Dyneema has become a popular choice for ultralight gear. It is extremely light, strong, and resistant to moisture. Hyperlite Mountain Gear, located in Maine, is the leader in Dyneema use and we were excited to test their 2400 Southwest pack, a 40-liter pack that can be used on rugged terrain. We were able to predict the lightweight and durability of the pack, but we were even more impressed with its comfort and functionality. Here are our experiences with Southwest. We compare it to other backpacking packs, and we also review the ultralight backpacks.
There are two reasons the Hyperlite Mountains Gear Southwest’s 1 pound, 14 ounce weight is notable. It places the 40-liter pack within a small group of backpacking designs that weigh less than 2 pounds. Granite Gear Crown2 38 (2.2 lbs.) is another ultralight pack that has the same capacity. 1.6 oz.) Osprey Eja 38 (2.25 oz.) 6.2 oz.). The second, and even more impressive, aspect of Southwest’s low weight is the very few compromises they make. The pack was comfortable and organized even when I was packing for multi-day trips.
The Southwest’s remarkable combination of strength and weight is due to Dyneema. Formerly known by the Cuben Fiber name, Dyneema has a strong strength-to-weight ratio and is one of the strongest materials on the planet. The pack is still very minimalist in terms of design and features. (more details in the ” Organization” and ” Pockets) However, the Dyneema Composite fabrics throughout the main body, hipbelt and shoulder straps as well as the external pockets, have a significant reduction in ounces when compared to similar packs. The Southwest’s slim build was a huge plus after logging long, hard-earned miles in the Mount Baker Wilderness backcountry. Hyperlite packs are a hit with thru-hikers.
The Hyperlite 2400 Southwest was so comfortable and well-made that I couldn’t stop looking at it. While weight and interior space are important factors when considering packs, comfort is the most important. I was initially apprehensive about the lightweight and flexible materials of the Southwest, but my fears were quickly dispelled once I packed my stuff inside and lifted it over my shoulders. I found the 1/4-inch foam backpanel pad to be a comfortable layer. The removable aluminum stays helped distribute the weight well.
The Southwest’s hipbelt, despite being a minimal pack, is comfortable and well-padded. No discomfort or hot spots were experienced even when carrying 30 pounds (the maximum weight of the pack is 40). However, I have had less than perfect experiences with the shoulder and the sternum straps. This is because the pack is unisex and this seems to be a problem with females. See the ” Fit & Sizing” section for more information. Although the stiff shoulder straps took some time to adjust, they have become more comfortable and are now well cushioned. However, the sternum straps were more difficult to adjust. The sternum straps were more difficult to adjust. I ended up removing the Hyperlite logo from my upper half. But, comfort is a good thing. The band now sits perfectly across the chest.
Organization and Pockets
The Southwest’s design is simple and minimalist. It has a single compartment, three exterior pockets and two hipbelt pockets. The Southwest’s body is similar to Hyperlite’s 2400 Windrider. It’s basically a tube. It’s sealed with a roll-top system and secured at the top with Velcro. The sides are fastened with buckles. The main compartment is equipped with a hydration bladder pouch, but it lacks storage and pockets. Hyperlite should have included an inner zippered pocket to store personal items such as keys or wallets. It was difficult to find one otherwise.
The Southwest packs have three large stuff pockets on the exterior that hold an additional 7.3 liters. These pockets were used to store extra layers, food, water and damp items, which I kept separate from my other gear. The Southwest’s pockets, unlike the Windrider’s mesh outer storage, are made with Dyneema Hardline for extra durability. This means that items stored here will not dry as fast or as well as mesh. Hyperlite did however include a hole in the bottom of each pocket to allow water to drain.
Quality and Durability
The Southwest has not shown any signs of wear despite its lightweight build and minimalist design. The 50-denier, white 2400 Southwest was my choice (the black 2400 model comes with 150D fabric for $20 less). It has withstand dropped and dragged and has been beaten, dropped and dragged and has so far proven to be indestructible (the bases of both models are made with 150D material). There have been no issues with seams. They are all tight and show no signs of fraying. The seam seal is also not worn or peeled. Keep in mind that Dyneema is not strong enough to withstand punctures. This 50-denier fabric will require more care than burlier backpacks.
The Dyneema construction is excellent because it doesn’t compromise waterproofing. We were almost frozen in rain and snow on a particularly cold day of hiking in Whistler’s alpine. The afternoon ended with me leaning the Southwest against a tarp for hours, before I realized that the runoff from my roof was directly on the pack. After a moment of panic, the Velcro cover was ripped open and my expensive camera gear was dry. The Dyneema cover and roll-top seal did an excellent job keeping moisture out.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear is minimalistic with few bells and whistles. You won’t find back ventilation systems on any of their packs. This lack of airflow could be a problem for those who are hot. The Dyneema pack’s Dyneema is too tight against my back. It doesn’t wick well or breathe well and has made me uncomfortable on several occasions. Osprey’s lightweight packs have suspended mesh panels on the back. They also have mesh-padded shoulder straps, hipbelts, and mesh-padded shoulder straps. The Southwest packs lack additional materials, so ventilation is not a problem. This pack feels very spacious
The Hyperlite 2400 Southwest comes in four sizes. I chose the medium based upon my torso length. Although the shoulder straps initially felt a little too wide for me, I found them to be more comfortable once they were softened. Osprey’s women’s packs are slightly more suitable for those with longer torsos, but not necessarily wider shoulders. The Southwest was very comfortable once it was accustomed to the size and took some time to get used too.
