The Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG) 2400 Southwest is an ultralight backpack that’s perfectly suited for nearly all hiking and backpacking activities. At 31oz, you’ll be hard pressed to find another 40L pack with this combination of features, comfort, and durability. HMG also makes a larger Southwest 3200 (55L) and 4200 (70L) for those requiring more pack volume. In this review, I’ll be covering the build and design of the HMG 2400 Southwest, as well as detailing my hiking and backpacking experience from six months of use.
Purchase the 2400 Southwest: Backcountry | Hyperlite Mountain Gear
Build, Design, And Functionality Overview
The entire lineup of Hyperlite Mountain Gear products is made right here in the USA. The HMG manufacturing facility is located in Biddeford, Maine. What makes Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s products unique, and light, is that they’re made of Dyneema (formerly known as cuben fiber).
Dyneema fiber is an “ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMwPE)…produced by extruding a UV-resistant polyethylene gel through a spinneret. In a patented process, the fiber is drawn, heated, stretched and cooled. The result is a filament in which exceptional long-chain molecular alignment is paired with high crystallization, limiting density while allowing for unusual load dispersion. At one-thousandth of an inch in thickness, Dyneema’s® outstanding strength-to-weight ratio makes it the strongest fiber in the world.” — Hyperlitemountaingear.com
Hyperlite Mountain Gear uses a composite of 50D polyester and 150D polyester that is laminated with Dyneema backings. This allows for a pack that is lightweight, strong, and durable. Dyneema Composite Fabrics are waterproof on their own, but the stitching during assembly creates small holes. HMG seals 90% of the seams, making their packs and tents pretty close to waterproof.
Storage, Size, And Weight
The body of the 2400 Southwest is made of 50D Dyneema with a double reinforced 150D Dyneema bottom. The black checkered pockets are made of Dyneema Hardline. As the 2400 Southwest name implies, this pack has an interior volume of 2400 cu. in or 40L. The external pockets carry an additional 600 cu. in or 9.8L. The 2400 Southwest has two removable contoured aluminum stays. Behind the aluminum stays, is a 1/4″ foam back panel.
The HMG 2400 Southwest uses a Velcro secured roll top closure and sits 30″ tall unrolled. The bottom circumference is 33.5″, the top circumference is 37.5″, and the back width is 10.5″. The 2400 Southwest weights in at 31oz.
Compression, Straps, and Attachments
The HMG 2400 Southwest has a multi-tiered strap and compression system. Starting at the top, the roll top closure is anchored right at the entrance of the side pockets. These two straps allow you to control the height of the pack when it isn’t filled to capacity.
Below the top roll compression is a side strap that is anchored on the back of the pack near the shoulder and connects to the front of the pack at the top of the external storage compartment. These straps control the horizontal volume when the 2400 is not full, and keeps my gear snug when my pack is full.
At the base of the 2400, there is a pair of compression straps that run on top of the side pockets. I use these to control horizontal volume, but also to compress storable items like water bottles and tent poles.
Moving back to the top of the 2400, there is a Y-strap compression system that really helps secure my gear when the pack is loaded close to capacity.
Hydration, Hip Belt, Chest Straps, and Pockets
The HMG 2400 Southwest has a hydration bladder net attached to the inside of the pack. This storage net sits right on top of the two contoured aluminum stays. There’s a Velcro port on the right shoulder to allow for hydration bladder tubing. I’m so used to wearing running vests, that I prefer to have my hydration on my chest straps or in the side pockets. Mountain Laurel Designs makes perfectly matched Dyneema X water bottle attachments for the 2400’s chest strap daisy chains.
Hip Belt and Chest Straps
The hip belt, chest straps, and external pockets are made of a highly durable Dyneema Hardline fabric. The chest straps are very comfortable and use a 1/8″ closed cell foam. The foam straps breathe well and dry very quickly on hot days. The straps fit my frame very well, and in Julia’s testing, we found out the 2400 works well for women as well. The chest straps are connected by an adjustable sternum strap that has self tensioning elastic band.
