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Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 NorthRim Backpack Overview

Hyperlite Mountain Gear NorthRim 3400 Backpack Review

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 NorthRim Backpack is an ultralight backpack made with an especially sturdy outer cloth referred to as Woven Dyneema that’s considerably extra abrasion resistant than the Dyneema Fiber/Polyester laminate used to make Hyperlite’s common ultralight backpacks. Whereas it’s priced at a premium, the NorthRim is certainly value upgrading to over Hyperlite’s different backpacks when you spend nearly all of your time climbing off-trail, you’re very onerous on backpacks, or simply need one that may final for quite a lot of years.

Specs at a Look

  • Weight: 34.4 oz
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Pockets: 5+ important
  • Shade: Any coloration so long as it’s white.
  • Kind: Body (body stays)
  • Hydration appropriate: No
  • Seam-taped: Sure
  • Bear Canister Compatibility: Vertical: BV500; Horizontal: BV475, BV450, BV425
  • Inner Quantity: 55L (3400 cubic inches)
  • Exterior Quantity: 9.8L (500 cubic inches)
  • Supplies: 150D Dyneema/Polyester Laminate (Predominant Physique) + 375D Woven Dyneema (Backside + Exterior Pockets)
  • Most Advisable Load: 40 lbs
  • For full specs, go to Hyperlite Mountain Gear

The Worth of Woven Dyneema

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear NorthRim 3400 is almost equivalent to each different 3400 cubic inch backpack the Hyperlite makes apart from the truth that the underside of the pack and the outside pockets are made with Woven Dyneema. Woven Dyneema is an order of magnitude extra sturdy than the Dyneema/Polyester laminate that Hyperlite makes use of on their inexpensive backpacks and is value paying a premium for if you’d like a pack that may survive heavy use in extremely abrasive terrain. (Observe: We evaluate Woven Dyneema and Extremely 400, a more recent sturdy woven cloth beneath.)

The high-wear portions of the NorthRim are woven dyneema. The rest of the pack is 150D Dyneema/Polyester laminate.
The high-wear parts of the NorthRim are Woven Dyneema. The remainder of the pack is 150D Dyneema/Polyester laminate.

Abrasion happens everytime you set your pack down on sandy floor or gravel; when your pack brushes towards canyon partitions and rock faces; otherwise you bushwhack off-trail the place the vegetation whacks again. Do it sufficient and the backpack cloth will get thinner and thinner till holes type and it turns into unsalvageable, regardless of how a lot duct tape, Tyvek tape, and Shoe Goo you utilize to patch it up. I’ve worn irreparable holes within the bottoms of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 2400 and SouthWest 3400 backpacks from abrasion, so I’ve first-hand expertise on this division.

However the Woven Dyneema on the outside of the Hyperlite North Rim 3400 is far more abrasion resistant than the Dyneema/Polyester laminate utilized in Hyperlite’s different backpacks as a result of it’s made by weaving collectively Dyneema fibers, that are stronger than metal, into material, relatively than gluing a small proportion of Dyneema Fibers to 50D or 150D Polyester, which is the fabric that Hyperlite makes use of of their different backpacks.

Closeup of Woven Dyneema (bottom) and Dyneema/Polyester laminate (top)
Closeup of Woven Dyneema (backside) and Dyneema/Polyester laminate (high)

Hyperlite’s NorthRim backpack is notable as a result of it’s arguably the primary off-the-shelf backpack that includes Woven Dyneema as a material. Whereas Cilogear and Alpine Luddites supply Woven Dyneema as a material choice on their packs, they primarily promote costlier, custom-made packs for climbers the place abrasion can also be a priority.

Backpack Storage and Group

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 NorthRim Backpack is specified by a conventional ultralight type with a big important compartment, facet water bottle pockets, and a big rear pocket. The principle compartment has a dry bag type closure system which offers wonderful high compression for stabilizing your load. The ends of the dry bag closure might be clipped collectively on high of the pack or secured to straps alongside the perimeters. When doing so, the unfastened straps might be clipped collectively on the entrance facet of the pack, offering a pleasant attachment level for cumbersome gear.

You have the option of buckling the roll top on top or along the sides.
You could have the choice of buckling the roll high on high or alongside the perimeters.

The highest of the roll high has a velcro stiffener to facilitate rolling and maintain the 2 sides collectively. Some folks discover the velcro stiffener to be a nuisance as a result of it catches on clothes. Over time and repeated rollings, the stitching, and materials holding the velcro degrades and throws off threads, although the whole failure of the roll high is unlikely.

