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HomeHikingA Complete Information to Hyperlite Mountain Gear Backpacks

A Complete Information to Hyperlite Mountain Gear Backpacks

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 widespread and simple 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 a substitute of simply constructing packs for the thru-hiker market, Hyperlite additionally caters to climbers, skiers, winter hikers, packrafters, and off-trail hikers, with backpacks which are tailor-made to their wants. It is sensible, particularly because the want for light-weight, waterproof, and intensely sturdy backpacks is much more vital for these pursuits.

I’m a fan of Hyperlite’s backpacks as a result of they strike a great steadiness between light-weight and sturdiness. I’ve owned many ultralight backpacks and most of them have by no means lasted way more 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 model backpack in my expertise and a testomony to the sturdiness of Hyperlite’s merchandise that are intentionally overbuilt to make them final.

In case you’re concerned about shopping for a Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpack, it may be just a little complicated to know how the packs they promote differ from each other and which one it’s best to get, particularly if you happen to can solely afford one backpack for a number of sports activities. Whereas the Hyperlite web site makes it appear to be the corporate sells lots of totally different backpacks, they solely make just a few primary fashions which differ when it comes to quantity, sports-specific types, and the supplies used. Not all packs can be found in all supplies, which could be exhausting 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

Inner Volumes

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

Sports activities-Particular Kinds

  • 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

Easy methods to Select the Proper Pack Materials

HMG makes the higher “physique” portion of their packs with three totally different supplies, listed under in growing 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. Increased denier (abbreviated with a D) materials are, typically talking, stronger than decrease 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 people who find themselves backpacking on trails within the decrease 48 can use packs made with the common 50D Dyneema/Polyester hybrid. In case you thru-hike an prolonged distance or journey in very rocky terrain the place your pack is prone to rub in opposition to rock partitions rather a lot (ie. New Hampshire or Maine), you’d be higher off getting the harder 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 additional abrasion resistance. HMG’s packs are flat-bottomed and this additional stage of safety helps preserve the bottom from getting worn by by abrasion with the bottom. The packs which are fully or partially (normally simply the bottom) made with 375D Woven Dyneema/Polyester hybrid are by far Hyperlite’s most sturdy backpacks and harder than many of the backpack materials in use at the moment. (The one comparable cloth is one thing new referred to as Extremely 400. It’s similar to 375D Woven Dyneema however made with non-patented UHMWPE fibers as a substitute of Dyneema fibers that are woven collectively and backed with a water-resistant cloth. It’s solely obtainable from customized backpack makers.)

The accent options on HMG’s packs are made with a checkered black Dyneema Hardline, which is nylon bolstered with Dyneema fibers. It’s used because the going through cloth 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/software attachment panels on the Ice Pack. Many different producers use the identical materials and whereas it’s fairly 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 harder stuff, specifically 375D Woven Dyneema/Polyester hybrid, which is the hardest and most sturdy cloth Hyperlite makes use of on their packs.

Q: How does the Dyneema/Polyester Hybrid cloth 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 are 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 referred to as Excessive Tenacity Nylon) utilized by different ultralight backpack producers like Gossamer Gear, Granite Gear, and lots of mainstream backpack producers. They’re much less sturdy, significantly when it comes to abrasion (attributable to rock and sand) than different waterproof laminates like XPac, EcoPak, and Extremely. In case you’re extraordinarily exhausting in your backpack and anticipate it to final by a number of thru-hikes, then it’s best to have 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 ample, they’re waterproof, and all of Hyperlite’s backpacks are seam taped so that they don’t leak by the stitching needle holes. When you can put on a gap in a Hyperlite Backpack, you actually should work at it because the backside cloth is normally a better denier and bolstered.

Hyperlight Mountain Gear Backpacks

Easy methods to 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 greatest for summit pushes when you’ll want to carry just a little gear however wish to go away your massive pack behind.
  • The Stuff Pack 30 is a frameless roll-top pack with no 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 could serve double obligation as a pack liner in order for you a multi-use merchandise.
  • The Elevate 22 is a straightforward frameless roll-top pack supposed for day hikes. With an additional lengthy roll high, two aspect pockets, a middle stretch mesh pocket, two daisy chains, and an ice software loop, it’s a mini model of Hyperlite’s increased 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 high opening which is best for frequent use. Roll-tops are simply terrible if it’s a must to open and shut them on a regular basis to hold a laptop computer or different private gadgets. You’ll be able to nonetheless use the Daylight 17 for day mountain climbing after all. (it may well maintain as much as 23L together with its open pockets).
It’s really nice to have a VERY water-resistant backpack if you spend a lot of time in the water.
It’s very nice to have a VERY water resistant backpack if you happen to spend lots of time within the water. Pack: HMG NorthRim.

