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Hyperlite Mountain Gear Elevate 22 Daypack Review

Elevate 22 Daypack Review

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Elevate 22 Daypack is a downsized frameless version of the company’s multi-day Dyneema DCF roll-top backpacks. It has some external storage including a front stretch mesh pocket and two side water bottle pockets, but they’re on the small side making it difficult to keep frequently used items easily accessible or secure without opening the roll top. While the Elevate is made with waterproof Dyneema, the interior seams are not seam-taped, so you’ll want to line it with a plastic bag or waterproof pack liner. Frankly, we’re a bit disappointed with the Elevate 22 as a daypack and like Hyperlite’s Daybreak 17 Daypack a lot better because it provides much better organization and easier access to your gear for day hiking, everyday use, and travel.

RELATED: 10 Best Hiking Daypacks

Specs at a Glance

  • Gender: Unisex
  • Volume: 22L
  • Closure: Roll top
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs | 17.9 oz | 507g
  • Color: White
  • Pockets: 3 (all open and external)
  • Hydration Ready: Yes
  • Hip-belt pockets: No
  • Max Recommended Load: 25 lbs
  • Materials: Dyneema DCF, Dyneema Stretch Mesh, Nylon Grid
  • Seam-taped: No

Backpack Storage

The extra long extension collar is difficult to manage when the pack is just loaded for day hikes.
The extra long extension collar is difficult to manage when the pack is just loaded for day hikes.

A daypack isn’t just a miniaturized multi-day backpack but is designed for a number of different functions ranging from hiking or cycling to everyday use and travel. It’s usually hydration compatible and has numerous pockets on the exterior and hipbelt pockets so you can organize your gear and remove or stow it quickly and securely whenever you want to use something or put it away for safekeeping.

For that reason, most backpack manufacturers make daypacks that have clamshell openings or provide panel access to internal pockets, come with hipbelt pockets, or a top lid pocket to make it easier to find and retrieve items. They’re not roll-tops, like the Elevate 22, which is a hassle to use for day hiking because it takes so much extra time and effort to take off the pack unroll the top, unpack it, find your item, repack the pack, and reroll the top before you can be on your way. This is made worse by the fact that the Elevate has a very long extension collar that creates a lot of extra material that is hard to manage each time you open or close the pack.

The Elevate 22 has a very long extension collar
The Elevate 22 has a very long extension collar that creates a lot of extra bulk and extra material.

This wouldn’t be as much of a big deal if the Elevate 22 had large external pockets or hip belt pockets to stuff frequently needed gear. But it doesn’t. Moreover, the front mesh pocket is so small, I can only get a small bottle of Picaridin, a tube of suntan lotion, a screw-on water filter, and an empty platypus into it before it’s full.

The side water bottle pockets are a bit better and are reachable when the pack is worn. They have an elastic cord/cordlock combination on top to help snug a single bottle in place, with side compression straps above them to secure taller items. The interior of the pack has a hang loop for suspending a hydration reservoir but no pocket, although there are two side hose ports and elastic hose keeper straps on the shoulder straps.

Side compression straps help hold taller items close to the pack body.
Side compression straps help hold taller items close to the pack body.

Backpack Suspension

The Elevate 22 is a frameless backpack which means the weight is entirely on your shoulders because the hipbelt is non-supportive. The back panel behind the shoulder straps is padded with foam, and sewn into the pack. The shoulder straps are S-shaped, so they’ll be more comfortable for women, with daisy chains sewn along the front making it easier to attach accessory pockets, including Hyperlite’s wildly popular waterproof shoulder strap pocket. 

Daisy chains on the shoulder straps make it easy to add an accessory pocket. But that same functionality is not available on the hip belt.
Daisy chains on the shoulder straps make it easy to add an accessory pocket. But that same functionality is not available on the hip belt.

The hipbelt is also removable, being held in place by velcro. It has a pull-forward tightening mechanism making it easy to get a secure fit. It’s very lightly padded with foam, but runs short, like many of the hip belts on Osprey daypacks that cover the back of the hip bones but don’t loop around to the front. I used a large-sized Elevate 22 for testing and was surprised at how short the hipbelt was compared to the other half-dozen backpacking Hyperlite packs I’ve used in the past which fit me well. Hyperlite does not publish hip belt lengths for the Elevate.

