HMG Windrider backpack
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William Johnsen
(sixoclocknews) - F
HMG Windrider backpack on 11/05/2010 15:50:56 MDT Print View

I thought I'd write a quick initial review of the HMG Windrider pack. I've been pretty busy with school and haven't had a chance to use it yet, so these are all just first impressions.

pack
back

First off I have to say that I'm impressed by the fabric. It has a really nice feel to it. It feels a lot more durable than silnylon and looks like it's more abrasion resistant than cuben. The outside is more matte than the interior which makes me think that the majority of the nylon is there, while the inside has a cuben (ie mylar) 'sheen' to it.

fabric

The mesh pockets are made from a pretty tough mesh as well. It has a nice coarse/durable feel to it. The bottom is two layers of fabric. I have no doubt this thing will take a pounding on (and off) trail.

mesh

The weight came in at 1 lb 7.65 oz (23.65 oz)on my scale, which is a little under the listed weight of 24 oz. I'm 5'9" and the medium size fits me well.

The construction looks top notch to me. Double large bar tacks hold in the shoulder straps and waist belts and where ever else needs it. The main body of the pack doesn't have many seams, just where it attaches to the back panel. Where the mesh pockets are sewn in there are some introduced holes, but they've been taped up on the inside. The seams where the pack meets the back panel have an extra piece of fabric covering them.

straps

belt

There's a small velcro opening on the side which I think is for a hydration bladder tube. The top closes with a strip of velcro which you roll down and snap/cinch. There's also an interesting Y- strap system on the top that seems like it would be nice for securing loads with. The sides have compression straps to help keep longer objects (trekking poles, etc) in place.

opening

top

The support is based on two aluminum stays that run vertical on the back panel. There's also a (probably 1/8" thick) CC foam pad (non removable, unless you were to cut the fabric) under the back panel. Lightly padded waist waist strap with two spectra grid nylon pockets. I have a pretty bony clavicle and Mike agreed to beef up the shoulder straps for me. They are thick and comfortable, on par with my GG Vapor Trail's.

in

Overall I'm really impressed with the pack and excited to get out and use it. It think fits into the same niche that the vapor trail occupies in the sense that it's light, but still has enough features to be comfortable when not carrying UL loads. It weighs less than the Vapor Trail and seems to use more durable materials. It's not UL but I think the trade off of longevity/comfort is worth it. I'm trying to pay my way through school, so I had to sell off some of my other gear to fund this, and it was totally worth it to me. Mike was great to work with, very helpful and responsive. The turn around time was insanely quick as well.

I'm not very experienced writing reviews, so please let me know if you have any questions and I'll try to answer them.

Edited by sixoclocknews on 11/07/2010 11:37:00 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Windrider on 11/05/2010 17:12:37 MDT Print View

Nice write up. Pics?

Having an essentially waterproof pack sounds really nice. If I had one I might seam seal or seam tape it to be absolutely sure and then I could leave the pack cover/pack liner at home and have less hassle in the rain.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: HMG Windrider backpack on 11/05/2010 18:02:00 MDT Print View

Thanks for the first impressions!

A couple things stood out for me:

The pack weighs under spec, even with thicker shoulder harness (not that foam adds much weight, but still...).

Not only does it weigh less than the VT, but it has a real frame.

Good stuff!

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
frame on 11/05/2010 18:56:02 MDT Print View

will thank for the review

quick question ... is the frame aluminum, and is it removable

also how solid is it in terms of flex?

a decently framed pack the same weight as a day pack is always attractive

William Johnsen
(sixoclocknews) - F
re: on 11/05/2010 20:30:38 MDT Print View

I'll try to get some pictures taken this weekend, I just don't have a lot of spare time. Anything in particular you'd like to see?

I was pleasantly surprised by the weight too.

The stays are removable. With them in it's not too flexible, but with them out it's the same as a piece of CC foam, so you can definitely fold it, but it adds some structure.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
framed pack on 11/06/2010 09:31:49 MDT Print View

I'd say 24 oz for a framed pack would put it into UL range :)

pretty similar in weight to a Ohm, w/ a little more volume

I'd be curious if the Y strap would be suitable for bear canisters?

William Johnsen
(sixoclocknews) - F
pictures on 11/07/2010 11:44:13 MST Print View

I updated the OP with some pictures, sorry for the bad quality, it's pretty dark out today.

I hadn't thought about using the top for a bear canister. The top forms a pretty flat surface when rolled up, so as long as there isn't anything too ridged near the top it can fit up there. My CA "bear keg" (which I think has a larger diameter than the Garcia) will barely let the strap fit over the top. However I don't think I'd carry it like this. It would put a huge weight at the top of the pack which would make it carry weird and there are no lateral straps to hold it in place, so it would easily slide out the sides, you'd have to rig something up if you wanted to make that work.
bearcan

John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Bear can carry on 11/07/2010 13:27:54 MST Print View

I think people who carry their bear keg strapped to the top generally carry it empty and put the food in their pack while hiking to avoid having a huge weight too high up.

I've often wondered if the Y strap holds the empty canister securely with no slippage or rotation while walking, or if a fabric flap "lid" or 2 straps would be worth the weight.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
fuzzay wuzzay beahs on 11/07/2010 13:31:38 MST Print View

thanks for the pics

the top carry wouldnt be an issue for me ... as thats how i carry a 10 lb rope anyways ... i find that as long as the rope/canister is weight is close to yr body and over yr shoulders it carries better than most other places

you can use some ductape to make a slot for the webbing to slide through on the bear canister if you want so hold it more securely