Crazy tough and very expensive, Dyneema is a super-fabric capable of withstanding incredible abuse — the perfect material for a duffel bag?
Before I start this review, there are two things you should know about me. 1) That I am typically very careful not to abuse my gear, and 2) that I am an ambassador with Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG).
So when the crew from HMG asked if I would test their new woven Dyneema duffel, I paused, then shared I’d have to go for broke and break a few of my own rules…in short, beat the holy tar out of the duffel.
HMG enthusiastically responded “Sure!” then followed with “…well…just don’t light it on fire”.
These are some limitations a man can work with.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dyneema Duffel Bag ($600 — ouch)
Who’s It For: Professional adventurers traveling the world with sharps in tow
Made in: Biddeford, Maine, USA
- Weight: 2.61 pounds
- Volume: 8,500 cubic inches
- Length: 40 inches
- Diameter: 16 inches
- Circumference: 50 inches
The Dyneema Duffel is an exceptionally durable and exceptionally expensive bag. But more on the price later.
The 140L bag is simple like it should be. A double #10 waterproof zipper runs across the top. A pair of daisy chains are tacked down both sides walls. A small zippered map pocket sits at both ends.
At 3 and 1/3 feet long, it’s long enough to swallow your ice axe, pickets, poles, or shovel, but 20 inches shorter than a standard 60″ expedition sled, it leaves enough sled real estate to haul fuel, water, or trash in the sled. Its low profile also keeps the center of gravity low and tight, keeping it from flipping over when pulling it on a sled.
Three internal compression straps help pull the load tight and reduce zipper strain.
Dyneema isn’t new to the market. Dutch-based DSM has been producing Dyneema since the 1970’s. Reputedly 15 times stronger (and seven times lighter) than carbon steel, and 40% stronger than Kevlar, hydrophobic and highly resistant to sun exposure—the material has been used in bullet-resistant vests, helmets, and anti-ballistic protection. Hyperlite Mountain Gear has built a successful outdoor brand using a non-woven version of fibers for five years now.
What makes Dyneema so durable is that at a molecular level, the fibers are exceptionally long—–several feet long—distributing the load between molecular chains over these long lengths. This makes Dyneema the ideal material of choice for climbing slings/runners, sail cloth, and sometimes high-end, performance backpacks.
The rub? One supplier + expensive materials + expensive production = $$$. But that didn’t stop us from trying to give the bag a proper beat down.
Dyneema Duffel Torture Test
Since I didn’t have summer plans to holiday in the Huayhuash, I did the next best thing. I unleashed my kids on the bag, who can be excessively destructive (but aren’t yet pyromaniacs). Together we crammed two seasons of expeditions into two days.
After slapping the bag on a stump a few times they quickly turned their attention to rocks. Unsatisfied with lobbing a few, my daughter found a nice primitive axe-shaped stone and attempted to chip away at its burly veneer. She even took to try carving it up. Nothing.
My six-year-old then grabbed a 5-foot log with a honed tip and proceeded to stab at its synthetic hide. Nothing.
They say the quickest way to shun unwanted attention is to ignore it. Which is just what the bag was doing. The weekend was coming to an end and the kids were losing interest. I had to step in and show the kids how the pros do it.
I slung a length of webbing to the bag’s handles and tethered it behind the truck, buckled the kids in the car seats and drug the bag a half-mile down the gravel backcountry road. Nothing.
Determined to break the bag, I drug it down the gravel strip for another half-mile. I maybe dented it.
One Tough Duffel
The material was thinned in places, but stable. A few smaller holes wore through, but the Dyneema’s tight weave prevented them from running.
The zipper took the biggest hit. The pack flipped and ground the paint off the pull. But it’s still fully functional and with a little tri-flow, sliding smoothly.
Inside the bag? All the contents were stable and protected.
Pros: Traveling to the mountain has become a challenge in recent years. If you live in the Midwest and want to get to the Cascades, you’ll have to pay for additional bags. The Dyneema duffel can stow away all your without the worry of damaging the duffel … or its contents.
A trip around the world can really pound a duffel, as can riding in the back of trucks or overall tough use. This thing is bomber, and you won’t need to buy another for a very long time.
Cons: Yes, it’s eye-watering expensive. If you can swallow that pill, my only suggestion to HMG would be to sew in zipper garages to protect the zipper.
Who Should Buy It: The woven Dyneema bag is clearly a pro-grade product aimed at professionals who work routes or guide 200+ days a year. If you find yourself wearing Carhartt pants to work or riding a titanium frame road bike, this might suit you as well.
Parting Thoughts: I’ve been hauling the same HMG cuben fiber pack for years now. And while the dirt shows its age, it’s functioning as good as new. But if you are looking for a pack or duffel that lasts a lifetime, give the woven Dyneema products a look. It just might be the last bag you ever need to buy.
Contact Brand/More Beta: Hyperlite Mountain Gear