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M Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 4400 Backpack Review

by Ryan Jordan and Chris Wallace

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Article Summary:

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.

Small manufacturers continue to feed this small market. The market for such packs may exist for several reasons. Perhaps some users are overly simplistic about their gear requirements, and they only desire to meet some arbitrary weight specification (e.g., "I know this guy..." - ahem). Perhaps some customers lack sufficient education and experience about lightweight backpacking and assume that lighter is always better. Others might be living out their narcissistic tendencies (c'mon, you know we all have them) on the internet by drawing attention to our gear lists and the latest and greatest gear that they own and you don't. Maybe some hikers just don't carry that much weight - ever - and thus never have an opportunity to tax their backpack. Regardless, a market for "SUL" gear remains, however small or large it is. What this really means is that there may be significant opportunity to design gear based on ultralight principles at a much higher standard of performance, for only a little bit of extra weight. We believe that the Porter and Expedition packs are targeting this objective.

The Porter 4400 is built using the same Cuben Fiber/Nylon hybrid material as the their other packs. They have been designed with additional padding in the shoulder straps and hipbelt, as well as stiffer aluminum stays compared to the smaller Windrider. It has also been built without external pockets on the body or hipbelt in favor of more modular daisy chains. This allows the user to attach their own pockets or lash on gear as necessary, and in order to maintain the pack body's high water resistance, the interior face of the daisy chains has been taped. Three different sizes are available in the Porter pack line, and this review focuses on the largest "expedition" model (the "4400").


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