- Sep 22, 2017 at 10:01 pm #3492680
I know this has been discussed before, but I wanted feedback on the HMG Windrider 4400. I currently have a ULA Catalyst. It’s a nice pack, but it’s probably too big for what I do. I like that the Windrider is lighter and is waterproofish.
I’m looking for an all-around pack for longer and snow trips. I realize there’s no one-size fits all pack, but I need one pack to do most things due to a variety of reasons. I used to have an Osprey Aether 70. It’s a great pack, but it was heavy with too many bells and whistles.
I have a few concerns:
- Load carrying – I can carry up to 40 lbs (including the pack) depending on the length of the trip. I’ve never carried more than that. I am somewhat ashamed of this. I feel like no one on BPL would ever carry such a load, but I do sometimes. See below for details. Both the Catalyst and the HMG say they can handle those loads. The Catalyst can carry it somewhat comfortably if I pack it super carefully. This can be tricky.
- Lack of load lifters – I’ve found that load lifters can be the difference between the Catalyst carrying well and being really uncomfortable.
- Durability – I hear rave things. Still, Cuben makes me worried. I’ve had some issues with Cuben. My Zpacks bear bag developed some nice tears with minimal use. I’m not exactly super kind to my gear. I probably abuse it too much. Of course, I’ve gotten tears in the side pockets of the Catalyst, although I’m not sure exactly what happened.
- The pockets – the Catalyst has pockets that you can cinch down. I worry about stuff falling out in the HMG pack, especially if the pack ends up in a sub0optimal gravitational orientation. Last trip, the Catalyst tumbled down a hill after I attempting to get it past a very large downed tree in which crossing with the pack on me was just not possible. If people want to know how that happened, I can expound.
I would also consider the HMG Porter. I mostly like that the pocket you can buy has bungees on it, as they’re quite useful for strapping wet clothes onto. I would probably buy the side pockets from Zimmerbuilt. In my head, I would change it up and customize it depending on my trip, but I probably won’t.
*Justifying 40 lbs
I go on long trips. For 10 days, I carry a lot of food. Unless I eat a lot of calories, I feel like complete garbage. I bonk hard. I can’t think straight. I make bad decisions. I get angry. I getting nauseous. I need at least 3 snacks a day in addition to solid 3 meals. I like tasty meals. I tried doing the eating high calorie nut thing, and it totally didn’t work. Sometimes, there’s a bear canister as well.
I would also like to use the pack for snow camping, and gear and food adds up a lot.
I am a thirsty man, and for desert hiking, I like carrying a lot of water. I’ve run out of water, gotten heat stroke, etc, and probably nearly died. I learned my lesson, so I carry lots of water.
Finally, I sometimes carry other people’s stuff.Sep 24, 2017 at 12:08 pm #3492949
Steve KBPL Member
@skomaeLocale: northeastern US
I have an HMG Porter 4400. I used to use it exclusively for my winter trips but at some point I made the switch to use it as my full-time pack and I am very happy. The one thing that is not great is it is very short and squat when it is not very full, or if the straps are pulled in the fabric is wrinkly. That’s one reason I would consider also maintaining a stable of two packs with a 3400 or 2400 (which are reportedly, the same pack plus or minus some collar length). I have owned this pack for 3.5 years now.
- I have carried this pack with up to 55 lbs when carrying multiple days of food and water and extra gear to take the load off of others. It performs fine, although for bodily comfort I’d say 40 lbs is a more reasonable weight.
- I don’t miss the load lifters in the slightest. The pack carries well without, although I’m certain it could have made good use of them if they were there.
- Durability is actually great, and I’ve had better luck with this pack than with Ospreys of all weights and sizes. On the model I have they mate 150D polyester to the cuben on the entire pack and I have yet to have a single hole in the material, but it has received plenty of dirt kisses and has a handful of small scuff marks. I am not a gentle user and I wish the pack would quit so I could order a customized version.
- I am very happy with the Porter’s optional pouch pocket. I put one Zpacks multi-pack on the side to use for short excursions and to keep my camera and filter bottle safe.