The side pockets can hold up to 2 Smartwater bottles.
The facet pockets can maintain as much as 2 x one liter SmartWater bottles.

There are 5 exterior pockets on the NorthRim 3400 backpack, two facet water bottle pockets, a bigger entrance stretch pocket, and two hip belt pockets. All the pockets are made with Woven Dyneema. There’s no exterior mesh to dry damp gear. The massive entrance stretch pocket has a drain gap within the backside, however the facet pockets don’t. Water bottles saved within the facet pockets are additionally reachable and replaceable whereas carrying the pack, essential, however they generally tend to come out when bushwhacking or scrambling. The hip belt pockets, which have been enlarged by Hyperlite in recent times to make them helpful, have waterproof zippers and zipper pulls, a usability element left off of many ultralight backpacks.

Whereas the exterior pockets and the bottom of the pack are lined in Woven Dyneema, the inside pack bag is made with the 150D Dyneema/Polyester laminate that Hyperlite makes use of on their different backpacks. That’s advantageous as a result of all the excessive abrasion factors are lined with extra sturdy Woven Dyneema. The inside pack bag is seam-taped and it’s NOT hydration appropriate: there are not any hose ports and there’s no hydration sleeve, though there may be an inside webbing loop the place you might grasp an adjunct pocket or bladder from. This pack is advisable for packrafting and having hose ports can be a non-starter by way of maintaining the inside dry.

The Hip belt pockets are large enough to be useful
The hip belt pockets are massive sufficient to be helpful

After I pack the NorthRim, I put my sleeping bag stuffed in a dry sack on the backside of the pack after which stack my meals bag on high of it, stacking my tent or hammock and different heavy gadgets up the again panel as I’m going. I stuff lighter-weight insulating layers and clothes behind the heavier gadgets to carry them in place after which put my lightest gadgets within the extension collar (primarily clothes and private results). I then use the pack’s roll-top to compress the gadgets within the extension collar and shrink the quantity they require. This weight and quantity distribution offers the very best load management since heavy gadgets are situated close to my hips and there’s a direct switch of kinetic power from my core to gadgets situated simply above the small of my again.

Backpack Body and Suspension

The NorthRim has two frame stay pockets. Note the interior seam taping.
The NorthRim has two body keep pockets. Observe the inside seam taping.

Hyperlite makes use of a quite simple however efficient body system in all of its multi-day backpacks. The packs use body stays that are pre-bent aluminum rods housed in keep pockets contained in the pack behind the shoulder straps. They are often eliminated and bent to customise the pack on your dimensions, however they need to work for most individuals out of the field. The shoulder straps are sewn on to the inside pack bag simply above the body strays, which terminate behind the hip belt. The hip belt is sewn onto the backpack and never detachable, which is kind of efficient in bringing the pack near your hips for load switch.

Load lifters are notably absent on Hyperlite’s backpacks (See #13 on this interview with founder Mike St Pierre) as a result of correct again panel sizing obviates their necessity, in accordance with Hyperlite. I’ve used 4 Hyperlite backpacks and by no means missed load lifters as a result of the pack sits very near my again, stopping it from canting backways.

The hip belt is sewn onto the pack and not attached with velcro.
The hip belt is sewn onto the pack and never connected with velcro.

I attribute this to a few elements: torso size match, the attachment level of the shoulder straps, and the sewn-on hipbelt. Maybe it’s luck, however a dimension massive Hyperlite pack matches my torso completely, whereas the shoulder straps and hip belt place the pack very near my torso so the pack seems like an extension of my physique relatively than a hitchhiker. It’s not so good in sizzling and humid climate as a result of there’s no again air flow, however the match is out of this world.

The hip belt of the NorthRim is evenly padded with a stretch mesh which is what I favor for a great hip wrap, with a beefy entrance buckle for sturdiness. You don’t want a large hip belt for lighter-weight hundreds. A giant buckle can also be essential for winter backpacking since small hip belt buckles fill with snow and turn out to be inconceivable to shut. (It’s one of many the reason why UL backpacks make sucky winter packs.)

The shoulder straps have daisy chains so you can hang gear and pockets from them.
The shoulder straps have daisy chains so you’ll be able to grasp gear and pockets from them.

