Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Porter Pack – First Look Review


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 1, 2016      
Left, 4400 Porter Pack rolled down

Left, Hyperlite 4400 Porter pack rolled down and compressed with minimal gear inside. Note the “y-strap” function for compression the roll-top. This adjusts for when the pack is fully loaded. Right, when the time comes to load it up, the Porter has a large expansion collar.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs have been coming on strong in the last few years. Mountain Guide and WildSnow guest blogger, Beau Fredlund has had one for 5 years and posted his views here.

I wanted to get a taste of the hype and see how these packs shape up next to other simple one-compartment packs I’ve used for ski touring and mountaineering.

Simplicity. That’s the name of the game here. When you get a 70L pack in the mail, and you pick it up and it feels too light to be true, it’s cause for further investigation.

I have been a fan of simplified rucksack style packs for a while, having used a CiloGear 60L Worksack for almost 6 years. The simple design lends itself to being lightweight, and to options for creativity in terms of user modifications (obviously with the potential risk of compromising waterproofness or strength). The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter Pack is a beautiful rucksack, no doubt about it. At first glance, a number of features stand out, and a few have me curious how it will perform in the mountains.

Left, no frills interior, just one zippered pocket

Left, no frills interior, just one zippered pocket and a lot of space for stuff. Right, simple hook and loop closure on the roll-top.

Side view of 3 compression straps, reinforced side with ski strap modification. You can also see the hip belt modification. These look like they will be good features for both day ski tours and longer expeditions.

Side view of 3 compression straps, reinforced side with ski strap modification. You can also see the hip belt modification. These look like they will be good features for both day ski tours and longer expeditions.

First off, the versatility of the Porter Pack is appealing. On a recent ski mountaineering trip to the Monarch Icefield we opted to do the unassisted option, which led us to carrying in 15 days of food and gear in one load. This necessitated a pack that could expand to fit everything, while also being able to compress down to carry a day trip’s worth of gear from camp. At first look, the HMG 4400 Porter looks to be a good contender for this style of trip. Similarly, a hut trip where you want to make one big hoof into your temporary backcountry home, while also being able to day ski or splitboard with a lightweight kit can be a difficult balance to strike. The single compartment top load style packs are ideal for these situations.

So far the HMG 4400 Porter pack stacks up in the following ways:

Pros:

  • Simple design – helps trim down options to the necessities
  • Lightweight – 70L pack comes in at under 2 ½ pounds empty!
  • Durable and waterproof fabric – 150D Dyneema®/poly hybrid material for the main pack body; woven Dyneema® fabric reinforcement on the sides and bottom for added abrasion resistance
  • Comfortable hip belt and shoulder straps
  • Added modifications of hip belt pockets – big enough for skin track snacks
  • Ski carry modification (even for a splitboard) with reinforced side panels and fixed straps
  • Reinforced bottom panel
  • Roll-top feature for compact use when carrying a smaller load
  • 3 side compression straps when it’s fully loaded
  • Cons:

  • Lack of obvious ice-axe carrying option on the Porter Packs
  • Tall collar without compression straps require careful packing if filling to capacity.
  • The 4400 Porter is the largest capacity rucksack that Hyperlite Mountain Gear makes. They also sell a similar pack called the IcePack 4400, which is more or less the same bag with an added crampon and ice axe carry feature on the front. In my opinion the 4400 Porter should include a simple ice axe carry option but admittedly it’s easy enough to rig something up (like a snowboard carry) on the daisy chain features on the front of the Porter Pack.

    I am looking forward to putting the 4400 Porter Pack to the test throughout this winter and spring.

    Note: The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Porter reviewed above was customized with Hyperlite’s Ski Modification package. The Ski Mod adds the reinforced fully-woven Dyneema® side panels, bottom, and ski holsters. Allow three weeks for delivery and additional charge of $100. Full retail price for the 4400 Porter with Ski Mod is $465.

    Now until January 2017, all packs on HMG’s website are discounted 15%.

