Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review: Hill People Gear - Runner Bag

So, once in a while, I manage to make one of my "wish-lusts" come true. Such was the case with the Hill People Gear Runner pack.

I got in touch with Evan Hill, of Hill People Gear, because after my Wish-Lust review, I saw that they had a single photo of a bag in khaki, my preferred colour, where as the rest of their range seemed to be "coyote", "foliage", "Ranger Green" and MultiCam. Evan let me know that the khaki one was a prototype, and that apparently khaki gets a bum-rap at the moment, but that he would cut me a deal. A deal I jumped at, and a couple of weeks later.... my very own Runner Pack arrived in the mail!

I've been wanting to give it a thorough try-out, but have been struck with a nasty respiratory infection of late, and combined with my previously damaged ankle, has not given me much incentive to go running. What to do? I took it to Comic Con Oz, of course!

Without wanting to re-hash the content of my previous post about what its made of (500d Cordura) or how its all put together (well) I thought I'd just run you through my load-out, and how it handled.

Firstly, it was really comfortable to wear! I swapped out of my EDC holster harness some bare essentials: my wallet, my iPhone, my keys, and threw in a couple of extras, like my birthday Tactical Pen and my favourite personal grooming tool Because one never knows, Stan Lee might have wanted to look good for our signing and photo-op!

This left a little room for Tactical Baby snacks, and maps, tickets for the event, whilst not bulking up too much on my chest. I was curious to see if there was that feeling of compression that chest-rigs can give when laden, but I found no such dramas. 

With some quick on the spot adjustments I was able to go from riding high and tight, to dropping it to mid-thorax which gave really different access and feel to wearing the rig. OK for walking, but running I'd still wear it up high. One thing to note, I felt quite conspicuous wearing it. It really does look like a chest-rig of some kind. If I were adventuring, hiking, or running, I'd not have given it a second thought, but I couldn't help but feel slightly "half-dressed" in the cos-play crowd. Later that afternoon, I wore it slung sideways (pouch under my left arm), which looked a lot less "chest-rig" and a lot more "man-bag". Again, no real issue, and it felt great, but something to be aware of in polite company perhaps.

As I've said though, it wears like a dream. The mesh-back is soft, and breathes wonderfully. The padded back of the pouch was both soft and breathable as well. The zipper-pulls worked perfectly, although I think I need to practice the "quick-draw" of the back compartment, if I want to be able to get my comb out in a hurry... The front pockets held my wallet and phone snug and easily accessible, yet securely. The back compartment -almost- fits my iPad. I think i could probably jam it in there and man-handle the zippers closed, but not without risking popping stitches. A pity, but I doubt that Evan was thinking of how to carry his iPad around when he designed the pouch, he strikes me as more a M1911 kind of guy ... The shock-cord retention strap is brilliant, really held the bottom of the pack stable, without constricting my chest at all. A real bonus.

The only gripe I had at all was the edges of the very clever double sided Quick Clip the stabiliser shock-cord was mounted to the pack with (pictured here) were quite sharp, and jabbed me all day. A quick lick of a lighter to heat the thermo-plastic and a thumb pressed to the edges rounded off these offending edges to protect my delicate flower-like body. The Fastex clips, large and small were perfectly placed for ease of use and wear.

This is a really versatile pack, and I can see myself getting a lot of use out of it when I get ready for next years Tough Mudder, or when I go adventuring, either on its current harness, or taking advantage of the forward-thinking modularity that Hill People Gear built in, and mounting it via those GrimLock clips, as there are loops top and bottom of the pack to accomodate those.

I'm really pleased with this addition to my collection, and look forwards to going running or rollerblading with my man-bag, now in khaki!

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