Throughout history, outdoorsmen have used a variety of methods—animal skins, mussette bags, web gear and backpacks—to transport essential gear, often with varying degrees of comfort and utility. Few designs have offered the ideal combination of light weight, unobtrusive contours and efficient use.
Scott and Evan Hill, owners of Hill People Gear, have addressed the age-old problem by designing a high-quality, no-frills, super-efficient modular carriage system based on minimalist principles. Drawing on their own experiences as wilderness wanderers and shooters, the brothers have partnered with FirstSpear, a domestic maker of high-end tactical gear, and specified U.S.-made materials such as 500 and 1000 denier Cordura nylon and Hypalon to construct packs that are not only well-thought-out, but unusually effective.
The company’s 250-cu.-in, 1-lb. Original Kit Bag, a simple, chest-mounted pocket supported by a mesh-and-web harness, can be worn in conjunction with a backpack. It features a concealed, zippered compartment that offers quick and convenient access to a handgun while another pocket with dividers holds other small essentials within easy reach.
The 900-cu.-in., 1.5-lb. Tarahumara, coupled with the company’s weight-distributing Shoulder Harness, functions as a small, stand-alone backpack that is deceptively capacious given its trim profile. Its single vertical zipper and dual wand-style bottle pockets make for quick and easy access to the bags contents. Removing its horizontal compression straps and harness allows it to be attached to the back of HPG’s largest pack, the 3,400-cu.-in., 5.5-lb. Ute.
The single-compartment top-loader features a polymer frame sheet and twin aluminum stays, and comes with a size-specific Prairie Belt—a padded waistbelt with exterior PALS webbing that can also be used independently with the company’s Bottle Holsters and pockets as a lumbar pack. Altogether, the system competently handles up to 75 lbs. with remarkable control. Colors include Ranger Green, Coyote Brown and Foliage Grey. Prices: $105 (Original Kit Bag), $125 (Tarahumara), $400 (Ute). Contact: Hill People Gear, (888) 464-1875; hillpeoplegear.com.