- The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider series is a top-shelf line of ultralight backpacks that represents an optimal combination of weight, strength, durability, and function.
- The Windrider 2400, 3400, and 4400 packs are each available in four different sizes for the perfect fit.
- The use of Dyneema fabric composite, combined with a roll top closure and taped seams, gives the Windrider backpacks an impressive level of water resistance.
- Large external mesh pockets extend the storage capacity of the Windrider and are particularly useful for storing items that need to be accessed quickly. If you’re not a fan of mesh pockets, check out Hyperlite’s Southwest pack series.
- Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s packs are hand built in Biddeford, Maine.
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Hyperlite Mountain Gear
Windrider 2400, 3400, & 4400
$310, $345, $380
Camping, hiking, travel, thru-hiking, packrafting, climbing, biking
WHERE TO BUY IT:
Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Website
30″ x 10.5″, 34″ x 10.5″, 38.5″ x 10.5″
1.87 lbs, 1.98 lbs, 2.43 lbs
40 lbs, 40 lbs, 60 lbs
40L, 55L, 70L
Small, Medium, Large, Tall
The premise of ultralight backpacking is really quite simple: by reducing the weight of your load, you can move with more agility and avoid wasting energy unnecessarily. There was a time when people naturally tended to go ultralight because of age or injury, but nowadays, more and more young people are starting to see the beauty of ultralight backpacking. At the heart of the ultralight backpacking movement is the holy trinity of camping gear – the tent, sleeping bag, and backpack.
As their name implies, Hyperlite Mountain Gear specializes on making ultralight camping and backpacking gear. The technology behind their products is the Dyneema fabric composite, composed of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene extruded into fibers and woven into a composite fabric, which is then sandwiched between thin polyester layers. The result is a waterproof, chemical and UV-resistant fabric that is lighter than nylon but stronger than Kevlar. Hyperlite also used this high-performance fabric on their popular ultralight jacket, The Shell.
The Hyperlite Windrider series of backpacks represent the optimal combination of weight, strength, comfort, and performance. They come in three sizes. The 2400 is the smallest variant, able to hold up to 40lbs of weight, and with 40L of internal storage. The mid-sized 3400 has a volume capacity of 55L internal storage and a similar 40lb weight capacity. The biggest variant, the 4400, has an internal volume capacity of 70L and a 60lb weight capacity. All Windrider backpacks have an external mesh storage that can hold a volume of 9.8L.
The Windrider backpacks achieve their characteristic lightness by the liberal use of the Dyneema composite fabric: it can be found on the body of the backpack, as well as in the shoulder straps and hip belt. The 2400 has a total weight that clocks in at slightly below 2lbs, while the 4400 only has a weight of 2.4lbs. All the variants of Windrider are available in either white or black. Hyperlite offers four pack sizes according to the height of your torso, so there should be no reason for you to get an ill-fitting backpack.
Pro tip: Stash the ultra-packable Hyperlite Stuff Pack into your Windrider backpack for additional carrying capacity when it’s needed.
The customizable pack size and removable aluminum stays help keep the Windrider comfortable even when worn for several hours on end. The hip belt, which is composed of rigid foam encased in Dyneema fabric, helps in the optimal distribution of heavy loads. We also like how the pack has just enough straps to provide vertical and horizontal compression to the internal compartment, centering the load closer to your torso thereby making the load easier to carry. A provision for back ventilation would have been nice for long-term comfort, as direct contact with the waterproof Dyneema material could result to a lot of sweaty backs in hot weather. Back ventilation would have resulted in a corresponding weight penalty, but we think it would still have resulted in a net positive in the comfort category.
In terms of overall strength and durability, the Windrider defies all expectations. Despite the Dyneem fabric being very thin, it has not been damaged at all by constant abrasion and puncturing. Even the individual strands of the mesh pockets showed impressive durability, probably helped by the choice of a non-elastic material. If you’re planning to go bushwhacking, then the Windrider is the kind of pack that will make it to the other side unscathed. If there was an issue in the build of the Windrider, it’s that the stitches of the shoulder strap and the haul loop start to come off after heavy use.
The Dyneem material provides enough water resistance to keep all your belongings dry even in heavy rain. The roll top closure mechanism and seam sealing complete the features that make this a water-resistant pack worthy of being brought along your kayaking or paddleboarding trip. Take note that the Windrider is NOT a dry bag – there is a small drainage hole near the bottom of the pack, implying that it is not meant to be submerged in water.
Looking at the storage design, the Windrider truly sticks to the tenet of being “exactly what you need and nothing more”. It does not have any extra straps, a brain, or any internal compartments aside from the bladder storage. This makes storage and organization of small items such as flashlights and pocket knives problematic. However, the Windrider more than makes up for it with a spacious external mesh storage and a pair of hip belt pockets.
The external mesh pockets provide enough room to store larger items such as shoes, a sleeping mat, extra layers, or even a small paddle. It’s also the perfect place to store wet clothes so they can dry while you walk. We like how the side mesh pockets are positioned so that they are reachable while the backpack is worn for easy access of items such as a water bottle or flashlight. The hip belt pockets are slightly larger than what you will see in most other backpacks, but we find that storing too many things in the hip pockets tend to be uncomfortable for your hip bone.
All in all, the Windrider is an excellent ultralight backpack that optimally balances comfort and function. The durability and water resistance of the Windrider makes it a great backpack when you need to go on long trips off the beaten path. In cases where weight is a premium, but you still need a rugged and tough backpack, then you can’t go wrong with the Windrider.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear stands behind all of the gear they make, and they offer a 15-day money back guarantee and 1-year warranty covering manufacturer defects.
- Made with lightweight but durable material
- Excellent water resistance
- Spacious mesh compartment and hip pockets
- Side mesh pocket is accessible even when while wearing the backpack
- Made in the USA
- No internal compartments
- The stitches of the shoulder straps and haul loop start to come off after heavy use
- No provision for back ventilation may make it uncomfortable in hot weather
The Windrider backpacks cater specifically to the subscribers of the ultralight backpacking principle and they do so in impressive fashion. Supported by the excellently engineered Dyneema composite fabric, the Windrider is very light but exhibits superior durability against abrasion and puncturing damage. Its roll top closure and taped seams provide sufficient water resistance in heavy rains or other wet conditions short of totally submerging the pack.
The no-frills design of the Windrider keeps it light but functional. What it lacks in internal compartments, it makes up for with a large external mesh storage and hip belt pockets. Overall, the Windrider is an intelligently designed backpack that does not compromise on comfort and durability in the name of being ultralight.