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Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 4400 Backpack Review
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Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
porter on 01/24/2013 07:36:15 MST Print View

no pockets or lots of pockets, sounds like people are using the gear for different purposes, different conditons, in different environments. Both sides probably have valid arguments for their purpose.

I love the suspension on the Porter/windrider packs and that they can carry the weight.

I bet if we asked members what kinds of cars they drive then we would be in for it, it would be a long debate.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
Original review? on 01/24/2013 07:43:50 MST Print View

Whatever happened to the original review of the Porter / Expedition? As provocative as some of the statements were, both in the article and in the comments afterwards, there was some really good content there. Now whenever I search for it, I'm redirected to this review. It's as if the whole episode was swept under the carpet.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
HMG Porter 4400 on 01/24/2013 09:29:15 MST Print View

@Stuart D: The original review that was published is Part 1 of this article. Parts 2-8 were added to that same URL. The comments thread for the old one is still around, but constitutes 11 pages of discussion on what was an article about "specs" and "first impressions" (along with a lot of stuff unrelated to the review), so I started a new thread to refocus the discussion on the final product review.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
re: Original Review? on 01/24/2013 11:22:35 MST Print View

@Ryan - Thank you for your quick reply, and for directing me to the original discussion thread. I know the thread descended into some unpleasantness, but I found value in some of the contributions there including pack dimensions, the discussion about load lifters, and the comparison in construction with the Windrider. I'm glad to see they haven't been lost.

I understand your reasons for republishing the original review as part of the extended one. What I remembered, however, is that the original review addressed both the Porter (now "3400 Porter") and Expedition (now "4400 Porter") equally, whereas the new article's title - and all of the updated content - focus on the latter pack. By virtue of its size, I'd consider the 4400 Porter more of a specialized product, whereas the 3400 Porter would have a broader appeal in this community.

That being said, I appreciate the level of effort you put into testing the 4400 Porter over the last year, the detailed write-up, and your acknowledgement of other bloggers' perspectives. If I were looking at a pack that size I'd have some misgivings, but with my needs being better met by a pack the size of the 3400 Porter, I don't intend to carry the loads that you tested. I look forward to seeing whether HMG incorporates the design change recommendations into future versions.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 4400 Backpack Review on 01/24/2013 18:29:00 MST Print View


From this review...
"Some ultralight backpackers have developed an unquenchable fetish for packs that are measured in ounces, seemingly with no regard at all to what the pack has offered with respect to durability, comfort, or aesthetic design."

From Gossamer Gear's user manual for their Whisper Uberlight Pack...
"The Whisper Story:
When Backpackinq Liqht Publisher Ryan Jordan contacted us about manufacturing an ultralight backpack that was more consistent with his Super-Ultralight fastpacking philosophy, I handed him a G5 Hperlight Backpack. His reply: "Too big. Too heavy." And so, the Whisper was born. Ryan's design philosophy focused on whittling the G5 concept down to the bare essentials of backpack function: a small packbag with shoulder straps. The only luxury that was added back -a G5 style rear bellows pocket for storing wet gear, a wind shirt or jacket for rest stops, or a collapsible water bottle."

Any perspective on that?

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Whisper vs. Porter on 01/24/2013 22:06:25 MST Print View


Doh, busted!

Don't hold it against me :)

I've learned a lot over the years. One of the major shifts I've made, especially as I've worn out more and more gear, is that I'm tired of wearing out gear.

I really like that there are more durable options than the old Whisper. Poor girl just didn't have any seam strength, they wear out quick.

Nice conversation piece, though, and while I used it, it gave me a lot of opportunity to tell people about what UL was all about.

But my style has changed through the years and I'm carrying quite a bit more bulk now than then - packrafting gear, photo/video gear, and I most often travel with others in a group style, so we have group gear to share, like big shelters and big pots.

Edited by ryan on 01/24/2013 22:07:20 MST.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 4400 Backpack Review on 01/25/2013 07:22:54 MST Print View

A good review, Ryan.

I think that the seam failures you are seeing on the pack are related to the strength and type of the fabric. It appears that the seam is OK, but the fabric is tearing around the "score" line of the stitching.

The actual attachment (be it a seam, patch, strap etc) will always be a weak point in any sewing. Where you let multiple stresses build up in a single area, THIS is where a failure will occur. In this case the seam, a compression strap sewn into it, and it is used to hold a paddle: Seam + Compression + Mounting. Coupled with walking/movement and stresses from the inside (applied, perhaps, a bit unevenly,) this becomes a predictable point of failure. Lengthening the strap over the seam would eliminate this type of failure, in this case. Seperating the stress points is the same as distributing the load over an increased stitching area, in effect, strengthening the seam and strap/mount area with more stitching per inch and more fabric per ft/lb of stress applied.

