Main page »Packs» ‘Essentialism’ 101: Ultra-light packaging principles from Hyperlite Mountain Gear
Ultralight backpacking is an optimized approach to cover a lot of terrain as efficiently as possible. We viewed Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s lightweight, trail-tested gear as a window into the broader “essentialism” approach to hiking.
The word “microlight” describes the basic principle of equipment where less is more. Ultimately, it comes down to simplicity and service: The best ultra-light transmission works in several ways. Another word for it is “essentialism,” a rationale that can be applied to the way you pack and travel.
As the Hyperlite Mountain Gear website explains: “Essentialism is not about foregoing, creating an unnecessary challenge for dramatic effects or pursuing a half-tense right to boast. It’s about getting rid of the overbuilt, redundant, and brightly shiny object that shimmers on social media posts and on store clearance shelves. “
Essentialism pays off more when you travel with others. For example, one person can carry a tent while another person carries food. Ironically, once you’ve taken an efficient approach, the door opens to transporting other gear for bigger adventures like a packraft.
Discover the ultra-light backpacks from Hyperlite Mountain Gear
The mindset of the essential naturally overlaps with the need for product quality. If you pack in the least amount you can comfortably, it has to work and it has to last.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear addresses this mindset. Indeed, our review is climbing oriented Prism Alpine Package called it “about as perfect as a pack can be.”
This article describes some ultralight principles to help you better understand the benefits – and how to decide what tradeoffs to make to keep you comfortable on your travels.
‘Essentialism’ ultra-light packaging
Don’t skimp on room and board
You will need a tent or shelter, sleeping bag, and backpack to carry them. Then you will need groceries, a change of clothes, repair supplies and a first aid kit. Everything else is a luxury in relative terms, but don’t fret about indulging in something that offers safety or comfort.
The idea might be to push you out of your comfort zone a little, but not to make your hike worrying or miserable.
Organization: Build your system
Hyperlite Mountain Gear takes a systems approach to its packs and contents. Equipment is tested before your multi-day backpacking trip, so you have more time to focus on the hike and the surroundings.
The brand’s gear is a very conscious approach to backpacking with a system of high quality, lightweight gear that is efficient yet provides comfort while keeping clothes and groceries dry.
Part of a successful system is a clear organization. That’s where Packsacks and pods play a major role. Accessories keep things like clothing, groceries, and supplies that you hope you don’t need but need to wear in departments.
You often unpack and repack your bag on a backpacking trip. Well worth considering how to sort your gear before hitting the trail. Therefore H.Yperlite Mountain Gear backpacks use waterproof Dyneema fabrics.
However, the construction can allow water near seams. Therefore, Hyperlite Mountain Gear suggests using weatherproof dry bags to increase the dryness of food and clothing.
Other items such as snacks, an extra layer or sunscreen are outside the bag. It’s about keeping the things you need within easy reach and keeping the rest of your storage safely, securely and conveniently in your pocket.
Food is equipment
More equipment stressing you means more energy expended, requiring more food to replace, and therefore more weight. So there is a balancing act in refueling for the trail that takes experience to learn – not just in terms of how much to carry, but how much you burn on hard days.
Think of your food as a return on investment. It should be high in calories and taste good enough that you will want to eat it all.
Dried foods like oatmeal or ramen noodles, which can be hydrated into a proper meal, are favorites for this reason. You can camp near water and make a filling meal at home with the taste and texture of a meal.
Meanwhile, comfort foods can give you a mental boost after a hard day on the trails. And fritos. Don’t underestimate the calorie content and crunch of corn chips. They can save a mediocre meal – and serve as Great fire starters in a pinch, also.
Camp meals will likely rest somewhere in the middle of your backpack so they don’t get crushed by heavier gear. Like your trail snacks, they don’t have to be readily available either.
To stay organized and make unpacking easier, you can keep this food together in its own wrapper. (If you are in bear country, a Canisters can be the way to go Here.)
A package ready for the challenge
The three main ultra-light trail backpacks from Hyperlite Mountain Gear are specially made from robust, lightweight materials. Hyperlite Mountain Gear uses Dyneema composite hybrid fabrics as the backing for lightweight polyester outer fabrics (50 denier on models 2400 and 3400).
This construction is designed to withstand abrasion and add strength and ripstop properties. The straps are made from a polyethylene fiber woven into the nylon base for extra tensile strength.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest
The 3400 southwest is big enough for hikes and can be rolled down for shorter excursions. Its name reflects the intent behind its reinforcements for rugged and narrow paths, such as sliding between canyon walls or over rocky obstacles.
The versatile size makes it a great starter for hikers on longer missions of 5 to 7 days. It has a 55L capacity and weighs 1.98 pounds.
Once you’ve set your ultra-light essentialism, you can upgrade to a smaller package. The Model 2400 Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpacks are designed for short weekend or long distance hikes where extra food is fairly accessible.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Windrider, crossing
The 2400 wind riders is the original Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpack. It aims at classic trekking in damp and wooded environments like the Appalachian Trail. It has a 40L capacity inside, a 9.8L outside capacity and a weight of 1.87 pounds.
The 2400 intersection shares the volume specifications and weighs just a touch more. It was designed with the different environments of the PCT in mind, but it works differently everywhere.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 2400 (left) and Junction 2400 (right) packs
Check out all of Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s backpacks, organizational accessories, and shelters to see what else is out there. Not just as equipment, but as a system approach to move more efficiently through nature.
Discover the ultra-light backpacks from Hyperlite Mountain Gear
This article is sponsored by Hyperlite Mountain Gear. Find out more about Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s backpacks and packs Here.