This is a review by David Hine, aka Gridnorth. Dave is an early adopter, but no gear nerd. He truely lifes and breaths the Packrafting philosophy, easily done living in Scotland. However, there is rumours for a bigger trip beyond his homeland this year. Desination: grid north. Stay tuened.
"My initial impression is that the Special Edition HMG Windrider Pack is by far the best backpack I've used for packrafting!
|Great in the hills with outstanding load capacity. Photo credit D. Hine.|
Yesterday I got back from a trip in the North-West Scottish Highlands. I was out for 7 days straight and covered around 150km with around 3700 meters ascent/descent with no resupply. The route was mostly on foot but with paddling on some wild remote lochs (lakes) only accessible by foot, and one easy class 2 river. The pack weight including all gear and 7 days worth of food was 17kg at the start of the trip. The Windrider managed the trip better than other packs I've used for similar trips. (I've used other pack for similar trips in the past).
The support the pack gives is excellent. The hip belt shares the weight nicely, the fit is very comfortable and moves with your back in a very stable fashion, and the pack is very light considering its overall performance. The material also feels tough, which is reassuring. I think it was a good move to fit the special edition with the tougher fabric in the floor. With a heavy weight inside, that part of the pack would easily get beaten up otherwise.
|Great on the river. Material binds little water. Photo credit D. Hine.|
I'm also very pleased that there was so much space left in the pack, and I'm confident it will take 14 days of food (in addition all other gear) although haven't tried it with that load yet. To do a 14 day stint without resupply will mean starting with a minimum pack weight in the region of 23.5kg. I am expecting a pack weight of approximately 28kg at the start of a 14 day stint during the coming summer, reducing at around 900grams per day with consumption of food.
I had thought about writing a general piece about backpacks for packrafting, maybe to go along with a full gear list for a packrafting trip. I am trying to borrow another pack from someone who owns one to test (f.ex. an Epic). The Epic is obviously designed chiefly for that purpose and I couldn't comment on it at present not having tried it. But my current feeling is that the Windrider comes out on top very easily.
|Not only for Packrafting. Its a Multipack. Photo credit D. Hine.|
|Combine water and land! Photo credit D. Hine.|
Disclaimer: Dave got reasonable compensated for his efforts in writing his field experiences down, sure not the initial incentive to get the pack! Follow Dave on his Blog, especially the superb Packrafting in Scotland Guide is highly recommended. Thanks Dave!