New HMG Pack Design Idea


"Northrim Mini"

30L pack size

Removable hipbelt with large DCHW pockets

Velcro-adjustable side pockets (meaning you can cinch the top of the side pockets closed tightly with velcro when needed during hairy scrambling, mountaineering, etc.) Include drainage holes. - also made of DCHW fabric

Reinforced pack bottom and rear pocket also made of DCHW fabric with drainage hole in exterior pocket.

Hydration reservoir sleeve inside with hydration port for when bladder is wanted (I know the Northrim doesn't have this but it's a feature I'd like on this smaller pack, though I'd be willing to omit the port and internal sleeve and just use the external pockets. Sometimes, like in tight slot canyons, having everything inside the pack's main pocket and nothing in the outside pockets, is necessary - which is a lot easier to do with a hydration reservoir instead of loose water bottles.)

Standard HMG Daisy chains running down pack straps.

Removable aluminum stay/stays for when you need to carry some extra weight for longer journeys.

Outside compression straps on top/sides of pack for cinching down pack and allowing basic tripod attachment to exterior of pack, etc.


I do professional landscape photography and focus on very wild areas that are often accessed by arduous off-trail approaches. I love the Northrim 4400 (70L), which is pretty much my go-everywhere/do-everything" pack from major backpacking, mountaineering, desert country adventures - multi-day, single day, etc.. The Northrim has, as advertised, taken all the abuse I've dished out and is ready for years more ahead...but even though its compressibility with the roll-top and a few well-placed pieces of shock cord is impressive (looking more like a 35L pack when really cinched down) it's still a bigger, heavier pack than I need for the vast majority of my dayhikes and quick overnighters, even when I'm pushing 20+ mile days.

I'd gladly sacrifice having the lightest possible pack for one that I could reliably beat the guts out of in heavy bushwhacks and tight canyon environments where scuffs and scratches are the norm - and that would be a more usual larger daypack size - for me that's about 30L. A pack like this would be big enough to allow me to carry all my standard backcountry photography equipment into just about any location I'd want to shoot in, and would be big enough to allow me a stripped-down overnight kit for especially distant locations requiring an overnight stay for shooting, etc.

Any other interest in something like this or additional ideas that would make it even more awesome? I reached out to customer service about where to submit ideas for future pieces of gear and they pointed me here - so here we go!


  • PeakWalker
    PeakWalker Member Posts: 9

    I don't think I mentioned it in the main post, but the main body of this proposed pack would be 150D DCF, with the aforementioned DCHW reinforcements on the high-wear areas of the pack.

  • bugglife
    bugglife Member Posts: 100

    @PeakWalker welcome to the Trailhead! I am also interested in a photo-specific backpack, and I think I remember @TenDigitGrid saying the same thing in late 2022. Things I would add:

    I think I would like a frame system similar to the new Waypoint 35. Even on a small pack, photography gear can get heavy .

    A better way to carry a tripod, even if it's a smaller travel tripod. I have the option to put it in a side pocket, but the current compression straps (except on the Porter) are a little low to keep it from wiggling around, and it often ends up making that side of the pack heavier. I have also carried a tripod on top of my pack successfully (see photo above), but I am never quite as confident in its security as I'd like.

    Maybe some day our dreams will come true!

  • TenDigitGrid
    TenDigitGrid Member, Moderator Posts: 82

    @bugglife yes, and I would still love a ultralight camera inspired backpack!

    My biggest thing is I love rolltop packs like HMG because you can change the size based on the adventure. The problem with Roll top bags is quick access. I fixed this with my own sewing on my camera bag here:

    HMG did something similar with the Crux, witch looks pretty sweet!

    At this point my dream ultralight camera backpack might be something of a baby between the HMG Crux and the HMG Elevate 22. For an ultralight camera day pack!

    Right now my wife are mainly hiking with the Elevate 22 for day hikes and I just keep my camera on my peak design capture clip.