The shoulder straps even have gentle padding, with sewn-on daisy chains that make it straightforward so as to add accent pockets, like the enduring Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waterproof Shoulder Strap Pocket, water bottle sleeves, or a satellite tv for pc messenger to the straps. The sternum strap slides up and down the daisy chain webbing and is simple to reposition. However the shoulder straps are solely obtainable in a regular J-shape, in order that they’re much less fascinating for folks with breasts or sloping shoulders. The hip belt is equally “unisex” with out provision for feminine backpackers.

Backpack Compression and Attachment Factors

The NorthRim 3400 has two tiers of facet compression straps that can be utilized to connect gear to the surface of the pack. A backside compression strap runs horizontally exterior every water bottle pocket, whereas the higher strap is oriented at a diagonal to carry the load nearer to the wearer’s again for higher load-to-hip switch.

There’s no good way to carry trekking poles or to attach the shaft of an ice axe.
There’s no good approach to carry trekking poles or to connect the shaft of an ice axe.

In use, I decouple the underside compression strap over the water bottle pocket as a result of I discover it interferes with getting water bottles into the facet pockets after I’m carrying the pack. As an alternative, I route the webbing out of the way in which by way of further buckles on the again of the pack which can be utilized to connect extra gear, like snowshoes. HMG sells additional webbing straps for this objective as an add-on though there’s nothing stopping you from rigging up some wire and rope locks as a substitute.

Along with the roll high, which offers wonderful high compression, there’s a Y strap that runs from the entrance of the pack (between the shoulders), over the roll high and attaches to the again of the pack. This strap is nice for securing cumbersome gadgets like a foam pad, rope, or tent physique to the highest of the pack. Nevertheless, when bushwhacking, I like to recommend maintaining this stuff contained in the pack as a substitute of on the outside lest they get caught on vegetation or shredded.

It’s really nice to have a VERY water-resistant backpack if you spend a lot of time in the water.
It’s very nice to have a VERY water resistant backpack when you spend a variety of time within the water.


The Hyperlite Mountain Gear NorthRim 3400 Backpack is a extremely sturdy pack designed for off-trail, cross-country adventures that may rip most ultralight-style backpacks to shreds. In case you’re tough on backpacks, however nonetheless need one that’s light-weight and extremely water resistant, the NorthRim 3400 is a good choice.

Equally, at residence on the path in addition to off, the NorthRim 3400 Backpack has the additional quantity required for longer or extra technical journeys when that you must carry additional gear or clothes. I primarily use mine for bushwhacking and climbing up wilderness rivers on multi-day Tenkara fly fishing journeys, that are moist scrambles alongside boulder-strewn river banks in quest of wild brook trout. I discover the abrasion and water resistance of the NorthRim to be an actual plus on these journeys as a result of I can drop my pack with out worrying about ripping it up or soaking the contents.

Woven Dyneema vs Extremely 400

In case you’re searching for a sturdy ultralight backpack, you’ve in all probability come throughout a brand new backpack cloth referred to as Extremely, which most of the cottage backpack producers have began making backpacks with. Extremely 400 (denier) is a water-proof materials equal to Woven Dyneema by way of abrasion resistance that will also be seam taped to make backpacks extremely water-resistant. Packs made with it are additionally barely inexpensive than the Hyperlite North Rim.

Within the mid to long run, Extremely is anticipated to displace Woven Dyneema as the popular cloth for making extremely sturdy ultralight backpacks. Attributable to upstream acquisition exercise, the availability of Woven Dyneema is anticipated to dry up and I’ve heard rumblings from inside Hyperlite that they might finally substitute their use of Woven Dyneema with Extremely. Whether or not they undertake the usage of Extremely materials throughout all of their backpacks stays to be seen. They might haven’t any various. Be suggested, that the present formulation of Extremely offered as we speak isn’t a slam dunk, both. I hear a brand new formulation is within the works to handle shortcomings within the waterproof membrane in use as we speak.

In any occasion, I nonetheless count on Woven Dyneema to vanish. If you wish to purchase a collector’s merchandise just like the all-Spectra Kelty Cloud backpack, now’s your likelihood. (Spectra was a precursor to Woven Dyneema). Within the meantime, many different ultralight backpack makers supply new packs made with the Extremely 400 cloth, together with Zpacks, ULA, LiteAF, Search Exterior, Superior Wilderness Designs, and Mountain Laurel Designs.

Disclosure: Hyperlite Mountain Gear donated a backpack for this assessment.

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