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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Why Hyperlite Mountain Gear Backpacks are Well worth the Funding

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Backpacks How to Choose

Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG) focuses on making rugged multi-sport backpacks and shelters with Dyneema Composite Materials. Their distinctive white and black backpacks are fairly standard and straightforward to identify on Nationwide Scenic Trails and within the backcountry.

One of many issues that units Hyperlite aside from different cottage ultralight gear producers is its multi-sport and multi-season focus. As an alternative of simply constructing packs for the thru-hiker market, Hyperlite additionally caters to climbers, skiers, winter hikers, packrafters, and off-trail hikers, with backpacks tailor-made to their wants. It is sensible, particularly for the reason that want for light-weight, waterproof, and intensely sturdy backpacks is much more essential for these pursuits.

I’m a fan of Hyperlite’s backpacks as a result of they strike an excellent steadiness between light-weight and sturdiness. I’ve owned many ultralight backpacks, most of which have by no means lasted greater than a 12 months with out getting torn to shreds within the mountains the place I hike. Some haven’t even lasted a day. However my Hyperlite Southwest 40 and Southwest 55 backpacks have endured a number of years of near-constant on-trail, off-trail, and winter use. That’s uncommon for an ultralight fashion backpack, in my expertise, and a testomony to the sturdiness of Hyperlite’s merchandise, that are intentionally overbuilt to make them final.

For those who’re fascinated with shopping for a Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpack, it may be just a little complicated to grasp how the packs they promote differ and which one you need to get, particularly should you can solely afford one backpack for a number of sports activities. Whereas the Hyperlite web site makes it appear like the corporate sells lots of completely different backpacks, they solely make a number of primary fashions that differ in quantity, sports-specific types, and the supplies used. Not all packs can be found in all supplies, which might be arduous to suss out on their web site.

Materials Abbreviations

  • DCH50 which is a 50D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid
  • DCH150 which is a 150D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid
  • DCHW which is a 375D Woven Dyneema/Polyester hybrid

Inside Volumes

  •  30L – 1800 cubic inches
  •  40L – 2400 cubic inches
  •  55L – 3400 cubic inches
  •  70L – 4400 cubic inches
  •  85L – 5400 cubic inches

Sports activities-Particular Types

  • Porter
  • Southwest
  • Windrider
  • Junction
  • Unbound
  • North Rim
  • Halka
  • Ice Pack
  • Headwall
  • Prism
  • Summit
  • Stuff
Backpacking the Cape Wrath Trail with a HMG Southwest 3400 Backpack
Backpacking the Cape Wrath Path in Scotland with an HMG Southwest 55 Backpack

Select the Proper Pack Materials

HMG makes the higher “physique” portion of their packs with three completely different supplies, listed under in rising order of abrasion resistance, sturdiness, and expense. The decrease base portion of their packs is made with a 150D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid or a 375D Woven Dyneema/Polyester hybrid, that are each fairly sturdy. Greater-denier (abbreviated with a D) materials are, usually talking, stronger than lower-denier ones made with the identical supplies.

  1. 50D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid  (abbreviated on the HMG web site as DCH50)
  2. 150D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid (abbreviated on the HMG web site as DCH150)
  3. 375D Woven Dyneema/Polyester hybrid (abbreviated on the HMG web site as DCHW)

Most individuals backpacking on trails within the decrease 48 can use packs made with the common 50D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid. For those who thru-hike an prolonged distance or journey in very rocky terrain the place your pack is prone to rub in opposition to rock partitions quite a bit (ie. New Hampshire or Maine), you’d be higher off getting the more durable and thicker 150D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid used to make HMG’s black coloured packs. Most individuals don’t want the additional sturdiness offered by the 375D Woven Dyneema/Polyester hybrid until they’re mountaineering guides, hard-core backcountry skiers, they do thru-hikes, or they’ve a belief fund.

The underside of HMG’s 50D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid and 150D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid pack fashions are made with a double-reinforced 150D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid to supply further abrasion resistance. HMG’s packs are flat-bottomed and this further stage of safety helps preserve the bottom from getting worn by means of by abrasion with the bottom. The packs which might be totally or partially (often simply the bottom) made with 375D Woven Dyneema/Polyester hybrid are by far Hyperlite’s most sturdy backpacks and more durable than a lot of the backpack materials in use right this moment. (The one comparable material is one thing new known as Extremely 400. It’s similar to 375D Woven Dyneema however made with non-patented UHMWPE fibers as an alternative of Dyneema fibers woven collectively and backed with a water-proof material. It’s solely accessible from customized backpack makers.)