HMG’s 35L and 40L packs are a great dimension for thru-hikes with frequent resupplies or backpacking journeys as much as about 4 days in size (these are approximate pointers primarily based on a 10-15 lb gear load.)  Right here’s an inventory of the materials they’re obtainable in:

  • Waypoint 35L
  • 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 may fill them up with 7 days value of meals or extra-warm gear for winter journeys. In case you can solely afford one pack, the 55L is an effective selection since you may “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 a substitute 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 simply solely want if you happen to’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 (so that they stick out behind you extra.) With a max (comfy) load of about 55-60 kilos, they’re greatest 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 totally different Polyester hybrid denier weights. The 70L and 85L packs can be found in white or black, though we’d suggest 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.

Easy methods to Select the Proper Sport-Particular Backpack

HMG tailors every of its backpack fashions in a number of sports-specific types, that are enhanced by including pockets or exterior attachment factors so you may 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 that may catch on issues or get torn off making it a great 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 must 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 totally different missions.


The Southwest is right for off-trail backpacking and bushwhacking whenever you need aspect water bottle pockets and a giant rear pocket for carrying moist, smoky, smelly, or steadily used gadgets that you simply 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 use the Southwest for winter sports activities, lashing snowshoes to the again of the pack will cowl up the again exterior pocket and make it exhausting to entry.


The Windrider is nice for mountain climbing, 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 had 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 japanese United States the place it’s good to have the ability to dry gear within the mesh pocket whilst you hike, however the place overgrown vegetation alongside the perimeters of a path would possibly catch and rip a aspect pocket. Having a mesh pocket additionally makes it simple to examine whether or not you may have all of your gear packed correctly at a look, like a moist water filter or footprint, so that you don’t should unpack stuff to examine.


The Unbound is a completely new pack design within the Hyperlite household and incorporates most of the options obtainable in different widespread thru-hiking backpacks, primarily from smaller aggressive producers. These embrace 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 may stuff used wrappers, detachable aspect compression straps, outsized aspect bottle pockets, and daisy chains. Likelihood is lots of these new options will work themselves into their different backpack fashions over time. It’s best to get the Unbound if you happen to’re primarily concerned about 3-season use, exterior accessibility (suppose higher pockets) is a precedence, and also you wish to strip a number of the detachable options to avoid wasting weight or have a less complicated backpack.

The North Rim

The North Rim is a harder and extra sturdy model of the Southwest backpack, supposed for tough and abrasive situations 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 “means” extra sturdy than the Dyneema/Nylon Grid that Hyperlite makes use of on their different packs. If 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 helpful, significantly if you happen to 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 may dangle 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 “means” extra sturdy than the Dyneema/Polyester hybrid that Hyperlite makes use of on their different packs.

Ice Pack

The Ice Pack is nice for mountain climbing, ski mountaineering, and winter mountain climbing/backpacking. It has a puncture-proof crampon/twin ice ax holder on the again of the pack so you may preserve the sharp or moist factors away from the fragile gear inside. In case you use crampons or axes rather a lot, it is a very fascinating characteristic on a winter backpack. The ice pack additionally has twin daisy chains and aspect compression straps, providing you with lots of extra exterior attachment factors to hold much more gear. There are additionally gear loops on the hip belt as a substitute 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 lots of exterior straps but in addition has a detachable floating lid pocket with an inner pocket and a drawstring closure as a substitute of a rolltop. It’s additionally made with extra sturdy supplies, just like the NorthRim, with a DCH150 Foremost Physique & Woven Dyneema backside + exterior pockets. That additional sturdiness is warranted whenever you’re stumbling round on a glacier with very sharp crampons. The floating high lid and pocket are a necessity for critical winter situations: the very last thing you wish to do is to maintain opening a rolltop to drag put dry gloves or meals. That stated, the Halka is the heaviest of Hyperlite’s backpacks at 50.3 ounceswithin the 70L dimension (a 55L model can also be obtainable) in order that added storage means extra pack weight.

Prism Pack

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

Torso Lengths and Sizes

It may be tough to seek out any documentation of the torso lengths that correspond to Hyperlite’s backpack sizes on their web site. Right here’s what you’ll want to know.

  • Additional Small: Lower than 15″
  • Measurement Small: 15″-17″
  • Measurement Medium: 17″-19″
  • Measurement Massive: 19″-21″
  • Measurement Tall: 21″+

What occurs in case your torso size is on the boundary of two totally 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 gained’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 up to now.

Final up to date: 4-17-24

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