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Montane Hyper Tour 38 Cuben Fiber Backpack Review

manufactured by :
Philip Werner
Version:
1
Price:
399.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On June 10, 2016
Last modified:September 27, 2016

Summary:

Despite it's simplicity, the Hyper Tour 38 carries wonderfully with a form fitting design that hugs your back and torso. I'm not a runner, but it wouldn't surprise me if people used the Hyper Tour for ultras, where the lack of hip belt padding is probably as asset and not a liability. Provided you carry a maximum of 20 pounds, the Hyper Tour 38 also makes a wonderful technical day pack or ultralight backpack.

The Montane Hyper Tour 38 is a cuben fiber backpack with a roll top closure
The Montane Hyper Tour 38 is a cuben fiber backpack with a roll top closure.

UK hiking and outdoor gear specialist, Montane, is the latest company to join the cuben fiber backpack category with a streamlined roll-top pack called the Montane Hyper Tour 38. Equally at home in the mountains and on the water, I’ve become rather fond of this 21 ounce ultralight backpack for backcountry fly-fishing because its streamlined and water-resistant exterior is durable enough for me to bushwhack along stream banks and keep my gear high and dry in a packraft.

The Hyper Tour 38 is a very simple pack without any side pockets or compression straps.

The Hyper Tour 38 is very simply designed. There are no compression straps or external pockets on the main body of the pack which is an advantage when you hike off trail. The pack is unadorned except for two daisy chains, with optional cordage and a simple ice axe/trekking pole attachment on the rear of the pack, that can be easily removed if not needed. The two ends of the roll top connect on top of the pack and provide top compression to help stabilize your load, but can be clipped around the hang loop to keep them tucked away and prevent snagging on vegetation.

The inside of the pack has a bivy pocket and removable bivy pad
The inside of the pack has a bivy pocket and removable bivy pad

The Hyper Tour 38 doesn’t have a frame or frame stays, so it can’t carry much weight. While it does have an interior pad pocket behind the shoulder straps with a removable bivy pad, it isn’t intended to provide any structural support for the backpack. Sized at  31.5″ x 21.5″, the bivy pad is just thick enough to use as torso-length, hammock insulation in warm weather, but can also be replaced by another insulating pad if trimmed or folded to size.

The cuben fiber Montane Hyper Tour 38 backpack is ideal for keeping gear dry on a packraft
The cuben fiber Montane Hyper Tour 38 backpack is ideal for keeping gear dry on a packraft while fly-fishing.

The front of the pack has a mesh covered lumbar pad and two pads that rest behind your shoulder blades. Air channels between them provide airflow. The hip belt is sewn to the rear of the pack and doesn’t have any padding, although I do wish it could tuck away behind the lumbar pad like some climbing packs. It has two mesh pockets, one open and one with a zipper that’s large enough to store an iPhone or valuables.

The hip belt is sewn to the back of the pack but unpadded
The hip belt is sewn to the back of the pack but unpadded.

The shoulder pads are very lightly padded with daisy chains sewn down the front for hanging gear. There’s a hang loop and load lifters, with thumb loops so you can also pull your load forward.

The Hyper Tour 38 comes with a central hydration port located above the hang loop, the only point where water could penetrate the pack, which is otherwise thoroughly seam-taped. I’m not a big fan of hydration reservoirs, especially not in a watertight pack where the consequences of a leak are so drastic. But you may want one since there’s no other way to carry water unless you’re willing to lash bottles to the shoulder straps.

I think the Hyper Tour is larger than 38 liters - shown here with my hammock overnight and fly fishing gear
The Hyper Tour feels significantly larger than 38 liters – shown here with my spring hammock camping and fly fishing gear.

While the Hyper Tour is rated for 38 liters, if feels significantly larger based on the amount of gear I can pack into it. I checked with the manufacturer, and while they agree that it is larger, they couldn’t say by how much. I can get a streamlined overnight kit into it plus my fly fishing gear for a quick night at one of the more remote ponds I visit.

I’m not a runner, but it wouldn’t surprise me if people used the Hyper Tour for ultras, where the lack of hip belt padding is probably as asset and not a liability. Provided you carry a maximum of 20 pounds, the Hyper Tour 38 also makes a wonderful technical day pack or ultralight backpack.

Despite its simplicity, the Hyper Tour 38 carries wonderfully with a form fitting design that hugs your back and torso. The hip belt is rather short however, so you can forget about this pack unless you have a slight built. The span of the hip belt is just 24 inches, from one end of the mesh backed wings to the end of the other. (See How Should a Backpack Hip Belt Fit?) Montane is notorious for making clothes that are a full size to small for western consumers and the Hyper Tour hip belt is no exception. (The torso is sized 18′-21″)

It’s a shame then that the Montane Hyper Tour 38 is priced at an eye-watering $399, when there are so many other less expensive cuben fiber backpacks available today with comparable volumes and features. I’d give it a pass at that price or at least shop around for a more economic alternative.

If the design and simplicity of this pack interests you, Montane makes a similar roll top pack called the Ultra Tour 40 which is available is a much less expensive fabric.

For complete manufacturer specs, visit the Montane web site. 

Disclosure: Montane provided Philip Werner with a sample pack for this review. This post contains affiliate links. 

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8 comments

  1. How can they not know the volume of the backpack they manufacture?

    • That was a real head scratcher for me too. But Montane like so many other brands doesn’t make their own gear anymore. This pack was made in Vietnam (interior label) by an outsourced manufacturing firm, I would assume. (Note: this is the first instance of an off-shore quality CF pack that I’ve seen)

      Most outdoor companies these days (even some well known “cottage” manufacturers) send their Asian or Mexican manufacturing contractor a design spec and a bill of materials, and get back a container of products in return, with relatively little quality control over the final product. If you’ve wondered why I find so many products that don’t match their published specifications in terms or weights and measurements, that’s the core reason.

      I suspect this is the case with the pack reviewed here. Montane doesn’t know the volume because they don’t have the tools anymore to measure pack volume independently. They just have to trust their manufacturing partner. Luckily the error is in the customer’s favor in this case and you get a bigger pack for your money.

      • How many tools does it take to measure pack volume? Can’t you just fill it with packing peanuts, then dump them into a cardboard box, get out a ruler, and do some arithmetic?

        I just checked, and finding the volume of rectangular solids is 4th grade material.

  2. $399? There are so many things I would rather buy for that.

    • Retail is a bitch. So much easier to sell direct where you don’t gave to build in multi-tier markups. This is why cuben fiber will never be sold by manufacturers who rely on retail distribution unless Dyneema drops fabric pricing dramatically and tools up Asian contract manufacturers on production methods. Pretty high barrier, I’d say.

  3. How durable do you think this will be in the long run? How does the fabric compare to the Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs?

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