The Callaway Hyper-Lite 4.0 is a solid performer – there’s nothing radical about it, but it delivers what you need in a carry bag. The features include a 6-way top for club storage, pockets for everything you need, and exceptional padding both on in the shoulder straps and on the bag itself. Note that while it is marketed as “Hyper-Lite”, the 4.9 lb. bag (as tested) was only slightly lighter than the average bag tested, and doesn’t really compete with some of the superlight bags on the market.
The design of the legs was a mixed bag. On the one hand, the Hyper-Lite 4.0 features a new leg mechanism that, somewhat akin to the Ping Hoofer, utilizes a collapsing base to trigger the extension of the legs, providing more stability and making it easy to use on push and driving carts. On the other hand, the legs didn’t collapse as much as we would have liked while the bag is being carried, and sometimes require some additional encouragement to fold completely back into the side of the bag.
It’s well-priced for what you get, and makes for a nice balance between functionality for those who usually walk the course and storage capacity for those who prefer to take a cart.
Retail price: $159.99
Amazon.com price: Check price now
Editor’s note: This review is for the 2011 version of the Callaway Hyper-Lite 4.0. Manufacturers generally make minor changes to bag models each 1-2 years. We have provided links to check prices for the latest version of the bag, which was originally updated to the Hyper-Lite 4.5, and now (2014) was replaced with the Hyper-Lite 4, and features largely the same feature set as the reviewed Hyper-Lite 4.0.
The Callaway Hyper-Lite 4.0 has a 6-way top that splits the club storage area into 6 sectors, with all dividers running the length of the bag. The number of sectors was sufficient, but we still aren’t sold on full-length dividers – it seems to us that in any setup you will still have situations where clubs will catch on each other when inserted or removed (unless you are going with a bag with 14 full-length dividers, which are generally much heavier bags).
The legs are solid and, in combination with the “XTT® Flex Foot Base Technology with stable stand system,” provides a steady base. The base technology reminded us of that used in the Ping Hoofer – instead of having a large piece of plastic that extends from the base of the bag and triggers the extension of the legs, the base itself is collapsible and setting the bag down and leaning it in the right direction activates the legs. The benefit is that there isn’t anything sticking out at the bottom of the base – the leg triggers used on other bags tend to get snagged when you’re loading them on to a push cart or in the back of a golf cart.
The legs quickly and easily pop out when the bag is set down, but the retraction mechanism isn’t as reliable. We found that when we would pick up the bag, the legs often didn’t fully collapse, and on occasion would even dangle down from the bag. There is no Velcro or elastic to strap down the legs if using a cart.
We are big fans of Callaway’s straps, in particular the thick padding throughout the shoulder area. The straps feel just a hair wider, but the comfort is exceptional. The Hyper-Lite’s 4-point double adjustable straps enable you to find the right fit. Good stuff!
The Callaway Hyper-Lite 4.0 features 11 total pockets.
- One large garment pocket runs along the right side of the bag, with a medium sized pocket, a small valuables pocket and a scorecard slot along the outside of the garment pocket. Inside the large garment pocket is a small velour-lined pocket for your valuables.
- One medium-sized and one smaller pocket (we use these for golf ball and other odds and ends) are on the spine of the bag. The medium-sized pocket has a mesh pocket on the interior.
- 1 medium sized pocket is on the left side of the bag, with a pouch for holding good-sized beverage bottles (marked “fluid storage”…which sounds high-tech to us!) and an additional mesh pouch on the outside of this pocket which is handy for anything from snacks to GPS devices. The mesh pouch can stretch to accept good sized items, even larger water bottles.
- Not included in the pocket count are a pen holder on the left side of the medium-sized pocket on the spine, and slots for four tees on the right side of the same pocket.
The Callaway Hyper-Lite 4.0 includes traditional straps on the right side of the bag for holding an umbrella, a ring for attaching a towel or clipping a rangefinder, a Velcro patch to attach a glove, and a plastic ball marker so you can use a Sharpie to add lines, dots or a Callaway logo to your ball.
When the rain comes, the Hyper-Lite rain hood can be quickly attached by snapping it to two snap buttons near the legs, and then securing it with Velcro around each of the shoulder strap attach points at the front of the bag.
Although the Callaway Hyper-Lite 4.0 weighs slightly more than some of its competitors (in part because of the extra padding on the straps), we found it to be excellent for walking the course.
- Weight. The bag weighed 4.9 pounds as tested (including the rain hood), which places it as one of the lighter bags tested for the competition. Sure, it clearly says “4.0 pounds” on the bag, but we often find that marketing departments are liberal in the use of poetic license.
- Balance. The bag is easy to adjust and is evenly balanced across the shoulders.
- Padding. We are big fans of the top notch padding that Callaway has included for the lower back. Callaway markets this foam padding as having “better ventilation”, and though we can’t say we felt a difference in temperature, it certainly kept us comfortable.
- Handles/Straps. The Callaway Hyper-Lite features a hand grip that is molded into the rim of the bag. This handle (which is becoming relatively standard on better bags) makes it easy to pick up the bag when moving it short distances during a round (such as around a green as your partners blade sand shots back and forth), transporting it in and out of the trunk of a car (there is a second handle at the bottom of the outside pocket on the spine that lets you use balance the weight across both hands), and also when setting it down after hoisting it off your shoulder.
As described above, the collapsible base means that Callaway didn’t need to include a protruding plastic piece at the bottom of the bag as part of the leg extension mechanism. As a result, there’s nothing to get snagged on a push cart or in the rear storage wells of a golf cart. Easier is definitely better!
We like the looks of this bag – it looks current without screaming “check out this sweet bag that goes with my white belt and massive buckle.”
The Callaway Hyper-Lite comes in six different color combinations (7 if you include the option of a Callaway logo stamped on the side):
- Black, with white trim
- Black, with white and gray trim
- Black, with red, white and gray trim
- Forest, with black and white trim
- Navy, with black and white trim (also available with the Callaway logo)
- Yellow, with black and gray trim
- White, with black and gray
There is nothing too radical about that Callaway Hyper-Lite 4.0 It may not be revolutionary, but it does successfully continue the evolution of carry bags that we see in the industry: slightly lighter in overall weight (though this bag isn’t designed to compete with the lightest bags), an integrated handle at the top, and comfortable shoulder straps. We also appreciate the integration of the leg triggering mechanism into the collapsible base of the bag. Yes, we know we’ve mentioned it three times now…but we really like it!
At $159.99 retail, the Callaway Hyper-Lite 4.0 is priced below most of the competition, with all the features one would expect in a quality carry bag. The construction of the bag is very good, and we like the innovation elements described above. The Hyper-Lite 4.0 is a solid bag that provides all that you will need and is equally at home on a cart or your back.