One of the most challenging pieces of gear to find is a good backpack. Not because of the lack of choices, but because of the exact opposite. There are so many options out there (which isn’t a bad thing) but finding the right one for you can be a little difficult without getting some hands on experience. Luckily for me, and now hopefully for you, I have been able to get my hands on and arms through my go-to pack, which is the Aston House Back Country pack by Hill People Gear.
Hill People Gear has been a name that I have heard of for many years, but never had the opportunity to experience. My first time being able to get a feel for the brand was at the 2018 Shot Show in Vegas. After that, it was game on. I have since had the privilege to use and test out their Aston House Back Country for the past few months and my experience has been fantastic. There are so many great aspects to the pack that has now made me a user for life.
First off, it’s made in the great U.S. of A. which is a great selling point. Next is the size. The frame sits at 21’ high, 11’ long and 8’ deep which is a great size for a 24 hour pack or your every day carry (EDC). There is a single panel loading main compartment at 48 liters which is perfect for packing up for a long hike, an overnight stay or to toss in your rifle for a good ruck hump.
Now if you’re not like me and live in a state that actually allows for cool toys, the compartment is great for a short barrel rifle, or something with a folding stock, that will still give you plenty of space for all your other gear. For those who can’t legally have access to those, have no fear. The compartment is accessible from both top and bottom with dual zipper openings, so if you have a longer rifle, skies, snowboards, etc, you’re still able to tightly secure everything in the pack with their fully lined PALS cut velcro panel, while having the excess come out the bottom.
The pack itself when empty is pretty light at 4.4 pounds and a full height frame with dual 7000 series aluminum stays which helps to transfer most of your load down to the lumbar area. Overall, it is rated to carry up to 80 pounds. It also has the capability to be paired with their Recon belt or Prairie belt (sold separately) which then gives you the ability to carry up to 150 pounds. On the outside you’re equipped with 2 separate pouches made for full sized canteens or water bottles.
There’s also a thinner slot pocket which is full height as well. Outside of that, there is a full compression panel that gives you the capability to cinch the pack down as tight as you need to and prevent any wiggle when carrying. The compression panel is normally a full length PALS cut Molle system, but I personally went with substitute Aston House Pocket for extra organizational space which is an additional $65.
One of my favorite attributes about this pack is that it doesn’t look tactical!! There’s nothing worse than finding a solid functioning pack but having it look like it was standard military issue. That may be my own personal gripe, but it’s almost near impossible to find a good piece of gear that doesn’t scream military or tacticool, again making it perfect for everyday use, hikes, travel and everything else. They have four color options which are black, coyote tan, a foliage/manatee two tone and a ranger green/khaki two tone. I personally went with the foliage/manatee two toned which is a cool light grey color which is a very neutral color.
Initial cost for this pack before any of the add ons and accessories is $280. Definitely a little on the higher side, but for the functionality, high quality materials and longevity of the product, you get what you pay for. Overall this is an amazing piece of gear. It’s been something that I have personally recommended to friends and outdoor enthusiast. There isn’t much I would change. My one personal note, is that it doesn’t have a place for a water bladder. When I’m out on a hike, I like to have some source of water I can access through a hose instead of having to take my pack off to grab my water bottles. Other than that, this is by far one of the best packs I have used personally and I’m greatly looking forward to trying out more of the products they offer. Well done, Hill People Gear.
Cost: 4 out of 5 stars
Durability: 5 out of 5 stars
Functionality: 5 out of 5 stars
Style: 5 out of 5 stars
Size: 5 out of 5 stars
Total: 24 out of 25 stars
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
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