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Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Backpack Review

Manufactured by :
Philip Werner
Version:
1
Price:
285.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On June 8, 2015
Last modified:October 13, 2016

Summary:

While highly water resistant as a benefit of its hybrid cuben fiber construction, the value of the HMG 2400 Southwest Pack lies in its unique combination of low weight and durability without skimping on functional features. If you need a backpack that can go through off-trail hell and high water, the HMG Southwest is your ticket.

Hyperlight Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Backpack
Hyperlight Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Backpack

The Hyperlight Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Backpack is a 40L pack (with an additional 9.8L of external storage) that is suitable for ultralight backpacking trips, off trail hiking through dense vegetation, or winter day hikes when you need to carry extra clothing layers. Made with Hyperlight Mountain Gear’s (HMG) ultralight blend of polyester and cuben fiber, the pack is outfitted with solid external pockets that are highly tear and abrasion resistant for off-trail use in dessert or heavily forested terrain, that would rip mesh pockets to shreds.

A Cuben Fiber Primer

Cuben fiber is an ultralight material used by cottage backpacking manufacturers that is lighter weight and more rip resistant than conventional tent and backpack fabrics. Tents or backpacks made with cuben fiber are often half the weight of those made using high tenacity nylon or polyester, making it an attractive material for hikers and backpackers looking to slash their gear weight without loss of functionality or capacity.

The HMG 2400 Southwest Backpack is made using a hybrid cuben fiber and polyester fabric that gives it even more strength, prevents fraying, protects it against UV light.
The HMG 2400 Southwest Backpack is made using a hybrid cuben fiber and polyester fabric that gives it even more strength, prevents fraying, and protects it against UV light.

More technically, cuben fiber is a non-woven, laminate fabric made using ultra-high-weight-molecular polyethylene and polyester that produces an exceptionally strong and waterproof material. It’s also more much more expensive to manufacture than conventional fabric because gear manufacturers have had to evolve manual fabrication and styling processes (gluing and taping as opposed to sewing) to create products using it. That price is unlikely to go down because cuben fiber products are too expensive to produce in large quantities.

The Hyperlight Mountain Gear 2400 Southwestern Backpack reviewed here is constructed from a hybrid cuben fiber and polyester sandwich, with cuben fiber on the inside with a protective layer of 50 denier polyester or 150 denier polyester on the outside for high wear areas. The outer layer gives it even more strength, prevents fraying, and provides better long-term protection against the decaying effects of ultraviolet light.

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwestern Backpack is has a large main compartment with a dry top closure and solid external pockets for extra durability.
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwestern Backpack has a large main compartment with a dry top closure and solid external pockets for extra durability, particularly off-trail.

Internal Storage and Organization

The HMG 2400 Southwest Backpack is laid out in a traditional ultralight style with a large main compartment, side water bottle pockets, and a large front pocket. With 40 liters of internal closed capacity, the 2400 Southwest is the smallest volume overnight pack in the HMG product line.

The main compartment has a dry bag style closure system with velcro around the edge to facilitate closing the top before rolling it shut. There’s a hydration loop on the interior of back panel with an internal mesh pocket that can be used suspend a hydration reservoir, with a single hydration port located the right side of the pack.

There are five external pockets on the 2400, two side water bottle pockets, a larger center pocket, and two hip belt pockets. All of the pockets are made of solid 210 denier Dyneema reinforced nylon, enabling the pack to be used in off-trail conditions that would quickly shred mesh pockets or abrade the lighter weight 50 denier cuben / polyester hybrid used throughout the rest of the pack.

The side water bottle pockets on the HMG 2400 Southwest Pack are large enough to carry water bottles and tent poles at the same time.
The side water bottle pockets on the HMG 2400 Southwest Pack are large enough to carry water bottles and tent poles at the same time.

The side water bottle pockets are large enough to fit 1 liter water bottles together with tall skinny items like tent poles or an ultralight fishing rod, and have drain holes at their base. The pockets are reinforced at the base with a 150 denier cuben fiber/polyester to prevent punctures or tearing. Water bottles stored in the pockets are also reachable and replaceable while wearing the pack, a must-have in my book.

The larger center pocket is open at the top and sized for carrying extra layers, a small cooking system, or a wet items like a water filter.

Finally, while the hip belt pockets on the 2400 are large enough to hold several food bars or a small camera, I mainly use them to store small items that I use frequently during the day like Aqua Mira drops, hand cleanser, my compass, sun tan lotion, or a bottle of DEET for when the bugs get bad.

