Gear Review: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider Weekend Pack

If you travel light and fast, this is your weekend pack.

[best ultralight]

After cruising up to 24 miles per day on his 200-mile AT section hike, our tester proclaimed, “This is an excellent choice for a purist UL hiker who wants enhanced durability and weatherproofing.” Credit the use of a nylon ripstop/Cuben Fiber packbag that’s so tough, he says, “aside from a few dirt scuffs, you can’t detect any signs of wear, even at the seams.”

The material is also waterproof—seams are sealed, and a roll-top closure ensures that no moisture penetrates from above. And the minimalist ultralight design includes two thin, foam-covered aluminum stays for support. That, combined with the quarter-inch-thick foam shoulder straps and hipbelt, makes carrying comfort better than average for this rarified weight class. Even so, our tester found the manufacturer’s 35-pound load limit optimistic. “Thirty pounds is the max I could comfortably carry, but really, hikers who buy this pack shouldn’t be packing more than that anyway.”

Minor gripe: The internal hydration sleeve is too small for the 100-ounce reservoirs that most of our crew likes to carry. $255; 1 lb. 9 oz.; 40 liters