Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Review

Overall Score:8.8

After 4 months of near daily use, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack has become a staple piece of kit for our photography and EDC needs. Hands-down, it’s the most versatile sling bag on the market and we’ve been incredibly happy with its multi-use performance. 

Durability: 7.5
Functionality: 9.5
Performance: 10.0
Aesthetics: 8.0
Value: 9.0

Capacity: 2.25L

Weight: 116 g

Main Material: DCH50 3.5 oz/yd2 

Hardware: YKK

Strap Style: 1″ Webbing 

Dimensions: 5.7 x 15 x 23 cm

Manufacturing Country: USA

Length of Test: 4 months

Acquisition: Self Purchase

Countries: Thailand

Climate(s): Tropical Savanna

Weather: Hot and Humid (highest temp 34 C), Cold and Dry (lowest temp 8 C), and Light Rain. 

The Versa Fanny Pack is designed for:

  • EDC, travel, and backcountry.

It’s not designed for:

  • High organizational needs.
Durablity

Build Quality

Main Material: the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack is constructed with a space-age laminate called Dyneema Composite Hybrid (DCH), which is 15x stronger than steel on a weight-to-weight basis. Simply put, DCH is the most advanced high-performance material on earth. It’s heavy-duty, ultralight, and 100% waterproof.   

Despite the Versa Fanny Pack’s featherweight status, the DCH50 has brushed off the rugged demands of hiking and day-to-day use with no signs visible of wear. Trust us, the Versa is much tougher than it looks.

That said, DCH50 isn’t as abrasion resistant as standard high-tenacity nylons. While it punches above its weight class in every other marker, DCH50’s Achilles’ heel is high-contact friction with hard surfaces. So as long as your mindful and don’t drag the Versa on the ground for 10 meters, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Hardware: featuring #3 YKK Aquaguard Zippers, the Versa Fanny Pack stays true to its weatherproof ethos as the zippers have a polyurethane coating (shiny outer surface) that’s highly water-resistant. In practical terms, the zippers have done a great job at minimizing water ingress, even during the heavy downpours of Thailand’s unforgiving monsoon season.

For added grip and contrast, the zippers themselves have blue nylon pull tabs attached. 

As for the carry strap, it’s a soft and pliable 25 mm nylon webbing that’s intuitively easy to adjust. And for all you dangle haters out there, it comes with a sewn-in strap keeper that’ll manage any excess webbing – which we appreciate.

Last but certainly not least, the carry strap features a good ol’ YKK side-release plastic buckle. Nothing fancy or high-tech here, but it’ll damn sure do the job.

Functionality

Main Feature Set

Capacity: the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack’s advertised 2.25L of storage seems to be a bit underestimated. The top-loading clamshell combined with the pack’s clever patterning, allows for you to cram it full with a surprising amount of gear. Just be aware, the Dyneema fabric doesn’t have as much “give and stretch” as a traditional nylon would.

As a capacity reference, we usually pack the photography gear listed below, with additional room to spare:

Organization: as an ultralight bag, the Versa Fanny Pack takes an essentialist approach to organization… long story short, its pretty spartan. 

The main compartment only features two things: a mesh divider and a keyring clip – that’s it folks. And in all honesty, you shouldn’t expect anything more than this… most of the time, simplicity is truly better – especially when it comes to packing real estate inside of a small bag. 

Ultralight philosophy + pocket for every dongle = zero compatibility

In addition to the main compartment, there’s a zippered front pocket with a relatively shallow depth. In real terms, it’s a great place to store slim items like your passport, a minimalist wallet, or even your phone for quick on-the-go access. 

Tuckable Straps: rounding out the features, we saved the best for last. When not in use, the carrying strap and wings can be completely tucked out of the way. In-between the Dyneema fabric and the foam padding, there’s a hidden slot with empty space that’ll house the strap and wings. 

Side note: when the straps aren’t tucked in or when they’re removed, the empty space can be used as a shove-it pocket.

