MARK SIREK Administrator Posts: 306

Words and Photos from Cody Jackson

Howdy! Cody here, an outdoor enthusiast, thru hiking/backpacking extraordinaire, an aspiring photographer, and a proud dog dad and husband! If you catch me on trail, some call me Feathers. I've been a big fan of the ol' walking adventures since I catapulted myself onto the Appalachian Trail back in 2017 for my first thru hike. My passion for human-powered adventure on foot has since taken me around the world on some exciting journeys–from Japan's Kumano Kodo to New Zealand's Te Araroa, Scotland's West Highland Way, Nepal's Annapurna Circuit, England's South West Coast Path, Utah's Uinta Highline, Vermont's Long Trail, 30+ US National Parks, 15+ National Monuments, and a bunch of other adventures! Needless to say, I've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way and have a good understanding of what constitutes great gear and how to use it.

This summer I'll be heading out on a southbound thru hike of the beautiful Colorado Trail and I'll be taking the fabulous new Waypoint 35 with me. To the readers out there tuning in–do you have some exciting adventures you're dreaming up? Are you seeking out a new pack to accompany you on what lies ahead? I've had the pleasure of testing out the Waypoint 35 since January near my home in Colorado's Front Range and I'd love to offer up some feedback on this great new product.

A newcomer to the Hyperlite family, the Waypoint 35 is featured as part of the "Specialty Backpacking Collection"–packs designed with features and materials to meet the demands of more specific activities and pursuits. The Waypoint 35 stands out as the lightest and lowest volume internally-framed pack designed for on-trail or off-trail backpacking for the more experienced ultralight hikers and minimalists. Weighing in at an airy 23.5oz and built with rugged and weather-resistant DCF fabric, it has an array of useful features that'll have you smiling from ear to ear with contentment. With 35L of internal volume and an additional 6.5L of external volume, someone with a small kit can greatly benefit from a pack of this caliber.

Let's dive into the myriad of features that Waypoint 35 offers its users. The foremost feature I immediately began benefitting from is the shoulder strap stretch mesh pockets. These things are a game changer! When you're on the move it makes accessing items like your phone, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm and snacks a breeze. Whether your itinerary is a day trip peak-bagging a 14er or multi-day excursion in the backcountry, the Waypoint 35 is designed for the user to be able to customize it to their needs.

The roll-top closure with compression straps is another versatile feature that allows you to expand or contract to house the appropriate gear for your trips. The Y strap is helpful when you need to stash an extra layer for easy access, a foam pad, bulky food items on the way out of town, or a bear canister.

Next up, let's touch upon the hip belt. Any Happy Gilmore fans here? Like Chubbs said, "It's all in the hips". The ability to add or subtract the removable hip belt with pockets lends itself yet again to a range of uses. For day hikes, leave it off to be a bit more lightweight and nimble. Include it for longer trips, where it helps with carrying heavier loads and provides extra storage for small items. I will be utilizing Hyperlite's Versa Fanny pack on the hip belt for additional quickly accessible storage.

The Waypoint got some very sweet upgrades for the back zone as well. The single contoured aluminum stay on the inside center of the pack helps support heavier loads up to 40lbs and provides structure. It is also easily removable if you want to drop some extra weight. Paired with the foam in the back panel and wide comfortable shoulder straps it makes for a very comfy ride.

Two external side pockets provide ample space which I like to use for water bottles plus my filter on one side and my cookset on the other. If you come upon a scramble or want to stash your trekking poles for a period of time, they can be stowed away safely with the adjustable side straps. The compressible side cords with the pockets could also securely hold a sun umbrella (when not in use) for desert hiking.

The big stretchy center pocket provides space to stash essential layers for quick access, such as a rain jacket or puffy, without having to open the roll top. In addition, the center pocket has six bonus accessory lashing loops available to run a line of shock cord through. With this, use your imagination–air out some stinky wet clothing, use it in conjunction with the ice ax loop, and attach balloons; there are a multitude of uses. The adjustable sternum strap helps secure the pack at the chest, includes a built-in whistle for emergencies, and, for me (being a photographer), securely hangs a camera pod with my trusty camera nestled safely inside.

Phew! Y'all still with me? Thanks for hanging in there. Listen, there are so many thoughtful features designed into the Waypoint 35 which were clearly the result of years of testing and user feedback. I am very excited and impressed with what this pack has to offer. While this pack isn't for everybody, there are many who would greatly benefit from it. The Waypoint 35 is a real home run for the more experienced ultralight hiker looking for a very streamlined, versatile, and capable pack. So do yourself a favor and try it out!