Hyperlite Mountain Gear Unbound 40 Backpack Evaluation

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Unbound 40 Backpack Review

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Unbound 40 Backpack is an ultralight backpack weighing 30.1 oz (853g) made with Dyneema DCF. Design-wise, it’s a fairly radical departure from Hyperlite’s previous backpacks with giant facet pockets, a redesigned and replaceable hip belt, the usage of a single body keep and never two, again padding, daisy chains alongside the edges, a roll prime stiffener, a stretch mesh entrance pocket, and one on the underside. Internet, web, these new options present a rare leap ahead within the utility of Hyperlite’s backpacks, they make them rather more versatile to make use of, and appropriate for year-round climbing and backpacking. We did expertise one situation with the brand new body/hipbelt mixture which we notice under. It’s additionally value noting that Hyperlite has began utilizing liters to indicate backpack capability with the Unbound 40, fairly than cubic inches, a welcome change that makes them simpler to match with backpacks from different firms.

Specs at a look

  • Colour: White or Black
  • Weight: (White: 30.1 oz /853 g ) (Black: 32.2 oz / 914 g )
  • Precise Weight Examined: 30.6 oz in a Massive torso/Massive hipbelt
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Quantity: 40L inside storage, 9L exterior storage
  • Sizing: A number of torso and hipbelt lengths
  • Body: Contoured aluminum keep, foam again panel
  • Pockets: 6 (2 facet, 1 entrance, 1 backside, 2 hip belt)
  • Hydration Appropriate: No
  • Materials: Dyneema DCF and Dyneema Hardline (Nylon) (Black is extra sturdy)
  • Seam-taped: Sure
  • Bear Canister Compatibility: BV500 and BV475 Vertical Solely; BV450 and BV425 Horizontal or Vertical.
  • Execs: Successfully waterproof, good pockets, a number of torso lengths, wonderful attachment factors
  • Cons:  Dear.  Hipbelt slippage. The entrance stretch pocket might be bigger.
  • Go to Hyperlite Mountain Gear for full specs. 

Testing Course of

I’ve been testing the Unbound 40 in New Hampshire’s White Mountain Nationwide Forest, “the place backpacks go to die,” since November 2022, by way of late autumn, winter, and into this spring. I’ve hiked roughly 150 miles with it together with a 1-night in a single day. I’ve been utilizing backpacks from Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG) since 2013 and the HMG Southwest 2400 and HMG Southwest 3400 are two of my favorites having seen intensive use all through the Whites, on the Appalachian Path, and in Scotland. For an in depth breakdown of HMG’s packs (that makes their considerably complicated product line comprehensible), see Hyperlite Mountain Gear Backpacks: The best way to Select.

Backpack Pockets and Storage

The rolltop can be buckled together on top or along the sides with provided accessory straps.
The rolltop could be buckled collectively on prime or alongside the edges with offered accent straps.

The Unbound 40 is a rolltop backpack that may be buckled collectively on prime or alongside the edges of the pack utilizing offered accent cords that connect to daisy chains on the pack sides. These cords are straightforward to lose although (I misplaced one when it fell off), however it’s nonetheless a pleasant possibility because it provides you the power to use significantly better compression to the highest of the pack, along with the included Y-strap.

Not like HMG’s different backpacks, there isn’t a velcro strip on the highest of the rolltop, which is an effective factor as a result of it is among the first factors on HMG packs to interrupt down and unravel with use. It’s been changed with a stiffener.

The side pockets can hold multiple bottles.
The facet pockets can maintain a number of bottles.

The Unbound comes with big facet pockets which might be nice for storing a number of bottles and make a handy place to carry the underside of a snowshoe in case you hike in winter – this has all the time been a little bit of a problem with HMG’s different backpacks. The highest of the facet pockets has an elastic cinch twine for securing the contents. The Unbound doesn’t have an inside hydration pocket or hydration ports, so that you’ll want to hold water in these pockets or in accent sleeves hooked up to the shoulder straps.

The side pockets are large enough to hold the bottom of snowshoes.
The facet pockets are giant sufficient to carry the underside of snowshoes.

The hipbelt pockets are equally giant and may simply match a Smartphone and snack bars or gloves. HMG expanded their hipbelt pocket measurement a number of years in the past, so this isn’t a web new change.

The hipbelt pockets are quite large.
The hipbelt pockets are fairly giant.

The pack additionally comes with two open stretch mesh pockets, one on the entrance and one on the underside of the pack, which is a function that’s turn out to be widespread with thru-hikers. The entrance mesh pocket is fairly distinctive in that it has prime opening and a decrease one close to the underside. Nevertheless, it turns into more and more troublesome to make use of, as in tight, when the inside of the pack is stuffed full with gear,

You can access the contents of the front stretch pocket from the top or the bottom (red jacket).
You’ll be able to entry the contents of the entrance stretch pocket from the highest or the underside (crimson jacket).

I don’t suppose it’s a tremendously purposeful enhancement, however it provides you a approach to entry gadgets on the base of the entrance pocket with out unloading every little thing within the pocket. For instance, I preserve my tent stakes on the base of the entrance stretch pocket and this lets me entry them simply.

There is a stretch pocket on the bottom of the pack but it’s really best used in dry climates.
There’s a stretch pocket on the underside of the pack however it’s actually greatest utilized in dry climates.