The accent options on HMG’s packs are made with a checkered black Dyneema Hardline, which is nylon strengthened with Dyneema fibers. It’s used because the going through material on hip belts and shoulder straps on the 40L, 55L, 70L, and 85L packs, all exterior pockets on the Southwest pack, the aspect pockets on the Junction pack, and the crampon/instrument attachment panels on the Ice Pack. Many different producers use the identical materials and whereas it’s moderately sturdy, it’s not in the identical league as the opposite supplies used to make HMG packs. The accent options, backside, and excessive put on areas on the North Rim and Headwall packs are made with more durable stuff, particularly 375D Woven Dyneema/Polyester hybrid, the hardest and most sturdy material Hyperlite makes use of on their packs.

Q: How does the Dyneema/Polyester Hybrid material utilized in Hyperlite’s backpacks charge when it comes to sturdiness in comparison with different materials equivalent to XPac, EcoPak, Extremely, and Robic Nylon which might be gaining traction with different ultralight backpack producers?

In a nutshell, the non-woven 50D and 150D Dyneema/Polyester Hybrid materials utilized by Hyperlite are considerably extra sturdy than the Robic Nylon (additionally known as Excessive Tenacity Nylon) utilized by different ultralight backpack producers like Gossamer Gear, Granite Gear, and plenty of mainstream backpack producers. They’re much less sturdy, notably when it comes to abrasion (attributable to rock and sand) than different waterproof laminates like XPac, EcoPak, and Extremely. For those who’re extraordinarily arduous in your backpack and count on it to final by means of a number of thru-hikes, then you need to take a look at packs made with Extremely 400 or Hyperlite’s 375D Woven Dyneema/Polyester hybrid packs. For normal backpacking use or a single thru-hike, the 150D Dyneema/Polyester Hybrid materials are greater than adequate, they’re waterproof, and all of Hyperlite’s backpacks are seam taped in order that they don’t leak by means of the stitching needle holes. Whilst you can put on a gap in a Hyperlite Backpack, you actually need to work at it for the reason that backside material is often the next denier and strengthened.

Hyperlight Mountain Gear Backpacks

Select the Proper Quantity Pack

HMG classifies their smaller quantity packs below 30L in quantity as city or day packs. HMG provides 4 backpacks on this dimension:

  • The Summit Pack 30 is a frameless pack with quite a few exterior attachment factors and a roll-top closure. It has a detachable webbing hip belt and minimal shoulder straps appropriate for as much as 20-pound masses. It’s finest for summit pushes when it’s essential carry just a little gear however wish to depart your massive pack behind.
  • The Stuff Pack 30 is a frameless roll-top pack and not using a hip belt or any daisy chains. It’s made with the identical materials that Hyperlite makes use of to make stuff sacks so it weighs below 5 oz. It may well serve double responsibility as a pack liner if you need a multi-use merchandise.
  • The Elevate 22 is an easy frameless roll-top pack supposed for day hikes. With an additional lengthy roll prime, two aspect pockets, a middle stretch mesh pocket, two daisy chains, and an ice instrument loop, it’s a mini model of Hyperlite’s greater quantity multi-day backpacks.
  • The Dawn 17 can also be a day-pack however is extra optimized for city use and journey as a result of it has a clam-shell prime opening which is best for frequent use. Roll-tops are simply terrible if it’s important to open and shut them on a regular basis to hold a laptop computer or different private gadgets. You may nonetheless use the Daylight 17 for day mountaineering in fact. (it may possibly maintain as much as 23L together with its open pockets).

HMG’s 35L and 40L packs are an excellent dimension for thru-hikes with frequent resupplies or backpacking journeys as much as about 4 days in size (these are approximate tips primarily based on a 10-15 lb gear load.)  They will also be used for extra demanding day hikes, notably in early spring or late autumn when it’s essential carry extra insulation. Right here’s an inventory of the materials they’re accessible in:

  • Waypoint 35L + 6.5L of exterior storage
  • Contour 35L + 6.5L of exterior storage
  • Porter Pack 40L
  • Southwest Pack 40L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • Windrider Pack 40L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • Junction Pack 40L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • Unbound 40L  + 9L  of  exterior storage
  • Ice Pack 40L
  • Prism Pack 40L

Hyperlite’s 55L backpacks are dimensioned identically to the 40L ones however have a taller pack bag so you’ll be able to fill them up with 7 days price of meals or extra-warm gear for winter journeys. For those who can solely afford one pack, the 55L is an effective alternative since you’ll be able to “flip it into” a 40L by rolling down the highest to shrink the pack’s top and additional quantity. The 40L and 55L packs use two detachable aluminum stays (the newer Unbound Packs solely have one aluminum keep) to switch weight to the hip belt as an alternative of a full body. Each have a max load of about 35-40 kilos.

