Reviews You Can Rely On

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 55 Review

Built for serious adventures with lots of external attachment points with very durable construction
gearlab tested logo
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 55 Review (The Hyperlite Porter is one of the most durable ultralight packs we've tested.)
The Hyperlite Porter is one of the most durable ultralight packs we've tested.
Credit: Alexa Flower
Price:  $389 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Hyperlite Mountain Gear
By Jane Jackson & Justin Simoni  ⋅  Jul 18, 2023
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 16
  • Comfort - 40% 8.0
  • Ease of Use - 25% 8.0
  • Weight-to-Volume Ratio - 20% 5.0
  • Adjustability - 15% 8.0

Our Verdict

Durable, simple, lightweight, and adaptable, this is only the beginning of the positive praise we have for the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 55. This pack is similar to other models from Hyperlite but with an even more slimmed-down feature set. We loved the additional external straps, which made it easy to securely attach ice tools, skis, boots, or sleeping pads to the outside of the pack. The Porter, as the name suggests, works great when it's loaded down with a lot of gear. We found that it actually becomes more comfortable with more weight, as it floats oddly when empty. For alpine missions, ski traverses, or desert adventures where durability is key, the Porter shines. To see how it stacks up versus the competition, check out our review of the best ultralight backpacks.
REASONS TO BUY
Durable
Simple design
Lots of external attachment options
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Lacks features
Few external pockets
Editor's Note: This updated pack was retested alongside the rest of our lineup and updated on July 18, 2023.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $389.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$315 List$275 ListCheck Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$380 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
74
93
85
79
72
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line Durable and simple; perfect for use in the mountainsAs an all-around great pack, it can carry large and light loads with ease, has plenty of external storage options, and is super comfortableOne of our favorites that scores highly in all metrics, is comfortable and versatile, and has just enough features for a reasonable costThis ultralight option doesn't leave out all the fantastic features found in packs at higher weight classesA near-perfect thru-hiking pack that blends ultralight principles with conventional backpacking features you won't want to leave at home
Rating Categories Hyperlite Mountain... Gossamer Gear Marip... Gossamer Gear Goril... Osprey Exos Pro 55 Adventure Equipment...
Comfort (40%)
8.0
10.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
Ease of Use (25%)
8.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Weight-to-Volume Ratio (20%)
5.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
Adjustability (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Hyperlite Mountain... Gossamer Gear Marip... Gossamer Gear Goril... Osprey Exos Pro 55 Adventure Equipment...
Measured weight 31.5 oz 32.6 oz 31.1 oz 33.2 oz 35.9 oz
Weight per liter (full pack) 0.57 oz/L 0.54 oz/L 0.62 oz/L 0.60 oz/L 0.53 oz/L
Advertised volume 55 L 60 L 50 L 55 L 68 L
Stripped weight 31.5 oz 18.0 oz 17.2 oz 30.4 oz 24.2 oz
Measured volume (main compartment) 35 L 42 L 39 L 33 L 37 L
Main pack pockets None 5 4 3 3
Lid (aka brain) No Yes Yes Yes No
Hydration compatible No Yes Yes Yes No
Single side pocket 700ml Smartwater capacity N/A 5 3 5 4
Hip belt pockets 2 2 2 2 2
Single hip belt pocket capacity 6 Clif Bars 5 Clif Bars 5 Clif Bars 4 Clif Bars 5 Clif Bars
Able to strip off frame and hip belt No Yes Yes No Yes
Mix & match hip belt sizes No M
(S & L sold separately)
M
(S & L sold separately)
No XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Shoulder strap pockets No No No No No
Whistle on sternum strap Yes Yes Yes Yes No
BearVault BV500 compatibility Ok Good Ok Good Good
Sizes available S, M, L, Tall S, M, L S, M, L S/M, L/XL S, M, L, XL
Frame type Dyneema hardline, removable aluminum stays, padded back panel SitLight foam pad / removable stay SitLight foam pad / removable stay 3.5 mm powder-coated LightWire frame Foam pad, carbon fiber suspension hoop, and single aluminum stay
Fabric Dyneema 100D & 200D Robic nylon 100D & 70D Robic nylon NanoFly: 100D nylon x 200D UHMWPE ripstop Challenge Ultra

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 55 is one of our favorite packs for light and fast missions in trying environments. It has beefy side straps, with external attachment options that adapt to what you want to do rather than the other way around. Made of sturdy Dyneema material that still manages to be lightweight, this is one of our favorite options for hiking through trying environments where durability matters.

Performance Comparison


hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - cinch down the porter down to accommodate a smaller load on shorter...
Cinch down the Porter down to accommodate a smaller load on shorter missions.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Comfort


The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter turned out to be an understated sleeper hit when it comes to comfort — everything from our daily bike commutes, trips to the store, and missions to the gym were accomplished in comfort, even before considering its backpacking chops.


