The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35 is a Dyneema DCF daypack designed for rugged adventure hiking, peak bagging, and backpacking with very low-volume ultralight loads. The Waypoint is a classically designed roll-top backpack with a stretch mesh front pocket, side water bottle pockets, hip belt pockets, and a pair of pockets on the shoulder straps for holding small water bottles, electronics, or snacks. Made with waterproof fabric and seam-taped, the Waypoint 35 has a single aluminum frame-stay and optionally removable hip belt, capable of carrying loads up to 30 pounds with ease.
Specs at a glance
- Weight: 24.8 oz (703g) – size large
- Removable hipbelt weight: 4.8 oz (136g) – size large
- Gender: Men’s
- Internal Volume: 35 Liters
- External Volume: 6.5 Liters
- Pockets: Main + 7
- Load lifters: No
- Hip belt Pockets: Yes
- Hydration system compatible: No
- Ice Axe Loop: Yes
- Colors: White or Black
- Materials: Dyneema DCF, 100D Dyneema Gridstop, Dyeema Stretch Mesh
- Maximum recommended load: 40 lbs (we think it’s closer to 30 lbs)
- Bear Canister Compatibility: BV425 and BV450 (horizontal), BV475 and BV500 (vertical)
Backpack Pockets and Storage
The Waypoint 35 is a waterproof Dyneema DCF rolltop-style daypack with 35 liters of space making it good for all-day adventures, particularly those that require extra clothing layers, food, or extra gear like winter traction aids or climbing gear. It’s made with Dyneema DCF, which is waterproof Dyneema fabric encased in polyester for improved abrasion and sunlight resistance. The interior is seam-taped so rain won’t leak through the seams unlike backpacks made with conventional materials like Robic or Cordura (nylon.)
The main compartment has 35L of capacity, including the portion above the shoulder straps, which is usually called an “extension collar.” Most mainstream backpack makers don’t include this part of the backpack when they cite interior volume and only count the space up to the top of the frame. It’s important to be aware of this on the Waypoint because it’s a very narrow pack that’s only 10″ wide at the base with more of its storage space in the upper half of the pack bag. This isn’t necessarily bad as long as you pack heavier items lower down to prevent the pack from becoming too top-heavy, which can throw you off balance. But the narrow width of the pack gives the Waypoint the nimble character of a climbing/ski pack, making it quite agile to carry.
As a roll-top backpack, you can roll up the unused material in the extension collar if you don’t need the extra space or you want to compress the pack’s contents from the top down. The top of the pack bag has a stiffener inserted to make it easier to roll, but there’s no velcro to seal the edges, which Hyperlite previously used on their larger volume backpacks and had a tendency to fray with heavy use. The two ends of the dry bag style top can be clipped to themselves on the top of the pack or to straps along the sides. If not needed, the buckles on those side straps can connect to one another over the front mesh pocket, which is handy for carrying gear like snowshoes in winter. (see below)
The interior of the main compartment does not have a hydration pocket or a hook to hang a reservoir or hydration ports to run a hose system through, so you’ll probably want to carry your water in open packets on the outside of the pack. There is an interior pocket that holds a pre-curved aluminum frame stay which is removable but it is too narrow and small to hold much else.
The pack’s exterior has a modest front stretch mesh pocket made with durable Dyneema stretch mesh that’s good for storing loose layers or a wet water filter. It has a clip at the top to prevent items from falling out and drainage ports in the bottom corners. (It’s not big enough to slide the bottom of snowshoes into).
The pack has two open side pockets that are good for holding water bottles. They are angled on top to make it easier to pull out bottles or replace them while you’re walking and have an elastic cinch cord running along the top to secure items inside. The pockets also have drain holes in the corners.
The shoulder straps come with sewn-on Dyneema mesh pockets. These can be used to hold small water bottles, electronics, sunglasses, or snacks. I use one to tuck away my iReach Mini2 so it’s not dangling from a shoulder strap.
Finally, the hipbelt also comes with solid exterior pockets. These are solid-faced for durability and have waterproof zippers on top. They’re a decent size for holding small electronics and snacks – not huge – but acceptable.