    Comments

    5 Responses to “Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Porter Pack – First Look Review”

    1. AJ December 1st, 2016 10:05 am

      It looks like a ski friendly evolution of the Golite Gust with more creature comforts. Every time I pick up my empty Gust it makes me smile. Lack of mass and lots of adventures under the (hip)belt.

    2. Rod Georgiu December 1st, 2016 10:45 am

      Any kind of suspension?

    3. Leroy McGee December 1st, 2016 12:05 pm

      As AJ notes, all of these packs are evolutions of the original GoLite Breeze, which was a design created by Ray Jardine in the late 80s early 90s (Ray Jardine who also designed the Friend cams back in the day). I’ve had an original Breeze for almost 20 years now, and thousands of miles of trail and skintrack, and it’s still my primary pack for 90% of my outdoor pursuits and it has yet to require a single repair job. I imagine these Hyperlite bags hold up just as well or better…can’t wait to try one out.

    4. Eli December 1st, 2016 2:24 pm

      I have a much small BCA pack with hook and loop closure on the rolltop and wouldn’t choose it on another pack. I’m sure it’s lighter than drybag-style with side release buckle closure, but it’s makes hauling stuff out of the bag when wearing a base layer/fleece a real pain. A single hook and loop strap to secure the roll would be light but less likely to destroy one’s expensive merino base layers.

    5. Duncan December 2nd, 2016 12:52 am

      See Aarn Packs for light comfortable and balanced.

    Got something to say? Please do so.





    Anti-Spam Quiz:

    You can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box to left, but you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit.
    If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

    :D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
      
    Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

      Your Comments

    • Lou Dawson 2: Concern is that air convection within the cells will make the jacket work p...
    • Carl: I have found how the boot is buckled has a huge flex impact as well. Boots...
    • Carl: looks like a great thing to have in the pack. Site looks like it works, di...
    • Jack: hmmm. I wonder how hard it would be to instrument the boot liner to measu...
    • Omekim: Ummm.... The machine looks to be at room temperature. They should probably ...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Tom, it would be easy to do something crude using a torque wrench on an art...
    • Lou Dawson 2: From what I know, unlikely all the boot flex ratings in the industry are an...
    • Tom Gos: Lou, I seem to remember that back in the '80s Ski Magazine (the American on...
    • Bill H: Maybe SkiAlper can rent some time on the machine for next year's issue :)...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Greg, I did have a graphic at one time but I don't recall it having reso...
    • Greg: I remember there being an image of the D scale at some point – with resort ...
    • Hans D.: Great advice. I hadn't thought about the "quickstep" notch, but now that y...
    • Dean Gagnon: Hello, Does anyone know where to get spare hinges for the tounge of the ...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Billy Goat, IMHO the Amer (Salomon) binding is not a done deal, it will be ...
    • Rod Georgiu: Good idea...
    • zak: Any idea on if/when Scarpa will update the F1 to include the tech from the ...
    • Lou Dawson 2: I'll say it. Many Dynafit ski models are built to be lightweight and not pa...
    • Tomas: Destruction topsheet - only 2 days during normal telemark skiing. I'm wait...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Glad you liked the photos, was a fun day with you guys. Main thing, just gi...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Agree, someone needs to forget about TUV and all that sort of thing and jus...
    • szaraz levente: I do not need a TUV certificate brake, I only hate the wire wich connect me...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Hans, the best thing to do is put your boot-binding combo on a release test...
    • Hans D.: Regarding touring boots with swappable soles for alpine use: I have Lupo TI...
    • Dave Johnson: My mind is blown at the binding technology going on today. Imagine, in '76 ...
    • Bar Barrique: Jason; If you choose to replace the liners, I would advise speaking to the ...
    • BillyGoat: Convertible alpine bindings will defiantly have a market (aside from the fi...
    • Lou Dawson 2: My bad Dan, trying to be brief, I'm talking about the boot locator things, ...
    • Dan: I'm reading wildsnow religiously but I don't know what's the deal with the ...
    • XXX_er: I used to think that I MUST have a cuff cant adj at the outside cuff pivot ...
    • Lou 2: Tom, a canted cuff really helps me as well, sigh.... Probably still somewh...

      Recent Posts


    Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version