Is Hyperlite Mountain Gear A Good Brand? A Backcountry Gear Review

Is Hyperlite Mountain Gear A Good Brand? A Backcountry Gear Review

Hyperlite is a brand that’s known best by those who practice and understand “essentialism”. It’s a concept that’s easily confused with minimalism but is ever-so-different. For those who aren’t yet informed on the essentialism movement, essentialism is simply having exactly the right gear you need, no more, no less. This varies from minimalism by not seeking to have the lowest level of gear possible, but only the necessities. 

The community that Hyperlite encourages is those who want to move through the deep and remote wilderness with a lightweight, but durable setup of gear. They believe doing so creates a more comfortable and safe wilderness experience. Today we are going to look deeper into what this brand is really about. While the idea of essentialism sounds dreamy and perfect to many, that doesn’t make the brand perfect. So, let’s look at what Hyperlite Mountain Gear is truly all about. 

 

Links to buy Hyperlite Mountain Gear

  1. Main Website – Hyperlitemountaingear.com

  2. REI.com

man backpacking ocean with mountain ridge

Is Hyperlite Mountain Gear a good brand?

Hyperlite Mountain Gear started as a tinkering project for a mountaineer in their garage. It’s goal was to create the most lightweight, yet durable, backpack to reduce weight that you carry through the backcountry. Today, they’ve grown to be one of the most popular brands for ultra-lightweight backpackers and can be found in just about every outdoor shop in several countries. 

If you want to look at a brand by how it’s run, made, and operated, Hyperlite is a great brand. They are still owned and operated by the same person who started it all. They’re produced in an old-school mill that is helping to rejuvenate parts of Maine, and the company wants to stay local and American-made. This isn’t one of those brands that’s pumping out gear on a factory line in China to then be shipped halfway across the world so you can pay too much money for it. It’s made where it’s meant to be used. 

If we’re talking about sustainability, Hyperlite’s motto and mission is highly sustainable. They preach the concept of only having what you need, which further reduces unnecessary purchases, meaning less waste. 

The gear all got its start when the founder wanted to find the best material for reducing weight. The material that was found was Cuben Fiber. This is an incredibly durable, yet lightweight and waterproof, material that will last for ages if taken care of properly. The products that Hyperlite Mountain Gear puts out are tested through the ringer and proven to be just as good, if not better, than their heavyweight competitors. 

One thing that proves Hyperlite is a good brand is their donations that go towards protecting trails. They send ten percent of their proceeds from all daypack purchases to support America’s trails. They want the hiking to be good when you get out there, and are working to help ensure your recreational enjoyment on both ends. 

Is Hyperlite Mountain Gear made in the US?

Founder and CEO Mike St. Pierre started making all Hyperlite gear in his garage. The demand for more products took off as soon as he showed others what he had made, which meant looking for a better place to produce his packs and shelters.

The company moved on to the Pepperell Mill Campus in Maine and has been there ever since. The gear is all made locally in the US, never outsourced, so it stays true to the high quality that American-made products have always been known for.

Who owns Hyperlite Mountain gear?

Mike St. Pierre started the company with his brother and has stayed with it ever since. The company has yet to sell out to a bigger production company, and will hopefully stay that way. St. Pierre truly believes that keeping things small and local allows for the products that they make to stay of the top quality. We probably won’t see this company move on to a bigger business model for a while, or at least until everyone in the outdoors starts to realize how miserable it can be to carry heavy packs. 

Mike St. Pierre, the CEO and founder of Hyperlite, sitting among the mountain climbing gear that Hyperlite produces at their Pepperell Mill Campus facility.
Mike St. Pierre, the CEO and founder of Hyperlite, sitting among the mountain climbing gear that Hyperlite produces at their Pepperell Mill Campus facility.

Is Hyperlite Mountain Gear waterproof?

The Cuban fiber that all of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear products are made of is not only incredibly durable and lightweight, but it’s also waterproof. As it is with most products that are made to get wet, no one can really claim full waterproofness. Because of that, the HMG products all claim to be “nearly waterproof”. 

The brand also encourages you to add their stuff sacks to a backpack to increase the level of waterproofing. It’s this one small factor that may go against what they claim to be essentialism. If the entire backpack was waterproof, you may not need more stuff sacks and they could be seen as extra. Maybe that’s too much of a minimalistic perspective, but the line is unclear. 

That being said, there’s not much gear you can get that is ever fully waterproof. HMG makes products that perform incredibly well in the rain, but they would make a poor choice to bring down with you on a SCUBA trip. As far as backpacking goes, you can consider this gear to be fully waterproof. 

Does Hyperlite Mountain Gear have sales?

Just like every other brand, finding the best sales can be difficult. Hyperlite in particular is a very specific and niche brand that doesn’t have many competitors. Because of the lack of competition, there aren’t too many sales to be found. The gear is rather pricey, making the purchase a tough one unless you stumble upon a great deal. 

What you’ll have to do to find a decent sale price on these backpacks and shelters is to scour the internet. Pay attention to popular sites that are having general sales on everything, because finding the specifics for Hyperlite will be tough.

Because of the intricate lightweight construction of this gear, you may not always want to buy used packs either. The use can create a lot of wear and tear, making it a purchase that won’t stay in your outdoor quiver forever. You can find a lot of similar outdoor gear for sale on Moosejaw.

Hyperlite mountain gear website

Do Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs have frames?

In order to drop even more weight, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs have done away with frames in some models. Certain packs still utilize a rather neat and creative style of framing that doesn’t require adding a huge load.

These packs use frame stays. Frame stays are two thin aluminum rods that slide into the back of the pack and are sewn neatly into the hip belt to transfer weight from your shoulders down onto your legs. The stays are easily adjusted to fit your back, and work well to keep the pack’s shape while standing alone.

The stays aren’t nearly as durable or resilient as other pack frames, but work well for how lightweight they are. Aluminum is incredibly tough and barely weighs an ounce. Some people may find they want more rigidity, but everything is up to you. 

How much weight can a Hyperlite pack carry?

The answer to this question varies as you look from model to model. In general, the packs are going to be able to carry much less weight than their heavyweight competitors. It’s typical for backpackers to throw fifty to sixty pounds of gear into a huge 90L pack and be on their way, but you need to be wary when filling up a more lightweight pack, as they are built for truly lightweight gear. 

Hyperlite says that their 3400 Windrider pack, one of their more popular and larger models, can carry up to 40 pounds of weight. That being said, some users have said that at 35 pounds they start to feel the pack pulling strongly on their shoulders. 


Lightweight backpackers never try to go over thirty pounds of weight. They’re hoping to keep a base weight of twenty pounds or less, which is about what these packs are made to comfortably carry. 

Is Hyperlite comfortable?

Hyperlite packs are made to increase comfort. Their focus is on reducing the weight that you carry in order to increase comfort, and for some people, that’s all it takes. It isn’t necessarily going to be more comfortable due to the pack design, but it will ensure that you have less weight on your back. 

So, it’s all up to you. Everyone’s bodies are different. Hyperlite uses a small amount of padding on the belts and straps, meaning it may not be the most comfortable for everyone, but some people prefer the tighter fit. 

Do Hyperlite packs have load lifters?

Hyperlite packs are designed to fit comfortably without using load lifters. Part of the reasoning behind this is simply that you’ll be carrying less weight. The design of the packs requires that the rest of your gear is also on the ultralight spectrum. They can’t carry much more weight, so you’ll be hard pressed to carry anything that would make you miss the load lifters. 

A person hiking with a backpack in the mountains.
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