The hip belt pockets on the 2400 are large enough to carry a small camera, a few food bars or other small but frequently used items.
The hip belt pockets on the 2400 are large enough to carry a small camera, a few food bars or other small but frequently used items.

The hip belt pockets on the 2400 are also made using 210 denier Dyneema reinforced nylon. This is crucial for off-trail travel where you lead with your hips through thick vegetation.

From a capacity standpoint, you can carry 1-2 nights of gear and food in the 2400 if it’s very compact, but if you need to carry more food between resupply stops, you should size up to a larger capacity model like the HMG 3400 Southwest Pack.

External Attachment Points and Compression System

The 2400 has a two tiers of side compression straps that can also be used to attach gear to the outside of the pack. A bottom compression strap runs horizontally outside each water bottle pocket, while the upper strap is oriented at a diagonal to bring the load closer to the wearer’s back for better load-to-hip transfer.

The upper compression strap is oriented on a diagonal to bring the rear of the pack closer to your back for better load transfer.
The upper compression strap is oriented on a diagonal to bring the rear of the pack closer to your back for better load transfer.

Additional top down compression is provided by a dry bag style top closure which is rolled down to “use up” any extra volume. The side clips of the roll top closure can be clipped down along sides of the pack attaching to vertical webbing straps, while a top Y strap provides additional top compression and a place to secure an external sleeping pad or climbing rope (see Backpacking External Attachment Guide: How to Carry Gear on the Outside of a Backpack.)

Alternatively, the side clips can be clipped to one another on top of the pack bag, and the two vertical webbing straps can be clipped together above the large center pocket, providing an excellent way to secure snowshoes to the back of the pack for winter travel. This is a very nice feature that winter hikers will appreciate.

There are four plastic buckles sewn on the outside perimeter of the center pocket which can be used to secure additional gear using webbing straps. HMG does not sell these however and they must be sourced by the user.
There are four plastic buckles sewn on the outside perimeter of the center pocket which can be used to secure additional gear using webbing straps. HMG does not sell these however and they must be sourced by the user.

There are also four small tri-glide buckles sewn on the outside perimeter of the center pocket which can be used to secure additional gear such as a crampon pocket or climbing helmet using webbing straps. HMG sells these as an add-on purchase.

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The HMG 2400 Southwest Pack is basically a frameless rucksack that comes with two optional aluminum stays that help keep the pack from collapsing on itself when you load it up with gear. For a pack of this size, that’s all you really need in terms of structural support since the 2400 doesn’t have enough capacity to carry a really heavy load.

The HMG 2400 hip belt is sewn directly to the back of the pack providing superior load transfer to the hips.
The HMG 2400 hip belt is sewn directly to the back of the pack providing superior load transfer to the hips.

The two aluminum stays run vertically down channels inside the main compartment, terminating in the hip belt of the backpack which is sewn to the base of the pack. This direct kinetic attachment system provides superior load-to-hip transfer, something that HMG packs are known for .

Basically unpadded, the hip belt molds easily around your hips, even square hips, while the spacer mesh lining wicks away moisture. Personally, I prefer less padded hip belts on lightweight backpacks because I think I get a better fit, but you also don’t need all that extra padding since this is such a small pack and you can’t go that heavy with it.

Fly Fishing with the HMG 2400 Southwest Pack
Fly Fishing with the Hyperlight Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Pack

Recommendation

Designed specifically to prevent snags in the rough scrub brush of America’s deserts, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest is built bomber tough for short multi-day backpacking trips with frequent resupplies. Equally at home on the trail as well as off, this lower volume pack also makes an excellent day hiking or winter pack for more technical trips when you need to carry extra gear or clothing.

While the 2400 Southwest Pack is surprisingly heavy at 31 ounces for a cuben fiber backpack compared to other ultralight packs, keep in mind that this pack is purpose built for off-trail travel. For example, the 2400 uses solid fabric panels for external pockets instead of mesh, which would get quickly get ripped to shreds, or lighter weight cuben fiber, which abrades when repeatedly brushed up against hostile vegetation.

While highly water resistant as a benefit of its hybrid cuben fiber construction, the value of the HMG 2400 Southwest Pack lies in its unique combination of low weight and durability without skimping on functional features. If you need a backpack that can go through off-trail hell and high water, the HMG 2400 Southwest Pack is your ticket.