Other Versions from the Southwest
The 2400 Southwest, the 40-liter model, was tested. However, it is also available in 3400 (55 Liters) and 4400 (77.5 Liters) versions. You’ll be paying $35 more if you go up in size from one capacity to another. The color of the pack also matters. For $20 more, the white pack has a 50D body fabric and the black pack has 150D. This adds up to 2.3 ounces. Other than the size difference and the option of a thicker material, all models are identical in terms of construction, organization and design. Hyperlite also offers the nearly identical Windrider in three sizes (see our Windrider Review here). The main difference is the material used for the external dump pockets (mesh or Southwest’s Dyneema).
What Do We Like
- The 2400 Southwest is light, but comfortable.
- The main compartment is completely waterproof even in flood-like situations.
- The pack was very durable despite its thin material and feathery feel.
What We Do Not
- It’s expensive at $320 for a 40-liter package, especially considering the limited features.
- Dyneema is unable to breathe well and there is no back mesh panel that promotes airflow.
- It is difficult to stay organized when you don’t have enough internal pockets.
|Hyperlite 2400 Southwest||$320||1 lb. 14 oz.||Dyneema (50D and 150D)||40, 55, 70L||Top||5 Exterior|
|Osprey Lumina 45||$250||1 lb. 13.6 oz.||Nylon (30D and 210x200D)||45, 60L||Top||4 Exterior|
|Granite Gear Crown2 38||$185||2 lbs. 4 oz.||Nylon (100D and 210D).||38, 60L||Top||6 exterior|
|Zpacks Arc Blast 55||$349||1 lb. 4.6 oz.||Dyneema (2.92 oz/sqyd)||55L||Top||3 Exterior|
|Osprey Eja 38||$180||2 lbs. 9.5 oz.||Nylon (100D and 420D).||45, 55L||Top||8 exterior|
|Hyperlite 3400 Windrider||$355||1 lb. 15.7 oz.||Dyneema (50D and 150D)||40, 55, 70L||Top||3 Exterior|
Osprey’s Lumina 45 and men’s Levity are the only packs that can match the 2400 Southwest’s ultra-lightweight without being compromised. The Lumina is 1 lb 13.6 oz lighter than the Southwest but 5 lb more spacious. The Lumina’s 30-denier silnylon sides and body aren’t as strong (or waterproof) than the Hyperlite’s 50 denier Dyneema. We also found that the Southwest was able handle a 30 pound load better. The Lumina is the best value for money, and the most space. However, those who are concerned about waterproofing or durability should choose the Hyperlite.
The Granite Crown238 is another UL competitor. This pack is impressive for its light weight (2 pounds 1.6 ounces with the lid) as well as its reasonable price ($185). The Crown2 is much easier to tailor to your waist thanks to its Velcro system. Its 100- and 210-denier construction makes it more durable if you are a hardy user of your gear. However, you won’t get the same waterproofing with the Hyperlite Dyneema. Although the Granite Gear is a great budget option, we prefer the Southwest because of its similar features, light weight and remarkable comfort on the trail.
The Zpacks Arc Blast55L is another ultralight option. Zpacks also uses 50-denier Dyneema for the body. This makes the pack waterproof and durable. The 50D base is less durable than the Southwest’s 150D. We did however get a small puncture in our Arc Blast’s bottom after setting it on granite. The Arc Blast is $29 less than the Southwest, but offers 15 liters more interior space in a lighter package (1 lb). 4.6 oz.). It also has a unique tensioning system that allows you to pull the bag from your back. The Zpacks is a top-of-the-line ultralight option for thru-hikers. However, we believe the Southwest is more durable, and the better all-rounder.
Osprey’s Eja 38 (and men’s Exos are another UL packs to consider. The Eja 38, which weighs in at 2 pounds and 6.2 ounces for small sizes, is lighter than the Hyperlite. However, it offers exceptional carrying comfort and features. The removable floating lid features two zippered pockets and trekking pole attachments. There are also stretch mesh side pockets and plenty of attachment points. The Osprey’s greatest weakness is its durability. We have had multiple tears in the 100-denier nylon body. We are also disappointed by the removal of the hipbelt pockets in the Eja’s latest version. This has a significant impact on usability. These drawbacks aside, we believe the Hyperlite pack is better built, but the Osprey will help you save a significant $140.
There are many other options in Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s pack lineup. The larger 3400 packs have a 55-liter equivalent. This makes it more practical for backpacking trips of multiple days without having to pack a lot. The 3400 model has a roll-top closure, which compresses down to 40 L to match the 2400. The pack weighs just under 2 pounds and is $35 more expensive. The pack weighs in at just under 2 lbs and is $35 more expensive. However, it offers greater versatility for longer trips. The new Hyperlite junction, which is available in 2400 or 3400 capacities, combines the Southwest and Windrider designs. It has an exterior pocket made of Dyneema with mesh at the edges and a solid Dyneema pocket in the middle. It’s an excellent all-around design that combines durability and the ability to dry your gear.