, which are more durable and modular than male / female style buckles – although not as convenient. For complete modularity, nylon webbing loops are located all over the pack bag (3 on each side, 2 on the bottom, and a Y connection up top). This allows you to fully customize “where and when” compression is needed.
Outside of the gatekeepers, the Flight Two also features side release ITW buckles that secure the ends of the roll-top, the hip belt, and the sternum strap.
Internal Frame: based upon Seek Outside’s innovative externally framed packs, the Flight Two utilizes a 7075 aluminum perimeter frame structure with a horizontal cross-stay that recesses into the pack bag and prevents it from barreling or bulging into your back.
Since the pack comes with a fixed (non-adjustable) harness, the frame comes in two sizes in effort to accommodate a wide range of torso lengths. Below is a chart detailing the load-bearing characteristics of both frame sizes relative to torso length:
In use, the frame provides a fair amount of vertical rigidity while still being able to flex and move with your body. Essentially, the frame doesn’t force the pack to shift around when hiking rough trails or scrambling. Nor does it bounce around much when moving quickly (light running). The frame sort of acts as an “extension of you,” and offers more mobility than most internally framed packs with a rigid aluminum structure.
Additionally and arguably most importantly, the frame is slightly curved to conform to the natural curvature of your back. Ergonomically speaking, the frame’s curvature allows you to you maintain a proper posture while hiking and avoid the dreaded hiker’s hunch.
While the Flight Two’s frame is worthy of awards, don’t expect much when it comes to the back panel. The Flight Two rests right up against your back and doesn’t provide any degree of ventilation other than the small cavity caused the horizontal cross-stay. There’s no mesh or foam other than the unobtrusive lumbar pad. And with that being said… after many days of use in the hot and humid Thai rainforest, I have absolutely zero complaints – in my humble opinion, comfort + stability > ventilation.
Side note: head clearance wasn’t much of issue with the 24″ frame (for reference, my torso length is ~ 19″).
Shoulder Straps: the Flight Two’s J-shaped shoulder straps are amply padded with a sponge-like foam and lined with a high-quality spacer mesh for additional breathability. At first, I was underwhelmed with the density and thickness of the foam but after using the pack with a variety of heavy loads, I’ve found them to be incredibly comfortable and supportive. Turns out, the pliability of the straps works well in conjunction with the rigidity of the frame.
As for the sternum strap, it’s adjustable via a sliding rail system and has always stayed securely positioned during use. I have zero issues to report here, other than my wish that the strap was partially elasticized (like on HMG and GG packs) and that a built-in web keeper was present.
Last but not least, the shoulder straps feature a plastic D-ring for lashing gear like a Garmin InReach Mini onto them. I never used the D-rings, but was able to fasten my Peak Design Capture Clip (for camera carry) onto the sternum strap rail webbing instead.
At the top of the shoulder straps, you’ll find a pair of fully functional load lifters that’ll let you maintain the coveted 45-degree strap angle. The straps connect directly to the top of the of the internal frame and are able to articulate the frame to be closer to or further away from your body, as needed. This is incredibly useful when scrambling or on ascents / descents, since you can control the pack’s center of gravity.
Provided the frame extends high enough above your shoulders (3-4″), the load lifters are capable of enabling some level of “shoulder lift,” which helps decrease trap / shoulder girdle fatigue when carrying heavy loads for long distances.
Hip Belt: utilizing a 4-way (dual adjust) forward pull system with a center buckle, the hip belt allows you to individually adjust the top and bottom tension for a contoured fit. Additionally, the hip belt comes in two sizes and is able to be “perfectly resized” to the length of your pelvic girdle for a full wrap-around effect.
This resizing system allows you to dial-in the hip belt for a proper load transfer to your lumbar region, without needing to crank it down – especially if you have a small waist or start to lose weight over the course of a thru-hike.
As a modular option, the hip belt can be completely removed – it connects to the pack bag via Velcro, which is hidden in a slot behind the lumbar pad. Surprisingly, the Flight Two runs pretty well hip-belt-less… although I’d recommend that most people use the belt since it’s soft and pliable (like the shoulder straps). Unlike stiff hip belts that have a tendency to be restrictive, this one still offers a decent amount of hip mobility.
Storage wise, the hip belt features two roomy pockets that are accessed via #8 YKK AquaGuard Zippers. The pockets themselves are highly water-resistant and are easy to open thanks to a straight-lined zipper design that’s combined with an adequately sized paracord pull-tab (although I’ve been unable to open them one handed).
On trail, you can stuff in a day’s worth of snacks or just keep it minimal by storing your phone plus a power bank, and maybe a lightweight folding knife. And when not in use, the pockets lay relatively flat and stay out of the way.
Main Compartment: accessed via a wide rolltop opening, the main compartment is both cavernous and spartan. As you’d expect from a minimalistic pack bag, there’s zero organization on the interior – no hydration sleeve, no floating pocket, nada.
