I have tested and reviewed several backpacks from ultralight to daypacks to multi-day big backpacks and so on. This pack was voted as “Best UltraLight Pack by Backpacker Magazine and I can tell you why. After using this pack on many overnight backpacking trip I have found the it’s weight is not the greatest feature of this pack. Sure its light, REALLY LIGHT! But the simplicity and craftsmanship built into this “Made in America” backpack is almost too good to be true. I am not biased and all of my reviews are 100% organic unlike some other “reviewers out there, I actually take the gear out into the back country and use it, beat it up and put it through real life situations to see how well the gear I am testing will withstand the rigors of backpacking.
Ok, so I have already established that it’s really light and made in America and that is hard to find these days! The Windrider 2400 boasts an impressive 40l of interior volume weighing in at just over 1.7lb. for the white. The black is a little heavier due to the #Dyneema composite fabric or Cuben Fiber as some may call it that is 100% waterproof and extremely durable. It has aluminum contoured stays that are removable if you want to cut out even more weight. The shoulder straps are made of 3/8” closed cell foam made of Dyneema as well.
The exterior of the pack has 3 very large mesh pockets which makes it super easy to find those items that you need in a hurry. The pockets measure 300cu in. for the center pocket and 15cu in. for the twin side pockets on either side. The hip belt is is also made of Dyneema and is 1/8″ closed cell foam & spacer mesh and is just comfortable enough for loads up to 40lb. The hip-belt however is not removable.
The pack includes a “Y” shape compression system on the top as well as side compression straps for the horizontal cinch! This keeps all of your gear inside from shifting around and has a roll top closure system which expands to 30″ when unrolled. The exterior also boasts an ice axe loop, an adjustable sternum strap with elastic tensioner, four exterior triglide buckles to add even more accessory straps, fully seam sealed, #5 YKK zippers on the hip belt pockets and of course this pack is rounded off with a hydration bladder sleeve and port to pass your hose through for easy drinking on the go.
Ok, so thats all the features. Now let’s get real. The pack fit’s me very well. I am 6′ 170lb. and I chose the size large which fit’s me almost like it was tailor made. I am slim and not broad shouldered and the first time I put this pack on with minimal weight I fell in love. The comfort alone made me want it. I find this unusual because a lot of UL packs tend to be slightly uncomfortable. I have backpacked with this pack now for well over 3 months and it still looks new even though Ive already logged over 500 miles on it. The fabric cleans off well and I chose the white because I thought it would be easier to see everything inside the pack during the day due to how bright it is on the inside. The black is cool and all but the white really stands out in my opinion. My base weight for a 3 day trip out in Big Sur weighed in at 13lb. not including water and food and was just under 20lb. when everything was all said and packed including clothes and fuel. The only negative I have found with the pack is the hip belt pockets. They are too small for anything of substance. I can fit my keys in there and maybe a bar but not much else and the fabric is not stretchy. My only suggestion to the guys and gals over at HMG is to remake the pockets out of something a little bit stretchy but durable as the rest of the pack.
As for warranty, here is a snippet from HMG’s website: If you are not satisfied with a product purchased directly from HMG at the time you receive it, you may return it, unused, for a refund of your purchase price, within 15 days. If one of our products fails due to a manufacturer’s defect within one year, the original purchaser may return it to us for repair, replacement or refund of the original purchase price at our discretion. This warranty protects the original owner against manufacturing defects in workmanship and materials. Damage due to wear and tear, accident, improper use, negligence, or the natural breakdown of materials over extended time and use is not covered.
My professional opinion on this pack is that it will take anything you throw at it and spit it out! This pack is not only comfortable but it will last you a long time. It is designed for multi-day use and can easily be used as a through hiking pack. Spend the money and get one, you’ll be glad you did!