Hyperlite Mountain Gear Backpacks: Tips on how to Select

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 fashionable 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 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 which might be tailor-made to their wants. It is smart, 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 stability between light-weight and sturdiness. I’ve owned many ultralight backpacks and most of them have by no means lasted way more than a yr 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 type 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 enthusiastic about shopping for a Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpack, it may be somewhat complicated to grasp how the packs they promote differ from each other and which one you need to get, particularly for those who can solely afford one backpack for a number of sports activities. Whereas the Hyperlite web site makes it appear like the corporate sells a whole lot of totally different backpacks, they solely make just a few fundamental fashions which differ by way of quantity, sports-specific kinds, and the supplies used. Not all packs can be found in all supplies, which will 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

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 Kinds

  • Porter
  • Southwest
  • Windrider
  • Junction
  • Unbound
  • North Rim
  • 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

Tips on how to Select the Proper Pack Materials

HMG makes the higher “physique” portion of their packs with three totally 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 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 more likely to rub in opposition to rock partitions so much (ie. New Hamshire 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 except 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 via 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 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 material. It’s actually 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 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/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 more durable stuff, particularly 375D Woven Dyneema/Polyester hybrid, which is 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 by way of sturdiness in comparison with various materials resembling 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 referred to as Excessive Tenacity Nylon) utilized by different ultralight backpack producers like Gossamer Gear, Zpacks, Granite Gear, and lots of mainstream backpack producers. They’re much less sturdy, significantly by way of abrasion (brought on by 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 via 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 so that they don’t leak via the stitching needle holes. Whilst you can put on a gap in a Hyperlite Backpack, you actually should work at it for the reason that backside material is often a better denier and bolstered.

Hyperlight Mountain Gear Backpacks

Tips on how to Select the Proper Quantity Pack

HMG classifies their 30L packs as city or day packs, however they’re massive sufficient for use as minimalist ultralight backpacks for those who actually need to push the envelope. HMG solely presents two backpacks on this dimension, the Summit Pack and the Stuff Pack. Each are frameless. Whereas the  Summit Pack can carry as much as 20-pounds, the Stuff Pack maxes out at 10 kilos as a result of it’s made with a a lot lighter weight material that’s usually used for stuff sacks.  The Summit Pack has a hip belt and daisy chains, which make it potential so as to add a rear mesh accent pocket. The Stuff Pack is a minimalist roll-top pack with out a hip belt or any daisy chains. HMG additionally sells two daypacks, the Daylight 17L inside (23L whole) and the Elevate 22 (L) that are well-sized for that function, however are too small for in a single day use. Of these two, the Daylight is a lot better for on a regular basis use or journey as a result of it has higher pockets.

Right here’s an inventory of the physique materials they’re obtainable in:

  • Summit Backpack (30L)
  • Stuff Pack (30L)

HMG’s 40L packs are dimension for thru-hikes with frequent resupplies or backpacking journeys as much as about 4 days in size (these are approximate pointers based mostly on a 10-15 lb gear load.)  The 55L packs are dimensioned identically to the 40L ones however have a taller pack bag so you possibly can 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 efficient selection since you possibly can “flip it into” a 40L by rolling down the highest to shrink the pack’s peak 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. Right here’s an inventory of the materials they’re obtainable in:

  • 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
  • Unbound 55L  + 9L  of  exterior storage
  • Ice Pack 40L
  • Prism Pack 40L
  • 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
  • North Rim Pack 55L + 9.8L of exterior storage
  • Headwall Pack 55L + 7.1L of exterior storage
  • Ice Pack 55L

HMG’s 70L and 85L packs are massive, expedition-class monsters that you just solely want for those who’re taking very lengthy journeys off the grid that requires carrying a whole lot 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 finest used for gear-intensive multi-sport journeys.

The 70L and 85L packs have a body consisting of an inside 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
  • 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.

Tips on how to Select the Proper Sport-Particular Backpack

HMG tailors every of its backpack fashions in a variety of sports-specific kinds, that are enhanced by including pockets or exterior attachment factors so you possibly can 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 pack for winter sports activities, climbing, packrafting, bikepacking, and air journey. It has two daisy chains which make it equally straightforward to lash the pack to packrafts or bikes, or safe gear to the skin, like snowshoes, skis/snowboard, or ice axes. You simply should be somewhat inventive in the way you lash stuff on, however the Porter is type of a clean slate, so it may be arrange in some ways and for a lot of totally different missions.


The Southwest is good for off-trail backpacking and bushwhacking whenever you need aspect water bottle pockets and an enormous rear pocket for carrying moist, smoky, smelly, or incessantly used gadgets that you just don’t need 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 sweet for mountain climbing, backpacking, and thru-hiking in very moist climates or very dry ones the place you’re going to need 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 whilst you hike, however the place overgrown vegetation alongside the edges of a path may catch and rip a aspect pocket. Having a mesh pocket additionally makes it straightforward to test whether or not you might 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 test.


The Unbound is a wholly new pack design (as of 2023) within the Hyperlite household and incorporates lots of the options obtainable in different fashionable 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 possibly can stuff used wrappers, detachable aspect compression straps, outsized aspect bottle pockets, and daisy chains. Chances are high a whole lot of these new options will work themselves into their different backpack fashions over time. It’s best to get the Unbound for those who’re primarily enthusiastic about 3-season use, exterior accessibility (assume higher pockets) is a precedence, and also you need to strip among the detachable options to avoid wasting weight or have a less complicated backpack.

The North Rim

The North Rim is a more durable and extra sturdy model of the Southwest backpack, meant for tough and abrasive circumstances resembling 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 edges 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. When you’ve got 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 break up board in A-Body carry, and a entrance avalanche/probe pocket. It has a detachable hipbelt which is beneficial, significantly for those who put on a climbing harness and a padded again panel to insulate your again from scorching water bottles saved inside. The headwall has two ice axe loops and daisy chains on the shoulder straps the place you possibly can 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 “approach” extra sturdy than the Dyneema/Polyester hybrid that Hyperlite makes use of on their different packs.

Ice Pack

The Ice Pack is sweet 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 possibly can preserve the sharp or moist factors away from the fragile gear inside. In case you use crampons or axes so much, this can be a very fascinating characteristic on a winter backpack. The ice pack additionally has twin daisy chains and aspect compression straps, supplying you with a whole lot of further exterior attachment factors to hold much more gear. There are additionally gear loops on the hip belt as a substitute of pockets.

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 possibly can put on it with a climbing harness.

Summit Pack

The Summit Pack is a low-volume (30L) pack good for day mountain climbing and peak bagging whenever you don’t want to hold an in a single day load, though it’s technically massive sufficient that it will also be used for minimalist backpacking and thru-hiking. It comes with daisy chains, elastic twine, and twin ice ax loops so you possibly can lash clothes or gear to its exterior. It’s frameless although, with a minimal hip belt, so restricted to about 20-pound masses.

Stuff Pack

The Stuff Pack is extra of an city or journey daypack (30), very like the Summit, however with none exterior attachment factors. At 30L, it’s technically massive sufficient for minimalist backpacking and thru-hiking however has no body or hipbelt. It’s made with the identical material as Hyperlite’s stuff sacks so it’s restricted to about 10-pound masses. It will also be used as a pack liner/city laundry bag on resupply days.

Torso Lengths and Sizes

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

  • 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 received’t occur if the pack is simply too small for you.

See Additionally:

Disclosure: Hyperlite Mountain Gear has offered the creator with pattern merchandise for overview previously.

Final up to date: 8-21-23

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