Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35 Backpack review on the coast

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35 Review

HMG returns to the cutting edge of fully-featured ultralight packs

November 24, 2023 – The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35 is an ultralight fastpack made with waterproof Dyneema and an internal frame for load transfer. The entire package weighs just 23.5 oz and comes with all of the right features and voluminous external storage. It’s perfect for use as an overnight backpack, carrying a fully dialed-in UL kit, or as a high volume daypack. Shop now.

HMG Waypoint 35 is a brand-new as of late November 2023, and our backcountry experience with it thus far is limited but positive. Read more about new HMG packs in our HMG Unbound 40 & 55 Backpack Review.

  • Weight: 23.5 oz
  • Price: $359
  • Materials: Dyneema. DCH 50
  • Frame: Contoured aluminum stay, 1/4″ foam back panel
  • Load Capacity: 40 lbs
  • Internal Volume: 35L
  • External Volume : 6L
  • Pros: Waterproof fabric. Durable. Very ultralight. Widened shoulder straps with built-in pockets. Good overall external storage.
  • Cons: Expensive. External rear stretch pocket has little slack. No load lifters. Shoulder strap pockets barely fit .6L Katadyn BeFree

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Compare this to more great options in our guide to the best fastpacking packs.

hmg waypoint 35L
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35 Backpack shoulder strap pockets

Construction & Features

In most ways, Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35 is a slimmed down version of the traditional HMG packs you know and love; most closely related to the Unbound series. It’s made with the same waterproof, ultralight, and hyper-durable Dyneema (DCH 50) fabric. It’s adorned with large side pockets, large hip belt pockets, and a Dyneema stretch mesh front pocket. It features a D-shaped bottom to stand upright while loading, a roll top closure and a Y-strap top mounting/compression cinch. It even has a large internal stay for added load transfer.

The design deviates from most HMG backpacking packs in three primary ways, all of which are neutral or beneficial. First off, it’s smaller; designed to carry a dialed-in ultralight kit, not your everyday backpacking load. However, with the tall roll-top closure, you can stuff a lot of extras inside. Secondly, its weight class is much lower than average compared to most HMG packs which typically land in the 30-34oz range.

Third and finally, you get the exciting, new, widened shoulder straps (for increased pressure dispersal) with built-in, front-mounted shoulder strap pockets for storing snacks, small water bottles, electronics, or other handy items. This is a nice upgrade, and we expect to see these shoulder straps applied to more HMG packs in the future.

One minor disappointing note is that the front shoulder strap pockets are slightly too small to be optimal for use with a .6L Katadyn befree. They can fit, but only at half volume or lower and with a bit of effort. We’d like to see these pockets get about 25% larger in future iterations to accommodate a water filter.

A few other worthwhile call outs include the cinchable side pockets, very large hip belt pockets, stiffened roll top collar (instead of velcro), and side compression cinches.

close up on side pocket with sawyer filter bottle
close up on side pocket

Why Choose Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35?

This pack is near-perfection for use as fastpack on high-mileage trips, considering that it’s fully featured yet weighs merely 1.5 pounds.  We recommend it as a daily driver for experienced ultralight backpackers, or to lightweight backpackers for use on 2-3 day trips. Though it might be a bit large, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35 would also work quite nicely as a fall/winter daypack when you want to pack a big puffy parka.

The only fastpacking scenario it wont serve would be those requiring a running vest harness. If you run while backpacking, check out our guide to the best fastpacks for more options.

Where the 35L size range falls a bit short is for the combination of larger bodies in cooler climates. A long-length 20 degree quilt and XL sized down parka will eat up tons of the volume unless you resort to over-compressing (and damaging) the plumes. To be fair, that isn’t a flaw design flaw with this pack, as much as something to be aware of when purchasing packs in this size capacity. This is very much a 3-season pack. But again, a great daypack for winter hikes.

top down view of hmg waypoint 35
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint backpack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Waypoint 35 Review Verdict

Ultralight gear afficionados will be thrilled about the Waypoint 35 and Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s return to the cutting edge of ultralight packs after a decade of resting on their Southwest/Windrider laurels. There are very few framed models in the 1.5 pound weight class, let alone with such a great feature set.

close up on waypoint logo