That post is not fair to Dan McHale, and not typical of you.
When I read the HMG review my first thought was, "that sure looks VERY similar to my McHale LBP."
I made a comment earlier in this thread after David Ure posted a picture of his McHale pack, that if he looks closely there are a lot of similarities between the long-lived McHale packs to the "new" HMG pack. Note that I did not use the word comparable. I cannot make any comments on the over quality or functionality of a HMG pack because I do not own one nor have I ever seen one. To me, looking at the HMG pictures, a McHale is sewn much better. And no one who is familiar with a McHale pack questions the quality of construction. Over the past 45 years I have owned a LOT of packs, and no one approaches McHale's quality; Period. Even the BPL reviewers questioned the seams and potential frame compression on the HMG.
McHale Website -- This is not a point and click Website. You can't even order a pack online! There is no small, medium, or large size. Each pack is made to EXACTLY fit the owner. And Dan does not want your torso size. He needs 4 different measurements, none of which are your torso length. He will determine that himself. Or you can go to Dan's shop and he will personally measure you, which is not practical for most people. So if you want a McHale pack you call Dan and he asks a lot questions to determine your wants and needs. He also will answer any questions you have. At this point he may have you go online and will walk you through his Website to show you packs and discuss features and benefits. After this exercise the Website is easy to use and understand. At this point he will recommend a pack that he feels is right for you, based on all the information you provided.
Next step is to send you a demo pack so you can USE it. You will need to take pictures or videos per Dan's instructions and send them to him. He then analyses the fit, how you adjusted the pack, how you packed your gear, etc. Then he may have you change things and do the process over. I probably sent Dan 5 or 6 sets of pictures, and there were numerous email exchanges. When Dan is satisfied that the demo fits properly, and you are satisfied that this is the pack you want, then he builds it. Dan spent at least 10 hours on the phone with me... that is 10 hours before the pack was built to make sure it was perfect. That is time which is part of the cost. I also learned a lot about packs in general during the process.
Materials. Not all materials are the same. Dan orders materials to meet his specifications and does a lot of testing. By the way, you can now buy a Cuben pack from McHale Packs, and Dan has spent the past 6 years or so working with the material before he brought it to market. And he ordered special Cuben to meet his specifications. When you by a pack you can generally choose Cordura, Cuben, Dyneema Gird or Spectra. He probably has other fabrics I don't know about. And you can mix different fabrics on your pack, with Dan's guidance of course. He uses the best hardware and does not use 'run-of-the-mill" aluminum for his stays. Most McHale packs have Spectra bottoms.
Colors. Most of the packs on his site are packs made for customers and the colors are what the CUSTOMER wanted. Not all fabrics can be dyed. And every Spectra or Dyneema pack I have seen are white, except Dan's... seems he is the only person who can dye it.
Options. Most McHale packs have a plethora of options. Kangaroo pockets, water bottle pockets, different kinds of hip pockets, should pockets, shovel pockets, ice ax pockets, loops, several summit lids including a special configuration for bear canisters, hydration options, etc. Additionally on many packs you can get an optional system to lengthen the stays and a patented by-pass harness that includes load lifters. This system can be removed or added as you need it.
I have used my McHale pack almost exclusively for the past year, and every trip I like it even more. The exception is a small inexpensive cuben pack I bought from another company to test the fabric. I am working with Dan on the purchase of a smaller pack (the Bump) and wanted to have a feel for Cuben before I order the pack, and I am not sure I even want that material. But my next pack is going to be a McHale. I will then own 2 McHale Packs and they will last me for the rest of my life, and will bequeathed to my son when I die. And all my other UL packs will be sold or given away.
Now when someone posts something negative about a manufacturer who I had a good experience with, I will state that. But I have never gone to the length of this post, because McHale Packs are not comparable to anything on the market, they are better IMO. Now we can philosophize about the merits of 4oz frameless packs, but that is not the purpose of my post.
Before I even thought about a McHale pack, my perception of Dan from his posts was that he was one very knowledgeable guy and I knew little about his packs. I will tell you that my purchase experience and the customer service was hands-down the absolute best I have ever received from any company; for any product. Also before I called Dan I spent maybe 6 months reading every single item on the Web that had anything to do with McHale packs. I was shocked that almost 100% of McHale owners were completely satisfied, as a matter of fact the term is probably more that they are all McHale Pack advocates.