  • Porter Pack 55L
  • Southwest Pack 55L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • Windrider Pack 55L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • Junction Pack 55L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • Unbound 55L  + 9L  of  exterior storage
  • North Rim Pack 55L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • Headwall Pack 55L + 7.1L of exterior storage
  • Ice Pack 55L
  • Halka 55L

HMG’s 70L and 85L packs are massive, expedition-class monsters that you just solely want should you’re taking very lengthy journeys off the grid that require carrying lots of meals or heavy technical gear. They’ve a bigger circumference than the 40L and 55L packs which makes them deeper (in order that they stick out behind you extra.) With a max (snug) load of about 55-60 kilos, they’re finest used for gear-intensive multi-sport journeys.

The 70L and 85L packs have a body consisting of an inner body sheet and two aluminum stays to switch weight to the hip belt. They’re additionally solely made with a 150D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid physique for elevated sturdiness, in contrast to the 40L and 55L packs which can be found in two completely different Polyester hybrid denier weights. The 70L and 85L packs can be found in white or black, though we’d advocate getting them in white as a result of the black materials makes the interiors too darkish to see your gear inside.

  • Porter 70L
  • Southwest 70L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • Windrider70L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • North Rim 70L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • Halka 70L
  • Ice Pack 70L
  • Porter 85L
The Hyperlight Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Pack is a rugged multi-day Dyneema backpack good for thru-hiking and backpacking on trails and off.
The Hyperlight Mountain Gear Southwest 55 Pack is a rugged multi-day Dyneema backpack good for thru-hiking and backpacking on trails and off.

Select the Proper Sport-Particular Backpack

HMG tailors every of its backpack fashions in plenty of sports-specific types, that are enhanced by including pockets or exterior attachment factors so you’ll be able to carry sharp or moist issues on the outside of the backpack.


The Porter is a streamlined backpack with none exterior pockets on the pack physique which may catch on issues or get torn off making it an excellent pack for winter sports activities, climbing, packrafting, bikepacking, and air journey. It has two daisy chains which make it equally simple to lash the pack to packrafts or bikes, or safe gear to the skin, like snowshoes, skis/snowboard, or ice axes. You simply have to be just a little artistic in the way you lash stuff on, however the Porter is sort of a clean slate, so it may be arrange in some ways and for a lot of completely different missions.


The Southwest is good for off-trail backpacking and bushwhacking if you need aspect water bottle pockets and an enormous rear pocket for carrying moist, smoky, smelly, or steadily used gadgets that you just don’t wish to retailer inside your backpack.  The Southwest additionally makes a sturdy pack for thru-hiking on much less traveled trails the place overhanging vegetation can rip up exterior mesh pockets. Whereas you should utilize the Southwest for winter sports activities, lashing snowshoes to the again of the pack will cowl up the again exterior pocket and make it arduous to entry.


The Windrider is nice for mountaineering, backpacking, and thru-hiking in very moist climates or very dry ones the place you’re going to wish to air out or dry moist gear as you hike. The mesh can catch on overhanging vegetation and rip, so it’s much less sturdy than the Southwest in that respect. The mesh is sized the identical because the Southwest’s rear and aspect water bottle pockets.


The Junction is a cross between the Southwest and the Windrider backpacks, with strong aspect pockets and a mesh entrance pocket. Hyperlite created it as a result of so many individuals have been asking for extra sturdy aspect pockets on their Windrider or a mesh entrance pocket on their Southwest packs. The Junction is nice for extra humid locales, just like the jap United States the place it’s good to have the ability to dry gear within the mesh pocket when you hike, however the place overgrown vegetation alongside the perimeters of a path may catch and rip a aspect pocket. Having a mesh pocket additionally makes it simple to examine whether or not you’ve got all of your gear packed correctly at a look, like a moist water filter or footprint, so that you don’t need to unpack stuff to examine.