The waist belt is a different problem. All of the above applies, but is accentuated by the "Figure 8" motion of the hips. As you walk, your balance shifts from left to right. The seam stress will roll from left to right, too...following your hips. With independent stays, (such as with the Porter or older Miniposa/Mariposa,) or with flexible internal frames (like the old Ghost,) this is pretty much accommodated by fabric movement. Both stretching, wrinkling and slipping contribute to following the natural walking motion of your hips. As weights increase, you find rigid frames need less rigid mount points to accommodate this. (My old training pack uses a 1/4" magnesium frame w/buckles to mount the waist belt. I think Gregory used large diameter rivets to accomplish this hip following.) I believe you have hit about the limit (with current technology) at 40-45 pound weight handling with rigidly mounted waist belts. I would expect seam failures for anything more. Your occasional "bail outs" for altitude ailing clients probably stressed these well beyond the 40-45 pound range, and, repeatedly with each step... Both types have their uses.

But I agree, this appears to be a good light weight pack, though the newer ones are 31.1oz, per their web site. I would miss the two lower pockets, though. My drinks have a permanent place there.

The water resistance looks really good to me. Spending as much time canoeing through the ADK's as hiking, I can really appreciate a highly water resistant, and, one that does not absorb water. My boat, paddle, spray deck and PFD weigh a bit more than 22 pounds. But rafting 300 miles, mostly across lakes, and other still waters through the Fish Creek Ponds/St Regis areas really precludes a pack-raft. Water is an inevitable companion.

Coupled with Phil’s review, Roman Dial’s and Andrew Skerka’s comments, this is one well reviewed pack.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
3400 vs 4400 on 01/26/2013 22:28:26 MST Print View

Will the 3400 handle similar weights in the 40-45 lb range?

Benjamin Moryson
(hrXXL) - MLife

Locale: Germany
3400 on 04/29/2013 05:02:51 MDT Print View

He Travis,

I have the 3400 Porter and the pack handles a weight of 40-45 pounds without any problem. Tested it several times.

I also wrote some notes about this pack.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
wet tarp carry on 01/10/2014 08:26:27 MST Print View

How would you carry a wet tarp in a pack with no external pockets?

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: wet tarp carry on 01/10/2014 08:33:03 MST Print View

You lash it to the outside of the pack using cordage and the vertical daisy chains, and/or secure it to the top of the pack using the Y-strap.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: Re: wet tarp carry on 01/10/2014 08:36:12 MST Print View

Doesn't that defeat the purpose of not having external pockets? I thought the whole idea was that you don't have stuff that's hanging out.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: wet tarp carry on 01/10/2014 09:14:31 MST Print View

Did you read the section on "The No-Pocket Controversy" in the review?

In some cases it matters, and in others, it doesn't.

HYOH and YMMV apply here.

Edited by greg23 on 01/10/2014 09:28:56 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Considerations for Women on 01/10/2014 09:22:48 MST Print View

"The frame being limber enough (or bendable enough) to accommodate the more pronounced longitudinal lumbar curvature of a woman’s lower back in the lumbar-butt area..."

"Longitudinal" rolls off the tongue nicely, but I think the curvature is more "latitudinal".

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: wet tarp carry on 01/10/2014 09:28:33 MST Print View

I did. I asked the question hoping that there would be a good way of storing the shelter inside that I just hadn't thought of, because I really like the pack otherwise. The section only discusses the design decision from a convenience point of view, which is not so much of a concern for me, whereas carrying a wet shelter inside the pack, in my view, poses some "functional" risks. I still think people like Ryan, who seem carry all of their stuff inside (for very good reason), must have found a solution to this problem, and I would just like to know what that solution is. The only thing I can think of is to pack all the sensitive stuff in waterproof stuff sacks, but that seems somewhat inefficient, since the pack itself is waterproof.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: wet tarp carry on 01/10/2014 09:32:49 MST Print View

I'm a "pocket guy".

Fuel, wet gear, food for the day, "personal kit", spare clothes, stakes, water bottle, and more are all on the outside. I try to never open the main body of the pack during the much risk For Me to leave something behind, not to mention trying to find that wind shell.

My wet tent goes under a lid (gasp) until I can dry it out. Then it goes back inside, on the top of everything else, because I want to be able to get to it first at night.

"Clean" is appealing, but I'm with Skurka on this one.

Edited by greg23 on 01/10/2014 09:45:55 MST.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: Re: Re: wet tarp carry on 01/10/2014 09:36:24 MST Print View

I am too, currently. But I would like to become a "clean" guy, if I can figure it out :).

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Re: wet tarp carry on 01/10/2014 10:31:16 MST Print View

Waterproof packs are only waterproof until (not if) they get a hole in them.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: wet tarp carry on 01/10/2014 10:41:42 MST Print View

Oh good, a "no pockets" thread. : )

I have no pockets and waterproof pack.

I keep wet tarp in 1 gallon zip top bag. Occasionally it leaks a bit but it's near bottom and anything below it is in a waterproof bag too.

I have a strap on top of pack, for compression, and occasionally strap wet tarp or jacket on top of pack held on by strap. Sometimes, it's so the wet jacket will dry out, more than keep pack contents from getting wet. If I'm packing in the rain, I'll probably pack up under tarp, close up pack, take down tarp, and strap it on top of pack, thus keeping contents of pack dry.

Andrei Tudor
(andrei_tudor) - M
Re: Re: wet tarp carry on 01/10/2014 10:51:27 MST Print View

Thanks for all the replies, I have a better picture now of what a "clean" pack actually entails.