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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.