Hyperlight Mountain Gear Pod Review

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Hyperlight Mountain Gear Pod Review

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    Andrew Marshall
    BPL Member


    Locale: Tahoe basin by way of the southern Appalachians

    Companion forum thread to: Hyperlight Mountain Gear Pod Review

    Hyperlight Mountain Gear Pods are clamshell design, waterproof stuff sacks designed to fit perfectly inside backpacks.

    Chris R
    BPL Member



    Logan K
    BPL Member


    Locale: Florida

    So what are folks using to compress quilts and bags then? I use pods as well, and have thus far stuffed my quilts into the large size with no issue, but I was also blissfully unaware that HMG doesn’t recommend that. I just got one of the zpacks cubes (with the compression strap) to see if this will work, but I’d love to know what folks are using for sleeping gear.


    Link .
    BPL Member


    I have never used one but in a recent article by Ryan Jordan he says he uses this

    Osprey Straightjacket Compression Sack
    I’ve had a 20-liter Osprey Straightjacket Compression Sack  in my kit for more than five years, and it goes with me on almost every backcountry trip. Unlike a traditional compression sack, which compresses gear from the ends of the sack, creating a short cylinder, the Straightjacket compresses the sack in the transverse direction, which makes it thinner without affecting its length. That way it fills out the bottom of my pack nicely without having to pack gear around the ends of it. In my typically 3-season kit, the Straightjacket houses a 20-degree down sleeping bag, an inflatable insulated sleeping pad, pillow, down jacket, extra socks, and long underwear – my entire camp bedroom in one spot.

    BPL Member


    You dont really need straps to compress a down bag/quilt.  I use a schnozzel as a pack liner (and pad inflator) and put my down gear in it.  Just fold over the top, press down to compress then load the rest of your gear on top.

    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member


    Like Andrew, I’ve used and loved HMG Pods for a few years. Other features I really like:

    – Large flap opening. I can put a pod down, open the top, and most items are easy to see, remove, and replace. Big improvement over traditional tubular stuff sacks.

    – Space for labeling. Since these pods are a uniform gray, I can forget what’s in which. A marker plus tape (sometimes I change my mind) works well, or even a Brother labeler. Much better than recalling while hungry, cold, and tired, that food is in red, and clothes in blue. Or was that last trip?

    – Water-resistant zippers. Truly waterproof zippers are pretty stiff, and don’t stay waterproof that long around sand and grit.

    Also like Andrew, reluctant to push the zippers with expandable contents like sleeping bags and puffies. Two solutions I’ve used:

    – Get a bigger pod. If a puffy pushes some, I don’t worry, other gear squishes it down.

    – Use turkey roasting bags. One nylofume-like bag holds my sleeping bag, camp socks, and deflated pillow, safe enough from moisture, and fills the bottom of the pack. Sleeping gear is first-in, last-out for my packing system, so stuff on top compresses good enough.

    The SMD Packing Pods might be a good choice if you use a pack liner. Much cheaper, multiple colors, almost pack-shaped. I use them for fair weather day hikes.

    I have a couple of Mountain Laurel Designs packing cubes, but they don’t open like a flap and aren’t pack shaped.

    — Rex


    Black Magic
    BPL Member


    To address your dust concern: I used two large pods through the desert on the PCT for food storage (one nested in the other for short resupply stretches). They came through unscathed, and I continued to use them for the rest of the trail.

    I also used a small pod as my ditty bag, for which I think it is phenomenally well-suited: much easier to dig around for chapstick in a clamshell pod than a tube-shaped stuff sack.

    Shannon M
    BPL Member


    I too have been using the Pod system for several years and I do use the large one for my insulating gear. I have several different seasonal sleeping systems and have had no difficulty tucking, squeezing or stuffing my compressables into the pod. My gear gets pretty rugged use in backcountry Search and Rescue. The pods have brought all of the previously mentioned benefits of organization and moisture resistance as well as making rapid packing and unpacking of gear much easier and less likely to result in something getting lost in the shuffle. I’ve never had a pod failure or mishap.

    BPL Member


    Anybody using these in a MLD Burn? What size fits best, and how well do they fit?