The Unbound is a wholly new pack design within the Hyperlite household and incorporates lots of the options accessible in different standard thru-hiking backpacks, primarily from smaller aggressive producers. These embody new foam padding within the again panel, a detachable hip belt with a V-pull that’s extra adjustable than those on their different backpacks, a backside mesh pocket for storing layers or snacks with a trash port the place you’ll be able to stuff used wrappers, detachable aspect compression straps, outsized aspect bottle pockets, and daisy chains. Chances are high lots of these new options will work themselves into their different backpack fashions over time. It’s best to get the Unbound should you’re primarily fascinated with 3-season use, exterior accessibility (suppose higher pockets) is a precedence, and also you wish to strip a few of the detachable options to save lots of weight or have an easier backpack.

The North Rim

The North Rim is a more durable and extra sturdy model of the Southwest backpack, supposed for tough and abrasive circumstances equivalent to off-trail bushwhacking or canyoneering. Whereas the physique of the NorthRim is made with Hyperlite’s 150D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid, the accent pockets on the perimeters and entrance of the pack, in addition to the hip belt pockets are made with extraordinarily sturdy 375D Woven Dyneema, which is “approach” extra sturdy than the Dyneema/Nylon Grid that Hyperlite makes use of on their different packs. In case you have a historical past of ripping up packs made with Dyneema Grid, the NorthRim might be the final backpack you ever purchase.


The Headwall is a devoted ski mountaineering or backcountry ski backpack with exterior daisy chains, three tiers of aspect compression straps for attaching skis or cut up board in A-Body carry, and a entrance avalanche/probe pocket. It has a detachable hipbelt which is beneficial, notably should you put on a climbing harness and a padded again panel to insulate your again from sizzling water bottles saved inside. The headwall has two ice axe loops and daisy chains on the shoulder straps the place you’ll be able to cling accent pockets or gear. Just like the North Rim, the bottom and excessive put on areas of the Headwall are made with 375D Woven Dyneema, which is “approach” extra sturdy than the Dyneema/Polyester hybrid that Hyperlite makes use of on their different packs.

Ice Pack

The Ice Pack is nice for mountaineering, ski mountaineering, and winter mountaineering/backpacking. It has a puncture-proof crampon/twin ice ax holder on the again of the pack so you’ll be able to preserve the sharp or moist factors away from the fragile gear inside. For those who use crampons or axes quite a bit, it is a very fascinating characteristic on a winter backpack. The ice pack additionally has twin daisy chains and aspect compression straps, supplying you with lots of extra exterior attachment factors to hold much more gear. There are additionally gear loops on the hip belt as an alternative of pockets.


The Halka is a mountaineering backpack that’s appropriate for winter and expedition backpacking. It’s primarily based on the Ice Pack’s design with a crampon holder and plenty of exterior straps but additionally has a detachable floating lid pocket with an inner pocket and a drawstring closure as an alternative of a rolltop. It’s additionally made with extra sturdy supplies, just like the NorthRim, with a DCH150 Most important Physique & Woven Dyneema backside + exterior pockets. That further sturdiness is warranted if you’re stumbling round on a glacier with very sharp crampons. The floating prime lid and pocket are a necessity for critical winter circumstances: the very last thing you wish to do is to maintain opening a rolltop to tug put dry gloves or meals. That stated, the Halka is the heaviest of Hyperlite’s backpacks at 50.3 ozwithin the 70L dimension (a 55L model can also be accessible) in order that added storage means extra pack weight.

Prism Pack

The Prism Pack can also be good for mountaineering, ski mountaineering, and winter mountaineering however is considerably extra sturdy than the Ice Pack and has a extra technical characteristic set together with a prime lid with a drawstring closure, a crampon pocket, and a detachable hip belt so you’ll be able to put on it with a climbing harness.

Torso Lengths and Sizes

It may be troublesome to search out any documentation of the torso lengths that correspond to Hyperlite’s backpack sizes on their web site. Right here’s what it’s essential know.

  • Further Small: Lower than 15″
  • Dimension Small: 15″-17″
  • Dimension Medium: 17″-19″
  • Dimension Massive: 19″-21″
  • Dimension Tall: 21″+

What occurs in case your torso size is on the boundary of two completely different sizes? Most individuals dimension as much as the bigger dimension because it ensures you’ll get some load switch to the hip belt. That received’t occur if the pack is just too small for you.

See Additionally:

Disclosure: Hyperlite Mountain Gear has offered the writer with pattern merchandise for evaluate previously.

Final up to date: 4-28-24

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