That said a hip belt is not strictly necessary on a pack of this volume, especially since it’s frameless and not load-bearing. Its main function is to hold the pack bag close to your torso when running or scrambling.

The top and side. compression straps have metal buckles.
The top and side. compression straps have metal buckles.

Attachment Points/Compression Straps

The Elevate 22 has three straps: a top strap that loops over the roll-top closure and two side compression straps with metal buckles that attach to webbing loops sewn into the pack seams. Both can be used for compression and to strap bulky or tall items to the pack, like a foam pad.

There are also daisy chains sewn along the sides of the front pocket that mainly serve as anchors for a stretch cord that can be used to attach a pad or jacket to the pack. I find the stretch cord gets caught in vegetation so I usually remove it if I plan to hike off-trail. The daisy chains also have an elastic ice axe shaft holder that complements the ice axe loop sewn to the base of the pack.

Recommended Daypacks

Men's ModelSizingWomen's Model
Osprey Talon 22Adjustable TorsoOsprey Tempest 20
REI Flash 18Fixed LengthREI Flash 18
TNF Borealis 28Fixed LengthTNF Borealis 27
Osprey Stratos 24Adjustable TorsoOsprey Sirrus 24
Deuter Speed Lite 21Fixed LengthDeuter Speed Lite 21
REI Trail 25Fixed LengthREI Trail 25
Gregory Zulu 30Adjustable TorsoGregory Jade 28
Gregory Nano 22 H2O PackFixed LengthGregory Nano 22 H2O Pack
Deuter Trail 30Fixed LengthDeuter Trail 28 SL
Mystery Ranch Scree 33Adjustable TorsoMystery Ranch Scree 33


The Hyperlite Elevate 22 is a Dyneema DCF daypack that’s a miniaturized version of Hyperlite’s multi-day roll-top backpacks. It has one large main compartment, and small external pockets, with no closed pockets to organize smaller items or essentials. Being a roll top, we find it awkward and slow to use for day hiking because it takes so long to open and find items and repack when day hiking, for everyday use, or travel. We far prefer the Hyperlite Daybreak 17 Backpack (total volume of 23L) for this purpose, with its clamshell zippered top opening and its much better organizational capabilities (see our review). If you still want a rolltop pack for day hiking our recommendation would be to use a Hyperlite Southwest 40 Backpack which has a much larger front pocket, larger side bottle pockets, and fully functional hip belt pockets. I used the Southwest for years this way and it’s well-suited for extended day hikes and overnight trips.

Disclosure: HMG donated a backpack for review.

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  1. How much testing did you do for this review? Would be great if you added this info to future reviews, cheers

  2. Thanks for this review.
    Was looking at this heavily.
    I have written and asked why no belt pockets, but no answer.

    I do have a question on you recommendation.
    Wouldn’t an Unbound 40 be a better choice over the Southwest 40?
    I currently am using the Unbound, and was looking to go to the Elevate 22,
    but the side pocket size and the lack of hip bely pockets kept me from doing so.


    • I wasn’t personally blown away by the unbound. I reviewed it and found that the hip belt kept slipping. Hmg clained it was a mfg error. That was never an issue with the southwest, YMMV.

  3. I have both the Daybreak (now my partner’s) and the Elevate and much prefer the Elevate. The roll top design allows easy packing of small through bulky items and, unlike the reviewer, I don’t have any problems getting it packed and unpacked with acceptable speed. The major problem with the Elevate is the lack of seam taping, which means that the pack isn’t waterproof like the Unbound 40 or 55, HMG’s two new thru-hiking packs. Thus, when there is rain in the offing or when sweating is likely to be a problem, I use the Unbound 40 as a daypack and it works just fine. Otherwise, the Elevate is incredibly comfortable, provides a very stable ride, transfers the weight from shoulder’s to hips fluidly, depending on how you adjust the hip belt and shoulder straps, and has plenty of external storage for day hiking, viz. two smart water bottles fit find in each of the side pockets. Don’t take the review as the last work–check it out for yourself…

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