May 7, 2023

Hyperlite Headwall 55 Backpack

Gear Reviews

could this be the backpack for you?

Are you looking for a better way to pack? To pack lighter and move faster? This may be the pack you have been looking for to help you with backcountry pursuits in the Summer and Winter. Let's go deep and explore the Headwall 55 by Hyperlite Mountain Gear.


The Hyperlite Headwall 55 backpack was designed to be ultra-light, durable, and one that can be used outside in the roughest environments. Think wilderness backpacking or backcountry skiing for short stints or multi-day adventures up to 5 days in length.


Hyperlite Headwall 55

Internal volume 55L
Weight 2.60 lbs.
Load capacity up to 40 lbs.
Made with Dyneema® Composite Fabrics
Exterior snow tool pocket
Ski or split board carry capable
Customizable and removable hip belt
Hip belt pockets
Whistle buckle on sternum strap
Ice axe elastic cord loops
Designed with ski legend Cody Townsend

How I Used It

In the midst of planning for a 2-night backcountry ski hut trip, I realized that my photography backpack just wasn't going to be able to hold all of the gear I needed to bring, in addition to the food and avalanche gear that I needed for the trip. It was going to be too small and too heavy. Over the last couple of years, I had been keeping my eye on Hyperlite as a company and periodically had been checking their website for new backpacking products. Their ultralight backpacks immediately came to mind because for this trip, weight would be a key factor.

I was planning to travel 4.2 miles with an ascent of 2,059 feet to the Peter Estin hut that rests in a mountain saddle at 11,234 feet. Getting there would mean lugging about 30 pounds of gear and supplies along that route, all in a backpack on my back while skinning up the mountain on my skis.

I had remembered seeing a video on YouTube where ski legend, Cody Townsend had been using Hyperlite backpacks on his backcountry skiing missions and providing input into the latest backpack designs for ski mountaineering. So, after a bit of research and a few YouTube videos later, I decided to jump in and purchase the Headwall 55 for my upcoming trip. For me, this ended up being the best decision I could have made.

On the trip, this backpack proved to be the solution to my pack weight concerns. It was also comfortable and easy to use while I was skinning up the trail. Transitions from the uptrack to the downhill were fairly easy with this backpack. The velcro on the outside pocket made it effortless to pop skins in and out during transitions too.

My one disappointment was that there wasn't a convenient place to put my Nalgene water bottle. I started with it in the top of the bag but that required me to open the roll top every time I needed a drink. The best solution I could come up with was in the front pocket with my avalanche tools. That worked ok but it wasn't ideal. I'd suggest that Hyperlite look at designing options for an ultralight mesh pocket somewhere that won't interfere with ski carry.

From a durability perspective, I beat up the backpack pretty good. Often setting it down in the snow, on rocks, and in various places throughout the hut. From time to time when I needed a rest on the uphill, I set the pack down behind me and sat on it which actually worked pretty well without even having to take off my skis. I'm sold on the durability of Dyneema material at this point. Pretty impressive!

I put together an unboxing video that may be helpful for you. Let me know in the comments if you would use this backpack for backcountry skiing and backpacking. Check out my stoke in the video below and then be sure to see the FAQ section below that.


Is this good for carrying a snowboard?

A-framing a split board is definitely possible just as it is with skis. However, strapping a full snowboard to the back would be more difficult. I can be done but it would be hard to strap it down firm and tight.

Is this backpack available in black?

Only white is available at this time but it will be announced on the Hyperlite website if/when other colors are released.

Does the headwall 55 have ice axe loops?

Yes. This pack includes two ice axe loops, one on each side of the bottom of the pack.

What materials are used in this backpack?

Fully Woven Dyneema (High-Abrasion Points and Bottom of Bag),
DCH150 Main Body, Dyneema Stretch Mesh Outer Pocket


  • Ultralight design with minimal pockets, zippers, and gadgets that normally add weight.
  • Outer snow tool pocket is the perfect size for a probe and shovel as well as skins during the downhill transition.
  • Extremely durable


  • There is no side pocket for a Nalgene or other type of water bottle. It would be nice to have a lightweight, flexible, mesh pocket somewhere on the pack for easy water access.
  • There is no rear zipper access for quickly getting to photo gear. A very small access panel near the bottom of the pack would be very beneficial for those wanting to quickly capture their adventure moments.
  • Cost is fairly high on this backpack for such a minimal design.


These might be options for you if the Hyperlite Headwall 55 ends up not being your backpack of choice:

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32

| $239 | Day touring | 32L | 2 lb. 9 oz. |

Black Diamond Cirque 45

| $220 | Ski Mountaineering | 45L | 2 lb. 4 oz. |

Ortovox Ascent 30 Avabag Kit

| $720 | Airbag | 30L | 2lb 6 oz. |

My recommendation

Backcountry skiing backpacks are normally heavy, there aren't many offered in 55L, and have a lot of extra features that many people often either don't use or end up using and over packing. I recommend the Hyperlite Headwall 55 backpack to you if you are one who likes multi-day backcountry skiing and backpacking trips. It will force you to keep your pack weight to a minimum and will provide you with just the right amount of storage. Check it out using the button below 👇