On packs can often weigh more than the pack I usually carry (a Zpacks Zero in Dyneema at 300 grams with pad sleeves, tent, bottle and back pocket, & various other mods such as gear attachment straps, internal pockets, etc) so you need to think carefully about whether you need them, what type you need and how much they weigh.
The first important point: if you are somewhat overweight (as I have been much of my life) you will probably be better off with a reasonably simple thin (say 1” – 25mm) webbing belt which will add maybe 30 grams to your pack weight, such as I added to my Gossamer Gear Gorilla (below). If you are thinner, a wider belt will probably suit you best – whilst a wider belt will slip down and not transfer load at all if you are overweight. Indeed, if you try to cinch it in tight enough to do any meaningful load transfer, it will restrict your movement tremendously. Be warned!
Ray Jardine http://www.rayjardine.com/index.shtml advises having no hipbelt at all on an ultralight pack as they restrict your natural gait and rhythm – and why would you need any load transfer at such weights anyway? For an overnight or weekend pack I’m sure he is quite right!
Here is my Zero with lots of added features all ready for my Everest trip:
You need to think carefully about whether you need pockets in the hipbelt (there are only so many things you need to reach on the trail, surely?) and how much the pockets weigh. If you are a tad overweight it can be quite awkward to access such pockets anyway, so that their extra weight will be quite surplus if you can’t use them.
The padding and material hipbelts are constructed from also add a lot to their weight. As I said at the start a wider padded hipbelt can easily add 300 grams to your pack weight (or most of a day’s food!) so you need to give this some serious thought. My wife Della is slim as a whip, so she likes a wider padded belt.
We fitted this one from Zpacks Zero options to her pack for a weight gain of around 50 grams. You will note that their belt pouches need add only 21 grams per pouch, so if your padded belt with pockets is adding more than 90 grams, it is just too darned heavy!
Zpacks Ultralight belt pouch: