HMG Southwest 3400 VS 4400

I just sold my favorite pack that I ever owned…. the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400. A few months ago I finally ditched Osprey for my main backpacking pack, and jumped into Hyperlite Mountain Gear and never looked back.

I had previously owned the Osprey Atmos 50 and the Osprey Atmos 65. Osprey makes some of the most comfortable packs, and have one fo the best warranties in the industry. Over all they are an absolutely amazing company.

One of the reasons I switched to Hyperlite Mountain Gear was the weight. The Osprey 65 (65L) weighed in at 4lbs 6oz. The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400 (64.8L) weighed in at 2.10lbs (Black Version).  The Southwest is about half the weight!

This post is not going to be an in depth review of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest pack, but a comparison of the 3400 and the 4400 version.

The Stats:

Southwest 3400:

  • Price: $340
  • Weight: 2.02 lbs
  • Interior Volume: 55L
  • Exterior Volume: 9.8L
  • Bottom Circumference: 33.5″

Southwest 4400:

  • Price: $375
  • Weight: 2.21 lbs
  • Interior Volume: 70L
  • Exterior Volume: 9.8L
  • Bottom Circumference: 37.5″

3400 on the right and 4400 on the left

So why did I sell my HMG 3400? I live in California and like to camp both during the summer and the winter. I also like to go visit Yosemite where a bear canister is required for overnight camping. This past winter I was planning a winter snowshoeing expedition in Yosemite, and packing my winter gear along with a bear canister with 55L interior can become pretty tight pretty fast.

For example here is the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400 with a Bear Vault 500 inside:

HMG Southwest 3400

Pay attention to the top right and left of the Bear Vault 500, you can see small slivers of the bottom of the pack.

For comparison check out the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 with a Bear Vault 500 inside:

HMG Southwest 4400

Compared to the Southwest 3400 the Bear Vault 500 in the Southwest 4400 is swimming. If you go back up to the statistics for each pack, you can see the 4400 has a 4 inch larger base circumference.

At this point you probably think I have just pointed out the obvious… of course a bigger pack is going to have more room when holding a bear canister inside. But this is why I upgraded to the 4400, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs are roll tops.

When you do not need all the extra space in the HMG Southwest 4400, you can just roll it down:

HMG 3400 on left and 4400 on the right

As a result of the roll top feature, I can easily use this pack in the desert heat or in the Sierra Nevadas in the winter! HMG makes an amazingly versatile pack, and I would recommend sizing up if you hike in an area that requires a bear canister or if you hike a lot in the winter.


MYOG: Crampon Bag


Photographing Reflection Canyon


  1. William Leach

    Don’t want to be the barer of bad news, but a bear canister in Yosemite is not required in the winter time. Went snowshoeing there myself at the end of March and when getting my permit for 3 nights out, I was asked if I had a canister and I told them no. They said that was ok because if you are on snowshoes or ski’s, canisters are not required. Guess they figure bears are still sleeping when there is still enough snow on the ground that you are on shoes or ski’s . Just FYI

    • Mike

      I did learn that actually about the day before I left for my Snowshoeing Adventure. I was having trouble fitting everything in my smaller HMG pack, and some nice user on Reddit let me know. I was extremely grateful!

      I may be back this July, so looking forward to using the bear canister in my larger HMG pack!

  2. Matthew

    Thanks for this great post!

    My exact question was whether or not they roll down to be the same size. I love to use my 3400 as a carry on, and based on your roll down comparison pictures it looks like I will be able to do the same with my 4400.

    I’ve traveled the world with my 3400 for years. I’ve put it though hell and back. It look the same today as the day I bought it.

    The only problem I’ve ever had with it was wishing it was a bit larger. I’m going to remedy that problem by bumping up to the 4400.

    The HMG is just amazing all the way around.


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