Likes

  • Taped seams and needle holes make the pack nearly waterproof
  • White color makes it easy to find gear inside pack
  • Roll top closure and side straps provide good compression
  • Side water bottles are reachable and replaceable while wearing the pack
  • Bomber tough against puncture or abrasion by aggressive vegetation
  • Side and front external pocket have reinforced bottoms and drain holes
  • Fantastic load to hip transfer
  • Daisy chains sewn into shoulder straps make it easy to attach accessories
  • Good range of sizes available for people with short torsos, including women

Dislikes

  • Expensive
  • White color is quickly discolored by dirt and grime
  • No back ventilation
  • Center ice axe loop is awkward to use; no shaft attachment provided
  • Sharp objects can poke through back panel and create discomfort
  • Mfg stated 40 pound max load rating is high

Manufacturer Specifications

  • Weight: 1 pound 15 ounces (size large, measured on SH scales)
  • Load Capacity: 20-40 pounds
  • Materials: 50D and 150D Cuben /Polyester Hybrid and Spectra Hardline pockets
  • Volume: 40L w/ 9.8L of external storage

See Hyperlight Mountain Gear for complete product specifications.

Disclosure: Philip Werner received a 2400 Southwest Backpack from Hyperlight Mountain Gear for this review. 

See Also

Most Popular Searches

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  • southwest pack white
  • womens large main compartment backpack

9 comments

  1. Hey Philip you had told me previously that you felt Cuben fiber was too expensive for the average person to afford and that it was a fad that would most likely pass quickly and you personally wouldn’t use it. Do you still feel that way?

  2. I still feel that way. This is a very specialized backpack intended for off-trail wilderness backpacking and not something that most backpackers need or are willing to pay for since they hike on relatively mellow maintained trails. The people who would buy this backpack are probably comparing it to a semi-custom Cilogear Worksack weighing 4 pounds.They are not mainstream backpackers!

    Will cuben fiber go the same way as Spectra did (used in the original Kelty cloud packs) but abandoned because it was too difficult to source and manufacture with. Probably. Look at Zpacks. Joe has started manufacturing non-cuben Dyneema backpacks because it’s lower cost than cuben fiber and because he probably doesn’t want to be locked into to a monopolistic supplier like Cubic tech, which can’t keep up with their backlog because they’re such a small company and don’t have the capital resources to expand their manufacturing capacity.

    If Cubic Tech goes out of business, that would be the end of the cuben fiber based backpacking gear companies that only make cuben fiber gear.

    Will I use gear made with cuben fiber? I think that question misses the point. The high wear points on the 2400 Southwest are not made with Cuben fiber. I’ll use the best gear that I can afford and which serves the requirements of my trips.

    I still buy most of my personal gear out of my own pocket, and I’m pretty thrifty in that department. While I like the HMG 2400 Southwest pack, I on the fence about whether I’d shell out my own money for it since.YMMV if you have more working capital to spend.

    The 2400 Southwest is still a good pack for its intended use.

    A long winded answer. Did I address your question?

  3. As always, YES. Thanks Philip. I agree with all your points! .

  4. Joshua Rousselow

    Thank you for this great review Phillip, I find it very helpful in my search for my new backpack. There is a really good write up by “Dances with Angiosperms” and his experiences with the Zpacks Arc Blast and the HMG Windrider 4400 on a thru hike, and I find that your article relates that this pack is pretty specialized for more abuse and heavier loads. If you were planning a thru hike, would the HMG be an option in your opinion? Thank you

    • I’d probably size up to the 3400 Southwest (I like solid pockets better than mesh ones because they’re more durable even for trail hiking). The 2400 can only hold 1-2 days of food max and only if you pack really small. I’d want to carry 4-5 days of food on a thru-hike and have the option to carry a lot of extra water if need. Even on the AT where there are frequent resupply points. The 4400 is simply too big.

      Would an HMG pack be an option for a thru-hike? Absolutely. The carry on their packs is really good and I don’t mind trading higher durability for weight.

  5. Wonderful review thanks Philip! Are there any internal pockets as well? I want something in this size (or smaller) with compartments and zippered pockets and panel loading! Basically life a big duffel on the back, but in UL materials :-)

    • Mike at HMG is philosophically opposed to adding such conveniences. There’s is a mesh hydration pocket inside the pack which I use for storing maps and the hip belt pockets, but that’s it. I think they will make custom mods though if you ask since they make all their own packs in the Maine factory. Call them up.

      • Thanks Philip! I wonder if I can do aftermarket clipping – say, clip on 2 zpacks hip pockets onto the (small) hippockets that come with the pack (did you try this, I think you did and can’t seem to find the link), and maybe hang some zippered ditty sacks on the inside, if I decide to go with this pack.

      • Look up my review of the HMG porter.

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