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.

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