Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Porter 55 Review
Cons: Expensive, lacks features, few external pockets
Manufacturer: Hyperlite Mountain Gear
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Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Porter 55
|Price||$360.00 at Hyperlite Mountain Gear||$270 List||$145 List||$139.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Durable, simple design, lots of external attachment options||Durable, comfortable, well-designed pockets, carries light and heavy loads well||Simple design, inexpensive, durable||Very light, large volume, versatile compression system||Great for medium loads, inexpensive, thoughtful set of features, external storage and lashing options|
|Cons||Expensive, lacks features, few external pockets||Large capacity makes it less versatile||Foam pad falls out easily, shoulder straps lack support||No frame, poor comfort for medium loads||Heavy, less durable than others|
|Bottom Line||Built for serious adventures with lots of external attachment points and a durable construction||This pack wowed us with its perfect set of features, comfortable design, and carrying capacity||A lightweight, simplified version of our favorite pack from this same company, making a durable, well-designed option||For the ultimate lightweight pack, this pack steals the show with its entirely frameless design and streamlined set of features||This incredible pack has tons of features, carries medium-sized loads well, and is comfortable to boot|
|Rating Categories||3400 Porter 55||Gossamer Gear Mariposa||Ultralight Adventur...||Granite Gear Virga 2||Osprey Exos 48|
|Weight To Volume Ratio (35%)|
|Comfort To Carry (25%)|
|Specs||3400 Porter 55||Gossamer Gear Mariposa||Ultralight Adventur...||Granite Gear Virga 2||Osprey Exos 48|
|Measured Weight||31.5 oz||30.5 oz||24 oz||18.5 oz||37.6 oz|
|Stripped Weight||31.5 oz||30.5 oz||23 oz||18.5 oz||33.9 oz|
|Claimed Volume||55 L||60 L||54 L||50-58 L||48 L|
|Measured Main Pack Volume||58 L||48 L||45 L||41 L||40 L|
|Measured Volume Total (minus hip belt and shoulder strap pockets)||58 L||64 L||53 L||49 L||59 L|
|Measured Volume Stripped (minus hip belt, shoulder pockets, and removable lids)||58 L||59 L||53 L||49 L||53 L|
|Average Weight-to-Volume Ratio (grams/Liter)||15.4 g/L||14 g/L||12.8 g/L||10 g/L||18.9 g/L|
|Carrying Comfort 15 pounds||Great||Great||Great||Good||Good|
|Carrying Comfort 30 pounds||Good||Great||Poor||Poor||Great|
|Frame Type||Dyneema Hardline, removable aluminum stays, padded back panel||Foam pad/ removable stay||Removable foam pad||None (foam pad)||Tensioned Frame - AirSpeed SL Suspension|
|Fabric||Dyneema||70 & 100 denier Robic nylon||210 Robic nylon, 400d Robic Bottom Panel||Cordura||100D high tenacity nylon, 100D high tenacity ripstop nylon|
|Main Pack Pockets||None||4||3||3||3|
|Hip Belt Pockets||2||2||2||None||None|
|Single Hip Belt Pocket Capacity||2 cliff bars||4||2 cliff bars||N/a||N/a|
|Shoulder Strap Pockets||None||No||No||No||No|
|Whistle on Sternum Strap||Yes||No||No||None||Yes|
|Internal Hydration Sleeve||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bag Sizes/Torso Lengths Available||M, Tall, L||S, M, L||S, M, L, XL||Long, short, regular||S, M, L|
|Mix and Match Hip Belt Sizes||No||S, M, L||S, M, L, XL||No||No|
|Can Easily Strip Off Frame and Hip Belt||No||Good||No||No||No|
|BearVault BV500 Compatibility||Ok||Good||Ok||Ok||Just OK|
|Lid (aka Brain)||No||No||No||No||Yes, Removable|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Though there are fairly subtle differences between the three Hyperlite packs in this review, the Porter is our favorite for light and fast missions in the alpine. Its simple frame means that it carries a bit less comfortably than other packs in this review, but it also means that it is low profile and sleek for technical missions. We liked the beefy side straps, which provide lots of external attachment options, depending on your use. The waist pockets provide quick access storage for snacks and other essential items. Plus, the pack is super lightweight, especially for its capacity. This is crucial for technical outings where your gear may be a bit heavier than a typical ultralight backpacking kit.
