Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack Review

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Backpack Review

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak daypack is a 17L backpack made with two layers of black Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF), a waterproof laminate that makes the Daybreak lightweight, durable, and highly water-resistant. The Daybreak is laid out very much like HMG’s overnight backpacks with two side water bottle pockets and a rear stretch pocket. However, it has a U-shaped clam-shell opening with a brightly colored orange interior, which is faster to open and close than a roll top on a lower volume daypack. You do open and close a daypack more frequently than an overnight backpack and having the clam-shell design really does make it much faster to access or put away gear.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

Comfort
Weight
Suspension
Features
Adjustability
Sizing
Durability

Excellent

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak daypack is a 17L backpack made with two layers of black Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF), a waterproof laminate that makes the Daybreak lightweight, durable, and highly water resistant.

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Specs at a Glance

  • Weight: 19.0 oz | 539g
  • Materials:
    • External: 150D Dyneema®/Poly Hybrid
    • Internal: 150D Dyneema®/Poly Hybrid | 210D Nylon
  • Volume: Internal: 1040 cu. in. (17L)
  • Dimensions:
    • Height: 21” (53.3cm)
    • Bottom Width: 11” (27.9cm)
    • Depth: 6.5″ (16.5cm)
  • Click for complete specs and sizing at Hyperlite Mountain Gear

If you already own a Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpack, you’ll have no problems acclimatizing to the fit and form of the Daybreak backpack, which has the same shoulder pads used on HMG’s other backpacks, including daisy chains for attaching navigation tools and other accessories. If you’re a day hiker but don’t want to carry one of HMG’s larger overnight backpacks, then the Daybreak is a fully featured day hiking pack which will let you experience the benefits of owning a daypack made from Dyneema Composite Fabric, chiefly durability and water resistance.

The Daybreak backpack has daisy chains on the shoulder straps which are gear for securing a camera or navigation instruments
The Daybreak daypack has daisy chains on the shoulder straps which are great for securing a camera pocket or attaching navigation instruments.

At 17L, the Daybreak is about 40% of the volume of Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s 2400 series backpacking packs. Still that’s plenty of room to carry the extra clothing, food, and water you’d need for a long dayhike or a winter hike when you need to carry extra traction aids like microspikes or crampons.

Most of the pack’s storage volume is in the main compartment, which is large enough to stuff the “10 essentials”, including a puffy down jacket, hat and gloves, a rain jacket and rain pants, headlamp, first-aid kit, a small fire starting kit, swiss army knife, map and compass, plus snacks and a lunch. There’s an internal hydration pocket which can hold a water reservoir and an internal stash pocket that’s large enough to hold your cell phone, wallet and keys. The side pockets easily fit 1 liter water bottles, which are easy to reach, pull out, and replace when wearing the pack.

The Daybreak has a large clam-shell opening that opens wide for easy access to gear, with a water-resistant zipper to keep out moisture
The Daybreak has a large clam-shell opening that opens wide for easy access to gear, with a water-resistant zipper to keep out moisture.

The hip belt has lightly padded side wings, but isn’t meant to be load bearing as much to keep the pack close to your back. Although the stiffness of the double layer DCF fabric and the foam back panel provide a hint of stiffness and load transfer when the hip belt is worn. When it’s not needed, the hip belt stuffs into a hidden pocket behind your waist.

The rear stuff pocket has drain holes, so you can carry wet gear or a dripping wet water filter. The stuff pocket is hard-faced, not mesh, so it can stand up to bushwhacking without being torn to shreds if you take the Daybreak daypack off-trail. It’s also large enough to store microspikes or a crampon case, although I’d recommend keeping your crampon points covered to avoid poking through the pocket.

The hipbelt has lightly padded wings but is mostly a wide webbing strap. It's not removable, but tucks away behind the back panel when not needed. This is useful if you want to use the pack while wearing a climbing harness.
The hipbelt has lightly padded wings but is mostly a wide webbing strap. It’s not removable, but tucks away behind the back panel when not needed. This is useful if you want to use the pack while wearing a climbing harness.

There are six attachment points on the back of the pack that have an elastic cord strung through them, so you can lash gear like an emergency foam pad to the outside of the pack, although in a pinch the Daybreak’s foam back panel can serve as an insulating sit pad. Finally, there’s an ice axe loop and a shaft holder on the back of the pack to carry a walking axe.

None of these features are really earth shattering, when it comes right down to it, although they do make the Daybreak a bomber tough and functional pack that’s great for more technical day hikes, scrambling, and off-trail bushwhacking. If there’s one gotcha with the Daybreak Daypack, it’s the price, which is $225. That’s a lot of coin for a 17 liter daypack, even if it is made with Dyneema Composite Fabrics.

Disclosure: Hyperlite Mountain Gear provided the author with a sample backpack for this review.

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4 comments

  1. was this a keeper as a daypack or did you send it back? Does it compare to the ula photon or not a fair comparison? Many thanks and happy holiday!

    • It’s a great daypack. I mostly use it for travel or for fishing. The photon has a much softer, less rigid back. It’s really hard to compare the two.

      • Thanks Philip.

        I was looking for a long day trail pack. I thought the hmg would be too small and was leaning towards the Photon.

        I haven’t done an overnight trip in years but do have time for a sun up to sun down hike. I mostly hike in the Catskills if terrain makes a difference.

  2. I own the Hyperlite 2400 Southwest, and the ULA Photon. My wife used the Hyperlite Daybreak and loves it.

    My Photon weighs 20 oz with no waist belt and the internal bladder pocket and hand straps removed. The Daybreak is almost the same.

    Truth be told, I borrow the Daybreak regularly as it is much more water proof than the Photon. I find both very comfortable and capable, but I give the Daybreak a little bit of a better grade due to the clamshell opening and waterproofing. I find the daybreak to have more volume than claimed 17L.

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