Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest: A Backpack that Marries Volume, Versatility and Vitality

Rugged, Versatile, Waterproof Adventure Backpack

For those who tread where paths aren't paved, who find their peace in the wilderness where the wild things are, and who dare to push beyond the boundaries of their comfort zones, I introduce to you a loyal, relentless companion: The Southwest Backpack from Hyperlite Mountain Gear.

The Southwest Backpack isn't just an accessory, it's a piece of equipment, crafted for the fearless adventurers who carve their own trails through rugged, dense, and often relentless landscapes. It comes in three variants – the 2400, 3400, and 4400, each named for their internal volume in cubic inches, designed to cater to the adventurer's varying needs. For swift excursions spanning a couple of days, the 2400 is your best bet. If you're venturing into the great unknown for more extended periods or have a penchant for gear-heavy quests, the 3400 or 4400 would be the better choice.

The pack, available in white or black, is constructed with an exceptionally durable fabric – DCH 50 for the white version and a robust DCH 150 for the black version, used specifically for reinforcements on the rand, lumbar, and bottom panel. I cannot emphasize enough its excellent weather resistance – it's practically waterproof and designed to hold up to the most demanding environments, ensuring your gear stays dry and protected.

Not just durable, this pack is also incredibly practical. The external Hardline pockets with Dyneema offer ample space for hydration, snacks, and rain gear, and an added shock cord system for lashing additional equipment. You'll also find a large central pocket that is easy to access even while on the move, alongside two angled side water bottle pockets.

To add more versatility, it features an Ice Axe Loop, a Grab Loop, and adjustable sternum strap with a whistle. A unique y-strap system on top is excellent for securing anything big – sleeping pads, bear cans – anything that wouldn't otherwise fit inside. Plus, the padded lumbar panel, shoulder straps with Daisy chains, and zippered hip belt pockets make for comfortable and balanced carrying, even in challenging terrains.

The Southwest Backpack has an internal hydration pocket, catering to your hydration needs either inside the pack or externally using the side pockets. And should you need to cinch down your load for a more compact profile, the side compression straps connecting to the roll-top make that a breeze.

One might imagine a pack this robust would weigh you down, but that's the beauty of the Southwest. The 2400, for instance, weighs a mere 1.9 lbs for the white version, 2.0 lbs for the black one, offering a load capacity of up to 40 lbs. The same capacity extends to the 3400, which weighs in at 2.0 lbs for the white variant, and 2.2 lbs for the black, while the 4400, with its ability to handle a remarkable 60 lbs, weighs just 2.4 lbs. The intelligent design of these packs means your back isn't overburdened, no matter how much you're carrying.

It's a pack that seems to anticipate your every need – something I believe is a hallmark of good design. You can't buy experience, but with the Southwest Backpack, you've got a trusty companion that's been designed from the ground up to handle just about anything you might encounter in the wild. It's not just a backpack; it's a ticket to adventure, promising reliability and resilience in every stitch.

That's what the Southwest Backpack from Hyperlite Mountain Gear is about – an ally you can count on, as it wears its scars with pride and carries your burdens with ease. It's built not just to travel with you, but to be a part of your journey, every step of the way. Whether you're shimmying through a narrow pass or ascending a daunting slope, the Southwest has got your back, literally and metaphorically. It's more than just a piece of gear – it's a testament to the spirit of the wild, the resolve of the journey, and the audacity of adventure.


  1. Durability: Crafted with robust DCH 50 or DCH 150 fabric, it promises excellent longevity and protection against rough environments.
  2. Weather Resistance: The backpack is almost entirely waterproof, safeguarding your gear from weather extremities.
  3. Multiple Volume Options: With the 2400, 3400, and 4400 variants, it offers different capacities to suit varying adventure needs.
  4. Well-Designed Storage: The backpack features multiple external pockets for easy access to essentials. The shock cord system allows for additional gear lashing.
  5. Comfort: Padded lumbar panel and shoulder straps with Daisy chains make for comfortable carrying, even in challenging terrains.
  6. Versatility: The pack features an Ice Axe Loop, a Grab Loop, and adjustable sternum strap with a whistle for different situations.
  7. Lightweight: Despite its robust construction, the backpack is surprisingly lightweight, with the heaviest variant (4400) weighing only 2.4 lbs.
  8. High Load Capacity: Depending on the variant, it can carry a load of up to 40-60 lbs.


  1. Cost: The backpack is quite expensive, with prices ranging from $349 for the 2400 to $425 for the 4400.
  2. Limited Color Options: The backpack is available only in white or black. This may limit options for those who prefer more colorful gear.
  3. Complex Adjustments: Some users might find the multiple adjustment features (Y-strap system, side compression straps) a bit overwhelming or complicated to utilize.
  4. Abrasion Resistance: While durable, the white version (made from DCH 50 fabric) may not be as resistant to abrasion as the black version (made from DCH 150 fabric).
  5. Size: The size of the backpack, particularly the larger 4400 model, might be too big for shorter trips or smaller individuals.
  6. Lack of Internal Organization: While the backpack has numerous external pockets, there aren't many internal pockets or compartments for organizing gear.
  7. No Included Rain Cover: Despite being highly water-resistant, the backpack doesn't come with a dedicated rain cover for heavy downpours.

From $349

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