Since I purchased a packraft, I needed more and more space for additional stuff needed than solely going on hiking trips. I quickly realised that my Laufbursche Huckepack is going to be a bit too small for a packrafting trip. So I decided to order a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 4400 a few years ago and was quite happy with it except with the size. It was again a bit small but still better than on my old backpack.
I use the HMG Porter mainly for two activities. Hiking and Packrafting and is a short review and some pictures of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 4400 and how it compares size wise to the newer Porter 5400.
After a short discussion with the HMG owner, I was offered a backpack which is made of 150 denier nylon instead of the 50 denier nylon which comes with the regular backpack. Even so the pack is slightly heavier, it should be more durable than the lighter version. Below the pictures of HMG Porter 4400 black incl. the Porter Stuff Pocket.
Our HMG Porter 4400 is a bit more durable than the regular Porter since we ordered it with a thicker fabric. The HMG Porter 4400 is also waterproof and lightweight. It comes with YKK zippers, an emergency whistle and is comfortable to carry.
If you are into packrafting then it’s also easy to attach a packraft on top of the HMG Porter. However, if you plan to go on a multiple day trip or if you want to carry a dry suite I would rather recommend to get the Porter 5400.
I have used the Porter 4400 within the last years and even so I really liked the bag I always had the feeling that there is not enough space in it. If you are into packrafting you could probably increase your carrying capacity by buying an adventure bow bag for your packraft which you carry in front of you while you are hiking.
The fabric itself feels quite durable. However, after 5 years I am still able to use my HMG Porter 4400. Of course, it has gotten some holes but as a carrying system it still works. Usually, I also pack everything what I carry in my Porter and which needs to stay dry in an additional dry bag.
Let’s talk about colors. I am not such a fan of the white color. Maybe it looks good on pictures but in the long term the white color will become more greyish and with black you will probably have a backpack which colorwise still looks good even after years.
The HMG Porter 4400 has a small zipper bag inside. Usually, I have stored important items there which needed to stay dry e.g. passport, keys or money. The pockets on the hipbelt are also useful however, they don’t keep your stuff dry. Usually, I used them to store snacks or my phone in it when I am on the trail and not on the river.
You like to attach things on your backpack. Great. There are plenty of attachment points on the Porter 4400 and 5400. Personally, I would also recommend to get the stuff bag for the Porter. Usually, I carry there my water bottle or paddles in it. But it’s also a quite useful place to carry your rain jacket with you.
The emergency whistle which comes with the HMP Porter 4400 could be quite useful in case of an emergency.
Inside the backpack you can find a small pocket where you can store money etc.
HMG Porter 4400 on our trip in Sarek National Park in Sweden.
I have tested the HMG Porter 4400 for a couple of years on hiking and packrafting trips. On long backpacking trips saving weight is quite important. I wouldn’t say that the HMG Porter 4400 is super durable (I got 2 tiny wholes in my backpack after 3 years), however there is hardly any gear available which will not wear off after some time.
Having a somewhat waterproof backpack and saving 1-2 kg on weight due to the lower weight of the Porter compared to regular backpack could be quite worth the investment. I am going to patch the holes in my backpack and then it should be fine for another 1-2 years. However, for multiple day trips or if you carry lots of gear (e.g. camera equipment or dry suite) I would rather pick the Porter 5400 over the 4400.
Alternatively, if you don’t need the attachment points or the front stuff bag on the Porter and you need lots of space then you could also have a look at the Ortlieb X-Tremer XL which offers 113 liters volume and weights only 1150 grams.