Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack Review – Fantastic Do-it-all Pack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

While the Southwest 2400 is our favorite backpacking pack, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack is our favorite pack for every other need. It is the waterproof ultralight daypack that we trust with $5K to $10K of camera gear in rain soaked places like Iceland or the Northern Coast of Ireland. It is our under-seat carry on pack on the plane. Then when off the plane, we can live out of this same pack for a week of hiking in foreign countries. It is an alpine climbing, done-in-a-day pack. We also use it technical canyoneering, skiing for groceries in a winter blizzard, etc. In summary, it may be the best multipurpose ultralight daypack on the market. Oh, and it also won National Geographic Adventure Mag 2016 “Gear Of The Year.”

Quick Specs – Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

  • Volume: Internal: 1040 cu. in. (17L)
  • Load capacity: Up to 25 lbs
  • Weight: Size Medium 1.27 lbs | 20.35 oz | 577g
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

Alison on the very wet coast of N. Ireland. Her Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Pack has thousands of dollars of camera gear in it. This despite on and off torrential wind and rain for days on end.

5 Key Features of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

Skiing out to get food during the the Blizzard of 2016.

  1. It’s nearly waterproof. Important when you’re carrying expensive cameras, electronics or clothing you’re depending on to stay warm, like a down jacket.
  2. It’s tough. The black Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF), is strong and waterproof, but still light. Pockets are durable, solid fabric.
  3. It’s light. At just over a pound for a 17 liter capacity, it is significantly lighter than most waterproof packs.
  4. Fast gear Access. The clamshell, waterproof top zipper gives faster access to the main pack-bag vs. packs with lids, or roll-top closures. The Daybreak has the perfect combination of external storage: a large bellows back pocket; two side pockets for water bottles, etc.; a nice rear bungie system that you can attach a helmet, crampons or rainwear, etc.; and additional attachment points on both the back of the pack and on the shoulder straps. In summary, you can carry a lot of gear, organize it well and access it quickly.
  5. “Precisely what you need and nothing more.” And finally as with all HMG products the 20 ounce Daybreak Ultralight Daypack epitomizes HMG’s minimal but supremely functional design. As such, they’ve included small details like drain holes for the external pockets, a zippered security pocket for passport, wallet, cash and keys, etc.; and an internal sleeve pocket (I use for maps/papers on-trail and for my 13″ laptop when off-trail/traveling). Oh, and the waist belt is beefy enough to actually handle a decent load!
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

Walking the Causeway Coast Way in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. We rarely took our rain jackets off! photo: Alison Simon

5 Reasons We Like the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

There are a number of cheaper functional daypacks. We’ve outlined some of our favorite daypacks in 3 lb Ultralight Day Hiking Checklist.  So why is the $225 HMG Daybreak Ultralight Daypack our favorite?

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

When flying  we use or Daybreak packs as our under-seat carry-ons. Then when off the plane, we can live out of this same pack for a week of overnight hiking in foreign countries.

  1. First we carry a lot of expensive camera gear and electronics on every trip. A few hundred dollars to keep it dry and safe vs. the thousands of dollars of camera gear seems like a good investment. [In, fact we often use it as a dedicated camera bag/pack on some trips. It’s much lighter and more waterproof than many camera-specific packs that weigh 3 pounds or more.]
  2. Second, we use our Daybreak Daypacks over and over again. As such the cost is very reasonable if you spread it out over many trips per year over a number of years. E.g. the pack goes on international trips (both carry on luggage and on-trail pack),  X-country ski trips, surviving temporary immersion when canyoneering, mountaineering, and trips all around the world.
  3. We know that our packs will survive whatever the terrain or weather dishes out. The fabric is strong and durable and up to bushwhacking and abrasion on rocks. It doesn’t have annoying mesh pockets that snag and tear on everything in creation. And we know that the inside of our pack will remain relatively dry. This is especially important to us since we seem drawn to hiking wet and cold places like Patagonia, Scotland, Iceland, and South Island of New Zealand, etc.
  4. It’s excellent external storage keeps our most needed gear easily accessible. This is much faster and convenient vs. diving into the main bag for commonly needed items. The huge, rear pocket and shock cord attachment system are keys for this.
  5. Finally, the packs are amazingly light given how waterproof and durable they are. Greatly appreciated as much when traveling as when we are on the trail.


Price: $225
Internal: 1040 cu. in. (17L)
Load capacity: Up to 25 lbs


Small 1.26 lbs | 20.14 oz | 571g
Medium 1.27 lbs | 20.35 oz | 577g
Large 1.29 lbs | 20.56 oz | 583g


  • Large external front pocket, great for hydration/snacks/rain jacket
  • Removable ice axe attachments
  • Front shock cord system allows you to lash gear or compress the pack
  • Two angled side water bottle pockets that are easy to reach while wearing the pack
  • Clamshell design and long water-resistant YKK zipper allows for wide pack access
  • Lightly padded 1.5” hip belt with peekaboo pocket to store hip belt when it’s not in use
  • Internal zippered pocket designed to hold phones/keys/money/etc
  • Internal sleeve pocket helps to compartmentalize your gear (also fits a 13” laptop)
  • Bright orange liner makes it easy to see what’s in your pack
  • Comfortable ¼” padded back panel with chevron-stitched design
  • Dyneema® Hardline shoulder straps with ¼” foam, spacer mesh and elastic hose keepers
  • Adjustable sternum strap with whistle


External: 150D Dyneema®/Poly Hybrid
Internal: 150D Dyneema®/Poly Hybrid | 210D Nylon
Volume: Internal: 1040 cu. in. (17L)


Height: 21” (53.3cm) Bottom Width: 11” (27.9cm) Depth: 6.5″ (16.5cm)


  1. This post contains affilate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the these links, a slight portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you.  I am never under an obligation to write page post a review about any product. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion.
  2. Hyperlite Mountain Gear provided the author a sample of this pack for review.


