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  1. #1
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    10-14-2013
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    Default HMG Southwest/Windrider

    I am looking at picking up a new pack for a thru next year. Right now it looks like my top candidate is the ULA Circuit which it seems like a lot of people love. Another pack that is a little more expensive but also lighter is the HMG Southwest or Windrider (same pack, just one has a mesh outer pocket, one is solid). I haven't seen a lot of info on these packs here or elsewhere except for a review on Gizmodo http://indefinitelywild.gizmodo.com/...340-1613834205 . Does anyone have experience with these packs in the real world on the AT?

  2. #2
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    02-05-2012
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    Default

    I actually bought this pack for an AT thru-hike, but quickly realized that it was just too small. I think it's like 55L or something. I tested it before I went with a hammock, but just having a sleeping bag, pad, tent, weekend change of clothes, and a weekends worth of food, it was pretty loaded. Then trying to fit in a water bladder, it was busting at the seams. They must have made changes though, 'cause I thought it was lighter then 32oz. I ended up going with Gossamer Gear's mariposa pack. I think that's closer to 65 or 70L and it worked much better. The only time it really felt stuffed was when I was carrying enough food to get through the 100 mile wilderness (which was also at the start of my trip...was going SOBO). I heard a lot of good things about ULA packs, but I think they were heavier then the GG. Another thing I liked about the GG was the external side pockets, as well as the top zipper pocket. It makes it nice for things you want to get at quickly (AT guide, water filter, bottles, river/camp shoes, etc.). Also, I think the medium GG pack was 27oz, so it was a weight savings, and it's also cheaper then the HMG! GG just released a new line, so I can't comment on the newer ones...For me, the HMG is great for weekends with low food needs, but it's just too small for a thru...

  3. #3

    Default

    One of the more noticeable differences, in my mind, between the ULA Circuit and the HMG Southwest/Windrider is what the packs are each made from. With UL cottage gear manufacturers like Zpacks and Hyperlight Mountain Gear now making their backpacks from hybrid cuben and seam taping it allows for greater durability than straight lighter wt CF, as in the case Joe used to make his backpacks, and allowing to totally forgo a pack cover saving wt of the backpack system which snowballs into a lighter wt kit overall and can factor into total price adding in the cost of a pack cover. Although the 210 Robic the ULA circuit is made of does shed some moisture it is no where as near hydrophobic a fabric as the hybrid cuben. But, IMO, you'll get a bit more durability out of the ULA Circuit(210 Robic fabric) when compared to the hybrid cuben backpacks of either ZP or HMG. Even though you may able to order a ULA Circuit in hybrid cuben(at an upcost, you can with the ULA CDT model) it's my contention both ZP and HMG have more experience doing hybrid CF backpacks.

    On an AT section hike in early April 2014 I did meet an amicable thruhiker(he had no trailname yet) from Australia just starting with a very light kit including a HMG Windrider. He was forgoing a cover and he really enjoyed all his previous hiking experiences using this backpack.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kidchill View Post
    I actually bought this pack for an AT thru-hike, but quickly realized that it was just too small. I think it's like 55L or something. ...
    They must have made changes though, 'cause I thought it was lighter then 32oz.
    Are you sure you got the 55L version? Unfortunately all of their packs are named the same. So they have a 2400 Southwest (40L), a 3400 Southwest (55L), and a 4400 Southwest (70L). The 2400 would weigh less too, so maybe that's the one they sent you. The 3400 says it has a much larger main compartment than a ULA Circuit (Circuit lists 2400 as the main pocket vs 3400 in the Southwest).

    Quote Originally Posted by kidchill View Post
    I ended up going with Gossamer Gear's mariposa pack.
    Another good option to consider. Thanks!

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