Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review: Kathmandu Hip bag

Here is a piece of essential kit that I received for Giftmas a number of years ago, which I have taken with me hiking all around Australia and New Zealand. It now makes up my bug-out-bag, and lives in the wheel well of my car, under Tactical Baby's car-seat. Being a sizable pack I've been able to use it as my sole day-pack when hiking up and around a number of mountains without being encumbered and more importantly keeping my hands and shoulders free. I've chopped and changed the contents a number of times, to suit my needs of the day.  It's also where my CRKT Stiff KISS and FUBAR live. I haven't been able to find what it is called, it seems to be out of stock, but here is what I can tell you about it.

There are three external pockets, one of which is a draw-string tightening bottle pouch, and two zippered pockets, each topped with a strip of SOLAS tape. The main body of the pouch holds an expansive chamber, probably at least 5L in capacity. Both the side pockets and main chamber are zippered, with toggles fitted for ease of opening, and are covered by well fitted lips to keep rain out. The whole pack is made of a hardy Cordura nylon throughout. Two sets of Fastex buckles on webbing straps are fitted to tighten the pack down, and there are three daisy-chain loops of webbing sewn onto the middle, perfect for fitting Cyalume sticks, I have three, red, blue and white, currently. The back pad is fitted with a wide band of closed-cell foam for padding, and also has a space between the pack and padding for fitting either a belt or perhaps documents. The side straps include some padding bands, both of which include a small, zippered utility pocket and come together in a wide banded Fastex clip. Two D-rings fitted to the top of the pack allow for shoulder straps to be fitted, to assist with load-bearing, or offering  alternate attachment points. A webbing handle finishes off the carry options nicely
Here's what I currently load out with: In the main chamber I have a tightly rolled woodland-cam waterproof poncho,  a linear induction flashlight (I taped over the emitter end, to cut down on light leakage). Two rolls of tape, an enameled mug, a roll of SES tape, a tube of sweetened condensed milk, 4 metal espresso cups, a bottle of bug-spray, a long length of high strength fishing line, a propane cylinder, the Bear Grylls  Ultimate Survival kit I've reviewed previously, and 50m of 5mm dynamic, along with two 2200kg carabiners and a Figure 8 Rappel Device.

In the outside zippered pockets,  I keep a snare kit, a Caribee camp stove, matches, Milton water  purification tablets, nails. In the other pocket, a set of bandages, BandAids, a survival whistle with a flint, tea-bags and instant chocolate. A Sea-To-Summit 10L Kitchen Sink lives in the bottle-holder, and in the side-strap pockets are another box of matches and a pill-tin with fishing hooks and sinkers.

By no means an exhaustive survival kit, but I like to think that with this in the car, I am able to be a whole lot more prepared for a road-side delay if I am out adventuring, or if the need arises, and we bug-out, an advantage over the elements.

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