Home Hiking & Backpacking Hyperlite Mountain Gear Junction Ultralight Backpack Review

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Junction Ultralight Backpack Review

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Junction Ultralight Backpack Review

Let’s start with the fact that lightweight backpacks are not for everyone. If you plan to carry outlandish loads, please buy an outlandish backpack.

If, however, you are planning on weighing every piece of gear you are bringing and plan on going as light as possible, please read on for my full review of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Junction.

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Junction is an excellent pack for carrying small to moderate loads. It is tough, lightweight, comfortable to carry, and it will be my go-to bag for trips from 4-6 days long.

Benefits

  • Tough
  • Water-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable

Drawbacks

  • Expensive
  • Requires some skill to use

Full Review of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Junction 2400

The Hyperlite Junction has 40 liters of internal space and 9.8 liters of external space. This is the perfect size for me for a 5-6 day trip. I can easily pack what I need for this length of trip in moderate conditions. At this size, it can handle loads up to 40 pounds, but its sweet spot is below 30 pounds.  

The pack weighs 1.88 pounds (or 31 ounces) for the white color. It also comes in black and weighs 1.99 pounds (or 31.8 ounces). The black is heavier because it uses a slightly thicker material for the sides.

I prefer a smaller pack because it helps me make better decisions on what to pack. However, if you need more volume, it also comes in a 55-liter and 70-liter version.

I am 5’ 10” and weigh in at 170 pounds. Ok, ok, 180 pounds if I am being honest. I used a size medium, and it was perfect.  

Construction

Outdoor Empire Score: 5/5

Hyperlite Junction loaded with random things
Getting ready to drop into Honeycomb Canyon in the Honeycomb Proposed Wilderness Area in Oregon. I loved the large back pocket of the pack. It’s obvious that I stuffed a ton of random stuff into it.

The 2400 Junction pack is lightweight and sturdy. Those are not things that are often said in the same sentence. This is brought to you by the amazing, and expensive, properties of Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF).

Dyneema, formerly known as Cuben Fiber, has a high tinsel strength, doesn’t stretch, is water resistant, and does not absorb moisture. All of these qualities are amazing but come at a cost. Dyneema is expensive, and that shows in this pack’s price.

stained white Hyperlite Junction
The white color was prone to staining. I found this stain after just one trip.

The pack I used was white, and I noticed after my first overnight trip that it was starting to look dirty with several stains. This doesn’t bother me, but if it would bother you then maybe the black color would work better. 

The build quality of this pack is top-notch. There are no weird seams, and it is generally very well-thought-out.

Main Pack

hiker getting ready beside the Hyperlite Junction Ultralight Backpack
Getting ready in the morning next to Owyhee Reservoir. I liked that the pack was flat on the bottom and could stand upright on its own.

The pack is basically just a giant sack that has no dividers on the inside. It has a roll-down top with a strip of Velcro to keep the lips together and a buckle that goes over the top.

This is a very functional approach and allows you to easily manage both small and large loads. It takes effort and forethought to keep the gear inside organized, but with a bit of practice, it isn’t too bad. 

To further help regulate the pack’s volume, several compression straps are on the sides. These worked just fine, and I could easily manage the volume inside the pack.

Interestingly, the compression straps didn’t have anything sewn into the end to keep the buckles from coming off. All of the other straps did, and I had the buckles come off several times. While not a deal breaker, it’s annoying that I will have to fix this myself on a pack that costs so much.

Hyperlite Junction compression straps
The Y-shaped closer was more secure than one strap and more convenient than two straps. Overall, a great feature.

The Junction 2400 doesn’t have the top pocket that is generally found on traditional packs, and I found that I missed it. I like to load small items like sunscreen, keys, headlamp, etc., in a top pocket. These things don’t pack well in the side pockets, and I don’t want to dig through the main pack to find them.

The downside of a top pocket is added weight and complexity. But the convenience of it usually makes it worth it. 

Hip Pockets 

The pack has two small pockets on the hip belt for small items. These were large enough for my phone and some snacks. They were convenient, but I found myself forgetting that they were there. I’m an ultra-runner, and I missed the convenience of all the pockets built into the shoulder straps of running packs.

Side and Back Pockets

Hyperlite Junction Ultralight Backpack side pockets
The side pockets easily carried my water but were too tall to easily get the water out without dislocating my shoulder.

The 2400 Junction also has two side pockets made of DCF and a large back pocket made of mesh. Several versions allow you to mix and match the fabric of these pockets. 

I have found that I love the big pocket on the back and use it for items that I need easy access to throughout the day, like a jacket and toilet paper. These items are usually too big for the hip pockets. I also use it to put wet items in during the day to let them air out or just to separate them from the dry stuff in my pack. Most often, this is a wet tent or tarp.

The side and back pockets are not waterproof. Anything in there can and will get wet in a rainstorm or random water fight.

The side pouches are excellent for carrying water bottles and long items like tent poles or fly rods. Long items are easily kept in place by the pack’s compression straps.  

Hyperlite Junction compression strap locks rod
Several times while trying to put my water bottle back in the side pouch I would mistake the lower compression strap for the top of the pocket and drop my water bottle on the ground.

I usually don’t carry a water bladder but I have a liter of water in each side pocket. I could get the water bottles out of the side pockets and put them back without taking the pack off or dislocating my shoulder, but just barely.

Several times I thought that I had put the water bottle back into the security of the side pocket, only to find that I only put it through one of the compression straps, and it would fall to the ground.

Water Bladder Sleeve

Hyperlite Junction Ultralight Backpack water bladder sleeve
You can see the red hydration hose coming out of the side of the pack. This placement made the hose too short.

