Review of Hyberg Attila X Backpack by Victor BorgvallHYBERG
* Total volume: 55 liters
* Volume of main compartment: 49 liters
* Total volume of outer pockets: 6 liters
* Maximum carry capacity: 14 kg
* Pack weight (on my scale) excluding the foam pad: 615 grams
* Pack weight (on my scale) including the foam pad: 663 grams
Most of us hikers want to have a load that is as light as possible while enjoying the outdoors. I’m also one of those. My pack weight has steadily decreased over the years to the point where there is no need to have a framed backpack. To shed a few hundred grams more from my pack weight, I started to look for a frameless backpack that could replace my light framed backpacks. I know many of you experience the same and I think you could be interested in reading a review of Hyberg Attila X.
When searching the Internet for lightweight, frameless backpacks one easily finds backpacks made in the USA. With the current dollar rate, tolls, and fees those backpacks tend to be rather expensive when they reach your porch. Finding a European company that makes backpacks that meet my rather picky requirements did not seem likely until I found Hyberg. I was excited to find this cottage company located in Germany with local production. There is not much information about their products in English so they were kind enough to send me Hyberg Attila X so that I could try it out and write an honest review about it in English. No payment is involved.
In short, Hyberg Attila X is an ultralight, frameless, simplistic backpack made of premium X-Pac Laminat VX21. The whole backpack is made out of this material except for the front mesh pocket that has a four-way stretch fabric and the roll-top that is out of a Nylon Ripstop material. X-Pac Laminat VX21 is water resistant but not water proof so some moisture might get through it. Long-term tests have proved that it’s a durable material, hence its increasing popularity.
The main compartment has a 49 liters volume and a roll-top closure. When looking a the specs for the backpack, I was concerned that this volume would be too big for what I need. It turned out I was wrong. If you are one of those who create a makeshift frame out of a foam sleeping pad, or an inflatable sleeping pad with a little air in it, then that requires some space. With my foam sleeping pad, that is 51 cm wide, coiled up inside there is about 35 cm left on top to fill, if needed. One should of course not forget the space available in the sleeping pad roll. The lowest volume the main compartment could be compressed to, while still maintaining a stiff and well compressed load, is probably around 28 liters. This 28 to 49 liters coverage makes Hyberg Attila X very versatile. I would say it’s a bit too big as a daypack for three seasons. But it nicely covers the rest of my needs, that is three season backpacking for one to at least seven days and nights out, or some fewer days of winter hiking.
In the main compartment, there are two sleeves. One for a hydration bladder and one for an included foam pad that acts as a frame sheet. Even if the foam pad is comfortable and fulfills its purpose, I chose to remove it as I prefer my sleeping pad to fill the same purpose. It’s a bit complicated to remove and insert a sleeping pad in the sleeve unless it’s very thin, compact, and has some rigidity so don’t count on keeping your own sleeping pad in the sleeve.
The inside of the main compartment as well as the pockets (except the front pocket) have a light gray color that makes it easy to find things within.
The front mesh pocket is very stretchy and can easily hold rain clothes and a days worth of food, which is very convenient so that one doesn’t have to open the roll-top several times a day. I haven’t noticed any durability issue with the mesh but if there is something that is sensitive on this pack then this is it. But not more so than the mesh on other backpacks. Unless used for lots of climbing, the advantages with this pocket being out of mesh outweighs the disadvantages.
Hyberg has been wise to make the side pockets out of durable X-Pack material. This feels reassuring when bushwhacking. If the side pockets would have been made of mesh then it would be much more likely that sticks would snag and make holes. When mentioning holes – there are no drain holes in the side pockets, but that is not a problem as rain that falls in the side pockets finds its way out at the seams. The side pockets are spacious with a diagonal cut and stretchy top that prevents objects from falling out. A one liter bottle and a couple of energy bars easily fit in these. The only disadvantage I’ve found with the side pockets is that, despite the diagonal cut, it’s difficult to reach and insert my one liter water bottle without removing the backpack from my back. This might have more to do with my lack of flexibility than the design itself though. However, I could reach and fetch smaller items even at the bottom of these pockets.
The hip belt is non removable and well padded. It would have been a neat feature if it was removable but the trade off would be less good load transfer to the hips. With a well packed load, I found the load transfer to be excellent. Most of the load could be transferred to my hips. There are two pockets on the hip belt. These pockets are handy and easy to open and close. I wish these were a tad longer as it’s difficult to insert a smartphone with a 5.8 inch screen when the hip belt is tightened. This is something that would be beneficial to many of us. However, the pocket size must not be too big because then they would touch the hands or arms while walking.
Shoulder and sternum straps
The shoulder straps are comfortably padded and wide enough to spread rather heavy loads. When designing shoulder straps, it’s a bit difficult to find the right balance of width and amount of padding. I would say it’s near perfect in this case. I have become a bit spoiled with shoulder pouches and this is something I miss on this backpack. I know that not everyone likes them so I wish Hyberg sold them as an accessory to anyone who would like to havethem. You can also easily find shoulder pouches from other companies and attached them to the daisy chain that runs along each shoulder strap. There are also a drinking tube keeper and a plastic ring to attach things to. I found the daisy chainshandy for holding a watch and a compass.
The sternum strap is comfortable and easy to close if one is concentrated. If one isn’t concentrated, or if your hands are frozen,then it’s a bit tricky to make itclick in place. I’m sure there are good reasons behind selecting this kind of buckle, but I think they could have used the same kind of bigger buckle as for the roll-top closures and maybe added a whistle too.
There are two sizes: medium for back lengths of 43 to 50 cm and large for back lengths of 48 to 58 cm. I am 180 cm with a back length of 50 cm, that is almost between the sizes. Hyberg recommended size large for me and this fits well.
This and that
On the front there are two loops that, together with the bungy compression straps on the front, can hold for example ice axes or trekking poles. There is also a compression strap on each side of the backpack that could also hold trekking poles that are put in the side pockets. These, in total three, compression straps together with the roll-top make up a very adaptable volume adjustment.
The roll-top closes with a buckle on each side. When rolling many turns, the buckles tend to hide in the roll and therefore it would be a slight improvement if the buckles could be attached to a stiff material that was easy to keep out of the roll. This would make them longer and, as a result, the attachment points would have to move south on the sides of the backpack. This is really a minor issue that I might be the only one to notice.
One additional thing exists for compressing the backpack, as well as keeping the roll-top closed, the strap that runs from the back to the front over the roll-top. This is useful for holding for example a bulky sleeping pad or something bulky you’ve bought at a re-supply shop.
Backpacks with a frame usually provide a better back ventilation, but I haven’t found Hyberg Attila X to leave my back uncomfortably sweaty even after running 10 km with it on with a load of about 6 kg.
This backpack has a simplistic design and feels very durable. It’s highly adaptable and fulfills my expectations more than well. I plan to use it for airline travel, and being frameless it easily fits all sizing regulations. Because it feels comfortable even after 12 hours of straight use with a load of at least 9 kg, I plan to use it for short as well as rather long hikes of maybe 9 days. I can even see myself using it when running for an hour with a rather light load as the narrow design does not come in the way and the fit can be snug when tightening the hip belt, shoulder and sternum straps. I turned the backpack inside out to look at the stitchwork together with an experienced sewer. We were both impressed at the handicraft. I also had two friends try the backpack for a short time while I tried theirs’. We all came to the conclusion that mine was the comfiest, probably thanks to the frameless design that molds to any back. If I would have built the backpack myself I would have changed a few things,and those are pointed out in the review. Overall, this is my new favoritein my backpack lineup and as such it will be used a lot here in the Swedish wilderness.