The hip belt is lightly structured and does a great job of distributing the pack weight onto my hips for loads under 30lbs. The hip belt pockets are on the small side, but can fit my iPhone 7 if I jam it in. The hip pockets use a #5 YKK zipper.
The external side pockets each have 2.45L of volume and can hold 1.5L bottles without a problem. I’m also able to store extra layers, dog leashes, snacks, and other large items. Most importantly, all of the side pocket items can be inserted and removed without having to remove the pack.
The external back pocket has 4.9L of volume and an ice axe loop at it’s base. Surprisingly, the back pocket is also accessible without having to remove the pack, although it takes quite a bit of contorting.
The HMG 2400 Southwest doesn’t really offer much in the way of ventilation. The flat back sheet of Dyeema doesn’t allow for a lot of airflow and can trap heat against my back on all but the coolest of days.
I’ve enjoyed the HMG 2400 Southwest on countless day hikes over the last six months and even used it as my only pack while visiting Iceland this summer. The lightweight build, overall comfort, and usable feature set provides everything I need in a day hiking pack. In the 2400, I can comfortably carry 6L of water without any sloshing or movement. The side pockets and hip pockets provide ample storage space for food, snacks, and electrolyte tablets.
I’ve enjoyed wearing the 2400 Southwest on many 15-20 mile outings, and the comfort of the hip belt and shoulder straps has been superb. Like any great pack, the best compliment I can give is that at the end of a long day, I never have to think about the pack I’m was wearing.
While in Iceland, we had quite a bit of rain during our first few days. I was able to hike around with the 2400 Southwest without issue. I had all of my photography gear stored away in waterproof stuff sacks, but the sacks weren’t really needed as the Dyneema shell kept all of the rain out.
One review point that probably isn’t covered by most, is a packs ability to carry a dog. I hike with my dogs just about everywhere they’re allowed, so this is important to me. Isla is a champion hiker that puts me to shame. Lilly on the other hand, has a propensity to call it quits when the days get long. I love that Lilly can be safely secured using the compression straps in the moments she doesn’t feel like hiking.
Julia has also been using the 2400 Southwest on day hikes, and her opinions mirror mine. The 2400 isn’t really billed as male, female, or unisex, so it’s nice to know that it works for both sexes. Julia and I are both around 5’11”, but my frame is quite a bit larger at the shoulders.
The HMG 2400 is also a great pack for overnighters provided you don’t exceed the 40L in gear. Now that we have a son, Julia and I have to be creative when we pack our gear. One of us gets to carry a 30lbs+ baby and the other carries gear for three in their pack. Long gone are the days of ultra light! The 40L capacity of the 2400 is perfect for shorter one and two night outings. For trips longer than that, I’d probably want the 3200 or 4200. I’d also want the larger 3200 and 4200 if I was backpacking in a wilderness area that required a bear canister. I have both the BV500 and Garcia bear canisters, and neither fit horizontally in the 2400 Southwest.
On a recent backpacking trip, we camped at the summit of Cucamonga Peak. This trip requires a 6 mile hike to a mountain peak gaining 4000ft of elevation without any accessible water. I was able to fit a 3P tent, 3 inflatable sleeping pads, 2 sleeping bags, 6L of water, food, a Jetboil, and clothes. My total pack weight was 35lbs, which is right around the max load for the 2400 Southwest. Despite the weight, my shoulders and hips felt great with the load. I was amazed how well this light pack handled such a massive load.
Purchase the 2400 Southwest: Backcountry | Hyperlite Mountain Gear
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest is a feature rich backpack that really delivers on performance. At $300.00, it’s one of the most expensive 40L packs on the market. So is it worth it? I’d say yes. The 2400 Southwest is lightweight, but still very durable. It handles day hiking just as well as it handles overnight backpacking trips. The pack is also manufactured here in the United States. If you’re looking for a lightweight pack that can do it all, the HMG 2400 Southwest is definitely worth a look.
- Straps and compression provide lots of versatility
- Nearly waterproof design
- Highly durable
- Very comfortable shoulder straps and waist belt, even with a heavy load
- Easy to access side pockets
- Works for both male and female
- Expensive at $300
- No back ventilation
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