As mentioned above, I do not usually use a water bladder on backpacking trips. But the Junction 2400 does accommodate it if you prefer. It has a bladder sleeve that runs down the back of the pack and a small slit on the side that you can use to feed the hose through.

A friend of mine used this pack with a water bladder and found the system not to be as well thought-out as the rest of the pack. There is no way to suspend the bladder, so it falls to the bottom of the sleeve which is at the bottom of the pack.

This means that there is not much hose left over, and my friend found himself constantly pulling on the hose in an attempt to get it into his mouth.

I prefer built-in water bottle holders built into the shoulder straps like the Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor.

Suspension and Weight Distribution

Outdoor Empire Score: 3.5/5

Hyperlite Junction water bladder sleeve
The sternum straps were not easy to move up and down. To move them they had to be unstrapped, moved then rethreaded. Luckily after I moved them once I didn’t need to move them again.

The suspension system of a backpack is how the pack supports the load and helps distribute the weight between the shoulders and hips. Suspension systems can range from complex and heavy to simple and light. I would consider the suspension on the Junction 2400 to be lightweight and simple to the point of almost being nonexistent.  

The back panel is just two sheets of DCF with a thin pad in between. Two vertical aluminum stays give the pack some structure. The vertical stays can be removed.

The hip belt is sewn into the pack and is not removable. I find that this helps transfer the weight more effectively than a pack with a removable hip belt.

There are no load lifters straps like those found on the Gregory Focal 48. These are used to help dial in the fit.

It is essential to size this pack right from the beginning. That said, I found that the Junction 2400 was not very good at distributing weight between my shoulders and hips.

I felt like I carried most of the weight on my shoulders. But as long as the pack’s weight was kept down, I did not find this to be too much of a problem. The shoulder straps were comfortable and had enough padding to handle weight up to 25 pounds easily.

Comfort

hiker scrambling up the Painted Canyon with Hyperlite Junction Ultralight Backpack
Scrambling up Painted Canyon. The pack kept the weight close to my center of gravity with little to no pack sway, making scrambling easy.

Comfort is subjective. In a minimalist pack like this, the comfort is directly related to how well you pack it. I did not find this to be the most comfortable pack that I have ever used, but I still enjoyed wearing it.  

While testing this pack, I took it on a trip into Honeycomb and Painted Canyons in the Owyhee desert of Oregon. There were only cow trails and some scrambling during the hike.

The Junction 2400 stayed against my back and did not try to pull me over backward. There was no swaying back and forth. The pack effectively became a part of my body and allowed me to scramble without getting in the way.  

Remember that the back panel will be in contact with your back all day, leading to a hot and sweaty back as there is no ventilation to speak of. Packs like the Osprey Levity 45 and Gregory Focal 48 do a much better job at this. 

When I tested the pack, it was not all that hot, so it wasn’t a problem. But I would imagine it could be on a hot day in the middle of the summer.

Versatility and Accessories

Outdoor Empire Score: 5/5

In my time with the Junction 2400, I found that it does exactly what it was meant to do and more. The roll top and suspension system allowed me to pack different volumes without problems. I would not hesitate to take this on day hikes, ski trips, or backpacking trips of up to 5-6 days.  

I found myself grabbing the pack for all kinds of uses. When I needed to pack blankets, water, food, and chairs for my kid’s soccer game, I picked this pack. When I needed to haul river rocks to fill in the holes my dog was digging in my backyard, I picked this pack. I found it very versatile and I love that in gear.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear also makes quite a few accessories for this pack. They have packing pods that are waterproof and fit perfectly inside the pack. They also have fanny packs and shoulder packs that can be added on. I did not get an opportunity to test any of these accessories, but they all look well-made.

I am not sure how I feel about spending more money on accessories for a pack that is this expensive, but it is nice that they are there if you want them.

Value

Outdoor Empire Score: 4/5

The Junction 2400 retails for $320. That is an expensive pack, costing $6.40 per liter of carrying capacity. The Gossamer Gorilla 50 is a similar pack, and it retails for $255 or $5.10 per liter. The big difference is the Dyneema fabric that the Junction is made of. 

Conclusion

Outdoor Empire Score: 4.3/5

The Junction 2400 is a well-made, tough, and versatile pack. It does exactly what I want it to do and more. The DCF makes it expensive, but its weight-to-strength ratio is high and makes it highly water resistant. These are all things that I look for in a pack.

The Junction has the feel of a pack that I can abuse for years and I am excited to do just that. I have no problems recommending this pack if you have the money to spare.

Recommendations

HMG Junction 2400 Recommended for  Not Ideal for
Trip length 2-5 days Over 6 days without resupply
Overall pack weight 20-30 pounds Over 35 Pounds
Base Weight 8-12 pounds Over 15 pounds
Goal distance per day 15+ miles  30+ miles 

 

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Junction 2400 is for the experienced backpacker looking for a tough minimalist pack. This pack is for the person that values a lower weight over features and is ok with forgoing things like top pockets, load lifter straps, and a sophisticated suspension system.

The Gregory Focal 48 weighs a little more but has all of these features if you want a lightweight pack that looks more like a traditional pack. 

The pack does well on short to moderate length trips with low to moderate weight. It is also tough enough for significant off-trail bushwhacking. It is not, however, for the budget-conscious backpacker.

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Alex was born and raised wandering the mountains of central Idaho. He spent his 20’s working in the outdoor industry as a river guide, ski patroller, and in wilderness therapy. Currently he is a paramedic with an interest in wilderness medicine and he dabbles in photography and writing. He enjoys long days in the mountains trail running, fast packing, rafting, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, and fly fishing. His newest passion is introducing, some might say indoctrinating, his three children into the outdoor sports that he loves.

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