I recently saw a blog post from Max Neale (of Outdoor Gear Lab) about his experiences with HMG; I feel like he portrays them accurately to my own experience. http://maxneale.blogspot.ca/2017/09/Hyperlite-Mountain-Gear-Ultralight-Backpack-Review-Windrider-Porter-Southwest-Ice-Pack.htmlSep 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm #3492966
Anyone have experience with 50D on the pack except for 150D on the bottom?Sep 24, 2017 at 7:54 pm #3493009
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
If you haven’t already, I recommend you take a look at the Seek Outside Divide in addition to the HMG Packs.Sep 25, 2017 at 9:06 am #3493070
Doug GBPL Member
I second the Seek Outside Divide. I regularly carry loads between 40 and 60 lbs. I backpack with little ones and carry a lot more safety and comfort gear. I had the Windrider 4400. For me it did not carry the weight comfortably (even on the 40lb side). I tried the Seek Outside Divide and after a few trips sold the HMG 4400. The Divide is a load carrying beast. I can’t say enough how much I like this pack. Yes – it is nearly a pound more than the HMG – but if you are in the 40 + lb range there is no comparison. I love the HMG packs – but the Divide is by far my favorite load carrying pack ever. I bought a HMG Southwest 3,400 for when I am by myself and going lighter. I still typically carry an Alpacka for fishing – so still need some capacity and am nowhere near the ultralight loads posted here. I do get between 25 and 30 lbs when by myself with comfort items and fishing gear and the HMG is fine with that. I still often take the Divide with lighter loads though.Sep 25, 2017 at 9:19 am #3493072
Doug GBPL Member
I should add that the durability on both packs is above par. They are both built extremely well. I would not make a decision based on durability when comparing these 2 packs. Also (and it sounds like you are similar) I am not a true ultralight hiker. The trade off on pack weight is well worth it to me. I would rather have the extra 14 ounces and feel good.Sep 25, 2017 at 5:51 pm #3493167
Nick DBPL Member
@stumpjumperLocale: Santa Barbara, CA
Adam – If it helps, I’ve done video reviews on both the HMG Southwest (solid pocket version of the Windrider) and the SO Divide 4500.
I’ve owned the Catalyst and it’ll carry a heavier load MUCH better than the HMG Windrider IMO. Load lifters aren’t a deal breaker and all aforementioned packs are plenty durable. For the record, I absolutely hate the HMG pockets though.
If carrying >25lbs, or for what you describe above, I’d absolutely recommend the SO Divide 4500 in a heartbeat over the HMG.Sep 25, 2017 at 8:20 pm #3493196
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I will second the poorly designed hipbelt pockets on the HMG.Sep 25, 2017 at 9:08 pm #3493206
Rex SandersBPL Member
@rexLocale: Central California CoastSep 26, 2017 at 11:19 am #3493319
If I knew what I know now, I would’ve bought the Seek Outside Divide instead of the Catalyst. It weighs about the same, is waterproof, and has more features. That being said, both are probably too much of a pack for me now.
The heaviest I’ve ever weighed my pack at was 40 lbs, and that is carrying 37 lbs worth of gear / supplies plus the pack. On my last 10 day trek, I carried 33 lbs of stuff plus the pack. It would make sense to downgrade to a lighter packs, but they all have load capacities of 35 lbs. From what I hear, that really means they can only carry 25-30.
I really wish Seek Outside would make a smaller, simpler pack, or Zimmbuilt would improve their suspension to carry slightly heavier loads..Sep 29, 2017 at 9:40 pm #3493991
So, I’ve pretty much ruled out the HMG packs due to varying reports of comfort and durability.
I’m seriously considering the Seek Outside Divide, although it weighs as much as the Catalyst. I’m also seriously considering the Elementary Horizons Aquilo vs Kalais. The big question is: is it worth it (in terms of weight and money) paying for the X-Pac / Dyneema X version?Sep 29, 2017 at 10:19 pm #3493994
Alex HBPL Member
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
I have used a Kalais for several years now and with loads up to 40#, I just tried on the new suspension Kalais which is rated up to 45# and I am sure that it can do that. The Aquilo is the same suspension. My Kalais is 210 dyneema but the new 310/410 ripstop looks very durable. X-Pac would be more about waterproofness.
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