UK hiking and outdoor gear specialist, Montane, is the latest company to join the DCF 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 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 ax/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 it 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 an 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 build. 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 too 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 $300 when there are so many other less expensive DCF 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.
Disclosure: Montane provided Philip Werner with a sample pack for this 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.
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.
$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.
How durable do you think this will be in the long run? How does the fabric compare to the Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs?
Very durable. Montane was not able to give me specifics about the fabric when I asked, but it’s probably very similar the HMGs except for color. They all buy it from the same CF supplier.
Bought one on eBay for a much lower price than retail and I have been very pleased with it. I take a 36 inch waist pant and I have been pleased so far with the hip belt too which fits OK.
Prices are coming down on this pack and its getting pretty tempting.
Do you recall how much it weighs without the pad?
“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”
Are you perhaps thinking of Mont Bell? Given that Montane is actually an English company and that Mont Bell uses Japanese sizes, which are a size down on US or Euro sizes?
Afraid not. I’ve had many conversations with Montane’s product designers about this. They say there’s a difference between fit preferences of UK customers and US customers who like baggier clothes.
Rab, Montane and Icebreaker: I have endured so much frustration with their sizing. There seems to be little rhyme or reason. American companies I have found to be very reliable and a across their lines a large is always a large and the fit actually allows movement. Black Diamond need to learn how to make hoods though in my opinion!
That way they explain it, it’s UK sizing. Which is different than US sizing because the people are smller and like tight fitting clothes. You have the same sizing problems with the Japanese brands like Montbell.
Bought a second hand hyper 38 few weeks ago for £130 (like new) haggled down from £200, loaded the bag up and walked 13miles along the Yorkshire dales (brantingham dales uk) found the pack to be very comfortable.
I,m not sure if cuben/dyneema is the best matarial for backpacks in the long term, defo can see CF tents/tarp shelters increasing & some of the larger manufacturers adding cf products to their portfolio.
Great effort by montain, my wife said it looks like an expensive Ikea bag ?
Love the dales.