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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
Disclosure: Montane provided Philip Werner with a sample pack for this review.
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