What are the main characteristics you look for in a backpack?
If you want a bag that’s durable, lightweight and minimal, don’t miss the Summit Pack by Hyperlite Mountain Gear. Made from Dyneema (specifically Dyneema® Composite Fabric hybrid materials per the specs sheet), the backpack weighs just 0.89 lbs (14.2 oz).
What is this ‘Dyneema’ I write of, you may ask?
Invented by the Dutch chemical company, DSM, Dyneema is a high-tech material known for its strength and light weight. It is, according to the company, the “strongest and most durable lightweight fiber in the world”, stronger than even Kevlar. It was discovered back in 1963, but has only recently been used in consumer products, like outdoor gear.
If you really want to get nerdy about the material, check out this Wikipedia article on ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene.
Dyneema and its herculean properties don’t come cheap. Let me illustrate:
The Hyperlite Summit Pack is essentially a stuff sack with straps. It is barebones to say the least, yet it comes at a retail price of $175 for the white version and $185 for the black. And get this: the $175 Summit Pack uses only the Dyneema composite material. Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG) also sells a $280 Dyneema Summit Pack which uses Woven Dyneema Fabric backed with Dyneema Composite Fabric.
Now back to waxing lyrical about this bag.
- Made from Dyneema
- Water resistant
- Made in the USA
- Sharp, tactical and technical aesthetic
- Can fit a 15 inch laptop
When this backpack’s package arrived, I was surprised to find it packed in a small grey plastic bag. I was expecting a mid-sized cardboard box, but instead the backpack was tightly rolled up into a bag, like one you’d ship a t-shirt in. It was a testament to how packable this backpack is.
The bag uses a roll top closure and is water resistant. You can’t go diving with this backpack, but it will keep your gear dry if you’re caught out in the rain for a short period of time. Dyneema is very water resistant, but water may seep through the seams if you’re out in the rain for a long time (an hour or more), or if the bag is submerged. The water resistance is more than sufficient for my personal needs.
As I mentioned above, this backpack is like one large stuff sack with straps. The shoulder straps have minimal padding, but I’ve found them to be comfortable. The backpack also has a thin waist belt (for stabilization, not weight transfer) and a sternum strap with a whistle.
I’m not sure of the exact volume of this bag, but by eyeballing it, I’d estimate that the volume is somewhere around 28ish liters. It’s a good daypack size, and you could travel for a couple of days with it if you pack light. The nice thing about a roll top is that if you don’t have much gear inside the bag, you can simply roll the top down a few more times, and if you have a lot of gear, roll it less.
- This is not a con, but a feature (which some may love and others may hate): The Summit Pack is made for specifically for people who want an ultra-minimalist and tough backpack. It does it’s intended job very well. If you want a bag with lots of organization, this bag isn’t for you.
- The bag is very crinkly – can’t be used for hunting or in environments where you need to be very quiet
- No back ventilation – it can get sweaty
One more minor point: The straps are long, and when I fully cinch it up, there is a lot of excess strap material dangling around. That might not be a problem for you, but I found it a bit annoying. I’ve been using this bag a lot lately for commuting via New York City subway, so when I would put the bag by my feet on the floor of the subway car, people would step on the straps. To solve the issue, I also used a few thick rubber bands to wrap up the excess strap material. I also removed the sternum strap on my bag.
Who is this bag for?
The HMG Summit Pack is a summit pack, which can be defined as a “very light packable daypack that can be carried in a backpack on the approach to a summer alpine peak and used for the summit dash (or day hiking adventures as well).” I wish I had it when I went mountain climbing in Ecuador.
I will admit, I am not a particularly hardcore adventurer (I live in New York City) and don’t get to climb mountains often. Lately while testing, I’ve been mainly using this bag to go to work, holding a laptop and some notebooks, a water bottle and some assorted small items (such as hand sanitizer, pens, my lunch, a flashlight, etc.) in a packing cube. Since there are no interior pockets, using a packing cube or some sort of organizer is essential for keeping your small items.
While it’s not a travel specific bag, I’ve found that it is amazing for use as a secondary travel bag. By that I mean, it’s a great bag to use as a daypack, packed within your main, larger travel bag.
I’m a big fan of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Summit Pack. It was designed with a specific purpose, and it does the job very well. It looks great, is lightweight and extremely durable.
Where To Get It
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Summit Pack was provided for this review. As always, this Hyperlite Mountain Gear review contains only my honest views and opinions. 🙂 Find out more about me and this site here.