The Hyperlite Porter is about as simple as it gets, which means there are few options for talking weight off; what you see is pretty much what you get.
Luckily, the pack is made with lightweight travel in mind, with a total weight of 1.9 pounds, or 31.5 ounces. This is just under two pounds — incredibly light for such a burly pack with large carrying capacity. In our calculations, the Porter falls in the middle of the pack in terms of weight-to-volume ratio. These types of packs usually have more features and are made from lighter, less durable fabrics. The Porter, on the other hand, provides more volume and durability, with fewer feature options. This is ideal for ski mountaineering or climbing outings that require a heavier kit.
Load Carrying Comfort
Though Hyperlite packs typically have minimalist frames that don't provide excess support or comfort, the Porter has the classic, burly waist belt that greatly helps these packs carry heavy loads. Two aluminum stays provide structure and support to the back of the pack, but that's it in terms of a frame.
Unfortunately, this also means that the Porter lacks the breathability of some of the more high-tech frames we've tested. In the mountains, we prefer to have a low profile, sleek design as a priority as opposed to an overly designed, but comfortable frame.
The best part about this pack is its lack of features. So, how'd we find anything to write about for this metric? The few features that the Hyperlite Porter does have are thoughtful and super useful, without feeling like overkill.
We loved the waist belt pockets, which are large enough to fit sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks, and even a phone (if you like to listen to music while you hike, this is super key). The hip pockets found on other packs tend to be too small to fit most essential items, rendering them fairly useless.
We also liked the fact that the side straps have two solid webbing buckles, which can be used to secure ropes, skis, boots, and other items that don't fit inside the pack. These buckles are secured by more webbing strips that allow flexibility in terms of other clip-in points and options for additional elastic attachments.
The roll-top feature on the Porter makes it easy to carry more, or less gear, depending on the mission. We used this pack for day trips into the mountains when loaded up with ropes and gear for rock climbing and on a fast and light backpacking trip. The pack is slim enough and can be stripped down for single-day outings, should you decide to do so. We like this aspect of versatility.
The roll-top is the only feature that can be adjusted, depending on load size, which limits the adaptability of this pack somewhat. Other packs that get higher scores in this metric have more removable parts that allow the pack to be stripped down to a super-light trail weight, if necessary. The Porter lacks some of this versatility, but we like that its volume can be adjusted while still maintaining carrying comfort.
Made of the revolutionary Dyneema Composite Hybrid materials, which are designed to withstand the burliest treatment, the Porter is one of the most durable packs we've tested.
The bottom of the pack is reinforced with an extra layer of Dyneema to prevent tears and abrasions that come with buttscooting through talus and scraping through rocky chimneys. The pack is also waterproof, which is a major benefit when it comes to adventuring in marginal conditions.
Made by hand in a small mill that has been converted into a backpack factory in Maine, Hyperlite Mountain Equipment is a small-scale, high-quality manufacturer. To get the level of quality and attention to detail that these packs have, they come with a hefty price tag. Purchasing a Hyperlite product is an investment. Most folks who choose these products accept the large price tag because they know they're getting a well-made product. The Porter is no exception, and comes at a high cost. That said, this pack is a good value, as Hyperlite products last years and years. Plus, its simple design is timeless and won't go out of style any time soon!
The Hyperlite Porter is made for lightweight adventures in technical terrain. Multi-day ski tours, alpine climbing missions, or off-trail desert adventures are the ideal uses for this style pack. Its simplistic, sleek design makes the Porter feel low-profile, even when it's loaded down with gear. The external carrying options are more minimal than those that sport extra bells and whistles, yet the Porter still provides opportunities to attach skis, boots, or tools to the outside of the pack. The hip belt pockets are a small, but crucial feature that allows quick access to snacks, sunscreen, and other small items. The durability that this pack provides is unparalleled, and one of the most outstanding features of the pack. Plus, we like its look, which earned it style points. This pack is the perfect companion for your next alpine mission.
— Jane Jackson