Re: Backpack Rifle Choice???
If you want really cheap and simple, most gun shops will have a rack full of older single shot or bolt action .22's for less than $100. IF you want light, there are several youth model rifles out that will not break the bank. If you think you "might" want to tinker with it in the future, the Ruger 10/22 has a world of aftermarket parts available. And, a used 10/22 can generally be had for less than $200 if you look around....
Personally, I am taking a "tinkered" 10/22 to Colorado with me next month specifically for taking small game while scouting elk. Right at 5 pounds all up.