When you look inside, its just a 52L abyss that’s void of organization. With no pocket in sight, this level of minimalism forces you to be more monastic in how you pack since prescribed space isn’t present. And in case you’re wondering… this compartment is able to house everything you’d need for a week in the backcountry, provided your gear is dialed-in (including food). Even a bear canister can fit vertically in here – just above the frame’s horizontal cross-stay.
Side note: for the rolltop access, you have the option of adding webbing / buckles onto the sides for extra compression or just rolling it up and clipping the buckles together (like in Seek Outside’s product photos).
Front Mesh Pocket: on the exterior face of the pack, there’s a heavy-duty mesh pocket with ~9L of storage space. For safekeeping, the top of the pocket is elasticized and stays relatively flush to the pack so your gear won’t easily fall out whenever you’re in a compromised position. On the trail, this pocket is a great place to store a rain jacket, an ultralight emergency kit, or even a wet rain fly for a tent. Whatever you need quick access to, it’ll always be readily available when stored here – pure efficiency.
(If you’re worried about tearing the mesh on this pocket, don’t be. It’s the same mesh that’s used on Seek Outside’s expedition packs and reports of tears are far and few)
Side Pockets: made of Spectra, the side pockets are massive and able to accommodate a Grayl Geopress or two 1L Smart Water bottles with some extra room to spare.
Normally there’s not much to say when it comes to side pockets, but the Flight Two’s pockets are uniquely patterned – they have an angled opening and a pleated bottom that allows them to expand downward (not just outward). From a usability standpoint, this means that the pockets can engulf 2-3L soft water bottles while keeping them reachable when the pack is worn.
To keep items secure during movement, the pockets have an adjustable shock cord at the top. When cinched down, this feature goes a long way towards keeping your gear securely in place. All factors considered, side pockets of this nature offer more versatility and usability than the standard stretchy mesh ones.
Grab Loops: above the shoulder straps and below the front mesh pocket, are grab loops made of nylon webbing. Since these are standard “handles” with no padding, there’s not much to say here.
Although, I truly did appreciate the addition of the bottom grab loop. It just makes it so much easier to manipulate the bag when it’s lying on the ground. Truthfully, this is a feature that I’d wish more ultralight packs had…
Carry Comfort: for a unisex pack with a fixed harness, the Seek Outside Flight Two happens to be one of the most comfortable +50L load haulers I’ve ever used.
I’ve carried the Flight Two with various total pack weights (including food and water) – from multi-day loadouts of 23-31 lb to rucking with 45+ lb for 6-8 hours at a time. Every time, I experienced zero pressure points or shoulder tug. In general, the pack handled the weight very well and evenly distributed the load across my torso and lumbar region.
For ultralight enthusiasts, if you’ve been using slightly lighter packs with a less robust suspension system, I promise you’ll be amazed by the added comfort, control, and carry capacity that this well-engineered framed backpack provides. Especially on trips that you need to go heavier on (desert trips with significant water carry, photography, etc.).
Designed in a simple and direct manner, the Flight Two is a highly refined pack with zero fluff, minimal redundancies and failure points.
Its utilitarian aesthetic is accentuated by a narrow and tapered profile that’s representative of the pack’s thoughtful balance between stability and nimbleness.
Compared to most of the lightweight backpacks on the market, the Flight Two is definitely one of the better looking ones of the bunch.
Side note: we truly appreciate Seek Outside’s minimal branding.
As two alternatives to the Flight Two, the HMG Unbound 40 and Junction 3400 are other top picks of ours. Like the Flight Two, the HMG packs have a highly functional yet minimalistic design. With a greater focus on simplicity, the HMG packs are less modular although more streamlined than the Flight Two. And unlike the Flight Two, the HMG packs available in 3 different torso sizes.
For individuals that are primarily interested in weight reduction, we recommend the Gossamer Gear Mariposa. It’s a 60L pack with wide shoulder straps and a comfy foam back panel that weighs just 924 g. While the Mariposa carries well, it won’t offer the same load-hauling ability as the Flight Two.
For the most wallet-friendly option, the Granite Gear Crown2 60 offers the best price-to-value ratio while still maintaining decent carry performance and durability.
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To fully sum up our thoughts on the Seek Outside Flight Two, we have to say this: it’s a near perfect lightweight backpack. And while there’s no such thing as “perfect,” the Flight Two sets the bar for carry performance and comfort in the <3 lb weight class. Yes, this pack has a few minor quirks but for the most part, Seek Outside knocked it out of the park and deserves more recognition for their level innovation in pack design.
Overall, I’ve loved using the Seek Outside Flight Two and highly recommend it to anyone that’s interested in a thoughtfully-designed and well-engineered lightweight backpack. Sure… it may not be the lightest pack around but its added comfort, durability, and carrying capacity make it worth the slight weight premium.
What We Liked
What Could Use Improvements
As expected from Seek Outside, the Flight Two is impeccably constructed and carries extremely well for its weight. So far, so good.
The Flight Two is an exceptional pack that’s been chosen by us as our Top Overall Lightweight Backpack for its solid carry performance. Durability wise, the pack is still in “like new” condition.
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