HMG Modifications

katethewild Member, Moderator Posts: 23
edited July 2023 in THE GEAR LAB

Yes, we know that HMG makes some amazing products, but sometimes I want to modify gear to suit my individual needs (sorry guys).

The first modification I made was for the Long Trail in 2020 to remove the velcro at the top of my Southwest 55 pack and replace with KAM snaps. The velcro always caught and snagged my delicate trail clothes or long hair whenever I reached in. I resorted to rolling down the top to hide the velcro every time I opened it, but was quick to tire of this task and finally removed the velcro with a seam ripper. I installed KAM snaps and I'm so much happier with this mod. No damage was done to any part of the pack when removing the velcro.

She's got a lovely trail patina after a few thousand miles!

After trekking halfway through the Sierra with a bear can and heavier than usual pack, I found that the aluminum stays were digging into my back and I ditched them in Mammoth. I prefer the ability to conform the pack to my back and find it much more comfortable.

I know others have cut out the mesh hydration sleeve inside the pack, but I have yet to do this. Another consideration was to cut off the hipbelt pockets. It kind of annoys me to have pockets on my hips- I prefer a fanny pack. It would be nice to have a stowable hipbelt with minimal or no pockets for when the pack isn't heavy enough to need one.

When you hike for months on end its impossible to not think about modifying your gear for the better!

My question is- how do you modify your pack (or other HMG products) to suit your needs? Hopefully this discussion can aid in future gear development!


  • snechemias
    snechemias Member, Moderator Posts: 22

    On my windriders I've removed the velcro as you have, the hydration reservoir, and all the webbing straps and hardware except for the rolltop compression. I did NOT cut off any webbing loops. This allows me to add gatekeeper buckles back only in spots I want them for auxiliary gear carries. I also use these custom frame stays:

    All of that shaves about 5oz total off a pack, my 2400 windrider weighs right around 25oz.

  • Josh_Sheets
    Josh_Sheets Member, Moderator Posts: 12

    I cut the side pockets (webbing) straps off. Frankly, I am unsure what they are there for... even after I cut them off, my water bottles were snug and secure due to the elastic at the top and size of the pockets. Also, thought about cutting down the length of most, if not all, of the straps but have yet to do so. Finally, I have thought about cutting off the ice axe loop. I didn't carry one on my PCT hike this year and I think the loop is in an awkward place should I have to carry one...

  • TenDigitGrid
    TenDigitGrid Member, Moderator Posts: 82

    This is awesome! I have thought of adding a zipper for access when I dont want to un-roll the roll top.

  • blackmagic
    blackmagic Member Posts: 1

    The hydration bladder sleeve is just the right size for a Z Seat sit pad. Since you got rid of the aluminum stays, you can use the sleeve with a sit pad to restore some structure to your pack.

  • Riff
    Riff Member Posts: 8

    I added one-handed draw ice axe attachments so i can get them in action with less hassle. When it gets steep enough to make me feel the exposure, I stow my skis between my back and pack, reach back for an axe and carry on.

  • bergstromra
    bergstromra Member Posts: 20

    Thanks for the intel on removing the velcro and replacing it with snaps, definitely following your lead on that one, Kate 👍

    I love packs with double chest straps so I’ve added one to my 3400 to aid in feeling more one with my pack.