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Think You Can’t Make Awesome Ultralight Packs in the Bronx? Think Again

Meet Allmansright, a burgeoning ultralight brand with a bold approach to making the outdoors more accessible.

melo using a sewing machine
Garrett Fox

There is an edict in Sweden, granted by the country’s constitution, called allemansrätten. Translated, it means “everyman’s right,” but Swedes know it as the Right of Public Access, a rule that grants individuals and groups the right to roam the countryside freely —to camp, forage, swim and climb, all without needing permission to cross private land.

gear patrol issue 16
A version of this story first appeared in Gear Patrol Magazine. Subscribe today

Finland, Norway, Scotland, Iceland and a few other countries uphold a similar creed of access, but it’s nigh unthinkable in the United States, where brightly hued NO TRESPASSING signs adorn trees and fence posts, even where other traces of civilization are absent. Nevertheless, it’s this foreign term that Livio Melo ad-opted as the namesake and ethos of his burgeoning brand, Allmansright.

For Melo, the term represents not only an opening of the land, but an opportunity for people of all shapes, sizes and colors to experience it — a perspective he comes by honestly. After all, Melo didn’t grow up in Scandinavia or exploring the outdoors. He is a man of many (other) places: the Dominican Republic, Miami, New Jersey and the Bronx, where he now lives with his wife and Allmansright’s cofounder, Jennifer Jacobsson, who is Swedish. In fact, it wasn’t until his late 20s that Melo took his first overnight hiking trip — “I had no idea there were even trails,” he says — making Allmansright’s origin story even more improbable.

"Our brand is about reintroduction into nature. Bringing it to more people and living a natural life."

Melo is a student of robotics and industrial design and a graduate of Parsons School of Design, where he dabbled in everything from fine art to furniture. But these days, his focus is on ultralight camping equipment, an interest he developed after backpacking with some secondhand gear (and nearly freezing to death) in New York’s Harriman State Park.

sewing
Garrett Fox
melo working with partner
Garrett Fox

At first, Melo made gear for himself. “But I’ve always wanted to design and sell stuff,” he says. So after a couple years of experimenting (it should come as no surprise that he’d never sewn before, let alone stitched together a pack — or that such hang-ups wouldn’t stop him), he and Jacobsson founded Allmansright in 2020.

Allmansright HQ is their apartment and its foyer their workshop: the roughly 7.5- by 10-foot space holds two Japanese-made Juki sewing machines and a cutting table that only fits once other furniture is out of the way. Rolls of fabric line the hallway. From here, Melo deals in Dyneema and drawcords, X-Pac and other ultralight materials, crafting them into elegant, utilitarian stuff sacks, food bags, cross-body bags and backpacks.

While many experienced outdoorists view ultralight hiking as an esoteric approach that only the most hardcore backpackers can appreciate, Melo insists the opposite is true.

“It’s a lie,” he asserts. “For many reasons, ultralight philosophies make the outdoors more accessible.”

melo working office
Garrett Fox

Because it involves carrying not only lighter gear, but less gear, there’s less to buy, which makes ultralight inherently cheaper, Melo argues. There’s a DIY aspect too, even if it simply means carrying a SmartWater bottle instead of a heavy Hydro Flask or re-using containers. The ultralight approach also removes part of the physical fitness barrier. “Since the gear is lighter, more body types and abilities can join in,” explains Melo, recalling how tired and dehydrated he was shouldering his 60-liter secondhand pack.

"For many reasons, ultralight philosophies make the outdoors more accessible."

Forging deeper into his ultralight evangelism, Melo suggests that bringing less actually allows one to come closer to nature, too: “You realize that people are going these distances and withstanding these conditions with such minimal gear ... it really de-mystifies the outdoors.”

While he doesn’t expect every place to adopt the code of collective stewardship embodied by allemansrätten, Melo believes we can approach its ideal simply by opening up the outdoors through advocacy — and through gear. Toward that end, Allmansright donates two percent of its profits to access and environmental groups. And its equipment is fairly priced: the most ex-pensive pack, the Eco Liten 35, costs $240 and weighs just a pound, whereas Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s slightly bigger 2400 Junction costs $320 and weighs nearly two.

“Our brand is about reintroduction into nature,” Melo concludes. “Bringing it to more people and living a more natural life.”

Streamlined Finds

The following ethereal offerings exemplify Melo’s efficient approach to adventure gear. Please note that Allmansright is a burgeoning, handcrafted business, and as such, its products tend to sell out quickly. Want to grab the latest and greatest? Sign up to be notified of restocks and new releases.

Allmansright Liten Lite x Cordura
allmansright.com
$220.00

Weighing just under a pound, this pack features two forms of tough Cordura fabric, plus attachments for trekking poles or ice axes, water bottle slots and 35 liters of space for hiking and camping essentials.

Allmansright Björn Food Bag (M)
allmansright.com
$39.00

This waterproof sack boasts room for half a week of food, carabiner attachment points and a reflective strip so it’s easy to find in the dark. Ultralight Dyneema composite fabric keeps the weight under 1.3 ounces.

Allmansright X Kross (M)
allmansright.com
$67.00

You don’t need to camp to appreciate this 2.3-ounce satchel. Made of Xpac VX21, a durable polyester sailcloth fabric, it has an integrated card wallet and key hook, plus space for your phone and removable straps.

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