Two aluminum stays along the back padding provide a ton of rigidity to carry your load on the hip belt. Both the hip belt and the shoulder straps are made with cushy closed-cell foam with the signature Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) on the exterior and more breathable mesh on the interior. Neither dug into our bodies which our shoulders and hips both appreciated. The load limit set by the manufacturer is 40 pounds — one of the highest limits of any pack in this roundup.

hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - the porter's back panel, shown here, is fairly minimal, besides its...
The Porter's back panel, shown here, is fairly minimal, besides its two aluminum stays that provide structure to the pack.
Credit: Alexa Flower

As is the modus operandi of this entire pack, the design is no-frills, so there are no load lifters on the shoulder straps, and the hip belt is fairly minimalistic. The built-in and non-removable back padding did a spectacular job of keeping us insulated from any more acutely angled items in our pack.

hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - the hip belt pocket is large enough to fit a few snacks and a phone...
The hip belt pocket is large enough to fit a few snacks and a phone. It is crucial the Porter has this feature because it lacks any other external pockets.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Ease of Use


The minimal design of the HMG Porter 55 also makes it simple to start using. The innumerable lashing points mean an almost infinite possibility of what you can bring with you at your discretion. This pack certainly won't limit you on ways to use your creativity to get the job done.


You want to be aware of the three big-picture features of the pack. The first is the roll top, which can be compressed down or relaxed upward depending on your load. Secondly, the side cinch straps help keep loads tight within the pack without jostling about. And finally, all the lash points allow you to bring anything else you'd like, with the addition of string, rope, webbing — whatever you may have on hand.

hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - the internal metal stays used to frame up the porter (weighing 3.8...
The internal metal stays used to frame up the Porter (weighing 3.8 ounces or 108 grams total) are the only items that are removable.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Weight-to-Volume Ratio


We weighed the Porter 55 at 35.2 ounces or 998 grams. It lacks many options to strip accessories off to make it lighter. However, the two metal stays, at 3.8 ounces or 108 grams total, can be removed at the cost of the 40 pound load limit.


We are skeptical of the stated 55-liter capacity. Once we rolled up the main compartment three times to ensure a waterproof seal, we only measured the internal volume to be around 36 liters. We could only get our ping pong ball measurements to reflect the advertised volume when the pack was fully open and not rolled at all — not a realistic way to utilize the pack.

hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - our tireless testers and ball enthusiasts measured the main...
Our tireless testers and ball enthusiasts measured the main compartment of the 3400 Porter at roughly 36 liters when rolled up three times. That's just 65% of the advertised 55-liter volume.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Without side or back pockets, the only additional storage is the two generous hip pockets. We measured them at 1.2 liters — or about six Clif Bars each.

hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - simple external carrying options on the porter make it lightweight.
Simple external carrying options on the Porter make it lightweight.
Credit: Alexa Flower

The weight-to-volume ratio is roughly 0.57 ounces per liter — not bad for an ultralight pack, but certainly not a front runner. Much of the weight of the pack does come from using the burly black 5 ounces per square yard DCF fabric (the white version is 3.5 ounces per square yard and thus lighter overall). The daisy chain webbing is crucial for you to really take advantage of that 40-pound load limit. This pack is made to lash your gear to, then attach the pack to a local guide's horse for the trip up to base camp.

hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - here, we have the porter loaded almost to max capacity.
Here, we have the Porter loaded almost to max capacity.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Adjustability


The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter is available in small, medium, large, and tall. It also has two fabric thickness choices: the white is lighter, at 3.5 ounces per square yard, while the black is 5 ounces per square yard. The white is lighter, and the black is more beefy.


The lack of side and center pockets of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter and generous daisy chain webbing ribbons give you a blank canvas to attach anything you want to the pack's exterior. The pack's high 40-pound load limit is one of the highest in this category, so don't be shy if you feel like bringing along some firewood for everyone's pleasure at your first camp spot. The only removable feature of this pack is its internal aluminum stays. Leaving them home would lighten up the pack by a few ounces, but you'll reduce the amount you can comfortably carry.

hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - lashing the porter securely to our front rack of our bikepacking rig...
Lashing the Porter securely to our front rack of our bikepacking rig was simple and straightforward, care of the ribbons of daisy chain found on both sides of the pack itself.
Credit: Maddock Rigby

Leave your accessories at home for day trips and give a few more rolls to the top to feel like you're carrying a smaller pack than its advertised volume would have you believe. Side cinch straps can also be employed to keep a smaller load from jostling around too much in the interior.

hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - lashing a bear canister to the exterior of this pack using the top...
Lashing a bear canister to the exterior of this pack using the top strap is “bearly” a problem. Daisy chains and some webbing will also give you additional lashing options.
Credit: Justin Simoni

A bear canister can easily fit inside and can be lashed nearly anywhere on the exterior of the pack using an additional strap. Or you can use the top Y-strap to cinch it to the top of the pack itself.

hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - this pack is simple and sleek - great for the alpine (or desert...
This pack is simple and sleek - great for the alpine (or desert alpine, in this case!).
Credit: Alexa Flower

Should You Buy the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 55?


The Porter is made for lightweight adventures in technical terrain where every ounce counts, yet it doesn't compromise on durability. Multi-day ski tours, alpine climbing missions, or off-trail desert adventures are where this pack excels. Its simplistic, sleek design helps the Porter to feel low-profile, even when it's loaded down with gear.

hyperlite mountain gear porter 55 - the porter's hip pockets are able to fit six clif bars each.
The Porter's hip pockets are able to fit six Clif Bars each.
Credit: Justin Simoni

What Other Ultralight Backpack Should You Consider?


If grams are what you're counting, and your load limit isn't too high, the Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus 55L shares many of the design ethics of the Porter, including an extra-long roll-top and a featherlight pedigree. The Ultra Fabric of the Exodus is a worthy competitor to the Porter's high-performance DCF. If you really want to cut weight and don't mind using a slightly less durable fabric, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 is another excellent option.

Jane Jackson & Justin Simoni