9 replies
  1. Michael
    Michael says:

    Trying to decide between this and the 2400 WindRider for my camera gear day hikes.

    Is there really enough room internally?

    I carry:
    Sony A7Riii
    Sony 16-35/2.8
    Sony 85/1.4
    Lee Filter wallet & Holder
    4 batteries and charger.

    I also have a 19″ long Gitzo that strap to the exterior if no internal room available.

    Almost ready to pull the trigger on the 2400 WindRider but still conflicted.

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Hi Michael, nice camera setup!! The HMG 2400 WindRider Pack is a great choice and could certainly work. But to be sure I would need to know a lot more info about what type of gear you carry* (total weight and volume), how many days you are out, whether you’ll need a bear canister etc. Also I have no idea which model Gitzo you have (19″ isn’t much to go on). BUT if in doubt I would suggest the 3400 Southwest pack for the following reasons.

      • The only difference between the 2400 and the 3400 is that the 3400 has a taller extension collar and only weights a few ounces more. Both packs use the same size main pack bag up to the shoulder straps. As such, there is almost no weight or size penalty to go with the larger 3400 pack.
      • We prefer the solid pockets of the Southwest packs as they are more durable and less prone to snagging.

      * Finally, I am a bit confused. I assume that “camera gear day hikes,” is a typo. The 2400 WindRider is a multi-day/nights in the backcountry for a backpacking trip. It would in my opinion be far too large for a daypack even with 3 to 3 x more camera gear than you currently intend to use. If you really mean a day hike, then the HMG daypack the Daybreak pack would certainly hold all your gear (depending on the size of your tripod). Alison and I have used this extensively as daypack/camera bag. Hope this helps and wishing you a great year of photography. All the best, -alan

      • Michael Kravit
        Michael Kravit says:

        Hi Alan,

        Sorry I was not more explicit.

        Brief history.
        After moving from 4×5 large format photography a few years go and platinum/palladium printing, like so man others I embraced digital medium format shooting. Then, full frame Canon 1dx cameras. Most of my LF and MF work was day hiking only and any over night work was by way of campers. I don’t “sleep out” often, I prefer the comforts of home. :)

        I have an Osprey 42 back loader that used to carry my LF gear. Too heavy and big now. I have been using an older Kelty Redwing 2900 that is long in the tooth and failing.

        As an architect and architectural photographer, my tripod is a Gitzo 4553 which collapses to 19″ and weighs 4.9 pounds. Heavy yes, but for long exposures it is rock solid.

        My tripod heads are an Arca Swiss C1 Cube which is 2 pounds or a RRS BH-55 also around the same weight. Don’t carry both, either one or the other.

        In addition, I use the Sony 16-35/2.8, 35/1.4, 85/1.4, and 70-200/2.8 lenses but do not carry them all for landscape work. Mostly the 16-35 and 85 each of which are 1.5 pounds.

        My filter holder and case weight roughly .5 pounds.

        Lenses and tripod heads are in Kinesis lens pouches. Camera body is wrapped in a Domke wrap.

        I carry in my bag food for the day, water, a fleece, a Hyperlite Shell rain jacket, Chili gloves, and a beanie hat.

        Typically the tripod fits inside the Kelty 2900 with the spider also wrapped with a Domke.

        All in all my daypack is 12-15 pounds.

        Sorry to inundate you with this info, but I truly need a new pack.
        Thanks Alan,


        • Alan Dixon
          Alan Dixon says:

          OK Thanks for the more info Michael. Give me a bit to digest before I get back to you. Best, -alan

        • Alan Dixon
          Alan Dixon says:

          Oh, and can you repost your comment under “Best Backpacking Cameras 2018?” I think it would be a better place where more readers would get the benefit of this discussion. Best, -alan

  2. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Hi Alan,

    I spy an Eagle Creek rolling luggage, does Alison have a favorite? My wife and I are booking an international fun trip (finally travel for something besides work!!) and she could use a new piece of luggage. Not sure if you ever travel for business, but if you have tips on keeping dress shirts unwrinkled, I’m all ears.


    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Hi Jeff. Sorry for the late reply. Yes, a light Eagle Creek roll-on (Tarmac Carry-On). We both have them and like them very much. As for shirts I get them “box” (or fold them myself) and then put 3-4 shirts into a plastic bag which keeps them neatly folded and makes it easier to slip them into the mesh pocket in the lid. Hope this helps, -alan


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