Backpack Frame and Suspension
The Waypoint 35 has a single, pre-shaped aluminum frame stay that runs down the middle of the interior compartment. The frame stay terminates behind the lumbar pad which holds the removable hipbelt in place, so you get a decent amount of load transfer from it. You also don’t feel the frame stay when wearing the pack because the pack’s back, behind the shoulder straps, is lightly padded. Hyperlite rates the max recommended load of the Waypoint at 40 lbs which seems a bit generous to us but I suppose it’s possible if you are willing to suck it up. We think the max “comfortable” load is closer to 30 lbs.
The hipbelt is optionally removable on the Waypoint. It’s also available in multiple sizes so you can get a good fit. Hyperlite doesn’t have a size chart on the Waypoint product page for hipbelt sizing because it’s buried in an FAQ, but here’s what you want to know.
Waypoint 35 Hipbelt Waist Sizing
- Small: 26.5” – 49”
- Medium: 27.5” – 50”
- Large: 29.5” – 52”
- Tall: 29.5” – 52”
The shoulder straps and the hip belt on the Waypoint are not curved or flared in any way to accommodate women’s dimensions. More and more manufacturers are moving to make truly unisex backpacks with S-shaped shoulder straps, including ultralight gear manufacturers, so it’s a little surprising that the Waypoint 35 is only designed for men and not obviously gender independent.
The pack is only available in a white or a black color. While the exterior of the white pack does get dirtier faster, it’s easier to find things inside because the interior is white and not black. On Hyperlite’s larger backpacks, also available in white or black, the black fabric is significantly more durable than the white fabric, but the two are equivalent on the Waypoint 35.
External Attachment Point and Compression
Many daypacks have one tier of compression straps and not two, as is commonly found on higher-volume backpacks. That’s the case with the Waypoint which has one side-compression “cord” above the side bottle pockets to help shrink the pack’s volume or secure items to the side of the backpack. I’m not a fan of the use of cords for side compression and much prefer the use of webbing straps with glove-compatible buckles when attaching bulky objects to the outside of the backpack, if only for the simple fact that they don’t freeze in snow or freezing temperatures.
But Hyperlite has done something unique in designing the cord-based attachment and compression system. First off, they’ve added 6 small webbing loops around the perimeter of the front Dyneema stretch mesh pocket so you can attach gear to the outside of the backpack using static or elastic cord. Lots of other vendors do this too.
The Waypoint’s single side-compression “cord” is tied at one end to the top webbing loop and at the other end to a buckle that has two functions: it’s a line loc tensioner at one end and a buckle you can squeeze open at the other. Unfortunately, the buckle end can only be attached to one point along the front corner of the pack and not multiple points.
The cord that ships with the pack isn’t long enough to secure anything very large, like a foam pad to the side of the pack or snowshoes, but it is easily replaced. Still, it’s perfectly suitable for securing thinner objects like a Smartwater bottle with a Sawyer water filter attached, a Tenkara fishing rod, or trekking poles, provided they rest inside the side pockets. The buckle just makes it easier to remove longer items from under the cord.
The pack comes with a top Y-strap which can be used to strap bulky gear to the top of the Waypoint like a folding foam pad. It can also be used to secure larger items like snowshoes to the front of the pack in conjunction with the webbing straps used to hold down the ends of the rolltop if they’re threaded around the pack’s front.
The Hyperlite Moutain Gear Waypoint 35 is positioned as a daypack, but as you can see above it can easily be used for winter hiking and even ultralight backpacking with small compact loads. It’s a waterproof backpack that’s seam-taped and made with Dyneema DCF fabric which can take a lot of abuse when hiking both on or off trail. While it is a surprisingly narrow pack, I’ve found that makes it quite nimble and responsive to carry. With 7 pockets, including two on the shoulder straps, it’s loaded with features that make it convenient and a lot of fun to use. If you’re looking for a hardy backpack in the 30L-40L range, it’s definitely a contender and worth a serious look.
Disclosure: HMG donated a backpack for review.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.