The Unbound additionally has a stretch mesh pocket on the underside of the pack that may be a handy to put to retailer snacks, hats, and gloves so long as you don’t thoughts crushing the contents or getting them moist whenever you take the pack off and put it on moist floor or within the mud. It has two openings, one on the appropriate when going through ahead and a small gap on the left, referred to as a trash port so you may stuff used wrappers into it. It may be arduous to entry the openings nevertheless when you have bottles within the facet pocket pockets, which cling down and stop entry except they’re pushed up and out of the best way.

Backpack Body and Suspension

The Unbound40 has a single contoured aluminum body keep augmented with foam padding behind the shoulder straps for elevated consolation, one thing that HMG consists of on their increased quantity fashions right now. That body keep terminates within the pack bag however is just not linked to the hipbelt in any manner, which is just a little little bit of a head-scratcher, to be trustworthy.

The Unbound has a single aluminum stay cushioned by foam padding.
The Unbound has a single aluminum keep cushioned by foam padding.

The hipbelt, in flip, is not sewn to the pack bag as in HMG’s different backpack fashions however is detachable and hooked up to the pack with velcro, which I feel it’s a web loss when it comes to load switch to the body. In testing, I additionally skilled repeated hipbelt slippage down my hips utilizing the Unbound40 hipbelt, one thing I’ve by no means ever skilled with HMG’s different backpacks. Your mileage might differ since your hip form could also be completely different from mine, however this hipbelt slippage raised a crimson flag for me.

The hipbelt is replaceable and not sewn to the pack body like HMG’s other packs.
The hipbelt is replaceable and never sewn to the pack physique like HMG’s different packs.

The hipbelt webbing doesn’t slip, so I’ve eradicated that as a risk and the hipbelt padding on the UnBound appears similar to what’s used on the HMG’s older backpack fashions. I believe that the bottom of the pack collapses when carried, exacerbated by the actual fact the pack bag and the hipbelt at the moment are decoupled, creating further slack within the hipbelt enabling the slippage to happen. I repeatedly discovered myself carrying the pack weight on my shoulders alone, which is most disagreeable and tiring.

The hipbelt tightens with push forward straps, which is new to HMG Packs.
The hipbelt tightens with push ahead straps, which is new to HMG Packs.

One other notable distinction within the UnBound hipbelt in comparison with HMG’s different fashions is that it’s tensioned by pushing the straps ahead, utilizing what’s referred to as a Scherer cinch, which was first launched by Kelty some 20 years in the past and is in use on most Osprey and Gregory backpacks. The middle buckle measurement has additionally been decreased, however it doesn’t clog with snow, which is an issue with many packs with smaller buckle {hardware}. Whereas there are two tiers of straps on the hipbelt that you simply’d hope would conform higher to completely different hip shapes, I didn’t expertise a lot worth of their use.

The front of the shoulder straps are covered with daisy chains making it easy to add accessory pockets.
The entrance of the shoulder straps are coated with daisy chains making it straightforward so as to add accent pockets.

The shoulder straps on the Unbound, like HMG’s different packs, are J-shaped, that are much less comfy for men and women with well-developed chests as a result of they don’t conform to curves very properly. They’re coated in entrance with daisy chains no less than, so you may simply connect accent best-of-breed pockets, just like the HMG shoulder strap pocket proven right here, bottle sleeves, or electronics to your shoulder straps.

Exterior Attachment Factors and Compression

The Unbound has twin daisy chains sewn alongside the facet seams of the primary compartment which can be utilized so as to add cords or webbing so you may maintain or safe cumbersome gear, like a foam pad, Tenkara fishing rod, or snowshoes, that received’t match contained in the backpack. Doing that is rather more difficult on HMG’s different backpacks so these daisy chains are an enormous improve in ease of use.

There are dual daisy chains along the sides of the pack.
There are twin daisy chains alongside the edges of the pack that can be utilized to create compression straps or safe gear with cords (equipped).

The facet daisy chains are coloured orange however solely run to the highest of the entrance stretch pocket: nonetheless that’s the candy spot when it comes to worth. Elastic cords are equipped with the pack to assist safe gadgets with the daisy chains, however you’re free to rig up your individual as properly. There are additionally quick daisy chain segments on the base of the entrance mesh pocket and on the back and front sides of the hip belt pockets.

Comparable Ultralight Backpacks w/Frames

The Hyperlite Unbound 40 and the brand new bigger Unbound 55 are properly matched versus these backpacks, that are additionally accessible in a number of volumes, along with these listed. Of those, I’d pay specific consideration to the Waymark Gear Lite 50, the Atom Packs Mo EP50, and the HMG Southwest 2400/3400 that are the closest when it comes to options and body/suspension.


The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Unbound 40 is a wonderful ultralight backpack for multi-day backpacking journeys with light-weight hundreds and excels throughout a variety of path circumstances and equipment necessities. It’s additionally considerably completely different from the opposite climbing and backpacking packs that Hyperlite makes and hopefully the beginning of extra upgrades throughout the pre-existing product line. The most important good thing about utilizing the Unbound vs Hyperlite’s different backpacking backpacks is an elevated emphasis on exterior storage with bigger pockets and exterior attachment factors. Specifically, the daisy chains sewn to the facet of the backpack make it a lot simpler to connect cumbersome gear whereas the entrance and backside stretch mesh pockets present safer and accessible storage. The one problematic aspect of this pack is that the hipbelt is decoupled from the body keep leading to lack of load switch and potential hipbelt slippage. I’d be curious to listen to if others have skilled that situation apart from myself.

Disclosure: HMG donated a backpack for assessment.

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