    BPL Member


    Locale: Puget Sound

    Yup, been using the Large pod for my down sleeping bag since around 2018. I’ve noticed over time some vertical expansion caused on the zipper when packed. More teeth showing, not by much. Figured it was a general wear and tear issue on the water resistant zipper liner. Was never aware that HMG doesn’t recommend. The only downfall I’ve found is that the zipper will occasionally want to snag into the bag material. Have to carefully slide open with finger guiding behind the pulley. Will still use it for my down gear and other items though, they’re just that handy

    Josh Kuntz
    BPL Member


    Locale: Idaho & Montana

    I’ve been using an HMG pod for about 2 years now and have been impressed by the durability and design, with one small but annoying frustration.  I feel like the pod zipper is oriented in the reverse direction of what makes sense for those of use with backpacks that have a vertical zipper access to the main compartment.  When the HMG pod is zipped closed, the zipper is on the right side and it seems like the overwhelming majority of vertical backpack zippers are on the left side of the backpack.  So, when you reach into the backpack you cannot unzip the HMG pod to retrieve an item without fully removing the pod from pack.  This isn’t a huge deal but it seems like a missed opportunity to make this product more user-friendly in the field.

    Perhaps there is a good reason they chose to have the zipper close on the right side.  If any of you know or can think of one, please share.

    I also have several of the SMD pods and I generally prefer them.  They have a double zipper so you can leave the zipper at any spot you want and I love the bright colors.  That said, the HMG pod seems like it will keep water out much better in truly wet conditions.  But for 98% of my days, the SMD pods are plenty sufficient at a much lower cost and better usability.

    W I S N E R !


    Can’t read the review but timely discussion as I’m looking at purchasing some pods and switching my organization system around. The HMG pods are quite pretty.

    …but what gives with a single $60 pod? Bloody heck, tax and shipping would put them at nearly $70 each! It strikes me as more than a tad outrageous for a stuffsack with a zipper. Beyond the cost, however, I’m just not sure the logic fits my system. I primarily use a Southwest 3400 with a trash compactor bag as a liner. It’s never failed me in heavy rain. I don’t trust a backpack alone for waterproofing and I don’t think I would trust a pod, even in DCF with waterproof zipper. So my pods are still going into a liner…which makes a single $60 DCF pod look awfully redundant and expensive. Tell me what I’m missing here, as I’d like to purchase some pods…but leaning hard towards SMD right now.

    Can I trust that down goods will stay dry in a downpour if packed in a Southwest 3400 with an HMG pod alone?

    Or is owning a set equivalent to being a man that appreciates the finer things, HMG stuffsacks spread all over camp as I drink single malt from my $150 Snowpeak Ti flask and reassure myself I have done very well in life? I suppose there is a place for this too ; )



    Locale: Swiss Alps

    Sure they are expensive, but as is all HMG gear?  Quality, durability, DCF!

    I often use 5 pods to layer my gear easily (quilt, spare clothes,  food/cook kit, tent/tarp, insulated clothes) in my NorthRim3400 pack.  Been using them for a while and they have held up really well.  Even with my quilt and puffy gear, I have had no issues with seams or zips – however I am generally quite careful with my gear.

    As I generally use a 1p tent (aeon) or a sq tarp, they just help me stay organized/gear protected in a small space: knowing exactly where each piece of gear is, without having to think.  And at the end of a long day hiking, the clamshell zip makes seeing what (dehydrated) food i am carrying so much easier and quicker to access.

    I spent some time hiking the CWT in Scotland this September and there was a lot of rain! Even then, my pack never wet-out and the pods were a second level of protection.

    Iago Vazquez
    BPL Member


    Locale: Boston & Galicia, Spain

    While perhaps not as good of a fit as HMG pods, a less expensive option to consider would be the Ikea Rensare line for $5 for 3 pods. I have used them a bit and I am happy with them.

    W I S N E R !


    ^^^Thank you for this Iago. You just saved me a good deal of money for a product that will do just as well for my intended purposes.

    Iago Vazquez
    BPL Member


    Locale: Boston & Galicia, Spain

    Hopefully you won’t be disappointed. I don’t have much use on it yet, but it seems built well enough and works well enough in my opinion. Let us know if you opinion differs :)

    Erik H
    BPL Member


    Locale: pacific northwest for the low cost pods alternative! Looks like you can also buy the bigger one separately. Do you know the weight on those?


    Iago Vazquez
    BPL Member


    Locale: Boston & Galicia, Spain

    I have the three bag kit. The larger bag is 1.28 oz (36 g), the white and small is 0.83 oz (24 g), and the grey and small is 0.79 oz (22 g). Not sure how accurate my scale is, but most products seem to match or be close enough to manufacturer’s specs.

    I saw the separate one, but for the price difference I have found plenty of use also out of the small ones… Of course, if you know that smaller size won’t work for you, then no point in getting the three pack…

    W I S N E R !


    Mini review/pics of the IKEA pods here.


    Luke N
    BPL Member


    UltraLiteSacks has a DCF compression bag that works great for compressing a sleeping bag and/or clothing.

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