Performance

Practical Utility

Comfort: in all honesty, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack is most comfortable sling bag we’ve ever used – period. We know that’s a bold statement, but we firmly stand by it.

During 4 months of testing in the city and on the trail, we’ve had absolutely zero complaints. The amount of padding this little pack has in combination with its ultralight weight, makes it a true game changer. For us, comfort = 10 out of 10.

In terms of fit, the Versa Fanny Pack conforms to the contours of your back or waist and rides close to your body without any unnecessary flop. In essence, it’s an agile lil’ pack that excels in fast and light adventures or all day carry.

Versatility: there are a few different ways to use the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack and all of its functionality: the standard crossbody carry or as a waist pack… as well as the multiple backpack attachment options. You can easily attach the Versa onto your sternum strap or hip belt, for efficient on-body access to anything you’d want at a moments notice. 

To see a short video on how to attach the Versa Fanny Pack to a larger pack, click here… 

Alternatively, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack can be seamlessly used as a lightweight organizer inside of a multi-day backpack or daypack. As an organizer, it works well for both urban and outdoor use cases – whether commuting to the office or spending nights on trail. 

(Pro Tip: the streamlined packability of the Versa Fanny Pack, is a great feature for travel and adventure photography – camera accessories on-body when you need them, yet safely stored away when you don’t) 

Aesthetics

Design Elements

Thanks to its Dyneema construction, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack has a futuristic (sort of Blade Runner-ish) appeal. We get that some people may not like its raisin-esque appearance or slight “crinkly” sound, but we dig it. 

In hand, this pack looks like it was designed for a T-1000 – it’s a unique, next-generation looking piece of kit. We love it and all of its wrinkled glory…

Value

Primary Alternatives

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack is arguably the most versatile sling bag available, bar none. Between the different carry styles, potential use as an organizer, and its ultralight weight… no other sling bag on the market can directly compete with it – nada, zilch, niente…. 

With that being said, there are more traditional “crossover slings” that we can highly recommend: our top-rated Fjallraven Ulvo Hip Pack as well as the Arc’Teryx Mantis 2

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a larger capacity bag, then we recommend the Mystery Ranch Hip Honkey or the more “wallet-friendly” Osprey Daylite Sling

Pack Main Fabric Gender Vol. Weight Adjustable Length? Padded?
Versa DCH50 Unisex 2.25L 116 g Yes No
Ulvo 400D Bergshell Unisex 2L 150 g Yes No
Mantis 420D HD Nylon Unisex 2.5L 180 g Yes No
Monkey 500D Cordura Unisex 8L 408 g Yes No
Daylite 150D Polyester Unisex 6L 238 g Yes Yes
8.8/10 Rating

Overall Verdict

If you’ve been reading the content throughout our site, it’s clear that we’re big on essentialist values and travelling light. So anytime we come across a product and brand that echoes similar values to our own, we have to take note.

Overall, we’ve absolutely enjoyed using the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack and sing its praises. We highly recommend it for anyone that needs a multi-purpose sling bag / waist pack / organizer / modular backpack pocket. Normally we’d label gear with this many functions as a jack of all trades, master of none… but nope, not the Versa. While it’s by no means perfect, the Versa Fanny Pack is truly a dialed-in piece of kit. 

What We Liked

  • An ultralight yet tough build gives you the best of both worlds.
  • The YKK Aquaguard Zippers combined with the Dyneema fabric, create a highly weatherproof build – our gear has always remained dry. 
  • The modular strap set-up allows for a convenient dual-carry options.

What Could Use Improvements 

  • Utilizing a magnetic Fidlock V-buckle for increased ease-of-use. 
  • Adding heat-shrunk tubing to the zipper pulls for enhanced grip-ability.
Longevity

Usage Timeline

Excellent

Initial Usage

The Dyneema construction is impeccable – it’s a USA-made build and is definitely “burly” for an ultralight product.

Excellent

Excellent

4 Months of Usage

Hiking, EDC, and general photography – this lil’ pack excels at all three. Durability wise, it still looks great, although the wrinkles have gotten more pronounced. 

Excellent

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